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Where's My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future That Never Arrived
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Where's My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future That Never Arrived

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  559 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews

It's the twenty-first century and let's be honest—things are a little disappointing. Despite every World's Fair prediction and the advertisements in comic books, we are not living the future we were promised. By now, life was supposed to be a fully automated, atomic-powered, germ-free Utopia, a place where a grown man could wear a velvet spandex unitard and not be laughed

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Published April 17th 2007 by Blackstone Audio, Inc. (first published 2007)
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A fun, light look at what science fiction promised & how some of those promises are coming true. It's only a decade old, but already dated. In some ways that was good since it highlights just how fast we're moving. For instance, the changes to the space program are amazing. NASA is no longer planning to put a small colony on the moon, but leaving that to private businesses & concentrating on Mars, I believe. No mention of the Falcon rockets or how their lower stages are landing, of cours ...more
Guy Haley
Well informed, yet overly chirpy insight into the current state of yesterday’s future today. If you see what I mean, by the author of Robopocalypse, Daniel H Wilson.

A timely book this, for I have, more than once, wondered where my jetpack was. This book reminds me that life is a big swizz. Why? When I was a kid, in the 1970s, the future was all going to be space hotels and robots and food pills. After patiently waiting, I found it just simply isn’t.

For this, I feel aggrieved.

Wilson’s book is pre
Barbi Faye (The Book Fae)
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: General Interest
Recommended to Barbi Faye (The Book Fae) by: The awesome blue shiny pages!!!
It's the 21st century, and this book provides a humorous look at the science and the secrets and the reasons behind the greatest inventions and futuristic ideas that we never realized or got. Gypped!! However, I say that in the vein of Back to the Future, we did get TWO things that were in the movie, thirty years on, and on time. One was a flat, wall mounted television, and the other of course was the hover board. While it does not look exactly like Marty's, it is still a hover board! Marty's bo ...more
Nov 05, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The Jetsons' robot whore.
Shelves: science, reference
It doesn't matter how old you are, at some point when you were young, you probably thought that when you were older, you'd have a personal jetpack, your own robot slave and you'd be able to have sex with a toaster that looks like mom. Or something. But those wonderful developments we were all promised never came to pass. Daniel H. Wilson wants to explain why. To that end, 'Where's my Jetpack' is a mixed bag of nuts. It tackles ideas from science fiction and reality, ideas that fifty years ago se ...more
Neil Pierson
Daniel Wilson has a grievance: All of those great future gimmicks and devices that have been promised to us by books, television, and the movies--why don't we have them? Where are our bathroom-cleaning robots, our flying cars, our invisible camouflage? Why aren't we the Jetsons?

This book describes the status (it's here; or it's being worked on; or it's not gonna happen) of these devices and some of the obstacles to their development.

Surprisingly, there is such a thing as a jetpack. Even more sur
This humorous compendium of the marvelous "Science Fiction Future Wasn't" is a little more brief than I would prefer but makes up for it with a fun tongue-in-cheek attitude and cute illustrations. Basically a series of short articles about various Sci-Fi innovations that would make our lives drastically easier (or at least so much cooler) the book looks at real-world attempts to build such things as self-driving cars (progressing pretty well), jet packs (sadly R&D on this wonderful concept i ...more
Victory Wong
Feb 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Fairly modern book on how possible things that we dreamt up while fantacizing about the "future" -- in what is now, such as a jet pack, an elevator to the moon, cities under the ocean, breathing underwater, a pill for lunch instead of real food etc. It's pretty interesting and amusing, it tells you if it's possible to make, or has already been made, and in the case of the jet pack where you might steal it from should you not want to build your own. It is nicely done with very clean drawings and ...more
Jul 28, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Remember the 80s, when we wondered what the 2000s would be like? Remember figuring that we'd all be wearing collarless, reflective space suits and riding hovercraft to our offices in the sky? This book answers your questions about the "science fiction future that never arrived" and more interestingly, the ones that did. (Teleportation and x-ray vision have actually been done, although maybe not how we hoped they would). This book is funny, easy to read, and informative. The author writes with fu ...more
Aug 28, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2007
This was a fun book that looks at all the fantastical elements of "the future" that was promised us in '40s/'50s sci-fi and world's fairs and what happened to those things. You know, flying cars, jetpacks, underwater hotels, ray guns, teleportation, space elevators, stuff like that. Each topic is brief and comes with illustrations and doesn't get bogged down on too much hard science as Wilson talks about how close we are to actually having one of these things in our lives. Most times we are not ...more
Feb 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I felt a little cheated out of lack of domed cities and robot servitude when the year 2000 rolled around. This was a fun read about futurism from an historical perspective...and why certain things didn't come to pass in the mainstream. (And thoughts about if it ever will and what the "new" future looks like.)

