The autobiography of Nikola Tesla, the original steampunk, is currently in rerelease. He may have been a little nutty, but I never get tired of reading Tesla’s nearly-metaphysical ramblings on wireless power. And as Bruce Sterling points out, his “World-System” sounds a hell of a lot like the Internet:
It makes possible not only the instantaneous and precise wireless transmission of any kind of signals, messages or characters, to all parts of the world, but also the inter-connection of the existing telegraph, telephone, and other signal stations without any change in their present equipment.
Okay, so he predicted packetized data, email, Napster and Vonage. But where’s my cordless blender?