How does 2015 measure up?
4 years ago
As you will definitely have seen, today is Back To The Future day. We won’t patronise you by explaining what that means, sufficed to say if you don’t know, well, it’s probably too late for you.
We’ve decided to throw ourselves into the Back To The Future-fest by asking ourselves: how does the 2015 that is measure up to the 2015 that was? Team Rebellion ponders small towns, technology and tiny, tiny pizzas...
HEAD OF BOOK AND COMICS PUBLISHING Ben Smith
1985-me is still looking up at the sky waiting for the device, any device, which will fly me to my destination instead of walking, driving or taking the bus. I live in London so alright, yes, there are public bikes I can rent for less than the price of a return bus trip and cycle across town and that doesn’t suck. But I think Amsterdam had something similar in the eighties, so we haven’t travelled that far. Of course the grown-up me would be horrified if the sky was filled with the rage-based drivers that clog the roads, dripping strange and no doubt deadly-in-thirty-years particles from their exhausts. So maybe it’s a matter of small mercies.
Maybe the most far-fetched idea in the whole of Back to the Future is that of a thriving small town in 2015, full of people both young and old. Give me some disaffected teenagers hanging out in the rain by the dilapidated bus-shelter while working age stiffs are at best travelling to the nearest big conurbation to work, while pensioners rifle through the charity shops on the dilapidated main street, and then we’re talking.
Editor-in-chief Jonathan Oliver
Let’s face it. Hoverboards would be a right pain in the arse. I get annoyed enough as it is with cyclists on the pavement and running red lights, so if I had to also contend with some no good punk kids on their flying planks, I think I’d spend most of my time in a barely contained rage. Flying cars would be cool. Until they start dropping from the skies.
I was 7 in 1985, and I must admit I can’t remember a huge amount about back then. But I was 11 in 1989, when the film came out (and yes, I saw it at the cinema too), and if I could go back in time and dazzle myself with a story of this future, I guess one of the first things would be how damn good video games are now. I used to have a ZX Spectrum 128K (oh yes, that’s one-two-eight, count them my friends) and games were cool and all, but I quickly got bored of them. I actually stopped playing video games and read more books instead (I know, bloody swot!). But now games are incredible – they’re narratively more complex, graphically dazzling and give the player a lot more.
Also, I’d enjoy telling my 11 year old self that I would one day work at 2000 AD, meet some of my very favourite writers and work for a living reading and shaping stories.
But yes, I’d be disappointed we hadn’t got out of the solar system, and that we still had a bloody Tory government.
Abaddon commissioning editor David Thomas Moore
The lazy answer is the technology. No hover boards, flying cars, self-tightening sneakers or holobillboards, but if you’d found 1985-era David and told him he would one day carry a device about the size of a deck of cards in his pocket that was around 10,000 times more powerful than his Commodore 64, which could run for nearly 2 days without recharge, could make phone or video calls – most of which would be free, covered by his contract – anywhere in the world, could play several video games, and would be permanently connected to a global network that could do everything from show all TV and films, to shopping, to accessing what can fairly be described as the whole collected knowledge of the human race, and would cost no more (for both the device and the connection) than a halfway decent meal in a chain restaurant every month, he’d have told you to fuck off.
Actually, he might not have told you to fuck off, because he was ten. I’m not sure; in my fevered imaginings, he’s also sporting three days’ stubble and smoking a cigarette, and I don’t think either of those things were true either. Certainly he’d have been extremely sceptical.
But the subtler, stranger shock to me is the change in how people think about the end of the world. Books like The Hunger Games are still very popular, and of course we’ve all had those conversations – at tedious length, in some cases – about what we would do in the event of a zombie apocalypse, but it only occurred to me a couple months ago how similar these conversations are to the conversations me and my mate used to have in the ’80s, when we were talking about, y’know, the original-recipe apocalypse. It’s weird to realise how most people younger than me have never really had that fear (although way things are going, who knows?).
Rob Power, PR & Marketing coordinator
Of course Back To The Future got loads wrong about 2015, but it wasn’t too far off the mark. We’re about to have Star Wars VII, which isn’t quite Jaws 19 but... well, it's quite a bit better really isn't it? We don’t have hoverboards but we do have these bad boys, which I recently saw a squad rolling down Oxford Street on as if it wasn’t the most absurd thing that had ever happened anywhere.
Our 2015 isn’t that bad, as long as you scrub your brain of all the Tories and inequality and panic-attack inducing future shocks. Like petulent digital dictators, we can talk to tiny glowing rectangles and they will do our bidding. A man in Peru can order a hand-crocheted My Little Pony hat from a girl in Swindon, and have it in his hands within a week. Oh, and we’ve probably just discovered the remains of an actual Death Star.
So really, I’m about as happy with 2015 as I have been with any other year*. Ultimately, the biggest disappointment for me when I think of Marty McFly’s future is that we still haven’t figured out how to put a tiny pizza in a metal box, press a button and turn it into a massive pizza. So let’s get on that, yeah?
*Which is about 17% happy, FYI.