Recently on the Blog
- How the Space Age Imagined 2014: Asimov's Predictions, Revisited When Isaac Asimov visited the 1964 World's Fair, he was inspired to imagine life fifty years later.
- Did the Renaissance Invent Fashion?
- A Short History of the Executioner
- Piltdown Man: Untangling One of the Most Infamous Hoaxes in Scientific History
- The History of Pain
“Futures of the Past” is an issue about how past generations have reckoned their collective futures. But it’s also about how the razor’s edge of the present comes up against the haziness of futurity, and what happens when that hazy future becomes inscribed, remembered, and—eventually—forgotten. We’re interested here in the work that the future does in shaping history—as a utopian dream, a set of collective anxieties, or simply as a story that we tell about where we come from and where we hope to end up.
Chapter 1: Bad Predictions
Letter from the Editors: Futures of the Past
How have past generations imagined their collective futures—and how do we?
The Invention of Wireless Cryptography
By Grant Wythoff
Wireless technology has always involved a delicate negotiation between state security, secrecy, and citizen oversight.
Divine Reverie: Revelation, Dream Interpretation, and Teeth in Antiquity
By Sarah Bond and Matthew Neujahr
For the ancients, every slumber held out the chance of a divine revelation—or a tooth dream.
The Case for Female Astronauts: Reproducing Americans in the Final Frontier
By Lisa Ruth Rand
Children’s books envisioned what many could not: marriage and childbirth as a space colonist.
Perchance to Dream: Science and the Future
By Anna Marie Roos
Robert Boyle’s remarkable to-do list for future scientists inspires five contemporary researchers to write their own.
Honey, You’re Scaring the Kids
By Rebecca Onion
How 1980s childhoods changed the way America thought about the Bomb.
First Day of Terror
By Christopher Dietrich
A winter day in Vienna when the world’s most powerful oil barons stared down the barrel of a gun.
Monstrous News: the Futures of the Mistris Parliament Plays
By Marissa Nicosia
Coming July 29, 2014
Chapter 2: Futures Past
To be published August 5, 2014
Chapter 3: The Politics of the Future
To be published September 2, 2014