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Living in the Future: Classic sci-fi stories where their future is our present

An analysis of films or literature that was set in the future when it was written, but is now our past/present. You could look at how accurate it is, or speculate if anything is a self-fulfilling prophecy (such as the Big Brother shows named after Orwell’s book.)

  • I think this sort of writing is done fairly often, but what separates the forgettable from the memorable are the ones that identify why different works got the future right/wrong. Those that present this sort of analysis generally have a good understanding of the "present" era in which the story was written. Because, for most people, the future is an extension of how they things today. So for example, 2001. For all of Kubrick's attention to detail, the future looks like the 1960s in space. The modernist chairs, the short skirts on Pan-Am Stewardesses on space shuttles, and the non-collapse of the Soviet Union. People still use phone booths, but at least they have video. Using sci-fi stories as a way to get at the hopes of the era it was produced as well as hopes of the creators, would be one way to frame the issues. – rj2n 6 years ago
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  • This sub-genre of sci-fi has roots in early twentieth century Russian and Irish writing also. The best, shorter work, in the Irish side of the genre is Flann O’Brien's “Díoghaltais ar Ghallaibh ‘sa Bhliain 2032!” which Jack Fennell recently translated into English (“Revenge on the English in the Year 2032!”). It appeared in The Irish Press on January 18, 1932. You can find it in a recent collection though: “Revenge on the English in the year 2032!” in The Short Fiction of Flann O’Brien, eds. Neil Murphy and Keith Hopper, trans. Jack Fennell. 23–28. Champaign, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 2013. It's a brilliant speculative piece of fiction set in an entirely Gaelic-speaking Ireland in the year 2032. The narrator arrives in this world by way of futuristic ship which is reminiscent of We (in Russian: Мы), the a dystopian novel by Yevgeny Zamyatin from 1921. – ChristopherMcCarthy 6 years ago
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  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was originally set in 1992! It offered a bleak view of the world, would work great here. – Samantha Leersen 1 year ago
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