Quirks & Quarks

Ten Billion Tomorrows

Author Brian Clegg looks into how Science Fiction has become reality

Exploring the Science from Science Fiction

La Sortie de l'opéra en l'an 2000, hand-coloured lithograph by Albert Robida (US Library of Congress)
Fans of science fiction might be a little disappointed by how ordinary the future has turned out - with no flying cars, humanoid robots, teleporters, or moon bases.
But in his new book, Ten Billion Tomorrows, How Science Fiction Technology Became Reality and Shapes the Future British science writer Brian Clegg shows the subtle and significant ways that science fiction has shaped our present, and continues to shape our future. Mr. Clegg explores many science fiction scenarios, from tractor beams to cyborgs to cloaking devices, to look at what science fiction proposed, and how science has explored those ideas.

But he points out that the real influence of science fiction has been to inspire scientists to explore their fields in their own ways - and ask questions, in their own way, similar to the ones that science fiction writers ask: What if?