Authorial Oracles: 5 Dystopian Writers Who Speculated Accurately

Dystopian and science fiction authors have been acting as the world’s literary clairvoyants for some time now. Here are a handful of twentieth century authors and the predictions they made that have already come true:

fahrenheit451cover5. Ray Bradbury and Facebook

After a long day of work, you may log onto your Facebook account to check your messages and wall posts alongside the 1.11 billion other people who have registered for the social networking platform. In doing so, you’re not too different from the characters who populate Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

In Fahrenheit 451, people communicate to their digital friends through “The Wall,” so it’s pretty suspicious that Facebook is using the same vocabulary just a half century after 451 was published.

4. E.M. Forster and 24/7 Computer Networking

Anyone who witnessed the birth of computers and technology could have predicted an age where computers run everything. But the first electric binary programmable computer wasn’t invented until 1936 —so it’s a little eerie that E.M. Forster predicted constant computer connectivity as early as 1909.

Forster’s The Machine Stops is bizarrely prophetic.  Not only does he create a world that is dependent on technology for survival, but the characters of The Machine Stops also communicate through screens.

A bit Skype-like, don’t you think?

1984cover3. George Orwell and Big Brother

George Orwell’s prediction and potentially worst nightmare has come true: Big Brother is always watching. 1984’s themes of constant surveillance are upon us. In Orwell’s world, the Thought Police constantly monitor the speech and activity of citizens in order to avoid heresy.

This is shockingly similar to the recent outbreak of NSA (and other domestic spying programs) scandals regarding the mining of phone and internet data in order to catch terrorists. Although we don’t live in  Orwell’s Airstrip One, we’re still caught up in government espionage.

2.  Aldous Huxley and Playing God

Huxley’s Brave New World begins with a tour of the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, where humans are made and conditioned for the new world via genetic engineering. Though it may seem a little far-fetched, this kind of project is already underway.

In July 2013, DARPA (The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) solicited a new project called “Advanced Tools for Mammalian Genome.” The experiment will add a 47th artificial chromosome to our regular 46. Ultimately, its purpose is to engineer humans using synthetic biology.


1. H.G Wells and World War II

The creepiest—and by far most accurate—prediction is H.G Wells’ premonition of World War II in The Shape of Things to Come. The story was written in 1933 and forecasts a Second World War that begins by 1940 and is sparked by a clash between Germany and Poland.

It is strange, considering the German invasion of Poland in 1939 was the kick-off to the six-year long global war.

That, and the fact that Wells also predicted atomic bombs.


– Contributed by Lisa Niro

Still interested? Here are some full articles on our present day dystopia:

Chronology of the NSA Scandal:

DARPA and Bioengineering:


One thought on “Authorial Oracles: 5 Dystopian Writers Who Speculated Accurately

  1. What a fantastic post! I had no idea Wells was so uncannily prophetic in The Shape of Things to Come – you’ve inspired me to go and search for it among my bookshelves. I think Wells was also the first person to use the phrase ‘atomic bomb’, which makes sense given what you say here.

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