Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Future is Coming True - Sorta

Back when I was a kid I'd watch shows such as the Jetsons and 'Lost in Space' and I'd think, 'Wow, this is going to be my future someday.' And so I waited, and saw technology progress - slowly at first. Coming out of high school, I'd've bet that we would have flying cars by then. No such luck. 

But something was just around the corner. Back in 1969 we had just enough computing power 
to get to the moon and back, and knowing the size of computers from back then, that was an amazing feat.

I entered college thinking I'd be a translator for the United Nations someday, but I wasn't completely oblivious to the computers around me, and the geek in me was drawn to them, to the point where I changed my major to Computer Science, and got to program Assembly Language for a processor called an 8080. 

Lord, if I'd known what that would grow into, but at the time, it was more a toy and mainframe computers still ruled. My degree may have fizzled after getting my A.S., but my interest in computers did not. Professionally I stuck to mainframes and minis, but kept an eye on those microcomputers.

When the Micro-explosion hit, I turned to sales and building my own PC-compatible machines, keeping just in touch enough to make things work while I tried to eke out a living. I had the old-fashioned telephone modems, accounts at various BBS's and an AOL account where I got the software from a 3.5 inch diskette.

Yet as much of an impression computers made on me in the 80's and 90's, I couldn't help but think...'Where's my flying car?' I was lucky to have a working car at the time, and frequently did not have one at all. My future wasn't coming true. I took to dreaming about my own version of the future and how it would all come about. This was the origin of 'The Timmons Chronicles.'

In that 'future', actually set in the past, my hero had flying cars, hand-held communications and access to a wealth of information at his fingertips and voice command. 

This was a time when the Internet was just catching fire, but I was able to see what it would become.

Today, 18 years after the first draft of 'Theater Boy' was written, (has it been that long?), we are only just seeing a potential flying car hit the market. Yes, the Internet is proving to be a wealth of information and cat videos, and voice commands are common. 

Robots are becoming more lifelike, if you keep them in the lab, but I still don't feel that we're really 'in the future' yet. 

Where's the 'Foodarackacycle'? Where's Rosie the robot maid? Where are the super-high-rise
apartments you can fly into? 

They were in someone's imagination not that long ago, but one of the downsides to having such a vivid imagination of how the future should look is society takes a very long time to catch up to it.

My own imagination was fired by such programs, and slowly society is catching up with my imagination. Well, that's not true, because my imagination can take another look at how things are and imagine them even better. Maybe they're getting there for the predictions of 'Theater Boy', but the 'Soul Survivor' series is going a step further that that. And if society continues to progress and I keep living, my imagination will continue to be way ahead of it. And that, my friends, is good news for the future.​