Hardly anyone can have missed all the articles that check off the hits and misses when it comes to predictions about technology from Back to the Future.

That started me thinking about books I've read and how many of those that have relatively accurately predicted the time we live in today.

Since I grew up with a major sf fan I have inherited as many of dad's old sf books as I wanted. Many of those are from the 1950's and on.

Surprisingly many of all these books got most of today's technology wrong.

A big exception is Arthur C Clarke who apparently has predicted so many things - not necessarily the things we use from day to day, but still, quite a bit.

I can't say how many books supposedly set in the 'future' ie the 21th century, have completely missed the evolution of the personal computer, cell phones and the internet, many of them also television. Also, family structure is still stuck in the 1950's. I found it quite funny that space ships were run by a big ship's computer, but there was nothing else remotely 'computerized'. There was also just one expert aboard the ship who could handle that computer - the astrogator, I think he was called. And of course it was always a 'he'.

You'd think they would have been able to think of anything related to computers, but apparently not. There are references to 'the cold sleep' or 'the long sleep' (some kind of stasis or suspended animation), FTL-ships, all kinds of robots, clones, time travel and so on, but not computers, internet or cell phones.

However, there's a big exception that I found really interesting. My dad had two sf books by a Russian-Swedish author named Vladimir Semitjov. He came to Sweden in 1923, so either his books were quite old when dad got his hands on them or he wrote them quite late in life - or maybe both. Anyway, they contain references to 'video phones' that people carry in their pockets and that is about the only time I've ever read anything like it in the sf classics.

I can't say for sure if anyone has got the PC and the internet right - not out of all those older books, I think. Books written from the 1980's and on do better, but of course that's not all that surprising.

Source: http://crimsoncorundum.dreamwidth.org/144846.html