Fascinating Chart is a History of Books that Predict the Future

It's often said that art imitates life. But, if the infographic Prediction or Influence? A History of Books that Forecast the Future is any indication, it could certainly be the opposite. The UK-based company Printer Inks compiled a list of books ranging from 1735 to 1990. In them, each author makes their own declarations on the future. Prediction or Influence tracks, in years, when these things were actually realized or invented.

Sometimes, writers' predictions were far off. From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne posited that in 1865, we'd have solar sails. In reality, they weren't successfully utilized until 145 years later in 2010. Other books were more accurate in their timeline. Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner said that in 1969, we'd have satellite TV. He wasn't far off. Just three years later, in 1972, was the first North American satellite TV transmission.

It's fascinating to study this infographic and to marvel at the creativity of fiction writers. They thought of some of the most now-ubiquitous things, like on-demand TV or in-ear headphones. The chart also makes us wonder – where does inspiration come from? Was the world influenced by the work of authors, or are these examples a series of awesome coincidences?

Printer Inks website
via [Laughing Squid]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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