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Your Flying Car Awaits: Robot Butlers, Lunar Vacations, and Other Dead-Wrong Predictions of the Twentieth Century
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Your Flying Car Awaits: Robot Butlers, Lunar Vacations, and Other Dead-Wrong Predictions of the Twentieth Century

3.09  ·  Rating details ·  129 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
A delightful mixture of science fiction, utopian vision, and just plain crazy ideas, Your Flying Car Awaits is a hilarious and insightful compendium of the most outrageous and completely ridiculous predictions of the 20th Century. Award-winning journalist Paul Milo’s collection of “Robot Butlers, Lunar Vacations, and Other Dead-Wrong Predictions of the Twentieth Century” i ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published December 8th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books
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Richard Derus
Feb 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Take a look at my review:
Janet Gardner
I have to start with a confession: I want a jetpack. As a child in the late 1960s, I learned that within a couple of decades we’d all be getting around by jetpack, and I still don’t have mine. (*stomps tiny foot for emphasis*) And I want it! (*pouts*) I am, to steal a wonderful phrase from my husband, “nostalgic for the future of the past.” So this book looked like great fun, since I have noticed that we’re not all eating plankton burgers in our self-cleaning houses or being ferried around domed ...more
Feb 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016-reads
This was actually an interesting book - people in the last 150 or so years predicting things about the 20th and 21st centuries and seeing which came true.

Oh, wait, it wasn't "people" it was "men".

I refuse to believe that in 150 years (or more!) there were no female scientists, science fiction writers, futurists, anthropologists, or a multitude of other careers who predict future trends. If there were, Paul Milo didn't try to find them for his book. For example, he mentioned Alvin Toffler a lot!
This review has been moved to:
Jan 25, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
Despite the title, this really isn't a book where you get to giggle about the wacky predictions people made "back in the day" (and by that, Milo tends to focus on people in the 20th century, particularly around the 50 and 60s). What's much more interesting is to see the circumstances at the time of the prediction that caused it (you mean the Soviets actually built a baby in a test tube and it lived for eight weeks?!). Ah, the good old days when anything seemed not only possible, but probable.
Vikas Datta
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
A delightful collection oh human thinking at its most ingenious - and loopy...
Richard Martin
Interesting variety of topics. However, after the first 100 + pages tends to get tedious.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first official DNF for the year. Great idea for a book, but so poorly executed.
Michael Van Beek
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historical humor

A new genre! Good stuff, through and through. Great anecdotes of predictions gone wrong. Someone needs to hold these futurist accountable, otherwise we're likely to get more of them.
Ajay Goel
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gazing into the crystal ball is a tricky business, but Paul Milo takes an interesting approach to look into the rear view mirror and presents an easy to read book covering an impressive array of predictions and how they have panned out over the decades. The last edition is 2009, and it’s incredible, how in many areas, the book already feels outdated (more of it later).
The book cover predictions in the past relating to stem cell research/ biotech, surface transportation, Space travel, City plann
May 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like fun facts
Recommended to Laurie by: New Jersey Monthly
These are my favorite types of nonfiction books - the ones that give you fun tidbits of information that you can randomly dole out to friends and family even if friends and family don't find any of it as fascinating as you do. I enjoyed reading all the wacky and not-so-wacky predictions that were made in the past two centuries about what life would be like in the future - or rather, NOW. I had no idea that electric cars got their start in the early 1900s or that in the 1930s, everyone seemed to ...more
Jason Reeser
Jun 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a great trip down memory lane. Written by an author who is my age, this book looks back at the hopes and dreams of my generation, and those before us, as we wondered just what the future would bring. Like the author, I am disappointed that I don't have a flying car, and wonder why so many other certain futuristic inventions never came about. Paul Milo does a nice job of explaining what happened, and just how off the futurists were. For those of us who remember these wild ideas, thi ...more
Jul 06, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
"Your Flying Car Awaits" is a fun and easy read, though not very informative. While this book certainly puts all those enthusiastic "x years until breakthrough y" statements in perspective, the author often fails to explain why certain supposedly sure-fire predictions did not come true (except for predictions related to the oil industry or the advance of the internet). The perspective is also incredibly US-centric, which might annoy some readers.

