Friday, September 07, 2007

Wanted: A Title

I have a book manuscript, currently webbed, to be published by Cambridge University Press; at the moment I'm waiting to get my final draft back from them with comments. The book deals with possible technological revolutions over the next few decades and their implications. The working title is "Future Imperfect."

The title is intended as a play on the grammatical and the literal sense of the words. The literal point is that, while I am on the whole a technological optimist, I recognize that technological progress could have bad as well as good effects and discuss in the book how that can and might happen.

My editor thinks, probably correctly, that the title does not give an adequate clue to what the book is about, hence that it would be useful to combine it with some more informative subtitle. I am looking for suggestions.

"Technological revolutions that might happen and what to do about them" is one possibility, but I would like to do better.

Comments on the webbed draft could also be useful.


Anonymous said...


Our Upcoming World: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly...

[You could go with "Our Future World:..." but then you'd have "Future" in the title and subtitle...

Christian G. Warden said...

I haven't read your manuscript, but maybe something like "Annoyances in a Better World" would be appropriate.

Anonymous said...

In the same spirit as the original, how about "Know Future"?

I stole it from "Max Headroom", but luckily that's perfectly legal in the world of book titles.)

Paul Ralley said...

Evolutionary Adaptation to Revolutionary Technological Change

I sense that the point is that the change could be exponential, but individuals can get the benefits, whilst limiting the downsides by a series of discreet steps?

Anonymous said...

Future Imperfect: The Technological Horizon and How We Fit In

Or something like that

Anonymous said...

I like the start of the third paragraph that the book is about
"technological change, its consequences and how to deal with them." It's just as succinct as it needs to be and makes me want to read on. It also tells me that the book is likely to be nonfiction, whereas the title alone "Future Imperfect" sounds much like a science fiction novel.

Synova said...

Tech or Consequences. If you're going for a pay on words.

(I'm not quite serious about that but I still think it's funny that there's a city here in New Mexico named Truth or Consequences. The locals call it "T or C")

Synova said...

Actually, on further thought, I am serious.

My vote is for Tech or Consequences.

Maybe with a sub-title such as, What technology means to our future world.

Or something.

Synova said...

With a font and cover graphics, colors, that invoke the Truth or Consequences time-frame, that lovely futuristic art-deco-ish thing that invoked 50's housewives in their automatic kitchens and hubby going to work in a pointy spaceship with big fins.

Anonymous said...

Future Imperfect: Social and Legal Implications of Emerging Technologies


. . . Costs and Benefits of Emerging Technologies

jimbino said...

I question the wisdom of using "Future Imperfect" in the title in the first place, since "imperfect," in reference to a verb tense, means "incomplete" not "less than optimum," which is what I think you intend to convey.

Anonymous said...

Future Imperfect: Features and bugs of the future

A bit simple and repetitive.

Anonymous said...

Well, but in the first place, it's an appropriate verb form: The imperfect aspect is used for verbs that describe something that is an ongoing process, in contrast to something that is already completed (the perfect) or something that is viewed from outside as a single point event (the aorist or simple verb), which seems to fit the conception of the future David is offering.

And in the second place, it's a play on words, in which the ambiguity you note is turned to humorous effect. Not an error, but a joke, in short.

Jonathan said...

You could just call it Technological revolutions. That describes what the book's about, and the word revolution tends to draw attention.

But it's a plain, straightforward title that makes no attempt to be clever.

Crosbie Fitch said...

New Things Under the Sun

Somewhere Over the Horizon

Free Falling to the Future

Revolution 2.0

Alvaro Augusto W. de Almeida said...

Well, I'm not sure about the title, but I wonder if it's safe to put an unpublished book on the web. Don't you worry about publishing rights?

[ ]s

Alvaro Augusto

Kim Mosley said...

How about "Future Imperfect: cost benefit analysis of potential technological revolutions"

David Friedman said...

"Don't you worry about publishing rights?"

No. Why should I?

Webbing something doesn't give other people permission to publish it without your permission. I suppose it could make publishers less interested in publishing it, but so far I can't see any evidence that it does, at least for non-fiction.

My Law's Order was webbed for quite a while before Princeton published it.

Beastin said...

Future Imperfect: On the march of progress

Anonymous said...

The Trouble with Cylons...JK

Your theme sounds a lot like Schumpeterian Creative Destruction but Cowen already used that title. Perhaps a new adaptation?

What about:

1) Technological break throughs and break downs.

2) For better or worse: The technological future is radically uncertain

3) Convenient advancements and inconvenient consequences, truth either way.

Hope these help.

Anonymous said...

Future Imperfect: How Technology May Surprise Us


Future Imperfect: How Will Technology Surprise Us?


Future Imperfect: What Will Be the Price of Progress?


Future Imperfect: Speculations on the Price of Progress

Anonymous said...

By the way, something is wrong with the "word verification" anti-spambot system here.

I type in the letters displayed, and my first attempt is always rejected; I type in the new set, and it always goes through.

At first I thought maybe it was because I made an error the first time, but since then I've been extra careful. And if I'm that poor a typist, how likely is it that I would always make an error on the first attempt and never make an error on the second, especially now that I'm exercising downright paranoid levels of care during my first attempt?

Just FYI.

Anonymous said...

Oops. That time it went through the first time.


Anonymous said...

Never mind what I said earlier about the anti-spam system. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Coping with technological uncertainty

jimbino said...

Future Imperfect: Embracing the risks and rewards of emerging technology.

Future Imperfect: Exploiting the new technology.

Future Imperfect: Embracing the risks of revolutionary technology.

Future Imperfect: Welcoming the risks of the coming technology.

Mike Hammock said...

I like alliteration in a subtitle. Therefore I like jimbino's "Future Imperfect: Embracing the risks and rewards of emerging technology." In fact, I think it's even better slightly modified:

Future Imperfect: The Risks and Rewards of Technology

Or, if you want to emphasize the fact that you're talking specifically about technologies that don't exist yet, but will likely exist soon:

Future Imperfect: The Risks and Rewards of Impending Technologies

Substitute "looming" for "impending" if you want to sound slightly menacing. Or, if you'd like to sound like one of those really terrible business books:

Future Imperfect: The Risks and Rewards of the Coming Technological Revolution

Unknown said...

the future of tomorrow

Anonymous said...

"Future Bug Bares"

Not sure about the correct spelling there for Bare but you get the idea

Anonymous said...

Future Imperfect: Better than the alternative

Anonymous said...

I like your title, and wouldn't chuck it. The subtitle, I think, should be simple. Here's my offering:

Thinking Today About Technology Tomorrow

or, "Thinking Today about Tomorrow's Technology"

Steve Buckstein said...

This may not be your title, but it might be used somewhere on the cover.

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."

Peter Drucker

Anonymous said...

i love the title "future imperfect".

i apologize for not having read more than 3 pages so far, but i'll probably buy the bound paper version. :-)

as a subtitle, what jumped into my mind was:

"how technology can go right or wrong"

Anonymous said...

innovation "in or out" - this is what your looking for.

Antonio B. Juddine
1863 Lincoln Ave Apt A
San Bernardino, CA 92411