Thursday, July 28, 2011

The future of 2001

The year came and went without much deep space travel, computers going mad or giant monoliths. We did get the Segway – something science fiction writers didn’t quite expect. (Too much focus on jet packs.) The two-wheeled gyro scooter is actually much closer to vehicles Dr. Seuss envisioned.

I finally got to ride one. Indoors. I didn’t kill myself because the thing is too damn easy to use. You can’t show off skill, like on a skateboard. They don’t have the history and sport of the bicycle. For six large, you can pick up a used Miata and share the fun.

Segways will never be as cool as they are fun. The dorky position, the handle – does a surfboard have a handle? – and the battery life will keep it as far from the hip crowd as a hip replacement. The technology is amazing and Segways have all kinds of interesting, practical uses.

But they’re still great examples of a future that just doesn’t fit. Rolling alongside manned space flights to the edge of the solar system, and huge slabs of humming stone.

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