The power of words: Startling accuracy of authors who predicted the world we are living in today


It’s rightly said that words are powerful; it’s no wonder then that we should think before we speak or rather write! Stories and books have the power to shape our thoughts, beliefs and expand our world views– all of which helps us become better humans. And so authors, writers and thinkers shoulder a great amount of responsibility as they not only tell stories but through their writings they also have the power to influence readers the most. Throughout the history of literature, there are several authors who have helped shape the modern world– there some writers who not only visualised and wrote about a futuristic world, but also helped in ideating inventions. Meanwhile, there are some others who imagined situations much ahead of their times and surprisingly their fictional situations or worlds have come true in a few years! It’s true then that one should be conscious of the kind of energy and message they are sending out to the universe, lest one’s worst thoughts become true nightmares. Here we list down some such fictional scenes or situations which have happened in real life later, thus showing that authors too can sometimes predict an unforeseeable future. Read on!

1. When Dean Koontz predicted a deadly virus made in Wuhan

wuhan virus

In his 1981 crime-thriller ‘The Eyes of Darkness’, author Dean Koontz wrote about a deadly virus called Wuhan-400 made in Wuhan, China which had the power to kill hundreds of people. Now 40 years later with the Coronavirus pandemic originating from Wuhan in China, readers are amazed at the errie similarity between Koontz’s fictional world and the pandemic.

2. When Peter May wrote about the world being under lockdown due to a deadly disease

lockdown by peter may

Former journalist-screenwriter Peter May wrote a crime-thriller titled ‘Lockdown’ 15 years ago in 2005. In the book, May imagined London as the epicenter of a deadly disease which soon spreads to the whole world. As the title suggests, countries go under lockdown to contain the disease. The book was earlier rejected for being “unrealistic” back in 2005, but now as we are dealing with a similar situation due to Coronavirus pandemic, ‘Lockdown’ by Peter May finally got published in 2020.

3. When Arthur C Clarke predicted the internet

arthur c clarke wikipedia

In a 1974 interview, science fiction author Arthur C Clarke had predicted about the advent of the internet in the 21st century! The interview was recently published again by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). On being asked about how life would be in 2001, Clarke said in the 1974 interview that computers and the internet would become quite common. Although Clarke doesn’t call it the internet back then in 1974, he said that computers will give “all the information he needs for his everyday life: his bank statements, his theater reservations, all the information you need over the course of living in a complex modern society”. Isn’t that amazing?

4. When Amitav Ghosh wrote about a cyclone hitting Mumbai in his 2016 book ‘The Great Derangement’

amitav ghosh

The year 2020 has seen many situations which rarely happened before– be it a pandemic or cyclones hitting Kolkata and Mumbai. While people were shocked to know that cyclone Nisarg is about to hit Mumbai, that too in the midst of a pandemic, award-winning author Amitav Ghosh had warned about the calamity in his book ‘The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable’ which was published in 2016! Talking about it he told Mumbai Mirror in an interview, “It is uncanny and disturbing that something you had foreseen plays out in real life. I have been trying for years to warn Mumbaikars that this (a cyclone) was a real possibility.” He further said, “Mumbai has not been hit by a major cyclone in more than a century, so people have just forgotten that the risk exists. But this is just a historical anomaly- between 1618 and 1854 Mumbai was hit by five major cyclones, some of which destroys much of the city. In ‘The Great Derangement’ I’ve written about Mumbai’s vulnerabilities, which are indeed exceptional because it is completely exposed to the open ocean.”

5. When George Orwell wrote in his book ‘1984’ about a world where citizens are constantly under Government surveillance

1984 george orwell

In ‘1984’ George Orwell writes about a dystopian world where companies and governments keep a constant eye on people’s personal data and (mis)use it. Over the years with technological advancements, it seems like Orwell’s fictional world has come true. With most things going digital– be it transactions and bank details, online shopping, opinions and personal life shared on social media, etc– there’s little digital privacy left which can often backfire for users.

6. When Roald Dahl wrote about an attack on the tall buildings in the US, years before the 9/11 attacks

roald dahl james and the giant peach

Beloved children’s writer Roald Dahl wrote a fascinating and pretty harmless scene in his 1961 book ‘James and the Giant Peach’ wherein James and a bunch of misfits float away to New York on a giant peach. Onlookers assume the giant peach to be a bomb and they are scared thinking there’s an attack on the tall buildings in New York. “Far below them, in the City of New York, something like a pandemonium was breaking out. A great round ball as big as a house had been sighted hovering high up in the sky over the very centre of Manhattan, and the cry had gone up that it was to blow the whole city to smithereens.” If the description doesn’t ring a bell, then Quentine Blake’s illustration would surely remind you of the deadly 9/11 attacks in 2001 that shook not just America but the world. Have a look:

Truly literature not only makes us understand ourselves better and be empathetic towards others, it also helps us make sense of our world which is constantly changing. Moreover, if you are a believer of Karma or the law of attraction in the Universe then you’ll agree that our intentions through our thoughts, deeds and words – spoken or written- do have the capability to come true, even subconsciously.


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