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Yesterday’s Tomorrow

by Kevin Kelly on February 5th, 02008

While contemporary visions of the future aren’t new, past visions of the future are. Indeed “yesterday’s tomorrows” is a new genre with a growing body of material, including several books, such as “Yesterday’s Tomorrows: Past Visions of the American Future”.

The heydays of science fiction are 50 years old. That’s a lot of future in the last century. Now that everyone is a futurist, we are creating mounds of future past visions of the future, if you can follow me. The future dates quickly. There’s nothing that says “yesterday” quite like an old portrait of the future.

Someday social scientists will key into the remarkable record of aspirations, assumptions, biases, and gestalt that visions of the future represent for each generation. They’ll no doubt  pour over ancient copies of  The “Usborne Book of the Future”, a great treasure-trove of yesterday’s tomorrows. First published in 1979, it illustrates the forecasted world of the year 2000 “and beyond.”


Tom Morton very generously scanned in the entire book and posted it on the blog Pointless Museum.