As Ben Cerveny, an original Flickr team member and currently a technology industry consultant puts it, "Science fiction has transformed modern culture on multiple occasions. Exploration and innovation are often driven by pop-cultural imagination. Jules Verne's works on fantastic voyages gave people a conceptual framework for the first air flights and even for the 'voyage' of motion pictures themselves. Remember, some of the very first big screen hits were Méliès' turn-of-the-century films A Trip to the Moon and Impossible Voyage. Heinlein; (Gene) Roddenberry and everyone's favorite cult overlord, L. Ron Hubbard, were all buddies with the nerds busily inventing space flight and defense technologies at JPL, Hughes and Rocketdyne, among others. LA was a hotbed of space/military/sci-fi cultural overlap in the '50s. Who would fund interstellar spaceflight projects if it weren't for the promise of buxom, blue babes awaiting the travelers?"
It's worth taking a look, then, at the fictional inspirations for some of the things that are making the modern world modern.
For example, in Neal Stephenson's 1992 novel Snow Crash, we encounter for the first time a fully realized 3D virtual world. The so-called metaverse became a model for today's virtual worlds, including Second Life and There.com, and for a wider view of virtual reality in general. The book's main character, Hiro Protagonist, even inspired Xbox creator J Allard's gamer tag.
Captions: Daniel Terdiman
July 6, 2007 12:32 PM PDT
Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET News.com
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