Future Shock Critical Essays

Alvin Toffler


(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

As people move further into the future world that Toffler envisioned in 1970, some aspects of Future Shock will inevitably seem outdated to modern readers. Certainly, a few of his specific predictions—widespread use of paper dresses, completely modular buildings, and the disappearance of street gangs—have not been, and apparently will not be, fulfilled. Nevertheless, Toffler’s overall analysis of modern society in the first four parts of Future Shock remains relevant and valuable. Many readers will readily relate to the notion that transience, novelty, and diversity increasingly characterize their lives, and they will find that a number of contemporary concerns—the obsolete model of lifelong employment in one company, new and less hierarchal forms of business organizations, the splintering of society into small interest groups, a diminished feeling of commitment to a larger “community,” the deterioration of the traditional family structure, and the overwhelming number of available choices in entertainment and consumer products—are anticipated and described in Future Shock. Toffler manages to hold his readers’ attention with a brisk, variegated approach; most chapter sections are only about a thousand words long, and each topic is developed clearly but not excessively. Younger readers who would like to find a unified explanation for any number of seemingly unrelated modern phenomena may find that Future Shock offers an intriguing and stimulating solution, and they will find it educational and enjoyable to connect Toffler’s concepts to the special concerns of their own...

(The entire section is 663 words.)