predictions that came true

4 Fictional Predictions That Came True

Clockwise from top left: Screencap from Lone Gunmen via YouTube. Nuke photo courtesy of Wikipedia. Titanic photo courtesy of Wikipedia. Photo courtesy of Hiii Fii via Flickr.

Sometimes, fictional stories have an eerie prescience of the future.

Here are four predictions that came true:

1. The sinking of the Titanic, predicted by a former sailor’


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

In a novel by Morgan Robertson–a now-obscure writer–a ship named the SS Titan sets sail across the Atlantic one early April afternoon. It is “the largest craft afloat and the greatest of the works of men,” a ship that is virtually unsinkable.

Somewhere in the North Atlantic, however, in an attempt to break the speed record, the ship collides with an iceberg, breaks in two halves and sinks (p. 49), leaving more than a thousand people dead.

Sound familiar? The details are obviously uncannily familiar to that of the RMS Titanic, which set sail across the Atlantic in April, 1912, the world’s largest craft, unsinkable until it collided with an iceberg and sank.

A variety of other details are similar too, such as the (lacking) amount of lifeboats, the size and capacity of the ship, and the speed at which the ship was moving. Robertson’s novel, however, was written in 1898 – nine years before the Titanic was even being conceived.

2. 9/11, predicted by an X-files spin-off


Screencap from Lone Gunmen via YouTube.

It’s like Loose Change, or a run-of-the-mill InfoWars conspiracy theory: Forces within U.S. government wanted a justification for going to foreign wars, in order to increase their profits from defense spending.

To do so, they ordered a passenger plane to be crashed into the World Trade Center.

It’s not an online conspiracy theory, however – it’s the plot of the X-Files spin-off show The Lone Gunmen. Even more uncanny – the episode was aired in March 2001, 6 months ahead of 9/11. Watch an excerpt below:

3. The decline of Detroit, predicted by a ‘60s sci-fi writer


Photo courtesy of Hiii Fii via Flickr.

In 2010, despite a growing electrical car industry, the motor town Detroit is a ghost town due to closed factories. One of the only bright points is its electronic music scene.

That’s only one of the many predictions that came true in John Brunner’s 1969 novel Stand on Zanzibar, a futuristic novel set in 2010.

He also predicted the rise of China as America’s main global rival, the EU, foreign terrorist attacks in the U.S., mainstream acceptance of gay lifestyles and marijuana (but vilification of tobacco), satellite television, TiVo, laser printers, and in-flight entertainment.

4. Nuclear war, predicted by H.G. Wells before WWI


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Less than two decades after radioactivity was discovered, H.G. Wells predicted that the new-found technology would be used to create “the crowning triumph of military science, the ultimate explosive that was to give the ‘decisive touch’ to war.”

In the novel, which is titled The World Set Free and was published only months before the start of WWI in 1914, “atomic bombs” able to create continuous explosions devastate Earth in a massive war.

“Before the last war began it was a matter of common knowledge that a man could carry about in a handbag an amount of latent energy sufficient to wreck half a city,” he wrote – essentially predicting the suitcase nukes that were built 50 years later.

We measure success by the understanding we deliver. If you could express it as a percentage, how much fresh understanding did we provide?
Ole Skaar