Welcome to 2010. Still no jet-pack. Time to get over it.


There’s a thing that happens more and more as I slowly claw my way up the demographic curve.  

 It tends to show up when I am in the company of other SF writers or fans of about my age or older, and we’re just hanging out,  shooting the breeze…

 If we go on long enough — then, at some point in the evening, someone  will bring up the “promises” that were made to us about what the future would be like.  

 You know.  Flying cars, jetpacks, humanoid household robots.     That stuff.

 And as soon as one person starts on it, the rest chime in.   Yeah, cities under the ocean!   A rocket in every garage!  Outfits with really big shoulders and capes!   What happened to  all that, why didn’t we get it?  And it goes on and on and on…

 Now, I’ve taken part in this ritual of nostalgia plenty of times, and it’s good, it’s fun.   We’re sharing bits of our emotional history, and we’re all on the same page.  It’s a bonding thing, really.

 But after a while — I don’t know, I just got bored with it.  It’s like some sort of code, or a button that gets pushed,  and we all start saying the same thing, in more or less the same words.   In fact, kinda creepy.

 Here are some things I don’t like about that subject:

 1.  The conversation is always the same.  We were told we’d get something; we didn’t get it; wah.  That’s the substance.  Doesn’t vary much. 

2.  The conversation doesn’t progress.  There’s no therefore.  We didn’t get what we were promised, therefore: Science fiction isn’t and never was actually predictive, how interesting; or Hey, let’s all go write stories in that imagined universe explaining why it didn’t happen here; or Let’s start up a business that builds jet-packs; or Let’s work on a TV show, a comics script, a psychological analysis of the emotional effects of media-delivered speculative promises — whatever.  Anything! 

3.  I am alive now.  Today.  2010.   This is the universe I’m operating in, and this is my zero point for my own science fiction speculation going forward.   Dwelling on what I didn’t get from promises made 20, 30, 40 years ago makes me feel like I’m cast in amber.   I’m not dead, and I’m not done!

Plus, of course, many things that we have now were unimagined in the 50’s/60’s version of now.   You know. Internet.  MP3 players.  Phones with as much computing power as Univac.

Anyway, what I’m hoping is that this is the year people stop looking at me as if I had a duck on my head whenever that conversation starts, and my two cents consist of: So, you didn’t get a jetpack?  Who cares?  What are you doing now?

2010 is going to be so cool. 

Oh, and I bought a new computer.   It’s only got 4 gig of memory and a 500 gig hard drive, alas —

Hey, wait.  How does that compare to what they used to put guys on the moon?


So cool.

Via NASA, from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Via NASA, from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

7 Responses to “Welcome to 2010. Still no jet-pack. Time to get over it.”

  • Sabine Says:

    Cool picture; at first I thought it was one of your Bryce compositions.

    Well, there are jet packs, but they’re not ready for everyday use, and might never be.

    I agree that complaining about the future that didn’t happen is not beneficial if taken to excess. No complaining is. The problem with some of us getting up the demographic (like me!)is that we tend to complain too much about everything.

    My new year’s resolution is to try not to bitch and moan too much.

    Maybe we need to code our complaints. NJP, I say. TANJ*, you reply. Damn straight! Complaining done, and out of the way in record time.

    Well, I’d rather have the internet than a jet pack, anyway. Cheaper to use, can go further.

    *There Ain’t No Justice. I just listened to Ringworld by Larry Niven. Audio books, what a great invention. Who knew?

  • Brian Says:

    You got a new computer? Cool! 4 GB RAM and 500 GB HD. That’s great. But what make is it? What model? did you get discrete video? How big is the screen? And have you (or Sabine) given it a name?

    Don’t tease us Rosy. We need specs!

    Cheers, Brian

  • Rosemary Says:

    It’s a Dell, Studio 15, so the screen is a mere 15.6 inches. I figure that I’ll later get a separate high-end monitor for my computer imagery. I do have discrete graphics(512MB ATI Mobility Radeon), plus I selected a faster chip (2.53GHz/1066Mhz) and the 9-cell battery. Those three items bumped the price significantly, dammit.

    Plus, webcam! Came with, I didn’t even have to ask.

    It won’t arrive for another 2 weeks! Because of all the customization. Poo.

    I don’t generally name my computers… that would give it a personality. I do NOT want to have to channel my creative output through some other personality! It’s just me and the story; everything else should be invisible.

  • Linnea Rowlatt Says:

    This ain’t truuuuly a comment about your blog on January 3 – although, yes, I agree, stop whinging and start living in this world that has had such surprizing developments! – it’s more a thankyouthankyouthankyou for having created a webpage. (Is there a way of sending an e-mail? It isn’t obvious, sorry.)

    As I work my way through graduate school, sometimes I hang around on-line and try to find out what is happening with Rowan (one of my favourite fictional heroes), and her absence has been very frustrating and worrisome.

    However, here you are, arguably one of Rowan’s best friends, and at last there is a link to her that I can visit now and then.

    So, thank you!

    And may your new computer work better than you could have imagined.

    Happy 2010!

  • Rosemary Says:


    Hey, you’re my first commenter who isn’t either a family member or someone I’ve known for more than 20 years!

    This being, of course, because the blog is still technically under construction and I haven’t yet officially announced its existence. (At least I HOPE that’s the reason!)

    But apparently I am now findable on the Internet. Excellent.

    You’re right; I haven’t put any contact info in place on the website, and I’ll remedy that when I have a moment. (Probably the weekend.)

    Until then, my official authorial public email address is: rosemary.kirstein@gmail.com.

    So thanks for finding me, and commenting, and letting me know that there’s interest out there in the further adventures of my own favorite steerswoman. (And before you ask: Yes, work is progressing on the next books in the series).

    Must rush off to the day-job now — more later.

  • Glynn Says:

    Hi from the uk

    just read your reply to Linnea and glad to see we will see more advetures of Rowan and co in the near furture

  • Linnea Rowlatt Says:


    No worries, I’m just glad that
    a) you’re still alive
    b) you’re still writing
    c) you have a presence on the ‘net.

    Good luck with it all