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Quotes / I Want My Jet Pack

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The future ain't what it used to be.
— Unknown

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Doctor Thirteen: I'm waiting on that jet-pack they promised us in the sixties.
Architect: As'm I... still.
Doctor Thirteen: Well, you're not going to get it. But you still cling to the promise. We all do.

Hsu: 2001 is OVER. All your hopes and dreams for 2001—dashed!
Chan: No flying cars! No hyper-intelligent robots! No pixie-like girls in shiny silver miniskirts!
Hsu: "Darn," on that last one, by the way.

Hobbes: A new decade is coming up.
Calvin: Yeah, big deal! Hmph. Where are the flying cars? Where are the moon colonies? Where are the personal robots and the zero gravity boots, huh? You call this a new decade?! You call this the future?? HA! Where are the rocket packs? Where are the disintegration rays? Where are the floating cities?
Hobbes: Frankly, I'm not sure people have the brains to manage the technology they've got.
Calvin: I mean, look at this! We still have weather?! Give me a break!


    Fan Works 

"Antigravity? It is 2015 already. Where's my hoverboard, punk? Where is it?!"

"You know what's so disappointing about the future?" growled the torrid half-Klingon. "NO FLYING CARS!" She swung back her arm and hurled the speedster as hard and far as she could.
Attack of the 50-Ft Half-Klingon

You will BE AMAZED by the INCREDIBLE FUTURE OF 2009 with its jetpacks, flying cars, domed cities, alien monsters and vast electronic superbrains! Where rocketships TRAVEL TO THE STARS and alluring robot girls cater to YOUR EVERY DESIRE! You will GASP AT INCONCEIVABLE MARVELS like mobile telephones, interstate highways, automatic sliding doors, artificial satellites, and weapons of mass destruction!
— Blurb for Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space

    Film — Live-Action 

Wait a minute, this is the future... where are all the phaser guns?
Simon Phoenix, Demolition Man

We used to look up at the sky and wonder about our place in the stars, now we just look down and wonder about our place in the dirt.
Joseph Cooper, Interstellar

    Live-Action TV 

Leo McGarry: Thirty-five years later, cars, air travel is exactly the same. We don't even have the Concorde anymore. Technology stopped.
Josh Lyman: The personal computer...?
Leo McGarry: A more efficient delivery system for gossip and pornography? Where's my jet pack, my colonies on the Moon?

Are my shoes electric? No. Does my pillow comb my hair at night, while I am sleeping? No, sadly, it does not. So where, I ask you, is the hoverboard technology we all saw in Back to the Future 2 over twenty years ago!
Shawn Spencer, Psych

We've all got gadgets coming out of our ears; ipods, satnavs, an electrical item for every job. To many, it must seem like we're living in the future. But to others, the cry has always been: "Well if this is the future, then where's my jetpack?" Well today, those people will definitely have a smile on their face."

Dear BBC. Well it's now 30 years down the line, and I'm no closer to owning a robotic housemaid. Tomorrow's World? Tomorrow's Horseshit, more like!
Ed Byrne: , Mock the Week, "Unlikely letters to be read out on Points of View"

The new millennium... Sucks! No flying cars. No flying cars!


Ah, you may leave here for four days in space
But when you return it's the same old place
Barry McGuire, "Eve of Destruction"

I thought by now we'd live in space
and eat a pill instead of dinner
and wear a gas mask on our face,
a President of female gender.
Though progress marches on,
our troubles will grow strong
and my expectancies, become my fantasies.
You turn my blood to sand, the earth stands still again.
Daniel Amos, "(It's the Eighties, So Where's Our) Rocket Packs"

Where's my hovercraft?
Where's my jetpack?
Where's the font of acquired wisdom that eludes me now?
They Might Be Giants, "The World Before Later On"


When I first saw the film I was impressed by the giant billboards with moving, speaking faces on them, touting Coca-Cola and other products. Now I walk over to Millennium Park and see giant faces looming above me, smiling, winking, and periodically spitting (but not Coke).
Roger Ebert on Blade Runner

