The Future Is Not What It Used

As a child of the 1950s, Richard Foster thought that by now he would be wearing a silver jumpsuit and spending endless hours of leisure zooming around on a personal jet-propelled backpack - all in a world where poverty, sickness and religion had been banished by technology.

So what went wrong?

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Episodes

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The repeats were called The Future's Not What It Used To Be

01Broken Dreams2008080420090824

As a child of the 1950s, Richard Foster thought that by now he would be wearing a silver jumpsuit and spending endless hours of leisure zooming around on a personal jet-propelled backpack - all in a world where poverty, sickness and religion had been banished by technology.

So what went wrong?Richard Foster investigates two contrasting utopian worlds in novels from the 1880s: caring capitalism in Looking Backward by American author Edward Bellamy and communitarian socialism in William Morris's News from Nowhere.

Contrasting future worlds in novels from the 1880s - by Edward Bellamy and William Morris.

Richard investigates two contrasting utopian worlds in novels from the 1880s: caring capitalism in Looking Backward by American author Edward Bellamy and communitarian socialism in William Morris's News from Nowhere.

02Trust Me, I'm A Scientist *2008080620090826

Richard Foster looks at how, in the 1930s, when capitalism and communism appeared unable to deliver utopia, HG Wells in The Shape of Things to Come and Aldous Huxley in Brave New World asked the next big question: can science mend our broken dreams, or will they just become nightmares?

Looking at HG Wells and Aldous Huxley's questioning whether can science mend broken dreams

Richard looks at how, in the 1930s, when capitalism and communism appeared unable to deliver utopia, HG Wells in The Shape of Things to Come and Aldous Huxley in Brave New World asked the next big question: can science mend our broken dreams, or will they just become nightmares?

03 LASTBe Afraid, Be Very Afraid2008080720090827

Richard Foster investigates the threat of nuclear and environmental holocaust, explored in novels such as Neville Shute's On the Beach and John Christopher's The Death of Grass.

Is the appetite for apocalypse - religious or scientific - now fed by ecological concern and terrorism? Must we always live in fear, or is it a potent political tool?

The threat of nuclear/environmental holocaust, explored by writers such as Neville Shute.

Richard investigates the threat of nuclear and environmental holocaust, explored in novels such as Neville Shute's On the Beach and John Christopher's The Death of Grass.