I pretty much love anything titled “…Through the Decades.” Looking back on how far we’ve come is not only nostalgic, but it’s almost always good for a laugh.
Like, this portable radio from the 1970s? I bet people back then were all over this. The latest in technology to bring sports, music, and news wherever you wanted.
But compare that to an iPod? Hilarious.
Of course, it’s only because we have the ability to look back that we can laugh. Kind of like when our parents reminisce about the eight track tape. (If that statement made you say, “What??”, go HERE) Oh, silly parents. Get another cocktail and let’s listen to Pandora. On my Smart TV. Now we’re talking.
Anyway, in my quest to build the world’s tallest TBR book pile, I recently bought The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. And I’ve bumped it to the top of the stack. The premise is that two teens in 1996, through an AOL CD-ROM (remember those? The kind you got in the mail), are able to see their Facebook pages 15 years in the future. For me, anyway, it’s nostalgia and time travel all in one book. I’ll be honest–I was 16 in 1996, which is like 95% of this book’s appeal for me. I think I’ll relate to these characters on both levels–the teenage versions and the adult versions. Since they are exactly my age. My brain is sort of exploding right now.
Super cool, right? Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
It’s 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They’ve been best friends almost as long – at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh’s family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they’re automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn’t been invented yet. And they’re looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.
By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they’re forced to confront what they’re doing right – and wrong – in the present
I’m excited to read it and the whole premise has me thinking. What would my past self have seen if she was viewing my life, today, from her perspective 15 years ago? From a technological standpoint alone, the changes are astounding.
- First of all, look at how much TVs have changed. Mine is hanging from the wall right now. And it can do fancy things. Like connect to the internet. Which would be totally impossible in 1996, back when my mom used Prodigy. Which was the bane of my existence because the cool people used AOL.
- And video games? Can you even play Tetris on a handheld game anymore? That was the pinnacle of my Game Boy career–getting to the super fast, crazy-ass levels of Tetris. Now video games show you how to do things like steal cars. And beat up hookers. And those are skills totally worth teaching kids. (Um. Sorry. I went all Mom there for a minute)
- What about stereos? In 1996 I was so happy to have my boom box with detachable speakers. Those speakers made it look like a legitimate sound system. And it had 2 tape decks (for optimal recording tapes from tapes action) and a CD player. So I suppose not only could I record tapes from tapes, I could record tapes from CDs and the radio. It was mix-tape heaven. Or perhaps early piracy. Hmm.
- Computers? My computer back then had fewer gigabytes than your average iPod these days. When I left for college in the fall of 1998, I used my graduation money to buy my first computer. It was so fancy. Six gigs of RAM which my mother swore I’d NEVER be able to fill. It was just so much. Who could possibly use it all?
Let’s not forget about the mind-blowing information of finding out who I’m married to, how many kids I have, and where I live. Shocking, to say the least.
Makes me wonder how shocked my today-self would be to see my future-self 15 years from now? How much will things change between then and now? Will the robots have taken over by then? Will Terminator be real? 2026 is only 3 years shy of when Cyborg Arnold ventured back to 1984.
(By the way, I’m not even going to talk about how depressing it is that 1996 can be considered “Historical Fiction”. I think I just sprouted another gray hair. )