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Science Fiction Can Predict the Future!

by

Gordon Rowlinson



One of the tasks that writers have is to make stories as real and credible as possible. The ultimate test of realism in science fiction is whether it accurately predicts the future. As we start the new year, it is human nature to think of the future. Let's look at some of the standout examples of Science Fiction writers predicting the future.

Perhaps the writer that best predicted the future was HG Wells. Wells, who has been called the father of science fiction, predicted genetic engineering, men landing on the moon, World War II, Atomic weapons, e-mail and television. Another famous writer who predicted the future was Jules Verne. Verne correctly predicted submarines, rockets capable of reaching the moon, spacecrafts that return to earth by splashdowns in oceans, newscasts, video conferencing, skywriting, and taser guns.

Arthur C Clarke was a writer who excelled in blending hard science with fiction. It comes as no surprise that, in many cases, he successfully predicted the future. In 1945, Wireless World published an article by Clarke called Extraterrestrial Relays. It was the SciFi concept of using satellites in orbit to beam radio signals from one continent to another. Now such technology is relied upon daily. In his novel 2001 A Space Odyssey, Clarke predicted tablet computers and commercial space travel. Today Virgin Air is getting closer to taking travelers into space for a fee.

Movies that stand out in successful future predictions are Total Recall (1990) which predicted driver-less cars and Minority Report (2002) which predicted gesture based user interface. The Star Trek TV (1969) series was a television show that was ahead of it's time. The show predicted floppy computer drives, computers that speak and respond to verbal commands and mobile phones. I still have a flip phone like the Star Trek communicators.

Even though there are numerous examples of SciFi accurately predicting the future, the harsh truth is that in most cases, it has predicted inaccurately. Before rockets were able to reach earth orbit, Arthur C Clarke's novel Prelude to Space (1951) described a nuclear powered spacecraft that goes to the moon. It is launched via an extensive launch track. However nuclear engines for air or space were never built and launch tracks were never used by spacecraft to blast off from earth. One of HG Wells most popular novels was The Time Machine (1895), which depicted traveling though time. However such fantastic technology has never been developed. Therefore Science fiction is not always accurate. Keep in mind that some of Science Fiction themes that are very common and popular are aliens invading the earth, future authoritarian governments that oppress their citizens and the earth being destroyed in apocalyptic disasters. We should be glad that science fiction isn't always accurate!

This month we at the Quantum Muse have selected several excellent, thought provoking stories for this months issue. Hopefully we are accurately predicting the future. Can you think of any novel or movie that accurately predicted future technology? Your comments below are welcome.

 


2016-12-08 09:26:24
GordonRowlinson - There is a recent trend globally in authoritarian leadership. Maybe we humans are stupid. I hope it is a short term trend. I will be surprised if Trump lasts 4 years.

2016-12-06 10:33:34
micheledutcher - Farenheit 451 seems to be getting nearer and nearer in post-truth country United States. Education is laughed at. An ignorant populace assures under-qualified dictators that they can rest easy. Perhaps sci-fi also shows us however, that heroes can arise to fight ignorance and evil.

2016-12-03 14:21:53
dandrew72 - Let us hope that Ray Bradbury's legendary Farenheit 451 will remain a wonderful work of fiction and not an omen for our future.





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