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10 Books That Predicted the Future

Payal Kanjwani Mar 17, 2020
They say, "truth is stranger than fiction", but we take your pardon to disbelieve it. We have presented a list of 10 amazing books that predicted future events with unerring precision.

From a prophet's diary ...

"I was not predicting the future, I was trying to prevent it."
― Ray Bradbury
We have seen authors narrating their stories to the world through fiction. And then we've seen them getting real. Today, we're going to talk about predictions done by some famous, some not-so-famous sci-fi authors that went on to become a reality.
These modern-day prophets managed to peer into the future with errie accuracy. They could see it all coming!!! Amazing. Curious, but a bit scary, isn't it? Let's break the 'chicken or egg' question―if the writers were real futurists, or if their ideas led to technological revolution―by reading about the predictions and subsequent realities in this post.

Books That Foretold The Future

The World Set Free by H.G. Wells

Prediction: Atomic bombs in 1914
Reality: In 1945, atomic bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Wells in his prophetic novel augured the era of nuclear energy, it's vehement weapons and irrepressible effects. In the book, he's mentioned it in a sapient way: Before the last war began it was a matter of common knowledge that a man could carry about in a handbag an amount of latent energy sufficient to wreck half a city.
One profound reader, Leo Szilard, got highly inspired by this novel which led him to file a patent for the idea of nuclear chain reaction in 1934.

Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy

Prediction: Debit cards in 1887
Reality: Modern-day debit cards hit the markets around 1950.
Edward Bellamy's novel tells the story of a character who sleeps in 1887 and wakes up in 2000 where he finds a revolution in the world of money and finance. Here, he's introduced to the concept of 'universal credit' where citizens of the utopian society get to use a card with an allotted amount to make purchases.
This idea of carrying a credit card for accessing funds closely resemble the modern-day debit cards. He also foresaw shopping malls and online shopping, though the system of ordering and delivering goods and services varies.

2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

Prediction: Communication satellites, iPads and online newspapers in 1951.
Reality: In 1965, the first communication satellite was launched. Though the concept of electronic tablets was modeled early, the closest to the prediction is Apple's iPad (2010).
One by one, he would conjure up the world's major electronic papers ... Switching to the display unit's short-term memory, he would hold the front page while he quickly searched the headlines and noted the items that interested him.
Sounds a lot like you're flicking through your tablet in your free time, doesn't it? Based on Clarke's 1951 novelette, the Sentinel, this novel and accompanying movie portrayed a number of acts about man's evolution, technological advances specializing in space exploration.
His prominent predictions include―communication satellites, newspad (the electronic tablets similar to Apple's iPad), space robotics, and space tourism.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Prediction: Headphones in 1953.
Reality: Half a century later, Apple released its earbuds in 2001.
In the classic dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury mentions 'little seashells ... thimble radios', speaking about modern-day earbuds and in-ear headphones, where a generation will be lost in an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk. Apple seems to spookily take an inspiration from Bradbury's techie toy!

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

Prediction: Mars has two moons, 1735.
Reality: In 1877, the two moons of Mars were discovered.
This satirical piece about an explorer ended up in creating a notion of being a sci-fi work because of this discovery. In the section about Gulliver's travel to the land of scientists, the island in Laputa, the astronomers were seen discovering moons of Mars. Nearly a century later, the American astronomer Asaph Hall made Swift's predictions come true.

From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne

Prediction: Launch of lunar modules from Florida site in an aluminum capsule in 1865.
Reality: Apollo 11 mission (Manned Lunar landing) in 1969.
Not just the launch of the first manned vehicle to the moon, Verne's detailing in the predictions―about the weightlessness for men in the spaceship, the measurements and the shape of the vehicle also matched the real spacecraft by the U.S.
Scary that he even gauged the amount of force that would be required to propel the rocket out of the Earth's atmosphere. And yes, everybody knows about the invention of submarines and airships.

Ralph 124c 41+ by Hugo Gernsback

Prediction: Radar and Solar Energy in 1914.
Reality: Radar invented in 1935; the first solar calculator devised in 1978.
Besides radar and the practical use of solar energy, Gernsback, in his sci-fi novel, foresaw technological advances like tape-recorders, videophones, sound movies, synthetic cloth, synthetic food items like milk, etc. No wonder, the title, 124C 41+, derived as a wordplay for "one to foresee for one another", makes sense.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Prediction: Mood-enhancing drugs and the use of genetic engineering in 1932.
Reality: Antidepressants were invented in 1950; first DNA manipulation was carried out in 1972
n his most prominent work, Huxley portrays a society in which the characters undergo escapism through the use of soma―the author's name for mood-enhancing drugs. He also prefigured the use of genetic engineering, which 40 years later, came into implementation―the first DNA manipulation was performed.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Prediction: Rediscovered dead tissue reanimation in 1818.
Reality: The first successful heart transplant achieved in 1967.
Mary Shelley was considered the 'first-ever true sci-fi writer' after her debut novel Frankenstein. In the 1800s, the concept of making dead tissues alive by reanimation experiments was not new, but Shelley took it to a level unmatched. These experiments placed the base for operations like cardiac transplants, genetically modified foods, etc.

Neuromancer by William Gibson

Prediction: Cyberspace and computer hackers in 1984.
Reality: The World Wide Web was invented in 1989.
This cyberpunk novel about computer hacking and virtual reality was published in 1984, when the Internet was raw and the World Wide Web didn't exist! Gibson's character could hack/steal data, when half the world wasn't even aware about the existence of Internet. He mentions about people bonding themselves with the virtual-reality matrix. Such a prophet!

Books That Just Missed Our Top 10 List

★ Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner (1969).

★ 1984 by George Orwell (1949).

★ With the Night Mail by Rudyard Kipling (1905).

★ The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster (1909).

★ Paris in the Twentieth Century by Jules Verne (1863).