John Brunner: The Sci-Fi Author who Predicted the Future


John Brunner was a British science fiction author whose works spanned over three decades, from the 1950s to the 1980s. He was a prolific writer, publishing over 100 novels and short stories during his career. Brunner was known for his ability to predict future technologies and social changes in his writing. His books explored topics such as artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and the consequences of overpopulation.

Here are some of Brunner’s most famous predictions:

  1. The Internet: Brunner predicted the rise of the internet in his 1975 novel, “The Shockwave Rider.” In the book, he described a computer network called “the data net,” which allowed people to communicate and share information instantaneously.
  2. Climate Change: In Brunner’s 1968 novel, “Stand on Zanzibar,” he predicted that the world would experience severe climate change due to human activities. He wrote about rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and the displacement of millions of people.
  3. Reality TV: Brunner’s 1975 novel, “The Shockwave Rider,” also predicted the rise of reality television. He described a future where people could broadcast their lives to millions of viewers, and those who were the most entertaining would become celebrities.
  4. Genetic Engineering: In his 1968 novel, “Stand on Zanzibar,” Brunner predicted the advent of genetic engineering. He wrote about scientists who could manipulate DNA to create new species or enhance human abilities.
  5. Overpopulation: Brunner’s 1972 novel, “The Sheep Look Up,” depicted a world ravaged by environmental degradation and overpopulation. He wrote about the collapse of governments, the spread of disease, and the breakdown of social order.
  6. Cybercrime: In Brunner’s 1980 novel, “The Jagged Orbit,” he predicted the rise of cybercrime. He wrote about hackers who could infiltrate computer systems and steal sensitive information.
  7. Virtual Reality: Brunner’s 1968 novel, “Stand on Zanzibar,” also predicted the advent of virtual reality. He wrote about a future where people could experience immersive digital worlds through advanced technology.

Brunner’s predictions were remarkably accurate, and his writing continues to be relevant today. He was ahead of his time in many ways, and his works are still widely read and admired by science fiction fans around the world.

John Brunner was a visionary writer who foresaw many of the technological and social changes that have come to define our world today. His books are a testament to the power of science fiction to inspire and challenge us to think about the future in new and exciting ways.

Photo by Ales Nesetril on Unsplash


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