Recommended to: people who simply want something a
Jeremy Good
Loved this book! Great perspective and scope. It wasn't just about mocking futurists' failed predictions, but in many cases, taking a hard look at our own society's failure to realize visions it might / could / should have. Also, the book was very informative. Nuclear fusion as a viable energy source and artificial wombs are two technologies that always seem to be just around the corner but never seem to make it. The truth about flying cars is that we could all have them, just as we could all ha ...more
May 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author takes various predictions that were made fifty-odd or a hundred-odd years ago about what the state of the world would be today, explains why these predictions were made, and how and why they didn't work. In the very last chapter, he talks about some predictions that were eerily accurate. Reading this book actually made me less fearful for the future; perhaps today's doomsayers will turn out to be just as wrong as the gloomy forecasters of the early 20th century.

This book is always int
Clever concept for a book: seek out predictions from decades ago and see how closely we came to fulfilling them. It is not a simple "yes we did," or "no, we failed completely" compendium though. Each prediction and how it has played out gets several pages of explanation and analysis, why we thought we'd have flying cars, for example, and then why it didn't work out. The book groups predictions of similar nature into chapters, making it very easy to pick and choose what you'd like to read.
May 26, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science

Not the laugh riot I expected it to be.

Milo outlines all the different aspects of life that scientists made predictions on – birth, education, cars, homes, cities, moon colonies, life expectancy, food, etc., and some of the stuff that was way far enough was amusing – but then he outlines the actual history of how things worked out – depressing things like Big Oil, Monopolies, Global Warming, and various bigotries, keeping things like flying cars from developing. Sad.
Michelle Barton
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Frank and transparent, similar to the enjoyably readable nonfiction of Bill Bryson. Though Milo tends to muddle sci-fi "predictions" and actual scientific thought of the time, this book makes for a hilarious look at what might have been, and how off-base "experts" can get. Don't skip the final chapter, though, revealing how many predictions turned out to be--uncannily--right.
Booknerd Fraser
An interesting if scattershot book on things predicted for the 21st Century in the 20th. The widespread nature of what he's talking about often means a wild variation in tone. The author explicitly avoids science fiction (as it's fiction, not a "serious" attempt at extrapolation, though sometimes he just can't help himself).
Jenn Swanson
Apr 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about predictions that were made decades ago about how the future would be and how wrong those predictions were. I gotta give some of those people credit though for showing such optimism. Part of me also is kind of mad that some of this stuff didn't happen. Worth reading.
Ronnie Cramer
Feb 17, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Talk about predictions that didn't come true! I saw the description of this book and figured it would be a fun and clever read. It turned out to be smug and boring, with the author making observations every bit as goofy as the predictions he's mocking.
Uneven look at the world of predictions. Mostly focused on the truly wrong forecasts, the book covers a wide range of areas, some of which were interesting to me, others not so much. Overall, a decent read, but a more compelling and engaging treatment would be welcome.
Jean Doolittle
Feb 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm fascinated by the future and our visions for what it will look like. I wanted to write a book like this. It's entertaining to see how overly optimistic or pessimistic we've been about the future. The world keeps on spinning despite our predictions. I'll see you all on December 22, 2012!
Mar 17, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well-researched, but pretty dry reading.
Brendan  McAuliffe
Ought to have some pictures ( and actually would work better as a blog/website ), but some good survey information
Apr 18, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-history
Only fair - read it for the parts about what you always thought we'd have by now and skip the rest.
Sep 07, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty good book, but I'm glad I got it on sale.
Tim Robinson
Jan 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: society
An interesting and well researched book, but fundamentally it is a book about disappointment.
Tom Griggs
Well-researched, but can get a little repetitive. I would describe it as a lbok-length "Listverse" article, which is both good and bad.
Blake Petit
Not bad, but a bit preachy at times and not quite as entertaining as it could be.
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