It should come as no surprise that Neal Stephenson – whose new sci-fi climate novel has just been released – is on this list. In his book Snowfall From 1992, he was already predicting a virtual reality that is not unlike the metaverse pursued by Facebook. And in Diamond life it describes what we can expect when robots and artificial intelligence take over: a new aristocracy of lazy and obnoxious people.
More remarkable is the presence of Suske and Wiske and the Cloud Eaters, a comic that Zimmerman says he read 300 times in his youth. Two megalomaniac inventors compete for power. In retrospect, that was very predictive, because in 2021, we will see commercial players like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk exert considerable influence on the progress of space travel.
Zimmerman also gets The world inside to, a 1971 book by Robert Silverberg. The story takes place in 2381, when more than 75 billion people live on Earth. In order to be able to accommodate all these people, almost everyone lives their life in gigantic towers, in which everything happens.
Where the shoe pinch is specified by two proverbs at the beginning of the book. Cicero says: We were born to unite with our fellow human beings and participate in the community of the human race. But Rousseau says: Of all animals, humans are the least able to live in herds. If they are herded together like sheep, they would soon perish. A man’s breath is fatal to his neighbor.
This last phrase in particular takes on a whole new meaning in these times of the crown.
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