Predicted by: Mark Twain, from the London Times of 1904, published 1898
The first television was produced in 1920s, but Mark Twain had already described the telescope, in his sci-fi, that would “make the daily doings of the globe visible to everybody”.
Predicted by: Arthur C Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey, published 1968
Surfing the internet on a portable device was dreamed up long before the turn of the millennium. In the late 1960s, Clarke gave his fictional astronauts ‘newspads’ so they could keep up to date with the goings-on back home.
Predicted by: Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, published 1953
Though the personal stereo didn’t appear until 1977, in the early ’50s Bradbury described earphones piping in constant music and talk.
Predicted by: Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, published 1870
Verne described a means of breathing underwater using apparatus that, unlike all existing equipment, didn’t take it’s air supply from the surface. His idea came from the system developed in the 1860s by French duo Benoit Rouquarol and Auguste Denayrouze to save miners trapped underground.
Predicted by: Albert Robida, Le Vingtieme Siecle. La Electrique, published 1890
The first public videophone service launched in Germany in 1936, and EM Forster described a communication system that transmitted both audio and visual signals in his short story The Machine Stops, published in 1909. Yet this French author’s 1890 book mentions a similar device called ‘le telephonoscope’.
Predicted by: Stanislaw Lem, Return From the Stars, published 1961
Instead of hardcovers and paperbacks, Polish author Lem foresaw books in rystal form, read on devices called ‘optons’ that display one page of text at a time.
Predicted by: HG Wells, The Land Ironclads, published 1903
The tank made its battlefield debut in 1916, but was envisaged by Wells as an all-terrain, armoured vehicle carrying powerful guns. Winston Churchill later credited Wells for the idea. But Brahmah Joseph Diplock’s pedrail locomotive inspired the author’s vehicle.
Predicted by: HG Wells, The World Set Free, published 1914
Wells envisioned a nuclear bomb in his sci-fi that would explode continuously for 17 days and have longer term effects through nuclear fallout.
Predicted by: Jules Verne, From The Earth To The Moon, published 1865
More than 100 years above Armstrong’s lunar stroll, Verne had envisioned a trip to the Moon – though his protagonists were fired from an enormous cannon at a launch site in Florida.
Predicted by: George Orwell, Nine-teen Eighty-Four, published 1949
CCTV cameras, internet cookies, loyalty cards, NSA data monitoring, social media……The Big Brother dreamed up by Orwell in his dystopian sci-fi novel comes in many guises today.