Robert Heinlein`s 1957 book, The Door Into Summer
, is set in the future of 1957, but it`s really about the past
—the protagonist is designing something very much like the Roomba automatic vacuum cleaner
, and explaining why it`s necessary:
What was the last thing to go automatic? Answer: any housewife`s house. I didn`t attempt to figure out a sensible scientific house; women didn`t want one; they simply wanted a better upholstered cave. But housewives were still complaining about the Servant Problem long after servants had gone the way of the mastodon. I had rarely met a housewife who did not have a touch of slaveholder in her; they seemed to think there really ought to be strapping peasant girls grateful for a chance to scrub floors fourteen hours a day and eat table scraps at wages a plumber`s helper would scorn.That`s why we called the monster Hired Girl-it brought back thoughts of the semi-slave immigrant girl whom Grandma used to bully. Basically it was just a better vacuum cleaner and we planned to market it at a price competitive with ordinary suck brooms.[Robert A. Heinlein, The Door Into Summer, 1957]
The point is that in 1957, Heinlein had foreseen the possibility of an automatic vacuum cleaner, not actually marketed until 2002
, but he had not foreseen the Immigration Act of 1965—he was living during the great pause.