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Book Review

Book Cover

The Usborne Book of The Future (Hardback)


Author: Kenneth Gatland and and David Jefferis
Publisher: Usborne
97 pages
RRP: £12.99, Cdn $20.99
ISBN: 978 1 80370 954 3
Publication Date: 08 June 2023

Enter the world of the future... The Book of the Future is a reprinting of a classic collection of three books that explored a hopeful vision of the world to come in the once-far-future-sounding year 2000. Each book takes the reader on a science-fact trip, based on the thinking of experts and scientists, dramatised and explained with lavish, full-colour illustrations. 'Robots' shows the sorts of advances in science and technology which might be expected in the 21st century. 'Future Cities' examines living conditions, both on Earth and in possible settlements on other worlds. 'Star Travel' depicts the transport systems which may be developed in the future...

Ok! Hands up all those who have had enough of futurologists getting things totally wrong? From the writers to Back to the Future II to the mumblings of 2000 AD's Tharg the Mighty, we're constantly promised the earth and for ever let down. Still no flying cars or hover boards and where is Judge Dredd when some lousy perp steals your belly wheel?

The Usborne Book of the Future, while promising the earth but falling flat on its predictions, is a fascinating insight into what experts thought was waiting for us over 20 years in the future. Looking back on it now, it sure looks like a comical view of what we ended up with thanks to '70s style illustrations that make the future just look like a slightly jazzed up '70s world. Each book in the series (displayed here as chapters) concludes with a look at the very possible future and a lot of this is fairly close to what we ended up with. Of course these segments also look into the far flung future with even more wild predictions.

It's fun and entertaining, if even for the nostalgic values it will evoke in some. This was one of the few Usborne books I failed to own as a young boy and I'm very glad I can now add it to my collection.


Nick Smithson

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