Much of the value of this blog is in the comments, and Jean Remy made a thought provoking observation in comments on 'Worlds Beyond, Once Again':
If in a mere 60 years we've learned enough that the predictions of the Futurists then have become "zeerust" today, how long before the predictions on this very blog become subject of ridicule and sympathy directed at our naivete?
In fact, of course, it will be exceedingly cool if, 60 years from now, anyone who stumbles across this blog finds it quaintly amusing rather than merely old, irrelevant, and dull.
The future, as I noted in the early days of this blog, has a rather brief past. In fact, the past itself hasn't been around all that long either, not in the sense that we now say that the past is a foreign country. Sometime in the Renaissance, artists figured out that Romans didn't wear doublets and hose, but Sir Walter Scott, so far as I know, was the first author to reconstruct a past unlike his own era.
Mary Shelley probably gets credit for the first true work of science fiction, but it was set in her own present. Even Verne's famous works weren't futuristic as such, or at most were set 'the day after tomorrow.' His Paris in the Twentieth Century is a true SF future world, but in a strange twist on futurism it sat in a drawer for generations and was published only in 1994, by which time Paris was nearly out of the 20th century.
It is an odd fact that the retro-future of 110 years ago gets much more positive treatment than the retro-future of 60 years ago does. Aether ships are charming, atomic cars are silly. This, I imagine, is for a couple of reasons. One is that in spite of occasional historical artifacts like the image above, our picture of the steampunk future is largely a modern re-creation - 2010 imagining 1900 imagining 2000.
The rocketpunk era future, by comparison, is all too well represented by genuine artifacts, many of them embarrassing. The Jetsons alone wrought incalculable damage, making it difficult for an entire generation to take the future seriously.
You could argue, in fact, that the future is a dead concept in the popular culture, buried when Tomorrowland was recast with a steampunkish retro theme. Indeed there has been a distinct fin de millénaire distaste for the whole boring old concept of the future, from the End of History (remember that?) to Left Behind, to SF's own Singularity.
But history, as you may have noticed, failed to end, suggesting that even the future may still have some life in it.
What current prediction, on this blog or elsewhere, will sound silliest by 2110?
The image (via Paleo-Future) suggests that the City of the Future, with its 50th floor skyways, was already an established trope by 1900 - I had thought it dated only to the film Metropolis (1927). Note the combined above-and-below monorails, heralding the future in all their wonderful impracticality.
Related post: The view from 1900.