According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, science fiction is fiction dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or individuals or having a scientific factor as an essential orienting component. You see – sci-fi is subjective and volatile. What we define today as being fictitious can become real tomorrow.
Numerous sci-fi writers, such as Jules Verne or Aldous Huxley, predicted our society’s endeavor over the years. One might wonder, how is that even possible? How would they know what was about to happen decades after? How could they intuit the changes that were about to pop up in our society and leave sturdy traces?
While the above questions might lack clear answers at the moment, we can present you with some of the most exciting inventions that writers predicted years ago, so that you can share our fascination and intrigue.
The Moon Landing
Jules Verne, the famous 18th-century French writer, predicted very accurate scientific and technological advances within our world. For example, in From the Earth to the Moon, Verne describes the projectiles that could be used to bring people to the moon. Even though his prediction was not entirely accurate (and how could it be?!), Jules did calculations on how much force was necessary to propel a rocket into the atmosphere.
As funny as it might sound, Jules Verne has also predicted the useful taser. In his famous novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, he reports a gun that carries electric jolts and is able to kill animals. Verne wrote – “The balls sent by this gun are not ordinary balls, but little cases of glass. These glass cases are covered with a case of steel and weighted with a pellet of lead; they are real Leyden bottle into which the electricity is forced to a very high tension. With the slightest shock they are discharged, and the animal, however strong it may be, falls dead.”
Can you believe that Verne also predicted videoconferencing? In his excellent book In the Year 2889, he describes the phonotelephote as “allowing the transmission of images by means of sensitive mirrors connected by wires.” Jules Verne’s predictions about videoconferencing have been the first references to any sort of communication technology of our time, writes National Geographic.
If you’ve ever read an Aldous Huxley book, you know how much of a genius he was. His writings are clear predictions of what was going to happen in our future lives and society – which, to be honest, is quite demoralizing. In his book Brave New World (1931), Huxley describes the soma as being a medicine that keeps London citizens in 2540 clear of depression and anxiety. Antidepressants would make their way into the pharmaceutical market in the 1950s.
Remember George Orwell’s 1984? The author clearly explained how our society is going to end up supervised by security cameras and lacking complete privacy. Now, look around: we’re living in the 21st century with barely any privacy left on our hands. Movie stars, pop singers, presidents – they are not able to enjoy a quiet life anymore. They can’t even walk to the supermarket without being spotted. Add Edward Snowden’s Secret Discovery to it, and you’ll get the bigger picture.
Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward remains a huge success to this day. In one of his most famous books, Bellamy attempted to portrait an ideal of our post-revolutionary history. He introduced the concept of universal credit into his writings – in Bellamy’s world, citizens would carry this card with them at all times; the card would allow them to purchase goods and borrow money from a central bank. Pretty accurate, huh?
The Flying Car
“J.K. Rowling’s flying Ford predicted the future,” writes Karen Will, freelancer at EssayOnTime and book author. “I mean – look at how our technology has evolved until now. In a few years, we’ll all be flying Fords and Toyotas up in the sky,” adds Will. And it’s true – who would believe the first flying car would be tested in 2018?
Our society has evolved tremendously in the last century, in technological terms. It’s interesting how sci-fi writers were able to predict such huge changes and innovative devices entering today’s world. Who would have thought the taser or the flying car would actually exist?
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