The hopeful monsters: blimp freighters

Paul Raven @ 02-07-2010

Another trope from the future of Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl is knocking on the door of tomorrow, as the UK government’s former chief science advisor suggests that blimps could take up the role of air freighters. Boeing and Lockheed Martin are apparently already on the case of modernising this old technology. But why stop at freight? Bring back the passenger blimps, I say! The steamtrains of the skies!

Interestingly, this suggests that progress along the Gartner Hype Cycle may run at extremely different speeds for different technologies, and possibly even be cyclic. Perhaps zeppelins have been languishing in the trough of disillusionment for decades (the Hindenburg probably didn’t help, I’m guessing), and is now getting a nudge up onto the slope of enlightenment courtesy of the (arguably shark-jumping) verdigris glamour of steampunk…

More interesting thoughts about the Hype Cycle (and “hopeful monsters”) at the BERG blog [via Bruce Sterling].