A scene from the movie “Running Man” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
During the golden age of science fiction, the 2020s seemed like a pretty distant future with flying cars and intergalactic travel. In reality, achieving such technological progress turned out to be a bit more difficult. On the other hand, many of the prophecies of writers and futurists made decades ago seem to be coming true. KP.RU recalled seven works from the past, the action of which takes place today.
SHOW WITH BLOOD
The novel The Running Man by Stephen King.
Year of creation: 1982.
Action time: 2025.
Plot: The economic crisis in the United States has divided people into ultra-rich and ultra-poor. There is huge unemployment in the country, and perhaps the only opportunity for the poor to obtain capital is by participating in cruel television shows with actual murders.
And what really: Stephen King correctly predicted the emergence of reality TV, which flourished at the beginning of the 21st century. However, these days they are being replaced by internet broadcasts (streaming) and video chats. Inequality in the Western world has also become much greater. It is no coincidence that the streets of European and American cities can so often be seen protesting by angry residents, from French “yellow vests” and black BLM workers in the United States to striking nurses, truckers and construction workers. airports that demand to increase their salaries
TOTALITARIANISM OF INFORMATION
Islands in the Net by Bruce Sterling
Year of creation: 1983.
Action time: 2023
Plot: There is an extensive computer network on Earth, but it is completely controlled by powerful corporations. They are being fought by “freedom of information fighters” who are waging a non-guerrilla war against the monopolists. Wars are being fought, even with the help of controlled flying machines.
And what really: the novel, despite the fact that it was written 40 years ago, foresaw the development of the Internet (in fairness, let’s note that the beginnings of the World Wide Web already existed at that time) and the appearance of combat drones. . What can be discussed is the total control of the information. On the other hand, the influence of large technology companies (for example, Google or Amazon) and the services they possess is already so great that they can easily be compared to small states.
HOLE IN THE SKY
The film “Highlanders 2”
Year of creation: 1991.
Action time: 2024.
Plot: The ozone layer on Earth has been so depleted that an electromagnetic shield must be placed over the planet’s surface, saving people from death under scorching rays. You can’t see the blue sky, and everyone who risks leaving the cities will die.
And what really: according to scientists, the earthlings achieved the impossible – the ozone layer began to recover (this was facilitated by the ban on the use of freon refrigerant gas in refrigerators). If all goes in the same spirit, by the middle of this century the ozone “umbrella” on Earth will reach the same state it was in before 1980.
Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robertson
Year of creation: 1993.
Action time: 2026.
Plot: The first Russian-American ship with a hundred colonists is sent to Mars. There, the earthlings are building a society that is much more attractive than their homeland, so migrants rush from Earth to the Red Planet in search of a happy life.
And what really: The main enthusiast for the colonization of Mars is now an American businessman, one of the richest people in the world, Elon Musk. Last year he promised that he would launch the first manned flight to Mars in 2029 (almost on time with the book). However, before the construction of real settlements on the Red Planet, humanity, apparently, is still a long way off.
The Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler
Year of creation: 1998.
Plot: Surprisingly, one of the main events of the book is the US presidential election, in which one of the candidates with the slogan “Make America Great Again” wins (just like Donald Trump).
Having won, the politicians build a fundamentalist Christian state in the United States in the most radical way. Slavery is reintroduced, with slaves now controlled by electronic collars, and the authorities announce a new crusade against the infidels to cleanse America.
And what really: Donald Trump ruled America in 2016-2020 (that is, 12 years before the events of the book) and the idea of building a fence on the border with Mexico to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the United States it became the limit of his radicalism. Nor is it necessary to talk about some kind of sowing of traditional values in America, rather the opposite. However, Trump is going to return to the presidency in 2024. Perhaps then he will try to bring the plot of the novel to life?
The novel “Friend of the Earth” by T. Koragessan Boyle.
Year of creation: 2000.
Action time: 2025.
Plot: People live more than 100 years, but this does not bring them happiness, because the nature of the planet is almost destroyed, including wild and domestic animals, and residential areas are built on the site of former reserves. There is not even a variety of food left – everyone eats rice and drinks rice vodka.
And what really: The expectations of a climate catastrophe due to the overexploitation of the Earth by man in recent years have perhaps become the main fear of the world community. And some gloomy forecasts have already begun to be confirmed: for example, the last eight years have become the hottest in the last two centuries. In order to avoid ecological collapse, the “advanced part of humanity” is trying to abandon oil and coal, switch to vegetarianism and change their clothes less often. But on a global scale, it’s still not working very well… By the way, people also began to live noticeably longer. Here, too, the author’s prediction can come true.
Movie “Son of Man”
Year of creation: 2006.
Action time: 2027.
Plot: The people on the planet were struck by infertility. Consequently, the living generation may be the last. Logically, this leads to a realm of chaos and violence, a true post-apocalypse.
And what really: the world population continues to grow (and recently crossed the mark of 8 billion people). But, basically, the growth of the human population is given by the poor countries of Africa and Asia. But in the developed countries of the West, the demographic situation is declining rapidly. Furthermore, even China’s 1.5 billion population began to decline. But the scariest thing is that according to the results of recent studies, male fertility (the ability to conceive a child) has decreased by 50% in the last 50 years.
ASK THE EXPERT
What are science fiction writers writing about now?
Sergei Lukyanenko, writer, author of the Dozorov literary universe:
In Russia, the genre of romantic fiction has recently become especially popular. This is such a niche product aimed at a female audience, telling how, for example, the most ordinary girl with a bunch of problems fell in love with a conditional “dark lord” and “melts her cold heart” for 10 books, to sometimes with erotic overtones. It attracts an audience of ladies of all ages.
For men, stories about ordinary guys are popular, who, in the course of history, become talented commanders or statesmen. We are talking about “falling into”, when the main character somehow finds himself in another world or in our past, where he teaches the local king or Comrade Stalin to defeat enemies.
Another trending topic is “network adventures”, where the action takes place in virtual worlds. Such jobs are in many ways similar to RPGs: the hero “pumps” the character, raises his level, solves “quests”.
By the way, it is necessary to note one more trend that is now as popular as the post-apocalypse, when the book takes place after a global cataclysm, for example, a nuclear war or an epidemic.
Of course, classic science fiction is still in demand, which may not be as dynamic or entertaining, but it does raise more serious questions. At the same time, I want to note that today’s authors are much more pessimistic, and the number of works depicting a “bright picture of the future” has decreased by an order of magnitude. I think this is due to general world tension, both in politics and in other areas.
If we talk in general about the events of the last times, then science fiction writers managed to accurately predict current world problems to a sufficient extent. Writers have long been talking about the possibility of a “hot spot” in Ukraine. There were also forecasts related to the possibility of epidemics of new diseases, so it cannot be said that everything that happened was “a bolt from the blue” for science fiction writers.