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Future Past: Perfect?

This month's edition of American Futures Magazine is an unashamedly nostalgic edition which looks back on the great ideas of the late 1950s. Some made it and some didn't; but all were part of a post-war vision of a world transformed by technology, liberal advancement and freedom from manual labour. And almost everything was driven by that most exciting of catalysts: electricity. So far so goofy!

Readers based in the Dorset region will be intrigued - as always - by several references to the advanced ideas of prodigy and childhood genius Professor Brian Thrupiece whose manifold contributions to the "future debate" were both practical and ideological. By 1959 [the year on which American Futures Magazine concentrates, identifying it as the one that marked the real transition from past to future with, apparently, no intervening present*] the Professor had already made numerous contributions to the space race on both sides of the Iron Curtain and was well along the road to the full commercialisation of fluff. Less well known perhaps was his vision of the all-electric car - an early prototype of which featured on the cover of December 1959's American Futures Magazine and is reproduced in the current issue - an idea so advanced for its time that few could envisage it even as a remote possibility. Objections to it were typically mealy-mouthed, mean-spirited and unimaginative being in general grounded in trivial matters of practicality. [How far would it go? How would I charge it, How long would it take to charge? What if I turned up at Waitaminute's Car Park and found all the charging slots were taken or I had the wrong kind of plug? What if I break down halfway back from where I've just struggled to get? etc etc. Hard as it is to believe, these were seen as real problems back in 1959!]

* Debate continues to rage as to which year in particular marks the passage from past into future. Almost each and every year has been proposed at some time or other. Professor of Metaphysics at the University of Afpuddle, Professor Sir Ab Stüuss explains that "the debate is always shifting since the future becomes the past almost seamlessly and at an almost startling speed, with the present an evanescent moment almost impossible to capture. This phenomenon accelerates further as one grows older. Only last week - or was it last year - I was saying to my friend Brangwyn that it seemed like only yesterday - or was it last week - that I forgot where I'd put my spectacles and he agreed that ......" [That's enough [Ed]]

In the meantime, the collectors' edition of American Futures Magazine is now on sale. But hurry; this month's edition won't be the present edition for long. By next month, December's future edition will be current and November's will be a past edition like October's before it. Confused? You will be!

NB Former future editions are now available in the American Futures Magazine past edition archive: the treasure trove of knowledge "where the future becomes the past quicker than you know it".

Download sample pages of American Futures Magazine HERE

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