Times Dystopian Novels Predicted Real Life Events

Science fiction can get eerily detailed sometimes, especially when displaying an imperfect, dystopian future. Well, at least we can comfort ourselves with the knowledge that it's all just stories, right? Well... not quite. You see, there have been times when dystopian novels have turned out to be terrifyingly accurate. From digital media to atomic bombs, we have seen things predicted in dystopian novels enter real life, many in the last few decades.

Now, that's not to say that real-life stories from dystopian books come to pass every day. We aren't in a totalitarian society where we hunt each other for sport, we're still able to breed, and the world isn't completely frozen over. But there are rare occasions where fiction starts to feel less like stories, and more like prophecy.

So which of these tall tales-turned-predictions do you find the most unsettling? You can vote which one you think is the most eerily accurate. Meanwhile, you can muse on which novels you think might be the next ones to come true.
Photo: _Gavroche_ / Flickr

  • "Fahrenheit 451" Predicted the Scourge That Is Reality TV
    Photo: vaincomforts / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0
    Real people sometimes come home, hop into a chair, and then watch television shows all about the lives of other real, sometimes deplorable people. This is entertainment now. We just sit, watch other people's lives, and ignore our own for a bit. Sound familiar? If you read Fahrenheit 451, you sure bet it does! You see, in this novel, everyone watches something called "The family." Basically, several walls of your home are screens that show the family and their trivial little problems so you can indulge in some escapism for a while. What's weird is that Bradbury predicted this kind of escapism TV back in 1953, before any of the current Kardashians were even born (that lucky man).
  • Tinder Is So Easy, But It Was Even Easier In "Logan's Run"
    Photo: Devlin Thompson / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    In modern culture, sometimes we don't have time for dating, so we turn to apps like Tinder and Bumble for assistance. However, we weren't the first to do that. In the novel, Logan's Run people don't really get married. Instead, if they needed to get some creature comforts, they would use a computer to find someone they wanted to have sex with. Then, if the other person was up for it, they would meet up and get busy. This prediction of casual dating technology comes from back in 1967, so it's actually hardly a new idea. 
  • We Currently Live Under "1984"-Style Surveillance
    Photo: Dallas1200am / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Who needs privacy anymore, right? 1984 certainly thought it was valuable, and made that point by showing a dystopian society in which we are watched all the time, no matter where we go and what we do, by an overseeing power called Big Brother. The thing is, this was written in 1949, before the days of home surveillance, airport cameras, and literally everything else we now have in our daily lives. No matter where we go, there are cameras all over the place. Now, whether Big Brother is always watching you depends on who you ask. Yet again, Orwell totally called it. 

  • "Stand on Zanzibar" Creepily Predicted Many Aspects of Our Current Society
    Photo: RA.AZ / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    This novel may have been written in 1969, but it had some Nostradamus-esque powers. The number of things this book predicted about modern society is astounding. School shootings, China being an economic power, the European Union, Viagra, Detroit's poverty, laser printers, On Demand TV, hookup culture, and even electric cars are all aspects of Stand on Zanzibar, and there are even more similarities. The only thing that it didn't seem to predict accurately was widespread eugenics, so let's hope we don't see that aspect any time soon. 
  • It May Not Be Soma, But We're On Drugs Similar to Those in "Brave New World"
    Photo: johnrobertshepherd / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    We don't exactly have group therapy the same way its showed in Aldous Huxley's novel, but we do help ourselves feel better in a rather similar way. In the book, there is a drug that elevates mood and keeps people blissfully unaware of their own miserable circumstances called soma. Given that many people nowadays use mood-elevating drugs, both out of necessity and recreationally, Huxley's predictions were pretty spot-on there. And he published this book way back in 1932!
  • H.G. Wells Predicted Atomic Bombs with Distressing Accuracy
    Photo: San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives / flickr / No known copyright restrictions
    H. G. Wells really seemed to have a knack for predicting the future in his work. Perhaps the creepiest one, however, is his prediction of the atomic bomb in The World Set Free. In 1914, Wells wrote about bombs being dropped from planes and that these bombs would be uranium-based grenades and would explode indefinitely. He didn't know how right he was, especially considering that he died only a year after the real atomic bombs were first dropped. It makes you wonder how he felt about his eerily accurate depiction of his future.