Saturday, September 21, 2013

7 Eerie Ways That H.G. Wells Predicted the Future

Policymic - If H.G. Wells were still alive, September 21 would be his 147th birthday. Who knows, he is one of the greatest science fiction writers, he might have figured out a way to live forever and is hiding out somewhere. Shake your head all you want at the unlikeliness of that idea, but take a moment to consider the seven things below that he predicted well before they actually were invented and you might reconsider.

1. Heat Rays

The Martian invaders in Wells' 1898 War of the Worlds relied on a heat ray as their primary weapon. "Slowly a humped shape rose out of the pit, and the ghost of a beam of light seemed to flicker out from it. Forthwith flashes of actual flame, a bright glare leaping from one to another, sprang from the scattered group of men. It was as if some invisible jet impinged upon them and flashed into white flame. It was as if each man were suddenly and momentarily turned to fire."

The U.S. military has developed its own heat ray weapon. The Active Denial System, designed to be a non-lethal weapon against enemy troops, projects a wavelength that causes an intense burning sensation without leaving permanent damage. The U.S. Marines demonstrated the weapons maritime uses just last week.

2. Genetic Engineering

A central theme in 1896's The Island of Doctor Moreau is genetic engineering, specifically animal modification. "I began with a sheep, and killed it after a day and a half by a slip of the scalpel. I took another sheep, and made a thing of pain and fear and left it bound up to heal. It looked quite human to me when I had finished it; but when I went to it I was discontented with it."

Wells envisioned actually sewing parts of creatures together to make a new whole. In reality, genetic science works in a more exacting way and given us everything from herbicide tolerant crops to glow-in-the-dark cats.
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