screw flying cars, why don't we have plastic books?
We do, my friend. They're called tablets and e-readers. But while I certainly am no luddite, I have to admit that reading words on a glowing screen is no substitute for the experience of reading from printed book. There's something about reading a book on a tablet I find unsatisfying.
Maybe it's because in a computer game no one ever gets into character and brings pathos to the role. Sure, the mechanics and special effects of computers are great, but nobody really gets emotionally attached to their character (beyond how much time they spend levelling up) and...the storytelling just isn't there.
Roleplay-enforced MUDs might be right up your alley.
The possession of a book becomes a substitute for reading it. -- Anthony Burgess