Saturday, September 5, 2015

Science Fiction: Predictions From The Past

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Any reader of older works of science fiction can certainly see any number of instances where these stories spoke of certain technologies long before they were actually invented. It's one thing to take a technology in its infancy and imagine how it might affect future generations, but it's quite another to think up a technology in a time when the idea seems too far fetched to seem impossible, as Mark Twain did with his version of the internet in From the 'London Times' in 1904. 

This begs the question, do authors of Science Fiction predict the future or create it? It's impossible to say with any absolute certainty where a particular thought originates. Perhaps the following authors created these ideas themselves, or perhaps they expounded on ideas found in even earlier works. 

(The following is a list of books predicting certain technological and other advancements. I've included the year the book was published as well as the year the the technology was invented) 

From The Earth To The Moon - Jules Verne 1865 (The Moon Landing)  - 1969
Looking Backward - Edward Bellamy 1888 (Credit Cards)  - 1950
From the 'London Times' in 1904 - Mark Twain 1898 (The internet) - 1984
The Sleeper Awakes - H.G. Wells 1899 (Automatic Doors) - 1954
The Land Ironclads - H. G. wells 1903 (Tanks)  - 1915
The World Set Free - H.G. Wells 1914 (The Atomic Bomb) - 1940's
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley  1931 (Antidepressants) - 1950's
Ralph 124c 41+ - Hugo Gernsbeck 1911 (Radar) - 1934
Solution Unsatisfactory - Robert Heinlen 1940 (The Cold War) - 1947
Return From The Stars - Stanislaw Lem 1961 (Ebooks) - 1970's
Stranger In a strange Land - Robert Heinlein 1961 (Screensavers) - 1983
2001: A Space Odyssey - Arthur C. Clarke 1968 (iPad) - 2010
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adamas 1979 (Universal Audio Translator) - 2012

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