Fact from fiction
This article is actually an old one written by me for the SAPUC annual 06…and so i thought of giving it a second life with some extraa fittings…
When today we sit cosily reading some sci-fi novels, we must always keep in mind…that someday ,the technology we are reading about could really exist in the not so distant future…and lets not forget our very own day dreams!!!
Every major advance in technology mentioned in the last 200 years has featured in fiction far before it actually became a fact.Imagine that!!!
Some of the cutting edge technologies today were actually thought about by someone decades ago and probably inspired the inventors to find them.This rendezvous of science and literature was born out of the writings of mainly Jules Verne and H.G.Wells in the 19th century.some examples of their imagination are given below.Verne’s Classics like “From the Earth to the Moon” in 1867 and his”20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” were written well before their time and
talked about advancements in space travel and under sea voyages which are almost a reality now!
Wells too,in his,’War of the Worlds‘ ,which now is also a Tom cruise starring Movie,describes a “Heat ray” which resembles the lazer and also biological warfare,i.e. the Martians died due to assault of the terrestrial microbes. Wells also predicted gene splicing (The Island of Dr.Moreau) and coined “Atomic Bomb” way back in 1914 although his ‘bomb'(sets up continous chain reaction of explosives for several days)differs from the real one.They were not the only people with ingenious minds.In later years ,Arthur C. Clarke conceptualized the Geo stationary satellites in a 1945 essay.Robert Heinlein dreamed up the cell phone ( he called it ‘pocketphone’) in ‘Space Cadet'(1948) and also thought of microwaves (i mean the ovens).Asimov’s “Fantastic Voyage”,was an early take on nanotechnology which has a lot of potential now.
But surprisingly ,contributions have also come from sub-genres of sci-fi like essays,novels,etc. E.M.Forster thought of the television ,medical telemetering systems and an MRI machine in his novel “The Machine Stops ” and of course,it was William Gibson ,who coined the term ‘cyberspace’ and virtual reality in “Necromancer“. In addition to this ,Hacking and anti hacking measures and even computer viruses were thought of by John Brunner .
Regarding Biology(another of my favorite subjects),talks of illegal organ trade ,transplants,cloning ,stem cell research,etc.. were all once upon a time just fiction.
But What could we expect now in terms of the sci-fi predictions coming true.soon there will be human cloning ,cyborg brain implants,teleportation,effecient space travel(??) and while we are at it why not even flying on brooms like Harry Potter(couldnt help adding a uncyclopedia link) and playing Quidditch. 😀 (the Last one looks too distant!!!!).
But truly ,great minds are requied to separate this fiction and in due time create wonders in this world. I conclude with the Great Einstein’s words :”The Whole of science is nothing more than a refinment of everyday thinking”.
Thanks to all My sources