Time travelling, aliens, monsters from the deep and twists as implausible as the price of cinema popcorn; sci-fi blockbusters are packed with scenes and storylines which demand the suspension of disbelief. As we flock to the flicks for the big budget hits of the summer, our heads are filled with fantastical ideas, stretched logic and faux-science so terrible it borders on offensive.
And whilst we look to the sky, believing the truth may be out there, deep down we all know that invading aliens are just the workings of Hollywood screenwriters. The events from Mars Attacks are about as likely to come true as Danny Dyer securing a Best Actor gong at the Academy Awards.
But every so often, science fiction films and series pop along with slightly more insightful offerings. In fact, reality has sometimes mirrored sci-fi storylines, with certain aspects of the films coming true in the following years.
Slightly unnerved by the ability of Hollywood writers to anticipate upcoming events and inventions, we’ve explored how sci-fi has predicted the future. We have unearthed irrefutable evidence that the writers from the science fiction guild may be modern day Nostradamuses.
Perhaps the biggest contributors to the pantheon of science fiction predicting the future is the Star Trek franchise, responsible for innumerate soothsaying moments. The writers of the Star Trek films and TV shows have long pitched futuristic inventions and technologies, which have subsequently become reality.
So in awe of their future-telling skills, we have created the following infographic detailing just 10 of the times that Star Trek predicted the future.
As you can see, it’s a pretty impressive roster of inventions. And it appears as though the entire Apple creative team are ardent Trekkies.
Let’s take a look at some of the instances of science fiction morphing into scientific fact…
- The 19th-Century Star-Gazers
- Debit Cards – Edward Bellamy
- Moon Landing – Jules Verne
- Electric Submarines – Jules Verne
- Mars’ Two Moons – Jonathan Smith
- Predicting the 21st Century
- Audio Translation – Douglas Adams
- Bionic Limbs – Martin Caidin
- Netflix – John Brunner
Whilst big sci-fi blockbusters have only really existed since the 1970s, the 1800s were rich with imaginative, forward-thinking writers creating worlds beyond the scope of the universe. Here are a handful of the 19th-century star-gazers who accurately imagined the world of tomorrow.
In Bellamy’s 1888 novel, Looking Backward, the author introduced the concept of ‘Universal Credit’ – wherein Earth’s inhabitants carried small cards possessing their total credit to spend at their leisure. Just 62 years later, the Diners Club Card – the world’s first card – was debuted.
1969’s moon landing was perhaps the pivotal moment of the 20th century, but it was predicted more than a century prior to the event in the 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, by Jules Verne. Remarkably, Verne predicted many aspects of the event, from the launch site in Florida to the rough force needed to reach the planet’s satellite.
An insightful chap, Jules Verne – another of his novels, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, introduced the world to electric vehicles capable of travelling under the seas. The 1870 novel hit the shelves 90 years before the electric submarine was first launched.
Even further back in time, 18th-century novelist Jonathan Swift predicted that Mars would be circled by two moons. In his epic work, Gulliver’s Travels, astronomers noted that the red planet boasted a pair of satellites. Something which took real-world scientists an extra century and a half to confirm, when they discovered Mars’ two moons, which were named Phobos and Deimos.
Inventions and social trends of the 21st century may seem the result of gradual evolutions but many of them were predicted long before the start of the new millennium. Here are some of the sci-fi writers who predicted what you’d be getting up to in the 21st century.
Admittedly, many of the inventions and technologies published in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy border on the daft. However, audio translating technology first mooted in his 1979 masterpiece has become reality thanks to incredibly accurate and speedy translation apps.
Famous as the inspiration behind hit TV show, Six Million Dollar Man; Martin Caidin’s Cyborg introduces Steve Austin – an injured astronaut/pilot put back together with bionic limbs following a crash. Just 41 years after the release of this 1972 novel, the world’s first bionic leg transplant took place.
Novelists always take a risk when predicting what a specific year in the near future will bring, but John Brunner was wonderfully accurate with his 1968 work, Stand on Zanzibar. Set in 2010, the novel introduces on-demand TV much like Netflix, electric cars and even the decriminalisation of marijuana in the USA.
So keep these in mind when you shoot this summer’s sci-fi blockbusters a look of disdain as they introduce futuristic technologies: they may just come true.
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