Staring out of my window in Manhattan's East Village the other day, it struck me suddenly that the street scene below did not differ in any significant way from how it would have looked in 1967. Maybe even 1947. Oh, the design of automobiles has changed a bit, but combustion-engine-propelled ground-level vehicles are still how we get around, as opposed to flying cars or teleportation. Pedestrians trudge along sidewalks rather than swooshing along high-speed moving travelators. And even in hipster-friendly New York, most people's clothes and hair don't look especially outlandish. From the trusty traffic meters and sturdy blue mailboxes to the iconic yellow taxis and occasional cop on horseback, 21st century New York looks distressingly nonfuturistic. For a former science science fiction fanatic like me, this is brutally disappointing.
Simon Reynolds, "Back to the future"


    Video Games 

Old Johnny: Can someone, anyone, explain to me what the hell is going on?
Younger Johnny: Right? I've been in the future for a whole hour and I haven't seen one jetpack. Not one.

    Web Comics 

Boy: It's 2011. I want my flying car.
Girl: Dude. You're complaining to me on a phone, on which you buy and read books. And which you were using to play a 3D shooter until I interrupted you with what would be a video call if I was wearing a shirt.
Boy: Can't I have a flying car, too?
Girl: You'd crash it while texting and playing Angry Birds.

It can contact nearly anyone in the world, locate me on aerial maps, and plot directions to any location in the country. It is unquestionably the future, and you would have crashed your stupid flying car anyway.

Mark: This isn't the future! THIS IS THE LOUSY STINKIN' NOW!
John: We still have hope for 2030 or even 2020. I mean, people are working on humanoid robots as we speak!
A filler comic from StongRadd's webcomic-to-be

    Web Original 

Where are my robowhores? Bring me my robowhores!
The Perfesser, "Reynolds' Universal Robots"

"We just don't care," said a woman I stopped, who agreed to speak on behalf of the global population. "It's completely irrelevant to my life." Wall Street also gave no reaction whatsoever to the news, staring at me blankly for a few seconds before asking to borrow my lighter and returning to the trading pits.

It's a kind of Globalist fairy tale, a myth for the heady days of the early postwar era, when rational discourse in the Hall of Nations would solve all problems. Only religious bumpkins, with their kneejerk paranoid delusions, stood in the path of our new utopia. (Could Clarke had conceived of a day when his country would orchestrate the installation of the world's most aggressive theocracy as chair of the UNs Human Rights Council?)

We are a country that has the ability to build skytrains and have digital porn billboards, and yet, thanks to a divided Supreme Court and political stonewallers on both the left and the right, we're still gonna be arguing about the same, tired bullshit we always have fifty years from now instead of actually living in the future. What a load.
Drew Magary, Make It Stop

Our pre-modern ancestors used waterwheels and handaxes from youth to old age. We play with cheap disposable technology as children that would’ve seemed like magic to them. And then, when we get old, we look back on that antiquated magic and laugh at it, while taking fresh miracles as everyday facts of life. And the byproducts of all this pile up as wreckage and waste and rubbish. Hence SF’s obsession with entropy and obsolescence and ruins. Hence time travel.
Jack Graham, "Bring Back the Stocks!"

I feel sorry for those who think innovation will ever lead humanity to some new era of intelligence and social awareness. Hacktivists and crowdsourcing and cryptocurrencies and WikiLeaks are all proof...we’re not giving the elite much incentive to let us keep these freedoms, although mobile devices and the Internet are proving to be a wonderful at pacifying people too.

O'Malley: How did you know these were rocket pants?
Whiskey: O'Malley, if you woke up in the future and you weren't wearing rocket pants, what's the first thing you'd do?
O'Malley: Kick everything's ass.
Whiskey: That's right. And since you weren't ducking when I woke up, I knew my pants could fly.

For a hundred years now we had assumed we were building to something — that there was some sort of stable endpoint that all the churn and upheaval pointed towards. Whether that endpoint was utopia or armageddon was up in the air, but the broad idea that history was going somewhere wasn’t. Instead, however, the wheels simply fell off, and the tow truck never came. We sat, abandoned on history’s roadside, left thinking, “is this all there was?” And, seeing no sign of civilization, we tweeted about it.

