Monday, May 5, 2008

What the future didn't bring

Paleo-Future readers in the Twin Cities may have noticed a certain blogger on the front page of today's St. Paul Pioneer Press. No, it wasn't my idea to pose, fake-blogging on my bed. We have a small apartment. The living room is filled with books and there's no place to sit. The photographer didn't have many options.

A couple friends of mine made a bet about how early in the piece Disney or EPCOT would be mentioned. Nic won. He guessed the sixth paragraph.

It was the fifth.
Matt Novak has seen a vision of the future. A lot of visions.

That's because in the past year or so, the 24-year-old St. Paul resident has turned himself into a sort of accidental expert on the paleo-future: depictions of the future from the past.

He collects and comments on yesterday's predictions of tomorrow on his blog,, which has become a sort of online museum of a promised world of jet packs, meals in a pill and sex with robots.

Novak said the project, "a look into the future that never was," started in January 2007 when he was taking a writing class at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. One of the assignments was to create a blog.

He'd always been interested in the fantastic, strange or goofy predictions of the future, dating back to a childhood visit to Disney World: "In the 1980s, EPCOT was a thing that already looked dated." There also was his second-grade diorama in 1992 of what the world would look like eight years in the future: "Cars on magnetic tracks, all sort of crazy things like that; 2000 was such a magic number, the world would be so different."

See also:
New Hampshire Public Radio (Jan, 2008)
Paleo-Future in the Wall Street Journal
Article for MungBeing
Sincerity and the Paleo-Future
Postmodern Paleo-Future


Kevin Kidney said...

Wow, neat-o! What a great article! Your blog is easily one of my top 10 favorites, and I even linked it on my site.

(and, good lord, you're only 24?? A child prodigy, to boot.)

Salo said...

I've read your blog since about the beginning, and I was sure you were in the mid-30s.

Thanks for the great blog!

Anonymous said...

Whoa! Did you take this photo in my house? I have that same duvet, laptop and nightstand. Eerie...

Anyway, I love this blog and keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Amazing what passes as a paragraph these days: one sentence!

; )

Congrats on the recognition.

Anonymous said...

I. Am. Jealous.

Keep up the stellar work.