… as it was 20 years ago.
While wandering around a local car boot sale this book caught my eye. I quite like the old science and computing books from the 80s and 90s. There’s a certain style to them that doesn’t exist any more. They’re books I used to read from the library or have bought for me at Christmas. Books aimed at children, but books that assume the children reading them aren’t stupid and can cope with complicated words.
I also like the hand drawn images. No computer rendered images in these books. The World of Science is the usual affair telling us all about atoms, space, magnets and gravity. None of it goes into any particular depth, but it’s enough to make an enquiring mind think “that magnetism stuff… what’s it do, where can I get a magnet from? Dad, buy me that science book on magnets please it can be an early birthday present”. Don’t forget, in 1990 there was no Wikipedia so information wasn’t instantly available, it had to be paid for in books. Yes teenagers… books… you didn’t just fire up Google and type “what is magnetism” into the PC; a time when libraries actually contained more books than computers.
The best part of this book is the Tomorrow’s World section at the back where the book’s authors attempt to predict the future. Yes, there’s the assumption we’ll all be in space in little 2001 style pods, flying cars and the like. And like all books of the era, it totally and utterly fails to predict the popularity of computers or mobile phones. I wonder what blindingly obvious things we’re missing right now…
Here’s a two page scan of that section to read. Click it for a bigger image.