Their time has come: ideas from the past that will save the future (arriving 2023)

Victor Hugo once remarked, “Nothing else in the world... not all the armies... is so powerful as an idea whose time has come” …unless, of course, it’s two (or more) ideas whose time has come. In the aptly named Their Time Has Come ‘reluctant futurist’ and award-winning author and comedy writer Mark Stevenson brings together remarkable yet seemingly unrelated ideas from history and shows how they are converging today, to find their ultimate destiny and help save our future.

  • When ancient Assyrians worked out how to get a hot bath on demand, they could not have foreseen how their invention, combined with a space technology from the 1980’s, a bag of exploding grass in California and a secret research location in Cornwall would lead to a technology that will change both the worlds of both energy and agriculture.
  • Neither could Spanish artist and engineer, Narcís Monturiol have anticipated in 1859 that part of his invention (the submarine) would, in modern day Calgary, join the work of three German chemists from the 1920s to turn a technology (formerly utilised by the Nazis) into a powerful weapon against climate change.
  • Then there’s the story of how Persian architects in 400 BC accidentally stumbled on a way to make ice beneath the desert sky, despite the temperature never dropping below zero. That technique, combined with a phenomenon first observed in Rome’s magical 4th Century Lycurgus Cup (which changes colour depending on which direction light falls on it) has now, via an eccentric professor at the University of Pennsylvania, given rise to a seemingly impossible material that will change how we think about the food system.

Just as the world appears to be descending into chaos Stevenson digs beneath the surface to deliver an uplifting story of the endeavours currently under the radar that are about to burst forth and kick-start a new chapter in human affairs. Taking the ‘ideas-travelogue’ format of Stevenson’s previous titles Their Time Has Come blends science, history and modern day innovation from across the globe to deliver us a bold vision for the next 50 years. Populated by extraordinary characters the book builds to an optimistic climax that brings all the stories contained therein beneath the umbrella of The Big Idea from the past that’s set to dominate the next 50 years.

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