Science fiction has long been regarded as the genre that predicts the future or, at least, warns of what could come to be the future. Science fiction authors’ predictions vary from dystopic to utopic. Their ability to foretell the future will once again be put to the test on April 28 when a time capsule, sealed in 1998, will be opened at the L. Ron Hubbard 2023 Achievement Awards in Hollywood, CA.
Writers and Illustrators of the Future judges, some of the biggest names in the science fiction and fantasy genres—some no longer with us—were asked what education will be like in 25 years. “While we don’t know what was said, we know from experience that some of their predictions will be surprisingly accurate and some thankfully not!” said President of Galaxy Press, John Goodwin.
Goodwin continued, “The last time we opened a time capsule was in 2012 at our annual awards gala.” The capsule was sealed in 1987, and winners, judges, and special guests of the “Writers of the Future” annual gala were asked what the world would look like in 2012.
And here are some of the predictions from that time capsule:
Dave Wolverton, who would eventually become an international bestselling author and the Writers of the Future Contest Coordinating Judge, envisioned, “Introduction of X-ray microscopes in the early 2000s will lead to rapid progress in gene splicing. Look for rapid growth in medicine and mining and food production. We may also see bacteria being engineered to simulate parts of the immune system (which could cure immune disorders such as AIDS and allergies).”
Sheldon Glashow, Nobel Prize winner in physics, predicted, “The American economy will have experienced a gentle yet relentless decline. Our children will not live such comfortable lives as we do. The spread between the rich and the poor will have grown, and crime will have become so prevalent as to threaten the social fabric. The rich and the poor will form 2 armed camps.”
Sci-fi author and Writers of the Future judge Gregory Benford was close when he predicted, “World population stands at 8 billion. Oil is running out, but shale-extracted oil is getting cheaper. The real shortage in much of the world is water.” He missed it on “bases on the moon, an expedition to Mars — all done.”
Isaac Asimov saw a more chilling future, “Assuming we haven’t destroyed ourselves in a nuclear war, there will be 8-10 billion of us on this planet and widespread hunger.”
Orson Scott Card managed to get a few details right, “In 2012, Americans will see the collapse of Imperial America, the Pax Americana, as having ended with our loss of national will and national selflessness in the 1970s. Worldwide economic collapse will have cost America its dominant world role, but it will not result in Russian hegemony; their economy is too dependent on the world economy to maintain an irresistible military force. A new world order will emerge.”
If you are curious about predictions this time around, watch the time capsule opening at the 39th Annual Achievement Awards on Friday, April 28, 7:00 PM PST at www.writersofthefuture.com. We will post predictions online following the event.
L. Ron Hubbard initiated the Writers of the Future writing contest in 1983 to provide “a means for new and budding writers to have a chance for their creative efforts to be seen and acknowledged.” Based on its success, its sister contest, Illustrators of the Future, was created five years later to provide that same opportunity for aspiring artists.
The intensive mentoring process has proven very successful. The over 500 past winners and published finalists of the Writing Contest have published over 2,000 novels and nearly 6,300 short stories. They have produced 36 New York Times bestsellers, and their works have sold over 60 million copies.
The 370 past winners of the Illustrating Contest have produced over 6,200 illustrations, 390 comic books, graced 700 book and magazine covers with their art, and have 1.4 million art prints in circulation.