The future foretold in science fiction.

Posted: May 31, 2011. At: 11:14 AM. This was 6 years ago. Post ID: 1467

It is interesting that the developments we enjoy in the present world we live in came to life in science fiction movies and novels from the olden days of fiction. Jules Verne`s 1863 novel Paris in the Twentieth Century depicted a 1960`s world with fax machines, skyscrapers and even a form of the Internet. That is quite amazing that the novel came about in a world of horses and carts and with no technology like we have today. The novel was not published until 1994 due the prior rejection of the material by his publisher as being too “unbelievable” and only published in the 1990`s, when the technology mentioned in the work had materialized.

The 1935 movie British movie The Tunnel had huge flat screen televisions in public places showing the news, wireless video calling around the world even from airplanes to ground and toy radio controlled airplanes. That is also pretty prophetic considering all that has come true today but the devices are even smaller and more powerful than the makers of that movie could have imagined. In the Arthur C Clarke novel 2001 a Space Odyssey, the author mentioned a “Newspad” device that Dr Heywood Floyd owned where he could read any newspaper he wanted on the screen, that describes an Ipad does it not? Not to forget the screens in the backs of the space plane seats showing inflight movies. That is happening now too. The movie adaptation of “2001” also had video calling just like The Tunnel.. It is amazing that all of this technology seen in these works of fiction is coming true although the moon base and space-plane flights carrying many passengers have not materialized yet. Jane Webbs 1828 novel The Mummy! included descriptions of air beds, milking machines and smokeless fuel. All of this has come true. The 1948 novel Space Cadet included cellphones, decades before they would become a reality. Sure they had walkie-talkies back then, but not mobile-telephones only wall telephones.

In my earlier posting, I talked at the end about the successes in quantum teleportation that allowed data to be teleported from one place to another place instantly, that could result in the Star Trek transporter that would allow us to beam from a spacecraft down to a planet and back. Just look at the high-resolution screens the crew of the Discovery are watching the news on whist they are eating their dinner. They do look like an Appletm Ipad, do they not? The screens might be set into the table, but they could be tablet computers also. I can not talk about this without mentioning the German movie Metropolis that depicted a future world with robots and monorails passing through a futuristic city. I have not seen this full movie yet, it is on my must watch list though, it shows the sensual dance of the robot Maria and the gigantic machines underground that power the affluent city above, rather like the Morlocks underground in the HG Well`s novel The Time machine and the contrast of their world with the life of the Eloi above who lived in luxury. The great machines that power the city are massive hulking beasts that huff and puff and give off deafening sounds that must damage the ears of those workers that tend to them. What must the man from the surface have thought when came down and saw the giant machines for himself.

Source: New Scientist, May 14 2011 p52.

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