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  • © 2017

All the Wonder that Would Be

Exploring Past Notions of the Future

Authors:

  • Looks at exciting SF predictions of the past and what has become of them

  • Explains how predictions were rooted in the scientific orthodoxy of their day

  • Shows how ideas popularized in SF subsequently influenced working scientists

Part of the book series: Science and Fiction (SCIFICT)

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eBook USD 19.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-51759-9
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 24.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

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Table of contents (12 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xiii
  2. Introduction

    • Stephen Webb
    Pages 1-42
  3. Antigravity

    • Stephen Webb
    Pages 43-66
  4. Space Travel

    • Stephen Webb
    Pages 67-94
  5. Aliens

    • Stephen Webb
    Pages 95-118
  6. Time Travel

    • Stephen Webb
    Pages 119-149
  7. The Nature of Reality

    • Stephen Webb
    Pages 151-177
  8. Invisibility

    • Stephen Webb
    Pages 179-202
  9. Robots

    • Stephen Webb
    Pages 203-228
  10. Transportation

    • Stephen Webb
    Pages 229-263
  11. Immortality

    • Stephen Webb
    Pages 265-296
  12. Mad Scientists

    • Stephen Webb
    Pages 297-315
  13. Epilogue: A New Default Future?

    • Stephen Webb
    Pages 317-329
  14. Back Matter

    Pages 331-344

About this book

It has been argued that science fiction (SF) gives a kind of weather forecast – not the telling of a fortune but rather the rough feeling of what the future might be like. The intention in this book is to consider some of these bygone forecasts made by SF and to use this as a prism through which to view current developments in science and technology.

In each of the ten main chapters - dealing in turn with antigravity, space travel, aliens, time travel, the nature of reality, invisibility, robots, means of transportation, augmentation of the human body, and, last but not least, mad scientists - common assumptions once made by the SF community about how the future would turn out are compared with our modern understanding of various scientific phenomena and, in some cases, with the industrial scaling of computational and technological breakthroughs.

A further intention is to explain how the predictions and expectations of SF were rooted in the scientific orthodoxy of their day, and use this to explore how our scientific understanding of various topics has developed over time, as well as to demonstrate how the ideas popularized in SF subsequently influenced working scientists.

Since gaining a BSc in physics from the University of Bristol and a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Manchester, Stephen Webb has worked in a variety of universities in the UK. He is a regular contributor to the Yearbook of Astronomy series and has published an undergraduate textbook on distance determination in astronomy and cosmology as well as several popular science books.

Keywords

  • History of Science Fiction
  • Antigravity
  • Time travel
  • Augmentation of the human body
  • Mad scientists
  • Space travel
  • Fermi paradox
  • Nature of reality

Authors and Affiliations

  • DCQE, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, United Kingdom

    Stephen Webb

About the author

Since gaining a BSc in physics from the University of Bristol and a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Manchester, Stephen Webb has worked in a variety of universities in the UK. He is a regular contributor to the Yearbook of Astronomy series and has published an undergraduate textbook Measuring the Universe - The Cosmological Distance Ladder (1999) as well as several popular science books, among them  Out of this World - Colliding Universes, Branes, Strings, and Other Wild Ideas of Modern Physics in 2004, New Eyes on the Universe - Twelve Cosmic Mysteries and the Tools We Need to Solve Them in 2012, and, in 2015, the second edition of If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens ... WHERE IS EVERYBODY? Seventy-Five Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial, published as part of Springer’s Science and Fiction series.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook USD 19.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-51759-9
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 24.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)