As we bid farewell to 2008, it’s time to find out what the new year will hold. Amazing technologies? Alien lifeforms? Giant monsters? We look at science fiction’s predictions for the year 2009.
A Giant Monster Will Destroy New York (Cloverfield (2008)): On Saturday, May 23, a giant monster, probably of extraterrestrial origin, will tear through New York. It will also carry with it a set of killer parasites. At the time of the initial attack, the monster will be a mere newborn, suggesting that this first round of destruction is just the beginning.
We Will Perfect Time Travel and Upload Our Consciousness to Computers (Freejack (1992)): In 2009, we will use time travel to steal bodies from the past moments before death. The still-living bodies will then be sold to the highest bidder, who may have already uploaded their consciousness to a machine. The lucky buyer will then take over the stolen body and start life anew.
Artificial Intelligence Will Run Our Lives (Silver Hawk (2004)): In 2009, Professor Ho Chung will develop a wearable AI that will improve our very existence. The device will detect our every vital sign, every whim, and every need, and a robot attendant will provide us with food and drink, instruct us to exercise, or whatever else we require. And, of course, an evil fellow with a British accent will try to use it to take over the world.
President Cheney Will Pass the Patriot Act III (Death of a President (2006)): After the assassination of President Bush in 2006, blame for his death was erroneously laid upon a Syrian-born man. President Cheney authorized attacks against Syria and Iran and was reelected, Tony Blair stepped down to join Cheney’s Anti-Assassination Commission, and misery climbed along with gas prices. (You don't remember any of this?) Next year, Cheney will go to war with Cuba over the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, extend surveillance over Iranian and Arab Americans, and convince Congress to pass a new version of the Patriot Act.
Americans Will Struggle Through a Post-Apocalyptic Existence (The Postman by David Brin (1985)): Seventeen years after an apocalyptic event, Americans will continue to live without a postal service, radio system, or central government. Instead, they will live in isolated communities, waiting for signs of civilization's return. And, in 2009, a man in a postal uniform will start visiting these communities, carrying with him what appears to be a letter from the provisional government with promises for a better future.
The World Will Face Life Without Oil (We Were Warned: Tomorrow’s Oil Crisis (2008)): In September 2009, a Category 5 hurricane will demolish the oil drilling an delivery systems in Texas. Three days later, a terrorist group will attack Saudi Arabia’s largest oil refineries, choking off much of the world’s supply of oil. Faced with a global energy crisis, the world’s governments will race to find new sources of oil and explore alternative forms of energy.
America’s Computer Systems Will Be Destroyed (Dark Angel (2000)): On June 1, 2009, a terrorist group will detonate an electromagnetic pulse over the United States, disabling most of the country’s computer and communications systems. The result will be devastating, and even a decade later the country will continue to struggle. Earlier in the year, a group of genetically engineered children will escape from a government lab.
Humanity Will Go to War with an Alien Race (The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (1982)): In 2009, the Zentradi fleet will arrive, looking for an enemy spacecraft that crash landed on Earth ten years ago. A panglobal space agency will have successfully reverse engineered and rebuilt the ship, and will defend the Earth in Space War I.
A New Conservative Party Will Displace the Democrats and Republicans (“From Our Point of View We Had Moved to the Left” by William Shunn (1993)): January 2009 will see the inauguration of a president from the New Right Party, a neoconservative party. But something will go awry during the inauguration ceremony.
Disaster Will Strike on a Commercial Spaceflight (Orbit by John J. Nance (2006)): American Space Adventure will launch the Intrepid on an orbital flight. But a meteorite will strike the ship, killing the pilot and damaging the communications system. Kip Dawson, who won a trip on the ship in a sweepstakes, will be left to steer the ship back to Earth, and the world will be gripped by his unwitting transmissions home.
A Virus Will Kill 90% of Humanity (I Am Legend (2007)): A virus genetically engineered to cure cancer will mutant into a lethal airborne strain. The virus will kill 90% of humans, mutate the majority of survivors into fearsome, vampiric monsters, and leave a small minority unaffected. Following the outbreak, most uninfected humans will be killed or commit suicide.
The British Government Will Begin Dismantling Public Freedom (Last Rights (2005)): After a record low voter turnout of 30%, members of the Democratic Consensus Party will take office. The new government will institute youth curfews, restrict the Internet, and manipulate the media to drum up support for their policies. But their real plan involves the Enabling Act, which will suspend normal parliamentary procedure and allow them to pass even more radical policies.
The Large Hadron Collider Will Cause All of Humanity to Experience a Flashforward (Flash Forward by Robert J. Sawyer (1999)): The LHC doesn’t destroy the universe, but during the search for the Higgs boson, all of humanity suddenly loses consciousness. During that loss of consciousness, each person experiences what their life will be like 21 years in the future for two minutes. Car accidents, plane crashes, and other disasters will also occur as a result of the simultaneous blackout.
Korea Nationalists Will Try to Change the Timeline (2009 – Lost Memories (2002)): In an alternate timeline, Japanese Prime Minister Ito Hirobumi was not assassinated in 1909, which leads to a chain of events in which Japan allies with the US in World War II and Korea remains part of Japan. In 2009, a group of pro-Korean nationalists will attempt to find an artifact that will let them travel back in time and alter the timeline to allow for the creation of an independent Korean state.
Earth Will Encounter Numerous Alien Threats (The Whoniverse (2007-2008)): The Doctor and his companions, the team at Torchwood, and Sarah Jane Smith will all deal with various and sundry alien threats to Earth. Among other events, Earth will be stolen from its orbit, the Master will conquer the entire planet, and the Sontarans will try to destroy humanity. But many of these events will be retroactively averted or hidden from the general populace.