December 19th, 2006

Recovery Reading

I went back to work today although I'm still recovering from this weekend's food poisoning episode.

Now, the thing about food poisoning is that it gives you the remarkable opportunity to spend a lot of time on the toilet. For me, this means a chance to catch up on my reading. Thus, in the past few days I've read all of the current comics that had piled up to be read and have annihilated the back issue stack, reading through everything I had of Beyond, The Maze Agency, 1602: New World, Kurt Busiek's Conan, and so on.

It was with some pleasure then that I found that the subscription edition of Heinlein's The Door Into Summer had arrived today, as I needed something to read. Now, this book is one of my favorites and a fast read, so I'm already well into it. And I reached the point where Dan -- in the far-flung year 2000 -- had to take a trip downtown to find a 24-hour branch of his bank so he could get some money.

Of course, in the real far-flung year 2000, he would have gone to an ATM. Could Heinlein have predicted that in 1956? Maybe. He certainly predicted many other things, including AutoCAD, although he called it Drafting Dan.

But he missed totally on the idea of having cash available on nearly every street corner if you had your card with you.

So -- not just Heinlein! -- what are the everyday things that we take for granted that our science-fiction writers of the mid-20th century never would have imagined?