Last Wednesday, Oct. 21, was Back to the Future Day. I know this because I was invited to a Back to the Future party, where we watched the 1989 Micheal J. Fox movie Back to the Future Part 2. It is the second of the movie trilogy and in it our heroes travel to the distance date of 10-21-2015. The future (now three days in the past) is predicted to have clean streets (fairly true), ubiquitous television screens (very true), terrible fashion (absolutely true), and flying cars (not so true).
Predictions of flying cars are not restricted to the campy side of science fiction. The marvelous Ridely Scott classic Blade Runner (1982) shows overcrowded cities, life-like androids, and flying cars. It is set in 2019. Will the next four years bring us flying cars, as well as androids indistinguishable from humans?
At least Star Trek had the wisdom to project 50 years into the future rather than 30 or 40. In its 1968 first season, we are introduced to the infamous Khan in the episode “Space Seed”. Thanks to a Federation historian, we learn in this episode that Warp Drive, with the ability to travel at speeds greater than light, is invented in 2018.
Ah, if only reality could live up to science fiction. I’d love a flying car. But I’d settle for self-lacing Nikes.