Friday, 15 January 2010

To the Escape Pod!

What is it about outmoded futurism that fascinates me? Wherein lies its peculiar bitter-sweet charm?

Sixty years ago, people visualised such a bright, funky, golden future: a future in which the human race had advanced and ennobled itself; a future in which we were the good guys: stylish heros with hearts and voluptuous catsuits of purest gold. Yes, our world was to be fraught with perils and problems, yes, there were to be mavericks and villains in our own ranks, too; but we were always to emerge from every struggle with our cheer and our togetherness undiminished and a heart-warming sheen about our elaborate towering hairdos.

Today, when all self-respecting futuristic visions are dark and post-apocalyptic, science-fiction from the '50s looks hilarious. And also touching - impossibly innocent and somehow very, very sad.

Where did all our shiny hopeful futures go? Are they lost to us now forever, or can we still win them back? How could we substitute them for collective backslides into primitivism, for rotting, skyless concrete-and-steel cityscapes, barbarous games, robot tyranny and grim dog-eat-dog cynicism? When did we lose the ability to imagine ourselves as the good guys? When did we stop holding out for the flying cars and the orgasmatrons?

No comments:

Post a Comment