So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Flying Cars: The Extraordinary History of Cars Designed for Tomorrow's World

Flying Cars: The Extraordinary History of Cars Designed for Tomorrow's World by Patrick J. Gyger
Originally published in 2005 in France by a Swiss historian as Les voitures volantes, Souvenirs d'un futur rêvé, this 2010 English translation is a survey of the idea and the reality of flying cars over the past one hundred years. Gyger provides images and text related to flying cars in both fiction and the popular press to balance his history of the inventors and their machines. The text proceeds from the earliest attempts to build a transport that will work on both the ground and in the air to the latest thinking on how personal aerial vehicles (PAVs) might fit into modern transportation planning. The one fault of the book is that the latest attempt to build a true flying car, the Transition from Terrafugia, is barely covered since it started in 2006, just after the original book was written Gyer was director of Maison d'Ailleurs, a museum in Switzerland devoted to science fiction illustration, and this book contains an excellent collection of flying car art. The book is more a popular history than a technical one, with pictures on almost every page. The pictures and side panel commentary tells the story of the idea of the flying car in the popular imagination. Heavily illustrated with artistic fantasy from science fiction, futurist non-fiction, and movies, the book illustrates the grip that the flying car has had on the popular imagination. It is not a technical book, and engineering details, if mentioned at all, are passed over lightly.

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