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11 Books that Predicted the Future with Uncanny Similarities

7. The Machine Stops (1909) written by E.M. Forster portrays a world where humans have become dependent on their gadgets. He wrote his character’s dependency on “video calling” in his novel The Machine Stops.

The Machine Stops
The Machine Stops. Image credits: Amazon.com, Microsoft

We all know the feeling when the Internet does not work, or our laptop crashes or our mobile phone faces technical or physical damages. Our life is so unthinkable or unimaginable without these and other gadgets. But for E. M. Forster predicting humans’ dependency on multiple screens (gadgets) way back in 1909 is a miracle. He wrote his character’s dependency on “video calling” in his novel The Machine Stops.

Apart from discussing larger social issues, it was the first novel that predicted a technology akin to Skype and modern-day video chatting. He wrote, “But it was fully fifteen seconds before the round plate that she held in her hands began to glow. A faint blue light shot across it, darkening to purple, and presently she could see the image of her son, who lived on the other side of the Earth, and he could see her.”

While talking about unbelievable technology, he showed the humans reception of it. It is the story of a mother and son living in a post-apocalyptic world. It is a world where travel is rare, inhabitants communicate via video screens, and people have become so reliant on “The Machine” that they have begun to worship it. Doesn’t it strike a familiar chord to today’s Covid-19 pandemic period?

The novel was Forster’s first and only foray into science fiction, and it was a brilliant literary piece and scientific prophecy. (source)

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8. John Brunner in his novel Stand on Zanzibar (1968) foresees mass killers, the formation of the EU, wearable technology, and gay marriages among other things.

Stand On Zanzibar
Stand On Zanzibar. Image credits: Amazon.com

The list is incomplete without mentioning a sci-fi by John Brunner entitled Stand on Zanzibar. Belonging to the times when “wireless” still meant radio, careful observation, listening, and reading combined with his zany imagination, resulted in Stand on Zanzibar. Written in 1968, he foresees mass killers, labeling them “Muckers.”

His vision of 2010 was eerily accurate. Brunner in the novel imagines the formation of the EU, the economic decline of Detroit, and the rise in global terrorism. Governments confronting population control, wearable technology, Viagra, video calls, gay marriage, the legalization of cannabis, and the proliferation of mass shootings were other key prophecies standing true today. (source)

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9. Neuromancer (1984) by William Gibson popularized the idea of cyberspace, the term “matrix,” along with how the Internet is shaping around us today.

Neuromancer
Neuromancer. Image credits: Amazon.com

When the Internet was limited to the use of just a handful of people, William Gibson coined the term “cyberspace.” The American-born novelist, in his book, Neuromancer, published 36 years ago, popularized the idea of cyberspace: a “consensual hallucination” created by millions of connected computers. Gritty urban clinics carry out horrendous-sounding plastic surgery. A junkie-hacker, Case, is coaxed into hacking the system of a major corporation. What once seemed impossibly futuristic is now eerily familiar.

The cultural influence of his novel Neuromancer also popularized the term “matrix” in the way it’s understood in The Matrix films. Since the late 70s, he has been right about predicting the shape of the Internet and how it filters down to the lowest strata of society.

According to critics, Gibson can be said to have helped shape our conception of the Internet. Every social network, online game, or hacking scandal takes us a step closer to the universe Gibson imagined in 1984. (source)

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10. Wernher von Braun in his book The Mars Project (1952) predicts a human colony on Mars led by a man named “Elon.”

The Mars Project
The Mars Project. Image credits: Amazon.com, JD Lasica/Flickr

Wernher von Braun wrote The Mars Project, which is a technical specification for a manned expedition to Mars. Written originally in German in 1948 under the title Das Marsprojeckt, the book was later translated into English. It is often described as “the most influential book on planning human missions to Mars” and has since been quoted several times for predicting the future with remarkable accuracy. The book presents, for the first time, a “technically comprehensive design” for an expedition of such a scale. The book envisions a rocket that can be reused for the journey to Mars. The design resembles closely with that of Flacon Heavy from SpaceX.

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The book also said that human colonists on Mars were led by a person called “Elon.” Surprisingly, South African/Canadian Engineer and Technology Entrepreneur Elon Musk founded his company SpaceX in 2002. Apart from Space Tourism and other projects, Elon Musk at SpaceX plans to build a colony on Mars by 2040. (source)

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11. Two different writers, Dean Koontz and Sylvia Browne, at two different points in time, i.e. 1981 and 2004, talk about a world afflicted by a pandemic that is caused by a virus.

The Eyes of Darkness and End of Days: Predictions and Prophecies About the End of the World
The Eyes of Darkness and End of Days: Predictions and Prophecies About the End of the World. Image credits: Amazon.com

Before closing the list, we would like to mention two books that predicted a pandemic. Recently, after the onset of COVID-19, there was a popular message forwarded on social media claiming that the book The Eyes of Darkness written by Dean Koontz had predicted the occurrence of COVID-19 pandemic. This was based on an excerpt from the book which mentions a virus, Wuhan-400, that was developed in a lab on the outskirts of the city Wuhan. However, that’s where the similarity between the two ends. The symptoms and patterns of Wuhan-400 are very different from COVID-19.

Sylvia Browne, an author and a self-proclaimed psychic, in her book End of Days: Predictions and Prophecies About the End of the World, predicts a pandemic. In her book, she prophesied about a pneumonia-like disease that will spread across the globe in the year 2020. The disease, according to her, will vanish as fast as it appeared and then will return after a gap of 10 years. The Earth certainly got afflicted by a pandemic in 2020 as she foretold. (1, 2, 3)

GET IT ON AMAZON: The Eyes of Darkness
GET IT ON AMAZON: End of Days

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