Predictions from 1987
Twenty-five years ago, L. Ron Hubbard (yes, the founder of Scientology, who was also a science fiction writer), asked prominent sci-fi writers to predict what 2012 would look like. (You can read their predictions in “the time capsule.”) The responders included Isaac Asimov, Gregory Benford, Orson Scott Card, Gene Wolfe, and other prominent writers of the time.
In a nutshell, these writers got the broad strokes of now right: burgeoning population, economic decline, the rise of other countries, changes in technology, etc. But, they got the fine details wrong—or were a bit off-base concerning them. Our population is not quite 8 billion yet; we’re a just squick over 7 billion. HIV/AIDS is not the leading cause of death in the world. (According to WHO, HIV/AIDS is the sixth overall.) Japan and the Soviet Union aren’t the economic powerhouses ruling the world. (That’s, China, btw. And none of the predictors saw the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union coming.) Our economy didn’t slump in a “gentle yet relentless decline” but in a series of burst bubbles. (Although, taken overall, that might be seen as relentless.) You get the picture.
The other thing that struck me about these predictions from 1987--was that they were mired in 1987. AIDs was new. The Cold War was still on. Japan’s economy was booming—and moving in on ours. Actually, that’s not surprising because, even if we’re writing about the future, we’re really writing about now. We’re just projecting our fears and desires of today on tomorrow.
What are your predictions for 2037?
The League of Extraordinary Writers is a group of debut YA authors who write science fiction and dystopian works. The ten of us have works that run the gamut of near-future mind control to far-future space travel, but they do have one thing in common: a future where the Earth we know now is twisted, gone.