Back to the Future day came and went yesterday and I saw no sign of Marty, Doc or Jennifer in 2015. Another disappointment to those of us who want to believ in time travel. And the Chicago Cubs will not win the World Series as the second film in that series predicted.
In the original 1985 film, Back to the Future, they only had to portray 1985 and the past. That's easy stuff for filmmakers. In the second film, they travel to the future of 2015 and that's a lot harder to do. Predicting the future, which often focuses on technology, is tough work. Still, many writers and filmmakers have tried and will continue to try..
When George Orwell wrote 1984, he flipped his own year of 1948 and probably wasn't too worried about when his predictions would come true because he was hoping his cautionary tale might help prevent it from ever coming to be.
When Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey and the sequels 2010: Odyssey Two, 2061: Odyssey 3 and 3001: Odyssey Four, I think he was trying to be scientifically accurate in his predictions. Later, director Stanley Kubrick would have to update 2001: A Space Odyssey's technology and interpret the visuals.
Since none of us will be around to post online about how well Clarke was at predicting 3001, he was free from criticism. In that novel, 1000 years after Frank Poole was sent out into frozen space by the supercomputer HAL in 2001, he is brought back to life. That future is full of human minds that are connected to computers, space elevators and genetically-engineered dinosaur-like servants. Good old David Bowman and HAL are now one consciousness and those damn monoliths are still causing problems.
When the first film version of Orwell's novel was released in 1956, that horrible future probably still seemed quite possible. Thankfully, when the 1984 film version of 1984 was made, the Cold War had passed, but many of Orwell's predictions seem to have come true (NSA, privacy etc.). I think Clarke sets a good model for writers of the future: set the plot in a time after your own death, so no one can call you out for your predictions to your face.
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