|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-394-42586-3 (Original hardcover)|
Future Shock is a book written by the futurist Alvin Toffler in 1970. In the book, Toffler defines the term "future shock" as a certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies. His shortest definition for the term is a personal perception of "too much change in too short a period of time". The book, which became an international bestseller, grew out of an article "The Future as a Way of Life" in Horizon magazine, Summer 1965 issue. The book has sold over 6 million copies and has been widely translated.
Toffler argued that society is undergoing an enormous structural change, a revolution from an industrial society to a "super-industrial society". This change overwhelms people, he believed, the accelerated rate of technological and social change leaving people disconnected and suffering from "shattering stress and disorientation"—future shocked. Toffler stated that the majority of social problems are symptoms of future shock. In his discussion of the components of such shock he popularized the term "information overload."
In the introduction to an essay entitled "Future Shlock" in his book, Conscientious Objections, Neil Postman wrote: "Sometime about the middle of 1963, my colleague Charles Weingartner and I delivered in tandem an address to the National Council of Teachers of English. In that address we used the phrase "future shock" as a way of describing the social paralysis induced by rapid technological change. To my knowledge, Weingartner and I were the first people ever to use it in a public forum. Of course, neither Weingartner nor I had the brains to write a book called Future Shock, and all due credit goes to Alvin Toffler for having recognized a good phrase when one came along" (p. 162).
Broad cultural impact 
Curtis Mayfield's song "Future Shock" on the album "Back to the World" took its name from this book, and was in turn covered by Herbie Hancock as the title track for his 1983 recording Future Shock. That album was considered groundbreaking for fusing jazz and funk with electronic music.
The American pop group Hello People opened their 1974 release "The Handsome Devils" with a track titled "Future Shock". The song was a minor hit, peaking on Billboard's Hot 100 at #71. The album was produced by Todd Rundgren.
Other works taking their title from the book include: the Futurama episode "Future Stock"; The Gordons 1981 EP on Flying Nun Records; a segment on The Daily Show starring Samantha Bee; Kevin Goldstein's recurring column on the Baseball Prospectus website; a Magic: The Gathering pre-constructed deck; and the National Wrestling Alliance's 1989 Starrcade event.
UK Comic 2000 AD ran a series of short stories called Future Shocks based on this concept, some of which were written by Alan Moore. The abbreviated derogatory term Futzies was applied to citizens in 2000 AD stories (mainly in the Judge Dredd universe) who had been driven insane by Future Shock.
Voiceworks #62 (Summer 2005), edited by Tom Doig, was themed Future Shock: 'The future is here. Are you ready for it? Increasing computing power and nanotechnology will usher in an era of artificial intelligence, electronic telepathy and virtual immortality within a matter of years...'
Works deriving themes and elements from Future Shock include the science fiction novels The Forever War (1974) by Joe Haldeman, The Shockwave Rider (1975) by John Brunner, the RPG Transhuman Space (2002) by Steve Jackson Games, and the indie RPG Shock: Social Science Fiction (2006) by designer Joshua A.C. Newman.
Doomtree recording artist Sims referenced the phenomenon of future shock with a song named after it on his album Bad Time Zoo (2011).
In 2011, a song titled "Future Shock" by Darwin, Obie, and Mr-E appeared on the album Nu Nrg 100, the final installment of the world-renowned label Nu Energy, while Brooklyn-based band TV on the Radio included a song titled "No Future Shock" on their album Nine Types of Light. The same year, the Unsound Music Festival in Krakow, Poland took the concept of 'future shock' as its theme.
The book has been reprinted several times. ISBNs include:
- ISBN 0-394-42586-3 (hardcover, Random House, 1970)
- ISBN 0-8488-0645-X (hardcover, Amereon Ltd, 1970)
- ISBN 0-553-20626-5 (mass market paperback, 1981)
- ISBN 0-553-27737-5 (mass market paperback, 1984)
- ISBN 0-553-24649-6 (paperback, 1984)
- ISBN 5-553-85765-1 (mass market paperback, 1991)
- ISBN 0-8085-0152-6 (mass market paperback in library binding, 1999)
See also 
- Culture shock
- Digital divide
- The Experience Economy
- Paradigm shift
- Technological singularity
- Electric Dreams (TV series)
- Toffler, Alvin, "The Future as a Way of Life", Horizon magazine, Summer 1965, Vol VII, Num 3
- Horizon magazine: master index"
- Eisenhart, Mary, "Alvin And Heidi Toffler: Surfing The Third Wave: On Life And Work In The Information Age", MicroTimes #118, January 3, 1994
- "Alvin Toffler: still shocking after all these years: New Scientist meets the controversial futurologist", New Scientist, 19 March 1994, pp. 22-25. "What led you to write Future Shock? -- While covering Congress, it occurred to us that big technological and social changes were occurring in the United States, but that the political system seemed totally blind to their existence. Between 1955 and 1960, the birth control pill was introduced, television became universalized [sic], commercial jet travel came into being and a whole raft of other technological events occurred. Having spent several years watching the political process, we came away feeling that 99 per cent of what politicians do is keep systems running that were laid in place by previous generations of politicians. Our ideas came together in 1965 in an article called 'The future as a way of life', which argued that change was going to accelerate and that the speed of change could induce disorientation in lots of people. We coined the phrase 'future shock' as an analogy to the concept of culture shock. With future shock you stay in one place but your own culture changes so rapidly that it has the same disorienting effect as going to another culture"