Monday, July 13, 2015

Facts for Fiction: Tomorrowland: Our Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact

Normally when I write a Facts for Fiction posts, it's about a nonfiction book with facts or ideas that could be useful for writing science fiction. Tomorrowland: Our Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact, by Steven Kotler, reverses this by talking about science fiction concepts that are now reality.

This book is a collection of previously published essays about bionic people, mind uploading, terraforming the Everglades, flying cars, genetic engineering, asteroid mining, stem cells, and several other topics. We meet not just the people who created these technologies, but also the people who benefit from them. For example, we meet veterans who receive artificial limbs, a blind man who has his sight restored, and even a terminally ill woman whose passing is eased by Ecstasy and other psychedelic drugs. I find these stories particularly interesting because science fiction isn't just about technology but how people are affected by technology.

For me, some of the most surprising science fiction tropes coming to life include flying cars, asteroid mining, and biohacking of an individual's DNA. What's so surprising about the last one is how quickly the technology to do it has become widespread and affordable.

What science fiction staples do you think are most or least likely to come true? Feel free to share them in the comments.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds like an interesting book.
Teleporting, while it would be really cool, probably won't ever come to pass. Unless we find a way to fold space through a black hole or something.
Then again, a couple hundred years from now, who knows?

Sandra Almazan said...

I think teleporting requires too much information processing and power to be practical for macroscopic objects. But Tomorrow Never Knows what new development will happen.

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