I'd argue that atomic power skewed predictions, but less so than war. The biggest driving force for the rapid expansion of tech in the first half of the 20th century came thanks to the two World Wars and their aftermath. Nukes changed the nature of war as well, and actually decreased the risk of world wide conflict, but it also meant that conventional methods of fighting became the defacto nature of things and the progress became less exponential in nature.
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Posted 19 May 2020 - 11:01 AM
We have our own historical moment and could overcompensate in the opposite direction too.
The early twentieth century did have the first major industrial war, but for fiction in the vicinity of Star Trek, it's also worth saying that the first half of the century came with a series of huge breakthroughs in fundamental physics, none of which have been in turn overturned by something new since. The result is something like projecting future computing power in the 00s - people are still convinced that Moore's Law is a thing but numbers are hard, so everything will always be either a wild overestimate, or a wild underestimate.
Not just energy use, but (in the particular book I'm thinking of), the continued reliance on telegrams, land-line telephones, public smoking, and men's-only public spaces even as human clones were travelling between Earth and the moons of Saturn.
Shouldn't gravity be doing something?
Of course there's a figure of Rodimus as some kind of animal girl. Why would I be surprised by this?
Posted 19 May 2020 - 01:07 PM
I read an 1860s book about a gentleman officer "freezing" himself to 2000 obstensively for a bigger paycheck (because nobody would ever be just declared dead after over a century). The world portrayed featured high speed rail networks all over the country (basically a 19th Century version of Freeways - crossing hundreds of miles in a matter of hours instead of days), a sophisticated telegraph system that functioned for all the world like the Internet, television, women wearing pants, dirigible commercial and cargo aircraft...
It didn't have a world war analogue, but the US had a great inland sea after a giant natural gas explosion. Also in this world, nobody had yet to explore the North Pole.
Honestly, I was just in awe of how close the author got the day to day stuff. Money was also handled by both cash and a identity card.
EDIT: Addendum: I forgot that the whole "Freeze" (It was Cryogenics, but with an Electricity twist) wasn't meant to be for as long as it was. Something happened to the person he'd entrusted the capsule with, so he was never woken up.
Edited by Rust, 19 May 2020 - 04:24 PM.
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