Having Second Thoughts (in Hindsight)

Sometimes it is amazing how so-called experts can be so wrong!

“No reader interest,” was the judgment of the London publisher W.H. Allen on Frederick Forsyth’s first novel, The Day of the Jackal. To date it has sold eight million copies…Frank Herbert’s science fiction epic Dune was rejected by 13 publishers before the Chilton Book Company accepted it. Today sales top 10 million.

As for flying to the moon, “the proposition appears to be basically impossible.” observed Professor A.W. Bickerton in 1926. In 1936 J.P. Lockhart-Mummery clinched the argument: “The acceleration…from rockets…inevitably would damage the brain beyond repair.” When Apollo 11 landed on the moon in July 1969, the Times issued a posthumous apology to Goddard.


From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by MrGhaz.

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As Juice suggested above, predictions that an invention will never be widely used have two strikes against them.
First, it's hard to determine how the invention will change and improve in the future. And then you have to predict how well the people of the future will embrace it. Will it be cool enough (or publicized enough) to catch on? If so, will it become an everyday thing or just a fad or novelty item?
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A few of those quotes are a tad out of context.

For example, in 1958 there was a global demand for about 5 computers, the kind that took up rooms and floors of buildings. The person quoted didn't mean ever. he meant at the time.

In 1896, gasoline engines were terrible. Steam engines were much more reliable. So in 1896, most people would prefer them to a gasoline engine. Hell, Diesel engines weren't invented for a couple of years at that time and when they were, they were much better than contemporary gasoline engines.
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it is a simple fact that whenever a new technology is proposed some otherwise intelligent scientist will say "that's impossible" even though thirty years ago they were the ones proposing the new advancement while their elders barks "impossible" at them.

how these smart people manage to be so dumb is beyond me, nobody learns from history, and dune is the best novel ever.

as far as i know i'm the only person in the world with a dune tattoo (i always mention this when dune comes up)
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Ah Dune... I should read that again.

Of course, publishers reject hundreds of short stories and novels that are truly terrible every day. Some may be great but won't catch on. Terry Brooks' autobiography (kind of) was called "Sometimes the Magic Works" for just this reason. You never know what will work.

The publishing industry might as well be alchemy.
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