There is a lot of rambling and discussion about dystopias these days. We read news about tumultuous presidency, murderous self-driving cars or unambiguous effects of the Climate change. So many books predicting future of today’s reality were written and published many years ago.
George Orwell’s 1984 is perhaps one of the best-known dystopian books predicting future. We often see this book as a barometer for government control and corruption. As things haven’t quite reached Orwellian levels, the theme of 1984 like surveillance resonated amid data privacy theft scandals and world of hackable laptop cameras. There are plenty of books predicting future which had foreseen the future in one way or another. Here are the few of those books predicting future very strangely yet somewhat accurately.
It Can’t Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis (1935)
The story of this book is set during the time it was written; The author, Sinclair Lewis, imagined the rise of a populist figure, Buzz Windrip, who rallies to defeat FDR in the 1936 election. This 83-year-old book has received some new attention for certain similarities with the current U.S. administration.
A recent article in New York Times outlined the similarities between Windrip and Trump. It states, “Like Trump, Windrip sells himself as the champion of ‘Forgotten Men’; he wants to bring prosperity and dignity back to America’s white working class. Windrip also loved big, passionate rallies and railed against the lies of the mainstream press.”
Debt of Honor, Tom Clancy (1994)
Debt of Honor is a techno-thriller novel by Tom Clancy. It’s a direct sequel to The Sum of All Fears; and one of the best book in Jack Ryan Series by Clancy. In this book, Jack Ryan becomes the National Security Advisor.
It was this book from Jack Ryan series in which the story climaxes with hijacked 747 crashing into the Capitol building. The novel is about a fictionalized conflict between the U.S. and Japan. The presence of a weaponized commercial plane put author and the book in the spotlight after 9/11.
Super Sad True Love Story, Gary Shteyngart (2010)
This is a more recent addition to the list of the books predicting future. The story is set in the near future and it’s more extreme than present reality but certain details resembles with present.
In the book, people meet each other through a dating service similar to Tinder; and instead of speaking to people they use a post-phone devices called an äppärät to stalk others digitally. Also reading declines in popularity and physical books become novelty objects. At the time of publication of this book, the social media was already popular, so it may not be count as hard predictions. But for books, the future isn’t looking so bright. A recent study shows that about a third of young people don’t read for pleasure.
This dystopian satire caught the attention of the New York Times a year after it was published for anticipating the Chinese debt debacle that resulted in the S&P downgrading the U.S. credit rating.
Feed by M.T. Anderson (2002)
This YA novel came out during the burst of the dot-com bubble and deflation; and world was uncertain of how exactly the internet would change society.
In the book, people have implanted chips in their brains which enable them to access the digital network known as the “feed”. From the feed, people can interact and share media; and corporations can use their data to send them highly personalized advertising. Thankfully brain chips are not a reality (yet!!!); but author deserves credit for the prediction of personalized advertising for target consumer with scary precision which is today’s reality.