Sometime around 1999, possibly suffering from a case of pre-millennium tension, I got fascinated by futurism. I ended up collecting lots of examples of predictions that were supposed to have flowered by 2000, from cyborgs to vitamin-fortified alcohol to gunfights between astronauts in outer space. You can read the resulting article here; it starts with an overview of the field of futurism and then rates the success of nine different futurists (or prophets, if you prefer).
(My prediction at the end of the piece on the 21st-century success of the electric car has largely come true in the intervening nine years–not so much a tribute to my prescience as an underscoring of the obviousness of the prediction.)
The article has one of the more unusual publication histories of anything I’ve written: it’s never seen print before, but I was paid twice over for it. I originally pitched it to Playboy (for reasons that will become obvious if you read it); they liked it and paid me in full, but then kept pushing its publication date back: every month, it seemed, there was an article with a more topical peg that took its place. After a year, my editor conceded that for whatever reason, the magazine wasn’t going to run it; the rights reverted to me and I sold it again, this time to Wired. Again, I was paid in full; another year similarly passed without its seeing the light of day, and the rights returned to me again. By this time, we were well into 2001 and the millennial moment seemed to have passed, so I didn’t try for the hat trick. Enjoy.