There is an entire industry that revolves around the activity of predicting the future. Indeed, it would be exciting to know one’s future! Some learned people challenge the authenticity of these predictions and premonitions. There are few things in this world which even science cannot answer which only adds to the mystery. We will not go into any sort of debate here. Do you know that there had been some writers who, while penning down their imaginations, predicted the world’s biggest events, achievements, and calamities long before they occurred in the real world? Here is a list of 12 such books that predicted the future with uncanny similarities.
1. In 1898 Morgan Robertson wrote a novel, ‘The Wreck of the Titan’, about a cruise liner that sinks in the North Atlantic after colliding with and iceberg. 14 years later the story came true when the Titanic met with a similar fate.
Who does not know about the sinking of unsinkable – yes, the Titanic? The tragic sinking of the giant, luxurious cruiseliner took away 1,500-plus lives. This tragedy was predicted in two different novels written at two different times much before the accident. The description and details matching with the actual incident are bizarre and uncanny, and they leave you wondering if the authors were predicting the future.
Morgan Robertson wrote The Wreck of the Titan: Or, Futility in 1898. It was a story of an ocean liner sinking in the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg. Exactly 14 years later the Titanic sunk in the same place and in the same way. In the novel, the ship’s name was Titan, which hit an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean and sank.
The Titan was, just like the Titanic, described as the largest ship afloat at that time. The size, length, and speed of both the ships were similar. In the story, the Titan was both dubbed “unsinkable,” and proceeded to sink on a cold April night. Both oceanliners had a dangerous shortage of lifeboats. (source)
2. Jules Verne, in his prophetic book From Earth to the Moon (1865), foresaw the space expeditions that only became reality 100 years later with humankind’s first journey to the Moon in 1969.
It is very surprising that a novel written 100 years before the first man landed on the moon for the first time, had a lot of similarities with the actual journey to the Moon in 1969. Jules Verne in his novel From the Earth to the Moon, written in 1865, mentioned a launch site in Florida. Back then, the construction of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida had not even been thought of.
The other similarities between the book and the launch of the 1969 Apollo 11 included the same number of passengers. Both in the book and reality, there were three passengers on board. Worth mentioning is the fact that Jules Verne in his novel predicted the phenomena of “weightlessness” as an experience of the astronauts in space. (source)
3. In his 1994 novel Debt of Honor, Tom Clancy, for the first time, imagined the act of hijacking and using a plane for an attack. The visualization is eerily similar to the events that transpired seven years later during the attack on the World Trade Center.
Tom Clancy is always known for writing with a great sense of authenticity. One such example is his 1994 novel Debt of Honor in which terrorists take out most of the US government officials and politicians by flying a commercial plane into a Joint Session of Congress in the Capitol.
This is the first time anybody had expressed the idea of hijacking a commercial airliner for a suicide terrorist attack through words. Seven years later, on September 11, a similar hijacking and attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center gave people shivers across the globe. Considered to be as one of the blackest days for Americans, the 9/11 incident put Clancy under suspicion. In the aftermath of the attacks, CNN called him to comment on the similarity between the plane crash depicted in the novel and the crash of United Flight 93. (source)
4. In his only completed novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838), Edgar Allen Poe wrote about the sinking of a ship with four survivors and the act of cannibalism that ensued for survival. The story came true 46 years later.
Another classic example of literary prophecy is Edgar Allen Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. It is Poe’s only complete novel of his career. In the story, he predicted a man named Richard Parker would be one of four survivors of a shipwreck and would be cannibalized by the other three survivors. Forty-six years later, the ship called Mignonette sank leaving only four survivors. The fourth one was Richard Parker, who was eaten by his fellow survivors to satisfy their hunger. (source)
5. Aldous Huxley describes, in his fictional book Brave New World, the effects of alcohol on fetal development. Almost four decades before science recognized the correlation.
According to a Historian, Michael Bess, Brave New World is a legendary science fiction novel without a flaw. He worries that Aldous Huxley may have penned one of the most accurate sci-fi visions of our future. In the 1930s-era, this book talks of then unbelievable concepts like bio-engineered people, artificial wombs, society sorted into castes, casual sex, and people depending on emotion-altering drugs.
To name a few, the invention of antidepressants happened in the 1950s, whereas Brave New World was written much before that in 1932. Aldous Huxley described a society dependent on a psychoactive drug that can induce calmness while subduing malice and bad tempers. These days, it is common for Ritalin to be prescribed to boisterous children while the use of prescription antidepressants has soared among adults.
Huxley did accurately depict several aspects of contemporary culture, including our consumerist-heavy society. On reading, we can say that Huxley warned us against the dangers of being oppressed by our amusement; meaning we use endless streams of entertainment to distract ourselves and fail to engage with real life. Does that ring a bell when doctors tell us to reduce screen time for our kids and prescribe reduced working time on laptops? (source)
6. Arthur C. Clarke in his short story, “The Sentinel, later made into a movie and republished as the sci-fi novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, talks about an e-newspaper that could be read on handheld devices, and an AI named HAL 9000 that is quite like today’s SIRI.
Just to give a background, Arthur C. Clarke wrote many short stories such as “The Sentinel,” which laid the foundation stone for the movie entitled 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick. Later, the script was beautifully re-written and published as a novel with the same title.
Considered an absolute masterpiece, the novel deals with space exploration. It predicted times of e-newspaper, an AI that could read lips, a space station, and much more. In the book, Clarke mentions an electrical device “newspad,” resembling today’s iPads and tablets, which could display any visual material on its screen. All this makes sense when media houses are going digital, considering the times of COVID-19.
Furthermore, the novel is best remembered for HAL 9000, an artificially intelligent computer, and arguably the film’s most sinister character, that is quite like today’s SIRI. HAL is shown to be capable of facial recognition, lip-reading, speech recognition, playing chess, processing language and emotions, and more. (source)