Get ready for something kind of adorable and totally nerdy: My husband and daughter have matching t-shirts about science. It’s the t-shirt featured in today’s blog for T-shirt Tuesday.
Clearly, we’re a family who likes facts and science. We like to read and understand things. This is probably also why we like science fiction and have every Kurt Vonnegut book ever written, many in duplicate. And, it’s also probably why science fiction books are the only hard copy books my husband (who prefers e-books) wants to keep. There’s a strange irony in that, I realize. (This is also where we differ because I love all my hard copy books in any genre and want to buy more of them and less e-books!)
So let’s talk scifi books and their predictions.
There have been tons of scifi books written decades and sometimes centuries ago that projected into the future. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke, was written in 1968 and described space life in 2001 with humans headed to Saturn and a somewhat sentient computer. Obviously, even 15 years later, we haven’t quite gotten humans past Earth’s own orbit and, as far as we know, there aren’t any self-aware computers.
So here’s the question, did any scifi books get it right or make predictions that came true?
Here’s 6 of my favorites where they kind of did!
6. Fahrenheit 451 may have predicted earbuds. The book, published in 1953 had “seashell ear radios,” essentially tiny radios in your ears. At the time that was crazy. Today, sounds a lot like earbuds.
5. Neuromancer described the internet and hacking. Written in 1984 by William Gibson, the book describes a world wide network of computers and information sharing at a time in real life when personal computers were still a luxury item. It’s not quite the virtual reality-type world of the book, but it deserves merit for predicting the concept of connecting people together virtually and hacking.
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey characters used tablets. While we may not have advanced as far as the book by 2001 or even now, it did contain one piece of technology that has become integral to today’s society. The book describes “newspads,” a handheld device where the user can scroll through and read articles. Sounds like iPad/tablets!
3. From the Earth to the Moon thought of the moon landing nearly a century before it happened. Written in 1865, Jules Verne wrote about rocket carrying people to the moon a full century before it happened. The book includes several details that turned out were very close to the actual moon landing, such as the amount of force needed to propel the rocket into space and the material of the capsule. It even had the lift off taking place in Florida.
2. Gulliver’s Travels somehow knew Mars has two moons in 1735 over 100 years before it was discovered. The tiny Laputa’s astronomers discover the two moons, even though they aren’t actually discovered in real life until 1877.
2. Brave New World envisioned mood-modifying drugs and DNA manipulation. In 1932, Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel talks about using drugs to smooth out moods and genetic manipulation long before these were established concepts.
1. Stand on Zanzibar predicted everything from laser printers to the EU. I’ve never actually read this one, but I’ve heard about it. Apparently, John Brunner’s 1969 book contains not just future technology but predictions of world events, including on-demand TV, satellite TV, laser printers, electric cars, the creation of the EU, the vilification of the tobacco industry, and the deterioration of Detroit.
Anyone know any other scifi books that have good examples of story ideas that came true?