There's also a really interesting site called that hosts a move called 1999 A.D. that was filmed in the sixties. It is a MUST SEE! It's actually what inspired me to get t
Another great book by Daniel Wilson. If you've ever read sci-fiction or even glanced at the back pages of a comic book, this book is for you. The discussion of technologies we thought we would have by this time, why we don't have certain technologies and what technologies we do have is fun and informative. Most importantly I am going to get myself a hoverboard.
Kristen Northrup
Shorter and more blurby than I was expecting. Like blog entries, go figure. Clearly-explained science for us non-science folks, with a nice sense of humor. Fun random factoids that are handy at parties.
A fun and entertaining look at the shining future all those sci fi books and comics have been promising for decades. I laughed out loud a number of times and the narrator gives a great deadpan reading. Fun and frothy.
Adam Sprague
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-books
Awesome book. Funny, but more importantly, I learned a lot of interesting things I just didn't know before reading this. Daniel Wilson is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. The best book I've read in quite awhile.
Chris Scala
Apr 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Light, fluffy, small bites, good bathroom book ;)
Jul 23, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing and stuff. I'm so articulate.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Some of the best science fiction ever written was strangely prescient with its predictions on how the world would advance, technologically. One of the best examples of this was Jules Verne in his story From the Earth to the Moon. Not only did he figure out what it would take to get away from Earth's gravity, he predicted that the launch site would be in Florida. Ever since then, we have looked to the authors of science fiction to tell us what could be possible in the future of tomorrow.

For a while this was my chosen reading matter for the smallest room. Daniel Wilson looks at all the gadgets and suchlike promised in science fiction books and films. Stuff like ray-guns, flying cars and underwater hotels. The tone is light-hearted, sometimes the humour seems a little forced.

There are thirty or so chapters each exploring a different item.

A chapter was usually sufficient to distract me from my early morning ablutions. There are illustrations by Richard Horne for each chapter in bl
Lisa Wright
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fun
A slightly tongue-in-cheek look at how badly we are falling behind the promised wonders of "the future" and why. It is always fascinating to see where our trajectories diverged.
Jun 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
At 10 years old, the book is a little dated (no we won’t have a moon colony by 2018, thanks Obama!), but still a fun read (space elevators and ray guns!).
Feb 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If this were a recent book, it would be fantastic. As it is, a lot of the info is outdated, but it still gave me some ideas.
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A light-hearted look at attempts to develop the science-fiction technologies imagined in yesteryear, Where’s My Jetpack manages to be only occasionally interesting. It’s got a cringe-worthy sense of humour about it – the jokes and deliberately facetious tone are pathetically unfunny and don’t feel remotely natural. I actually felt a bit sorry for the author who comes across like an awkward high school teacher attempting to use the ‘cool’ language of youth, but succeeding only in exposing himself ...more
Shawn Sorensen
"We are up to our necks in half-baked technology of the past...." writes Daniel Wilson, "...We cannot sit by idly while our children walk to school instead of riding hoverboards...while our grandparents are forced to eat full meals instead of choking down handfuls of food must grab your favorite scientist by the lapels and shake hard."

This book kept me entertained when I needed something funny sprinkled with bits of information. And it's timely, too, with technology going global and
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
So, some of the entries for the various futuristic sci-fi to science technology that we see in pop culture (flying cars, hover-boards, etc.) are interesting. Some of them are downright funny, like the moving sidewalks entry. Overall though, aside from a few of the entries, most of the book had this sort of idealized/techie white guy vibe and while the author can write, he did add plenty of mildly offensive jokes. Also, he liked to focus on animals as a means to an end rather than as ends in and ...more
Sep 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pretty fun book. Light non-fiction. It looks at all those futuristic inventions that, decades ago, we were promised in sci-fi novels, comic books, and Epcot Centre vacations. Jetpacks, moon colonies, ray guns, ex-ray specs, flying cars, robot butlers, holodecks, and a lot more. The book discusses why some ideas failed, how some succeeded, and which ones are already a part of our daily lives. My two issues with this book are: 1)the author doesn't go far enough with his research; someti ...more
May 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-audio, reviewed
I really liked this one - even more than How to Survive a Robot Uprising . It's a great look at how technology is advancing compared to how people imagined it would be during the Space Race. It talks about what's commercially available, what's in development, and what's never going to happen in our lifetimes. It's both informative and humorous, which is exactly what I was hoping for. There are a few things that are a little outdated (it is seven years old at this time), but for the most part th ...more
Nov 06, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-books
As both a scientist and a scifi nut, I expected more out of this book. I'm glad I read it, but I felt like I just finished a scifi edition of popular mechanics or something. I understand that the purpose of the books wasn't to get into real detail about each technology described in the books, but the author tried to hard to be a comedian and should have focused on helping me care about the topics discussed. With each technology, the author gave a brief introduction about it, and some of them wer ...more
I would have never picked this book off the library shelves myself, but on a recent road trip, my husband surprised us by playing this one, and I must admit, I was entertained. Not only does Wilson discuss the misguided predictions of science fiction authors of 50 years ago and where progress now stands with inventions such as jetpacks, artificial gills, underwater cities, moon colonies, turning invisible, x-ray goggles,etc., but he also presents it with laugh out loud humor. He articulates some ...more
Mike Jensen
This book if fine, but it seems as if it will be a lot more fun when you begin reading it than it actually is. The information is good, the challenges to building the tech that has long been rumored is well explained, and the path forward as of the writing of the book makes sense. So, what is the problem?

For me, it is that there is good potential humor in this subject. Credit the author for making a number of jokes along the way. Unfortunately, I did not find many of them funny. It is better not
We have been lied to for years about what the future is going to be like. I mean, where is my hover-stakeboard, underwater city apartment and above all jetpack? Wilson tracks the modern science progress on these and other inventions and reports back with tongue firmly in check.

Why I picked it up: I knew that Richard would get a huge kick out of this audio. And I was right.

Why I finished it: Richard choked on the water that he was drinking several times. It was a delightful, hysterical and short
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A Cherokee citizen, Daniel H. Wilson grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He earned a Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
More about Daniel H. Wilson

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