A Brief History of Sci-Fi
By Darren Gladstone
 

Date unavailable--A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a rebel uprising prevents the expansion of the new world order. (Star Wars)

3,000,000 B.C.--Early man discovers a big, black obelisk, which strangely resembles a PlayStation 2. Sony claims this is only a coincidence. (2001: A Space Odyssey)

1866--First sightings in the Atlantic of a "long, spindle-shaped object" that's larger than a whale...and faster. (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea)

1895--H.G. Wells invents the Time Machine to go into the far-flung future. The existence of Morlocks proves that you should avoid the subways at all costs. (The Time Machine)

1898--Martians attack England with unprecedented fury. While bullets and conventional weapons are useless, the common cold beats them back. (War of the Worlds)

1902--Chronicling the first moon trip, this silent movie shows that all you need to get there is a huge cannon to fire a ship at the man in the moon. (A Trip to the Moon / Le Voyage dans la Lune)

1938--Orson Welles reports on another Martian invasion. This time, they touch down in a field in New Jersey, and the common cold beats them back...again. Note to self: Remember the NyQuil when invading Earth. (War of the Worlds radio play)

1971--Three talking apes ("apenauts"), Zira, Milo, and Cornelius, crash on earth. (Escape from the Planet of the Apes)

1983--A freak comet passes close to the earth and kills off all cats and dogs. What's the logical replacement for cats and dogs? Why apes, of course! (Conquest of the Planet of the Apes)

1984--It's a bleak future where a handful of people control what we see and hear, tell us what to think and do, and basically manipulate the masses into believing that they have "free will." Hey, wait a second... (1984)

1987--NASA launches the last of America's deep-space probes. Capt. William "Buck" Rogers gets blown off his trajectory and freezes in life support, only to wake up 500 years later. (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century)

1997--Cyberdyne Systems creates the first computer to become self-aware as it links into the global defense network and initiates nuclear war (Terminator). Also, the year that HAL 9000 was created (2001: A Space Odyssey). Coincidence? 

1999--The 311 inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha are stranded when the moon is hurled from Earth's orbit when nuclear waste is ignited by magnetic radiation. What!??! It could happen... (Space: 1999)

2000--To distract people from the real problems in the world, the President declares himself ruler (in light of the 2000 U.S. presidential election, this doesn't sound too unrealistic) and forms the Deathrace as a cross-country sport. (Death Race 2000)

2001--Computer goes on the fritz and takes over the Jupiter mission. Why are all these computers going crazy around the year 2000? Did they foresee Y2K? (2001: A Space Odyssey)

2019--While we may not have worked the kinks out of genetic engineering, human-looking androids, known as replicants, start to become fully aware and are hunted down. (Blade Runner and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?)

2032 (rough estimate)--Cyberspace is in full swing as people profit from the flow of data. (Neuromancer)

2260 (rough estimate for stardate 1513.1)--Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise begins a five-year mission to explore space, the final frontier. (Star Trek)

2274--Taking the old saying "Trust no one over 30" to a new level, your palm glows red on your death day. Your choice: run or renew. At least you don't have to worry about aging gracefully. (Logan's Run)

3955--"We finally, really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! Damn you all to hell!" Bright Eyes discovers that he didn't just land on a planet of the apes. (Planet of the Apes)
 
 

Show me more CNET Electronics coverage!next

 
 
 

 Copyright ©1995-2000 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.