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Ten Billion Tomorrows: How Science Fiction Technology Became Reality and Shapes the Future

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Science fiction is a vital part of popular culture, influencing the way we all look at the world. TV shows like Star Trek and movies from Forbidden Planet to Inception have influenced scientists to enter the profession and have shaped our futures. Science fiction doesn't set out to predict what will happen - it's far more about how human beings react to "What if?..." - but Science fiction is a vital part of popular culture, influencing the way we all look at the world. TV shows like Star Trek and movies from Forbidden Planet to Inception have influenced scientists to enter the profession and have shaped our futures. Science fiction doesn't set out to predict what will happen - it's far more about how human beings react to "What if?..." - but it is fascinating to see how science fiction and reality sometimes converge, sometimes take extraordinarily different paths. Ten Billion Tomorrows brings to life a whole host of science fiction topics, from the virtual environment of The Matrix and the intelligent computer HAL in 2001, to force fields, ray guns and cyborgs. We discover how science fiction has excited us with possibilities, whether it is Star Trek's holodeck inspiring makers of iconic video games Doom and Quake to create the virtual interactive worlds that transformed gaming, or the strange physics that has made real cloaking devices possible. Mixing remarkable science with the imagination of our greatest science fiction writers, Ten Billion Tomorrows will delight science fiction lovers and popular science devotees alike.


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Science fiction is a vital part of popular culture, influencing the way we all look at the world. TV shows like Star Trek and movies from Forbidden Planet to Inception have influenced scientists to enter the profession and have shaped our futures. Science fiction doesn't set out to predict what will happen - it's far more about how human beings react to "What if?..." - but Science fiction is a vital part of popular culture, influencing the way we all look at the world. TV shows like Star Trek and movies from Forbidden Planet to Inception have influenced scientists to enter the profession and have shaped our futures. Science fiction doesn't set out to predict what will happen - it's far more about how human beings react to "What if?..." - but it is fascinating to see how science fiction and reality sometimes converge, sometimes take extraordinarily different paths. Ten Billion Tomorrows brings to life a whole host of science fiction topics, from the virtual environment of The Matrix and the intelligent computer HAL in 2001, to force fields, ray guns and cyborgs. We discover how science fiction has excited us with possibilities, whether it is Star Trek's holodeck inspiring makers of iconic video games Doom and Quake to create the virtual interactive worlds that transformed gaming, or the strange physics that has made real cloaking devices possible. Mixing remarkable science with the imagination of our greatest science fiction writers, Ten Billion Tomorrows will delight science fiction lovers and popular science devotees alike.

30 review for Ten Billion Tomorrows: How Science Fiction Technology Became Reality and Shapes the Future

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    My first impression, while reading it, was that this book borders on a waste of time. But, having finished it, I won't go that far in my review of it. The title is misleading because the author spends more time explaining why various "sci-fi" technologies will either never become reality or if they are it will be many years down the road, not in this lifetime for many of us, or if they do become a reality that reality will only bear a slight resemblance to the imagined technology in many books a My first impression, while reading it, was that this book borders on a waste of time. But, having finished it, I won't go that far in my review of it. The title is misleading because the author spends more time explaining why various "sci-fi" technologies will either never become reality or if they are it will be many years down the road, not in this lifetime for many of us, or if they do become a reality that reality will only bear a slight resemblance to the imagined technology in many books and movies. I thought this book would be an enjoyable and entertaining read but instead I found it easy to get lost due to the scientific depths the author went to to explain the why's and how's of the sci-fi technologies. If I'd had a greater overall knowledge of science this book would have made more sense. There were times that I found the book interesting and I would also add that I did learn little tidbits of information that I didn't know before. Ironically one of the chapters I found the most interesting, and possibly the easiest to follow is Chapter 6: Dinosaur Construction, about why it's unlikely that a real Jurassic Park could ever be created. I say ironic because I never had an interest in dinosaurs and I still don't. One more thing about this book that should be mentioned as it will most certainly annoy readers, I know it did me, is that there are typos and grammatical errors throughout. It's one thing to expect an error here or there in any publication since no one is perfect but I think this book had such errors in every chapter. Is proofreading becoming a dying art?

  2. 4 out of 5

    John Jaksich

    I felt as if the book needed more to say-- especially in light of the author's previous offerings. I did enjoy it but the contents of the present title seemed to give far too much little -- I wanted to read more on creative processes. But, I do recommend it. I felt as if the book needed more to say-- especially in light of the author's previous offerings. I did enjoy it but the contents of the present title seemed to give far too much little -- I wanted to read more on creative processes. But, I do recommend it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    George Lai

