Today, we are thrilled to be hosting the final stop in the blog tour for Mothership by Martin Leicht & Isla Neal. The authors are guest blogging here today with items they would include in a time capsule for their character Elvie to open in 2074.
Pregnant. In space. Yeah, things are really looking up.
It’s 2074 and Elvie’s unplanned pregnancy (with Cole Archer, who bolted out of town half a millisecond after hearing the news, not that Elvie’s bitter about it or anything) forces her to leave her best bud back on Earth and spend her junior year aboard a corny old space cruiser with forty-five other hormonal teen girls (one of whom just happens to be her arch-nemesis). Getting shipped off to the Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers was not how Elvie imagined spending her junior year, but she can go with the flow. That is, until a team of hot commandos hijacks the ship—and one of them turns out to be Cole.
Mothership is the first installment in a new trilogy from Martin Leicht and Isla Neal that has been described as Juno meets Pretty In Pink…but in space.
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We’ve spent the past few weeks picking contemporary objects (some silly, some serious) to put in a time capsule so that our fictional heroine, Elvie Nara, might discover (and, let’s face it, probably mock) them in the year 2074. For our very last time capsule pick, we thought we’d select something a little unusual—a look at past attempts to predict the future.
Since Cassandra during the Siege of Troy, mankind has been making predictions about what will happen in the future. These predictions—while sometimes meant to be taken literally—are often more a referendum on the current social and political climate than anything else . . . and nine times out of ten, they turn out to be pretty stinking hilarious. Here’s a look at three future predictions from the past (or would that be “past-future predictions?”) that we think Elvie would find interesting.
The source: The novel 1984, by George Orwell, published in 1949
What year did it attempt to predict?: 1984 (just an educated guess)
Just tell me what the book’s about already, so I can write my book report without reading it: George Orwell’s then-shocker of a novel is about a society tyrannized by a consolidated political group known simply as “The Party,” and its totalitarian ideology. In this dystopian future, Orwell’s characters are plagued with perpetual war, government surveillance, and public mind control (think: a crap-ton of propaganda and revisionist history). A privileged elite persecutes individualism and independent thinking as “thoughtcrimes.” The Party is headed by “Big Brother,” the quasi-divine political leader who justifies his rule in the name of the greater good.
What did it say would happen?: Totalitarian government; suppression of personal liberty; and “news” which serves no purpose but to toe the party line of the powers that be (your basic happy feel-good fun-time).
How accurate was it?: Depends what you’re grading on. Although technically Orwell missed his mark by about two decades, these days our society lines up nearly point-for-point with that of the novel. Not to get all ranty or anything, but today’s citizens are losing control of their personal information in a way that would cause Orwell to roll over in his grave. Often without our knowledge or consent (and sometimes at the express command of government legislation), we’re constantly being monitored through the likes of our personal phones and computers. It doesn’t make it any better, of course, that half of us are more than willing to share every last personal bit of information about ourselves with the entire world. (Speaking of which, you guys should totally follow us on Twitter! @MartinLeicht and @IslaNeal) And don’t even get us started on cable news . . . But don’t take our word for it.
Predict-o-Meter Rating: 9 out of 10
The source: RoboCop, directed by Paul Verhoeven (yep, the Showgirls guy), in 1987
What year did it attempt to predict?: 2030
Just tell me what the movie’s about already, so I can decide if I want to add it to my Netflix queue: In this vision of the future, the city of Detroit is in complete ruin—overcome by poverty and overrun by crime. Corrupt corporations control all levels of the city, even so far as privatizing (and making a profit from) the police department. When a young cop is brutally murdered, the corporation uses cybernetic technology to bring him back as RoboCop, an enforcer who seeks to enforce the law . . . but to do so, he must override the protocols programmed into his software by the evil corporate villains.
What did it say would happen?: Privatization of public services; cybernetic technology; and an abundance of perms.
How accurate was it?: Well, a good argument about the movie’s ability to predict the extreme movement towards privatization could be made here. Private security companies, private prisons, even private armies fighting overseas . . . it’s all at least touched on in this (albeit kinda silly) film. The world has also made massive strides towards cybernetic technology, as evidenced by artificial limbs, organs, and the dawn of true artificial intelligence. The perms, fortunately, faded from the popular zeitgeist.
Predict-o-Meter Rating: 8 out of 10
The source: Star Trek: The Original Series (1966 – 1969), and its many iterations (including the most recent movie reboot, which came out in 2009)
What year did it attempt to predict?: Crazy far in the future! It also makes repeated references the late 20th century and early 21st century—aka, right about now.
Just tell me what the show’s about already, so I can decide if I should make fun of my parents for watching it: The chaos of the aforementioned 20th and 21st centuries results in mankind flying through the universe in cool spaceships while wearing colorful pajamas. In the 1990s (a period, we learn, of great strife in the world) genetically engineered “super humans” rose up and became warlords who wreaked havoc across the globe. Nuclear wars and the fall of the current nation states lead the planet into a period of despair that was only ended when a scientist discovered the ability to travel faster than the speed of light (hello, “Warp Speed!”). While testing this new technology, Earthlings caught the attention of some rather serious, pointy-eared aliens known as the Vulcans, who would help the Earth slowly rise from the ashes and become the seat of a new, democratic alliance known as the United Federation of Planets.
What did it say would happen?: The fall of (current) civilization; nuclear wasteland; and Ricardo Montalban’s pectoral muscles.
How accurate was it?: The first two of these predictions have not yet taken place. Fortunately for the world, the third one has.
More impressive than any of those predictions, though, is the sheer number of real-life technological advances whose creation has been influenced—either directly or indirectly—by the show. Check out this article for a list of just a few of them.
Predict-o-Meter Rating: 6.5 out of 10
What would Elvie think of these predictions? She’d probably laugh, for the most part, or weep, depending. I also think she’d be glad that the world she lives in is free from most of the dire drama predicted by these examples. (Of course, what with her unplanned pregnancy and living on a low-Earth orbiting space cruiser, Elvie already has enough to deal with that we would consider pretty out of this world!) In the end, were we to predict our own future, we probably wouldn’t have been much more accurate than Conan O’Brien, as seen in this clip.
Other future predictions Elvie would get a kick out of:
Planet of the Apes (1968); Back to the Future Part II (1989); Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989); The Matrix (1999); and WALL-E (2008).