Friday, 30 September 2016

The Future Becomes The Past

The opening story of Robert Heinlein's Future History is set in 1955. That was then the future. In fact, it is the year in which the opening story of Poul Anderson's Time Patrol series was published. For a discussion of these two series, see here. At the Time Patrol Academy, Manse Everard is from 1954 whereas one of his class-mates is from 1972. That was then the future.

We have passed 1984 and 2001 and also lesser known future dates like 1964, when Fred Hoyle's Black Cloud arrived. I look forward to 2018 because Year 2018! is an alternative title of James Blish's Cities In Flight, Volume I, They Shall Have Stars.

Poul Anderson set the opening installments of his major future history, the History of Technic Civilization, slightly further into the future so that they would not be superseded in the life-times of current readers. I used to visit a shop where a picture of a cock crowing proclaimed, "Today was tomorrow yesterday!" One Star Trek episode recycled 2018 as a significant date in early interstellar travel and an episode about time travel had the evocative title, "Tomorrow Is Yesterday."

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