    This is the second book of the author’s that I have read. A very interesting take on what sci-fi writers and devotees thought at their respective times versus what is possible from an engineering viewpoint today and in the near future.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    So good! So much to think about.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    I have to say that I really enjoyed this. The aim of the book was to explore popular sci-fi technologies [such as force fields, ray guns, cyborgs, lunar bases, holograms, alien contact, and more than I can reasonably list here] and compare them against actual science. Actually, I suppose that would be a point of critique. It felt like he tried to hit on too many technologies [there’s sixteen topical chapters not counting the introduction and conclusion], so some of the topics felt a bit, well, s I have to say that I really enjoyed this. The aim of the book was to explore popular sci-fi technologies [such as force fields, ray guns, cyborgs, lunar bases, holograms, alien contact, and more than I can reasonably list here] and compare them against actual science. Actually, I suppose that would be a point of critique. It felt like he tried to hit on too many technologies [there’s sixteen topical chapters not counting the introduction and conclusion], so some of the topics felt a bit, well, skimmed over. Besides that, there’s a lot of interesting stuff in here about all kinds of topics. Mostly physics, since that appears to be the author’s specialty. I learned a lot about the properties of light and especially loved the story about the creation of the laser. Did you know that the word laser is an acronym for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation?” Well, now you do! Anyway a lot of the science stuff was easy to read, which was a plus for me since I have a basic understanding of science. There were only a few parts where my eyes glazed over, so that’s good. I guess a subtitle of this book could be “that technology in that sci-fi film/book/show you really like is actually impossible according to the laws of science.” I have to admit that was kind of a bummer. It’s funny to suggest this after just having said that the author talked about too much stuff, but I would have loved to know what he thought about other sci-fi things, like the race of Q from Star Trek. Or maybe the technologies of Portal, Bioshock, and other sci-fi video games. In conclusion, there was a good balance of science to the non-science and a lot of neat ruminations. I got this book out from the library, but I wouldn’t mind owning a copy for reference purposes. 4 out of 5 stars.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Scott Haraburda

    I had mixed feelings about this book. I had hoped it would've been about science in the science fiction that has propelled our intellectual creativity, accelerating the innovations of gadgets we use today. Instead, much of this book discusses impossible science and why much of the science fiction written will never become reality, which disappointed me. Definitely not inspirational. And, it contained many factual errors and had several spelling/grammatical errors that made me question the credib I had mixed feelings about this book. I had hoped it would've been about science in the science fiction that has propelled our intellectual creativity, accelerating the innovations of gadgets we use today. Instead, much of this book discusses impossible science and why much of the science fiction written will never become reality, which disappointed me. Definitely not inspirational. And, it contained many factual errors and had several spelling/grammatical errors that made me question the credibility of the author. On the other hand, I enjoyed reading about the sciences in many books I had read, bringing back fond memories. It is a worthy read for those interested in reading about a broad overview of the sciences in science fiction, especially those not interested in credible information. I won this book as part of the Goodreads Giveaways.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    The subtitle of this book is a bit misleading since a good portion of the book describes science in science fiction stories that isn't likely to be possible in any future. Still, it was an enjoyable read just to get an overview of progress in a wide variety of scientific fields from nanotechnology to biotech. I originally chose to read this as a bit of research into future tech for something that I'm writing, but wound up enjoying the book on its own. Part of the fun was the discussion of scienc The subtitle of this book is a bit misleading since a good portion of the book describes science in science fiction stories that isn't likely to be possible in any future. Still, it was an enjoyable read just to get an overview of progress in a wide variety of scientific fields from nanotechnology to biotech. I originally chose to read this as a bit of research into future tech for something that I'm writing, but wound up enjoying the book on its own. Part of the fun was the discussion of science as it appeared in a number of books, movies and TV shows over the centuries, being reminded of books I've enjoyed and learning about a few classics that I haven't read - yet.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mark Thurston

    I enjoyed this book and found it very accessible for the lay person with a general science knowledge. I found some of the literary history references tedious at times. I wasn't really interested in when invisibility was first referenced. I also found the AI section a little disappointing with too much time spent on chess playing software. The fact the Kubrick (2001) used an actual historical chess match to choreograph the scene with HAL playing the astronaut was an interesting tidbit. I enjoyed this book and found it very accessible for the lay person with a general science knowledge. I found some of the literary history references tedious at times. I wasn't really interested in when invisibility was first referenced. I also found the AI section a little disappointing with too much time spent on chess playing software. The fact the Kubrick (2001) used an actual historical chess match to choreograph the scene with HAL playing the astronaut was an interesting tidbit.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Barefoot Danger

    Not terrible, not great. Author gets a lot of details about Star Trek/Star Wars wrong, and doesn't really go into enough detail about the technologies he discusses. Also full of typos and other editing errors, which is always off-putting. Not terrible, not great. Author gets a lot of details about Star Trek/Star Wars wrong, and doesn't really go into enough detail about the technologies he discusses. Also full of typos and other editing errors, which is always off-putting.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    This was a Good Reads Giveaway & was quite interesting. If you're into Sci-Fi at all, or even Astronomy or Science, then you'll find this an interesting & informative read. If you're a Sci-Fi addict, then you DEFINITELY need to read this book. This was a Good Reads Giveaway & was quite interesting. If you're into Sci-Fi at all, or even Astronomy or Science, then you'll find this an interesting & informative read. If you're a Sci-Fi addict, then you DEFINITELY need to read this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Edward ott

    A good read that I got from the library. I only wish he would have touched on the biological sciences also .

  12. 5 out of 5

    Howard Sundwall

    Great book about how sc-fi sometimes becomes sci-fact.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    Much more science than lines drawn from the science fictional origins of the technology discussed to the science. Worth a read but mildly disappointing..

  14. 5 out of 5

    Yvette Ortiz

    I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway and I really enjoyed it. I am a big Sci-Fi fan so I related really well with the book. Highly recommend to other Sci-Fi fans.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  17. 5 out of 5

    Justin

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kursad Albayraktaroglu

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ebony Simone

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ivan Izo

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Neal

  25. 5 out of 5

    REB

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ian McInroy

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jovany Agathe

  30. 5 out of 5

    Projwal Shrestha

    Very Interesting!

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