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50 Years of Lackluster Hovercars

HovercarpopOver at Wired News, my old haunt, fellow retrofuturist Gareth Brawyn (whose passions and interests run an eerie parallel to my own) has posted up a gorgeous photo essay about the history and present of the other technology that science has long promised but failed to deliver, at least to the technological extent promised: the hovercraft.

The introductory quote from Gareth’s piece:

An artist friend of mine once said: “When I think about the future, all I wanna know is: When do we get to wear the tinfoil?” That statement perfectly encodes those kitschy, iconic images we have of the future, a world in which we dress like space people from bad ’50s sci-fi, and travel through elevated cities on jetpacks or in flying or hovering cars. We’re still waiting for the jetpacks and skycars, but, to paraphrase sci-fi author William Gibson, “the hovercraft is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet.” And it likely never will be.

For a retrofuturist on the lower end of the doughy side like me, I’m not particularly eager to slather myself in a thin-cling film of tin foil. But the point is well taken. The hovercar has been given to us, but it hovers a wimpy 3 feet off the ground. And when I say I want a hovercraft, what I really mean is “I want a flying car.” Though given most driver’s muddle-headed ability to deal with traffic in a mere two spacial dimensions, I’m not quite sure how they’d cope with a third.

Fifty Years of Hovercrafts [Wired]

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