The sci-fu ninjas over at io9.com whipped up this nifty timescale chart showing how far in the future sci-fi (in books, movies, TV, etc.) has been depicted over the decades. Two interesting points (for me, anyway) are the 1930s when it was all about the "far" future, more than 500 years ahead; and in the 1980s when we were obsessed with the "near future" less than 50 years. This timeframe also saw an influx of cheap sci-fi, especially in movies (Blade Runner, Back to the Future II, among others).
And what the heck happened to far future in the 90s? (Let's face it, there's a lot about the 90s that didn't make sense.)
My preferred era (if one can have such) is in fact the far future. I like things whiz-bang, far out, and epic--or crumbling, post-irratiated, newly barbaric.
It's not really a fine line, I admit.
What's your favorite future era?