Science fiction offers endless fun for those who appreciate thoughtful conjectures, breaking lateral thinking, and reckless leaps of imagination. Sci-fi has since invited readers to project hopes and anxieties out to a notional event horizon and understand possible effects. Every story set in the future, dystopian location, or in a galaxy far away has made some kind of prediction—sometimes eerily accurate—like that of Star Trek’s take on cellphone and Looking Backward’s surprising prediction of debit cards. And in many instances, science fiction writers have come up with technological innovations that have since become realities. Below are some must-read novels that have inspired future discoveries to add to your reading list.
Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
Altered Carbon is a bestselling novel turned television series featuring numerous futuristic technologies, including an AI in the hospitality industry (hotels). So far, this is the only innovation that the book has forecasted. This 2002 book follows ex-envoy Takeshi Kovacs, whose consciousness and skills were downloaded to a nicotine-addicted ex-thug’s body. He awoke to an offer: find out who murdered his last body. Kovacs soon found himself in a terrifying conspiracy across space to the top of society. Altered Carbon is set four hundred years from when mankind strung out across a region of interstellar space.
Heavy Weather by Bruce Sterling
This 1994 novel is a trailblazing climate fiction (sci-fi subgenre) that amazingly predicted the use of cryptocurrency, which has significantly gained popularity this year. Heavy Weather follows a theme wherein Earth’s climate has been drastically changed: tornadoes roam open spaces of Texas. And a group of computer experts and atmospheric scientists, called Storm Troupers, are trailing behind this incredibly destructive weather phenomenon. This ragtag band is tasked to hack heavy weather, document it, and spread information as far as digital networks will stretch. Bruce Sterling’s predictions were almost accurate, except it didn’t take until 2031 for the cryptocurrency to hit the market.
The Russian Madhouse by Rick Badman
Self-published author Rick Badman released his first novel, The Russian Madhouse, in 2019, and in more than one year, his prediction of flying cars became a reality. Just recently, a flying car took its first and successful inter-city flight. The book features other scientific and technological imaginative innovations that could possibly become a reality in the coming years. The Russian Madhouse by Badman is about automotive engineer turned director Dick Thurman who was employed at an underground research and development installation in Siberia. What seemed to be a simple research and development work turned an unexpected turn when Dick and his wife Kate got caught in an international and intergalactic feud.
Exhalation by Ted Chiang
Exhalation is a groundbreaking collection of sci-fi short stories. Ted Chiang features nine poignant stories, including a scientist who makes a shocking discovery and a woman who cares for an AI pet for over twenty years. The author explores inventions, the changing technologies, and their social consequences, as well as answer some of mankind’s oldest questions. This 2019 book predicted the invention of AI pets like that of Moflin, an AI hassle-free pet that learns to love its owner. Exhalation is an enlightening read of the benefits and consequences of innovation.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Internationally acclaimed and classic science fiction novel Fahrenheit 451 has also forecasted the use of earbuds. This masterwork is set in a bleak, dystopian future where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction. The story centers on the life of fireman Guy Montag. But his work is twisted, and instead of putting out fire, they start them. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, as well as the houses in which they are hidden. Guy never questioned his work until he met neighbor Clarisse, who introduces him to a past world where literature is much alive.