Six scary predictions that early science fiction authors got completely wrong

Since the genre's inception, science fiction writers have imagined what the future could hold for Earth and beyond. While their stories are often fantastical, many of them anticipated technologies that actually exist today, such as television and artificial intelligence. However, there are countless others who have made predictions that were absolute baloney.

1. Nuclear powered soap dispenser

While many sci-fi authors envisioned the possibilities of nuclear energy, Philip K. Dick's The Land That Time Remembered specifically stuck to the idea of ​​a society in which people washed their hands with “soap dispensers powered by the all-powerful atom,” and where “currents of soap flow forth by means of the forces from which the universe arose.”

2. Shoe that does your taxes

'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea' is still cherished and brought us Jules Verne's dreams of electrically powered submarines, tasers and other technologies unheard of in 1870. However, there's no arguing that his idea of ​​a shoe that pays your taxes – featured extensively in his novels 'The Cerebellum Quandary', 'The Cerebellum Quandary 2' and 'Gizbo: The Shoe That Does Your Taxes' – missed the mark ample, as such technology doesn't even exist today.

3. “I invented something called email. But it will never exist.”

From Harlan Ellison's completely misguided 1952 epic, “A Moon Adventure: To the Stars!!!”:

Lucas finishes uploading his daily biometric mission control log to Terra. He wasn't sure what the commanding officers did with his biography log, or if anyone even read it, but he liked the routine. You needed daily rituals to survive the gentle, centuries-long journey he made. He grabbed another caffeine capsule and turned to his co-pilot, Shepherd.

“What's the word, Shep?”

“Not now, Lu,” Shepherd replied. “I am devising a method for sending and receiving messages using electronic devices. It's like getting mail back on Terra, but in an electronic version. I call it 'email' and it will revolutionize the way we communicate.”

Lucas frowned. “I don't think 'email' will ever become a viable technology.”

Shep sighed and turned on the thrusters, spinning the ship past the speed of light. “You're right,” he said. “Email will never exist.”

Note: This story was eventually adapted into what is considered the most popular Star Trek episode of all time.

4. Something Ray Bradbury kept calling a “Turbo Fridge.”

Considered one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time, Ray Bradbury was known for his poetic prose, sharp political commentary, and deep knowledge of the human condition. So it's baffling that he repeatedly referred to a vague piece of future technology that he described hundreds of times only as the “Turbo Refrigerator” in his beloved “Neptunia” series. In one passage, his main character, Cyro, mentions “re-oiling the steering columns of my turbo refrigerator,” while another recounts Cyro “using his turbo refrigerator to staple documents together.” It's never made clear what the turbo refrigerator is, what it's supposed to represent, or if it's even a refrigerator, but it's clear that such a technology hasn't come to fruition.

5. The Edmonton Oilers win the 2006 Stanley Cup

Although Arthur C. Clarke's 1969 short story “The Dying Star Screams 'Ouch'” remains a staple of the genre, the prediction that the Edmonton Oilers would win the Stanley Cup in 2006 was plainly incorrect. Read for yourself:

Andromeda stepped back in horror, only to feel her proton backplate hit the cold, unforgiving steel of the mainframe's terminal. She was imprisoned.

“You can't go anywhere now, Empress,” Gleebamax sneered, setting his wristwatch to 'EXPLODE'. “The Babylon Protocol has already been uploaded to the central codex – all that remains is the final compilation. Then your pathetic species will fall to their knees, the Tachyon Core will crumble, and in thirty-seven years the Edmonton Oilers will defeat the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals in a seven-game thriller.

“No!” Andromeda shouted. Gleebamax laughed and then fired his wristwatch. He exploded.

6. The terminal virus that is modern capitalism is spreading to every organ of human society, causing quantifiable violence against the most vulnerable, destroying the planet in a hellfire apocalypse and infecting our governments until democracy becomes a twisted parody of itself becomes – we too All developing hooves

This prediction was very close! But Ursula K. Le Guin did If the hooves are wrong, it is noted as a miss on the scorecard. ♦

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