10 Predictions By Futurist Sci-Fi Writers That Came True

1. Credit Cards

Prediction date: 1888 (58 years before the first credit card was conceptualized)


Author: Edward Bellamy

Publications: Looking Backward (1888 novel)

Bellamy came up with something called “Universal credit,” which allowed people to access their funds from anywhere on Earth. In the text, everyone had a card that allowed them to spend their “credit” from the central bank without the use of paper money. The first credit cards didn’t surface until the 1950s.

2. Tanks

Author: H.G. Wells

Publication: The land ironclads (1903 story published in the strand magazine)

Wells’ war machines 100 feet long, had Conning towers on top, and rolled on eight pairs of wheels, each of which had its own independent turning axle.The first use of real tanks wasn’t until 1916 at the battle of Somme.

3. Earbuds

Author: Ray Bradbury

Publication: Fahrenheit 451 (1953 novel)

In the 1950s, portable audio devices were enormous; however, Bradbury described “little seashells…. thimble radios” that brought an “electronic ocean of Sound of music and talk.”  Earbud headphones only came into popular  use in 2000.

4. Video Chat


Author: Hugo Gernsback

Publication:  Ralph 124c 41+ (printed in Modern Electrics magazine in 1911)

Gernsback described a device called the “telephot” that allowed people to have a eye contact while speaking across vast distances. The first consumer video chat wasn’t introduced until 1964. Today, Skype is  used worldwide and is a popular phone app.

5. The Moon Landing


Author: Jules Verne

Publication: From The Earth To The Moon (1865 Novel)

A century before it happened, Verne predicted many aspects of the 1969 Apollo 11 moon mission, such as launching of astronauts from a Florida site and the use of an aluminium capsule. He also provided accurate calculations of the energy needed to propel a projectile out of Earth’s atmosphere.

6. Nuclear Warfare


Author: Robert  Heinlein

Publication: solution Unsatisfactory (1940 short story in Astounding Science Fiction Magazine)

Heinlein told a story in which America develops an atomic weapon that ends World War II but later drives other countries into a nuclear arms race. It was written before the U.S. had even and entered world war II and five years before the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing. His vision of mutually assured atomic destruction accurately describes what happened in the Cold war.

7. Bionic Limbs


Author: Martin Caidin

Publication: Cyborg (1972 novel)

Caidin describes a man who suffers catastrophic injuries. As a result, he is given bionic legs that can propel him at great speeds, an arm that gives him amazing strength, and a removable eye that houses a camera. Development made in recent years have already made  bionic limbs a reality and may soon bring bionic eyes to commercial markets.

8. The Surveillance State


Author: George Orwell

Publication: Nineteen Eighty – Four (1949 novel)

Orwell envisioned a dystopian state monitored by an interconnected web of security cameras. Consider this-presently there are over 32 CCTV cameras within 200 yards of the house where Orwell wrote his book. Video surveillance is omnipresent today.

9. Satellite Communications

1. Skynet 5 overhauls satellite communications for UK forces 2. The largely autonomous satellites talk to two UK ground stations 3. Skynet 5 supports high-bandwidth applications, such as UAV video 4. Antennas and terminals are upgraded to make best use of Skynet 5. New battlefield networks, such as Cormorant, feed into the system 6. System gives commanders access to more information, faster.

Author: Arthur C. Clarke

Publication: The  Space-Station: its Radio applications (1945 manuscript)

Clark posited the use of geosynchronous satellites for telecommunications relays, especially for television signals. This was before the advent of commercial  broadcast television.

10. Electric Cars And More…


Author: John Brunner

Publication: Stand On Zanzibar (1969 Novel)

In Brunner’s vision, the United States of 2010 is led by President Obomi. The country is plagued by random acts of violence including school shootings terrorist attacks. Rechargeable electric cars, a new style of electronic music, supercomputers, genetically modified microorganisms, and people who discard marriage for ‘No-Strings Attached’ relationships are just some of the startling predictions made in the book.

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