the 1960s the hovercraft came floating along on a cushion of air and
we were apparently on the verge of having wheel-less hovercars at
last. Soon, it seemed, we'd be leaving our tired old Fords and
Vauxhalls for spanking new models that would glide along without bump
Arthur C. Clarke imagined that the coming of the
hovercar would be a revolution in transportation unheard of since Ogg
figured out how to make that rolly thing. The hovercar
wouldn't need metalled roads, just a more or less level surface to
skim over. Motorways would be left to crack and moss over,
saving billions in road maintenance without hindering traffic in the
least. In many parts of the world, roads would become totally
obsolete and moving passengers and goods over plains and deserts would
simply be a matter of pointing your machines in the right direction.
In fact, the greatest problems that the authorities
would face would be the fact a hovercar could go anywhere.
Clarke foresaw a time when landowners would ring their property with
barbed wire and strategically placed boulders to keep out trespassing
picnickers and when even the most remote cay or atoll of the Great
Barrier reef became just another spot for a holiday home.