"You know what's so disappointing about the future?" growled the torrid half-Klingon. "NO FLYING CARS!" She swung back her arm and hurled the speedster as hard and far as she could.
Attack of the 50-Ft Half-Klingon

"Unless you're over 60, you weren't promised flying cars. You were promised an oppressive cyberpunk dystopia. Here you go."
Kyle Marquis

Assuming that we dodged the 1984, Brave New World bullet, our future was supposed to be a sort of technocratic, atomic-powered, computer-controlled, antiseptic, space-travelling Jerusalem that would at last free us from the curse of Eden and original sin...We expected a sort of bloodless, benign French Revolution with Hugo Gernsback as our Voltaire and Carl Sagan as our Robespierre. And what did we get? The City of Man with Tivo.

I'm going to write a story set after the Singularity, a million years hence, when we are all intergalactically-empowered immortal sentiences in the Beyond, and people will STILL BE COMPLAINING ABOUT NOT HAVING SODDING JETPACKS.

    Web Video 

Wait a minute, those existed in the 50s?! What a rip-off! I want one! I demand one right now!
The Spoony Experiment, during his riffing on Captain Z-Ro

In five years, we're gonna have flying cars and hoverboards and self-lacing shoes... it better happen. Otherwise they should have made it the year 3000. Even if they made it 2100, we'd all be dead! It wouldn't make a difference anyway! Better to be a mystery than to be wrong!

    Western Animation 

Birdboy: Ooh, sansabelt, you don't see that much anymore, you guys from florida?
George Jetson: No, we're from the future.
Elroy: Yeah, the 21st century!
George Jetson: The magnificent far-off year of 2002!
Harvey Birdman: (looks at his desk calendar, dated 2004) Really.

You can't say everyone's got a water buffalo when everyone does not have a water buffalo! We're going to get nasty letters saying 'Where's my water buffalo?' 'Why don't I have a water buffalo?' and are you prepared to deal with that?! I don't think so! Just stop. Being. So. SILLY!
Archibald Asparagus, VeggieTales

How can we breathe with no air? Where's Grandpa Max? If this is the future, does everybody have jetpacks? Who won the last five world series? No seriously, where are the jetpacks?
10 year old Ben, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien

Scientist: We the scientists of the world are sick of hearing about jet packs! "Oh, Mr. scientist, where's my jetpack? We've been waiting since the 1950s!" Nyeh, nyeh, nyeh! Well, we tried, okay!?
Scientist: Satisfied? Now please leave us alone, so we can get back to making your iPods smaller!

    Real Life 

Scientific truth was going to make us so happy and comfortable. What actually happened when I was twenty-one was that we dropped scientific truth on Hiroshima.

The irony is that last century’s modernism cannot turn into a thing of the past without losing its identity, because it wanted so desperately to embody the future. Like the glass and steel cubes of modernist buildings, it cannot afford to become old, to become the past, because that is totally undermining its raison d’être. When the future becomes the past, the one cancels out the other and the result is emptiness.
John Borstlap, The Classical Revolution: Thoughts on New Music in the 21st Century

Today it is marvelous indeed to watch on television the rings of Saturn close and to speculate on what we may yet find at galaxy's edge. But in the process, we have lost the human element; not to mention the high hope of those quaint days when flight would create 'one world.' Instead of one world, we have 'star wars,' and a future in which dumb, dented human toys will drift aimlessly about the cosmos after our small planet's dead.
Gore Vidal, "On Flying"

An actual life-sized robot, clearly influenced by Johnny Five from 1986' s Short Circuit, or Paulie's sensual butler in Rocky IV, Kevin has such an advanced level of Artificial Intelligence that, for military applications alone, he'd be worth billions. Here we are, 25 years later, and AI still hasn't progressed past video game characters who spend their days running into walls.
Stuart Millard on Saved by the Bell ("The Beauty and the Screech"), So Excited, So Scared


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