To start with, Robert Heinlein’s Future History Series.
Book One: Methuselah’s Children
The book is set in in the 2100s. Heinlein dates himself only a couple of times, even with all of the high-tech talk he ventures into. The science itself sounds pretty legit to me, although he uses terms that are completely foreign, naturally, because he has to make up the name of something before it exists. The “view phone”, a totally on-target future device (for him) since we now use our phones for exactly that, to view photos and videos and even talk to each other by video like in the book.
That’s some good tech predicting.
The thing is, we use that device right now, in 2014, and the people in the book use it in 2136. We now know that by 2136, if our technology continues to increase, we will have implants or other such devices that will be streamlined into our brains (or something else that my 21st century brain hasn’t imagined). Hard to fault him for that…!
Here I am in 2014, listening to a book written in the 1940s and 50s, about the year 2136. Heinlein simply does a phenomenal job of seeming modern, of being modern. Of knowing exactly what he’s talking about, or at least sounding like he does. I’ve read old-timey sci-fi books before, more like the style of perhaps early Pohl, ones that make you think of Star Trek in the 60s with their huge computer knobs, but this writing is more sophisticated for its time. (I’ll have to read Pohl again soon to double-check that.)
More about Heinlein’s first Future History book, Methuselah’s Children, in the next post…