The Future and the Writer
Did George Orwell’s 1984 predict the issues we deal with today? Maybe. Sure, his story isn’t entirely accurate, but it does bring up some interesting correlations between fiction and real life—an overreaching government, thought police, and ideas of big brother. What makes it more special is that it was written more than seventy years ago.
For centuries writers have put pen to paper looking for ways to wow their audience. Creating ideas that have inspired others to make them a reality. Without these “dreamers” we might not be blessed with some of humanities most amazing creations, from airplanes to cellphones to computers, and more. These ideas-turned-inventions have not only developed a way for people to communicate worldwide, they have become a doorway into never-ending advancements.
Our society has reached such rapid achievements that we find ourselves living in the science fiction world of mere decades ago. Albert Einstein once said, “imagination is everything, it is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” A quick glance of bestselling books and movies of the past few decades shows the truth in this statement.
We Can Remember It for You Wholesale
In 1966 Philip K Dick wrote a short story, “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.” Years later, Hollywood studios would work it’s magic, using this script as a basis for one of its most expensive movies of that era. When Total Recall secured one of the biggest action stars of that time, it was sure to dominate the box office. Watching the movie in 1990, it was hard to imagine this world portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger… A world where one could escape the stressors of today and live another life… a world run by artificial intelligence… and a world with self-driving electric cars.
An iconic scene in Total Recall was when Arnold jumped into a self-driving Johnny cab. At the time, it was hard to imagine riding in a car controlled by a computer. Fast forward nearly twenty years later. Tesla made its debut in 2008, and ever since, other car manufacturers have been struggling to reproduce their version of an electric car with a similar level of efficiency. The stiff competition has already brought several varying self-driving vehicles to market.
Total Recall is only one small cog in the world of cinema, but it is not hard to see its ideas playing out in real time. For instance, in 1982, David Stevens introduced the world to his character The Rocketeer. A man who straps a jetpack to his back and flies around without the need of an aircraft. It would later be released by Disney in 1991. Although The Rocketeer wasn’t one of Disney’s biggest hits, it did garner a cult following. Fast forward nearly three decades later. According to a recent alleged sighting, on August 29, 2020 a pilot on American Airlines 1997 spotted what he described as a “guy in a jetpack” at nearly 3000 feet over LAX. It’s hard to say if the Rocketeer was the “Jetpack” man’s motivation, but it is hard to argue the contrary.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Although inspired by numerous sources, it is believed that the Joseph Campbell’s comparative mythology book, The Hero With A Thousand Faces, is what directly influenced George Lucas to gift the world with Star wars, in 1977. The movie was far ahead of its time, and to this day is one of the most renowned masterpieces ever created. Barely ten minutes into A New Hope, R2-D2 projects a hologram of Princess Leia, asking for help from Obi-Wan. Holograms have been around since the late 1940s, but through the imagery of Mr. Lucas, it was utilized in a way never seen before. Hologram technology has greatly advanced since 1977, and just this year a hologram of Vince Lombardi gave an inspirational speech during the Superbowl halftime show. This technology has also been used to draw crowds to late music icons by the likes of Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, and Tupac (to name a few). As holograms continue to advance and become more affordable, it is likely a person will be able to spend time with a loved one long after they’re gone.
“I know Kung Fu.”
1999 was an amazing year for the film industry. Keanu Reeves brought Neuromancer to life, a novel by William Gibson. The Matrix has had an impact on the world of philosophy like no other, bringing into question the idea of downloading computer information directly into one’s brain. Even today, the idea of this happening seems a bit farfetched; however, the race to do so has already begun. Many countries are actively working to be the first to connect the human brain to Artificial intelligence. In 2016, Elon Musk secretly started Neurolink in an effort to treat brain illness, such as dementia and Alzhiemers. Since going public, Mr. Musk has admitted to getting his idea of a neuralink from fiction. The ultimate goal of neurolink is to implant a device into a person’s head, allowing them to communicate with an external software or gadget, in an attempt to enhance humans. Many are unaware, but in 2020, Neurolink was granted FDA designation to begin limited human trials.
The evolution of cinema has provided fans of sci-fi thrillers an opportunity to visualize their favorite stories on the big screen. Leaving the world of black and white for the world of color and CGI cinema has given many authors a bigger palette to stretch their minds. This has helped with an explosion of new novels to be written over the last several decades. In his book, Brief Answers to Big Questions, Stephen Hawking’s states, “if you stacked the new books being published next to each other, at the present rate of production you would have to move at ninety miles an hour just to keep up with the end of the line.” With an estimated 2.2 million new titles published worldwide annually, one can only imagine the dreams that will be our reality in the near future.
With the explosion of technology, the ideas of an author can be realized within a few short years. I encourage you to write… to teach your children to write. It might just be their dream that changes the world of tomorrow.
About the Author
J.C. Lahoe resides in Northern Phoenix, AZ with his wife and daughter. Growing up poor, in a single-parent family, small town living helped to develop a healthy imagination. Such is life, learning to navigate through adulthood, and working through life’s challenges, proved to consume much of his time. He is once again able to tap into his mind’s eye, and explore a creative story telling gift, this time with years of life experience to guide him. His debut novel Project Evelyn is the first book in the Stanger in the Cloud series and is now available. Book 2, Extant, is scheduled to release in mid to late August.
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