Welcome to 2013, faithful readers. To start off the New Year, I thought it might be fun to reprint an old magazine article I discovered from 1962, predicting what the world will be like by the year 2013. Originally published in the reputable Hepcat Magazine, the article was written by journalist Harvey Underhill, who would later have a long and celebrated career as a writer of fiction and nonfiction, best known for his novel All This and the Civil War and his play, the bedroom farce This is No Place for a Mortician!
Why did Underhill choose to write this article about the year 2013? I’m not sure. In fact, it seems strangely convenient for the purposes of my article. But regardless, that’s what the article was, so here it is, reprinted here for the first time since 1962.
The World of 2013: Flying Cars, Root Beer Floats & Martian Laundromats
by Harvey Underhill
With the 20th century more than halfway over, chugging ahead like a 19th century locomotive, an 18th century man riding a horse, or a 17th century horse riding a man, it is only natural to look forward to the ever approaching 21st century and wonder what life will be like for the future men, women, children, automatons, Martians and talking animals that will be populating the Earth by then. What follows is, admittedly, an extrapolation of what the future might hold. No man can say with certainty what will happen tomorrow, especially since there is currently an 80% chance that by the end of the week, the Russians will nuke us all into puddles with teeth and spectacles.
But, in researching this article, I have met with a number of highly respected historians, scientists, and other noted cultural observers, all of whom have helped me shape this view into the world of tomorrow. Also, there is a crumpled looking old man who sleeps outside of my building and claims he is a wizard from the future, and I’ve incorporated some of his observations here.
By the year 2013, the world will have changed a great deal, evolving even more rapidly than the cosmic shifts of the 1950s. Traditional automobiles will be replaced by the futuristic “hover cars,” followed soon after by the “flying cars,” and ending finally with traditional automobiles again, since the skies will become too congested with people in flying cars.
The average lunch in America (one cheeseburger and one root beer float) will remain unchanged into the 1980s, until the scientific revolution in which all food will be processed in digestible pill form and pills will be available in easily digestible cheeseburger and root beer float form.
In popular culture, rock and roll (the popular music that is now in its final throes), will slowly fade away from existence, being replaced ultimately by an exciting new musical sensation brought to Earth by Martian explorers. Although the music will be one thousand times more pleasurable, exciting and viscerally enjoyable than rock and roll, it will come with thirty-one years of brutal Martian oppression and colonization, ending when Sheena, the Martian Queen, finds herself inexplicable entangled in an erotic attraction to a dashing young Earth journalist, writing for a reputable magazine with hopes of finishing his long gestating Civil War novel. As their torrid affair continues, they decide to bring balance between the two warring species.
The “Western,” a now popular genre of film and television, will fall out of favor, only to be replaced by the growing “Beach Movie” genre, becoming the definitive American genre.
The 21st century will truly be a time of great optimism and celebration, and will be considered a golden age for journalism, particularly in the case of one mild mannered (but sharply handsome) journalist who, after brokering an erotic peace deal with the Martian Queen, will have a highly decorated career as a novelist and will never have to write stupid fluff pieces like this ever again.