Reshared post from Jordan Peacock

The charts in the link are beautiful.

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A Chart that Reveals How Science Fiction Futures Changed Over Time

In the 1900s and the 1980s, there were huge spikes in near-future science fiction. What do these eras have in common? Both were times of rapid technological change. In the 1900s you begin to see the widespread use of telephones, cameras, automobiles (the Model T came out in 1908), motion pictures, and home electricity. In the 1980s, the personal computer transformed people's lives.

In general, the future got closer at the end of the twentieth century. You can see a gradual trend in this chart where after the 1940s, near-future SF grows in popularity. Again, this might reflect rapid technological change and the fact that SF entered mainstream popular culture.

The future is getting farther away from us right now. One of the only far-future narratives of the 1990s was Futurama. Then suddenly, in the 2000s, we saw a spike in far-future stories, many of them about posthuman, postsingular futures. It's possible that during periods of extreme uncertainty about the future, as the 00s were in the wake of massive economic upheavals and 9/11, creators and audiences turn their eyes to the far future as a balm.

A Chart that Reveals How Science Fiction Futures Changed Over Time

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