In 1940, Robert Heinlein wrote the story “The Roads Must Roll”. The rolling roads in the title were high-speed conveyors that connected cities. They carried people, freight and even restaurants and bars along for the ride. The express lanes of these roads had a top speed of 100 miles per hour. It is now sixty-seven years later and the best we can do to approach this idea are the moving walkways of Helmut Jahn‘s Concourse 1 out at O’Hare. That’s damned disappointing, right there. Don’t even get me started on the promises of flying cars, underwater resorts, moon colonies, and X-Ray glasses. And, hey! Where is my jetpack!?
Daniel H. Wilson has a Ph.D. in robotics from the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute. And he has as many questions as I do about the future science-fiction authors have been promising us for the past fifty years. Not the least of which is the title of his latest book, Where’s My Jetpack? He also has some hilarious answers. He tells us what technologies do exist, who provides them, and where to find them. If the technology is not publicly available, he teaches you how to build, borrow or steal it. Now this is satire that doubles as real, practical education.