Life isn't the way it was supposed to be. When I was a kid I watched TV shows like The Tomorrow People and Star Trek. I read magazines that told me about how science and technology would save the world.

The Usborne Book Of The Future told me that we would be wearing smart, synthetic materials and that we would live in cities on the Moon. Mankind would be united, and we would explore the Universe together. Computers would be our friends. Household robots would cook and clean for us. Food would be prepared in seconds using microwave ovens, and a vast computer network would link all human knowledge into a single accessible whole.

We would ride in hovercars, safely exceeding a thousand miles per hour, as they would be controlled by computers, flawlessly and without the possibility of human error. Of course, you could always take the maglev. When you got to your beautiful office, in the City of the Future, your desktop computer would read your mail, and tell you what was important. Cyborgs would be just like us, only better.

Well, it's 2002 now. Nearly 2003. Where is my hovercar? I was promised it. We did get some of the other stuff, I admit, but it all seemed to come with a nasty surprise attached. My computer doesn't work properly, my electronic mailbox is full of viagra, penis length, lesbians and soy. The maglev is a dead loss, and if they can't make trains run on time, I sincerely hope they give up on the whole tokamak thing.

When did our beautiful future evaporate? Is it just part of growing up, or is the whole of western culture jaded? Could it be, perhaps, that we have grown cynical as a supernation, that the glamour has worn off? Thirty years of "soon, soon" has broken our spirit. If we are to get hovercars, we need NASA funding, not war. If we are to get cybernetic replacements for our worn-out organs, we need consideration, not kneejerk politics.

I don't care. I just want my hovercar.

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