Monday, August 5, 2013
5 August 2013
Alan Howard b. 1937
Mars Curiosity landed 2012
Mr. Howard has had a long career on stage and screen in Britain, and his one important role in a sci-fi or fantasy film is as the voice of the One Ring in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I've always loved trivia like this, such as Clive Revill being the voice of the emperor in The Empire Strikes Back before the role was taken over by Ian McDiarmid.
Many happy returns of the day to Mr. Howard.
Regular readers will know I make fun of sci-fi at least as often as I commend it, but it was one year ago today that Curiosity landed on Mars and began to send back data. This is a lot of amazing technical achievements rolled into one small package and I inaugurate a new label "real science fiction". Congratulations to all the people who made this happen. This is what the future was supposed to look like.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes released 2011
Prediction: "Still far from practical realization, the apparatus combines a portable television transmitter with a push button telephone. When the receiver is lifted, the image of the person making the call flashes on the screen. Fantastic as it may appear today, engineers believe that television telephones may become commonplace with a generation."
Predictor: Popular Mechanics in 1940, one of the many from the book The Future That Never Was, available on Amazon.
Reality: As you can see in the picture, they count this prediction as true because by 1960, TV phone technology worked, though they admit TV phones cannot be called commonplace even today.
Modern readers will also note two other unrealistic details. The woman is holding a receiver and she isn't naked.
Looking one day ahead... INTO THE FUTURE!
We get the last prediction from Larry Niven. It's about space, it's wrong and it's more than a little boring, one of the main reasons he is being given the heave ho.
Join us then... IN THE FUTURE!