Table of contents:
- Two centuries before …
- Early 20th century
- 50s of 20th century
- 60s of 20th century
- 70s of 20th century
- 80s of 20th century
It is always curious to observe when the heroes of films and books, born of the imagination of writers and screenwriters from the past, use modern scientific achievements. Some of these items seem funny and naive, and some are capable of causing an admiring "wow, you!" So be tormented by conjectures - were these authors visionaries, or had access to secret technologies, or maybe we ourselves are simply deprived of the ability to fantasize and invent incredible things?
Two centuries before …
No, of course, we can remember Russian tales about living and dead water that can revive the dead or cause regeneration of body parts. However, this technology was documented at the beginning of the 19th century. In Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, or Modern Prometheus (1818), a scientist creates a new person using parts of human corpses. Subsequently, science really began to make attempts at revitalization using electric current. And now, two centuries later, it is no longer such a rarity to successfully transplant donor organs taken from deceased people. Moreover, they began to sew on the severed limbs for quite some time.
The writer Jules Verne is called one of the most successful dreamers. And all this despite the fact that for many years he did not travel beyond the suburbs of Paris. “The time will come when the achievements of science will surpass the power of imagination,” he said. Indeed, many years later, the lunar module, the solar sail, and the electric submarine described in his most famous novel "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" (1870) became a reality.
Edward Bellamy, who described a wonderful dream at 113 years of his hero, 63 years before the start of their use, described credit cards. The novel, familiar to Russian readers as "In 2000," predicted the use of this type of payment for the purchase and sale of goods and services. The discovery of astronomers from the fantastic island of Laputa cannot be called miraculous. They saw that the planet Mars has two satellites. Conceived as a satirical novel, however, Gulliver's Journey (1726) was able to make this prediction more than 150 years before its real discovery.
Early 20th century
The First World War accelerated not only scientific progress, as military technologies began to be applied in everyday life, but also gave impetus to new ideas. The famous science fiction writer Herbert Wells predicted the emergence of a new perfect weapon in his next military science fiction novel. Long before the physicist Leo Szilard justified a self-sustaining nuclear reaction and his participation in the Manhattan Project, he invented the atomic bomb. However, his version of the dangerous weapon described in the novel World Set Free was the size of a hand grenade and consisted of conventional TNT with added radioactivity. Only thirty years later, real atomic bombs flew to Japanese cities.
Once a clairvoyant came to the lawyer Alexander Belyaev and asked for his defense in court. The case was won, but the woman predicted for the defender not a successful career as a lawyer, but that he himself would become a visionary. And so it happened - the science fiction writer predicted the invention of an artificial lung, compressed air scuba gear, air pollution, spacewalk, an orbital station and space travel.
Also, another Soviet science fiction writer enthusiastically describes interplanetary spaceships long before their appearance. In 1923, the story of Alexei Tolstoy "Aelita" was published, where the heroes, armed with the idea of Nikolai Kibalchich and Tsiolkovsky's notes, build a flying machine for a flight to Mars.
50s of 20th century
In the post-war period, people not only wondered how to build a new world, but also what awaited their society in the near future. The rivalry of superpowers, the invariable redistribution of the world, uncontrolled free-thinking - everything that, in the opinion of many, led to world wars, had to undergo transformation in the future. George Orwell's classic dystopia "1984" (1949) introduced such political concepts as "Big Brother", "thought police", "doublethink". Isn't that familiar? His work also features police officers in charge of the city by helicopter, mass surveillance using video cameras installed everywhere, censorship and mass propaganda.
60s of 20th century
Of course, in the years of active space exploration, advanced science fiction writers could not help dreaming of a technically ideal future. Arthur Clarke's book "A Space Odyssey" predicted the creation of artificial intelligence, making the new HAL 9000 supercomputer both incredibly convenient and fraught with certain dangers. Do you start your morning with a cup of tea and browsing the news sites? So, this novel already in 1968 foresaw such a possibility, describing "electronic newspapers".
And science fiction writer John Brunner did not confine himself to newspapers, but described television, which works using a signal from a satellite. Also, the heroes of his dystopia "Everyone stand on Zanzibar" (1968) use a laser printer, drive around in electric cars and even quietly smoke marijuana - why not a prediction of its legalization?
70s of 20th century
The first mention of a half-robot-half-human we see in Martin Kaidin's novel "Cyborg" (1972). Its main character is deprived of one eye and almost all limbs as a result of a space accident. The miracle doctor manages to return the astronaut to normal life: they implant metal implants into him, improve vision with the help of a removable camera. Agree, what is not a prediction of bionic prostheses? And this is for 41 years of the first successful application!
Another fantastic work of this time is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1971) by Douglas Adams. The development of transport, the opening of new routes, the availability of travel to the farthest corners of the planet allow the writers to think that it would be nice to have a universal translator who knows all the languages of the world. This idea was embodied in a science fiction novel in which the main characters are forced to travel through the nooks and crannies of our universe. This dream came true 34 years later.
80s of 20th century
Universal computerization for people of this generation no longer seems so distant reality. Writers start to wonder - what will bring them the new world? William Gibson began to reflect on this in the novel "Neuromancer" (1984). This work not only used concepts such as artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, cyberspace long before its appearance in popular culture, but also received three prestigious awards at once - "Nebula", "Hugo" and the Philip Dick Prize, awarded for the best science fiction work. … Curiously, the novel itself was typed on an ordinary typewriter.
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