In 1981, Philip K. Dick seemed to cast himself as one of the Precogs from Minority Report, when he offered a list of his own prognostications to be published in the collection Book of Predictions. Here’s what PKD saw when he stared into the crystal ball courtesy of the PKD Otaku fan zine, issue number 11, 2003…
The Soviet Union will develop an operational particle-beam accelerator, making missile attack against that country impossible. At the same time the U.S.S.R. will deploy this weapon as a satellite killer. The U.S. will turn, then, to nerve gas.
The U.S. will perfect a system by which hydrogen, stored in metal hydrides, will serve as a fuel source, eliminating a need for oil.
By or before this date there will be a titanic nuclear accident either in the U.S.S.R. or in the U.S., resulting in shutting down all nuclear power plants.
Such satellites as HEAO-2 will uncover vast, unsuspected high energy phenomenon in the universe, indicating that there is sufficient mass to collapse the universe back when it has reached its expansion limit.
The U.S. and the Soviet Union will agree to set up one vast metacomputer as a central source for information available to the entire world; this will be essential due to the huge amount of information coming into existence.
An artificial life form will be created in a lab, probably in the U.S.S.R., thus reducing our interest in locating life forms on other planets.
Computer use by ordinary citizens (already available in 1980) will transform the public from passive viewers of TV into mentally alert, highly trained, information-processing experts.
The first closed-dome colonies will be successfully established on Luna and Mars. Through DNA modification, quasi-mutant humans will be created who can survive under non-Terran conditions, i.e., alien environments.
The Soviet Union will test a propulsion drive that moves a starship at the velocity of light; a pilot ship will set out for Proxima Centaurus, soon to be followed by an American ship.
An alien virus, brought back by an interplanetary ship, will decimate the population of Earth, but leave the colonies on Luna and Mars intact.
Using tachyons (particles that move backward in time) as a carrier, the Soviet Union will attempt to alter the past with scientific information.
I’ve always admired the accuracy Dick fashioned into his literary futures, but I’m pleased to see that this list was mostly off target. Or was it? If the Russian tachyons made it to the past how would I even know the present had been changed?
As a bonus, here’s an interview with author Erik Davies who was part of the editorial team that presided over the construction of the published version of Dick’s mystical meditation, the Exegesis…