Ray Bradbury: The man who saw into the future

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Author is now dead but his legacy lives on. Many of his predictions have come true

The birth of sensationalist news and a diet of gossip

Bradbury foresaw a move in the public's interest from the dry form of news in the 1950s to the more sensationalist types of papers and magazines on news stands today. He said no-one would mourn the passing of long-form journalism because they were all more interested in tittle-tattle. He wrote: "I remember the newspapers dying like huge moths. No one wanted them back. No one missed them."

Rolling 24-hour TV news

A factor always present in Ray Bradbury's work was the prospect of constant news being thrown at the inhabitants of his futuristic societies – similar to today's 24-hour TV news. Channels such as Fox and Sky News now bombard us as heavily as the organisations in Bradbury's world.

CD earphones

In perhaps his most celebrated work, Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury imagined "thimble radios" – which bear a remarkable resemblance to modern earphones. He imagines the character of Mildred as lost, swimming in an "electronic ocean of sound as she wore the seashells."

The omnipresent flat-screen television

"Parlor walls", flat-screen TVs which occupy entire walls in Fahrenheit 451. Montag, the book's main character, says it "is an environment as real as the world. It becomes and is the truth". His wife, Mildred, wants a fourth parlor wall (they have only three) for total immersion.

CCTV

He may not have been the first author to sound the alarm – George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four is an earlier and perhaps more notorious warning – but Bradbury's work addressed the coming dangers that he associated with constant surveillance.

The butterfly effect

The ability to travel through time has been predicted since HG Wells' The Time Machine. Ray Bradbury's time-travelling theory, which he expounded in Sound of Thunder, was that changing something – however minor – in the past could have some massive consequences in the future. It has become known as the Butterfly Effect and is still being referred to today.

Driverless cars

TV star David Hasselhoff may have got there before Google in the 1980s show Knight Rider, but Ray Bradbury succeeded in trumping both of them. In The Pedestrian a self-driving car roves around arresting people. And Ray Bradbury's love of artificial intelligence went even further. In I Sing the Body Electric!, the author explored the idea of sentient machines.

Cash machines

Ray Bradbury's novels were littered with several early references to automated bank machines. These machines helped to keep their users up-to-date with the state of their finances, much like today's modern cash-dispensing machines.

Twitter and bitesize news

A theme he explored was the influx of information snippets. "Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs ... chock them so damned full of 'facts' they feel stuffed, but absolutely 'brilliant' with information. Then they'll feel they're thinking," he wrote in Fahrenheit 451.

Social networking sites

The themes of Ray Bradbury's novel, The Wall – through which people are able to talk to friends – would be recognisable to many of the millions of people who today use the Facebook website.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Regional Support Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This role's responsibility also include operat...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

    £22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Microsoft Gold Partner for...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior 2nd Line IT Service Engineer

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for a job where...

    Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

    Day In a Page

    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
    Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy