A Visual Timeline: Famous Fiction Predicting the Future

| February 25, 2013

Whether we are capable of warp speed in space, relying on androids or doomed to a barren apocalypse, humans cannot resist predicting their future. In this beautiful timeline, Italian visualization artist Giorgia Lupi takes famous novels of the past and shows how their plots and characters map out our future.

A Visual Timeline

Using an incredibly intricate system, Lupi categorizes each fictitious prediction by different characteristics. She explains:

The visualization is built on a main horizontal axis depicting a distorted time-line of events (in fact we put them regularly, in sequence), starting our future-timeline in 2012. The y-axis is dedicated to the year the novel / book foretelling the event was published.

On the lower half of the visualization you can find the original quotes (shortened)

We then wanted to add further layers of analysis to our piece:

  • finding out main typologies of foretold events (are they mainly social, scientific, technological, political?)
  • discovering and depicting the genre of the book,
  • and most of all, dividing them into positive, neutral or negative events.

Finally, good news, in 802,701 the world will still exist!

Reading Guide

Lupi also shared several sketches of her process (take note, these are in Italian)

Process Sketches

To see more of Giorgia Lupi’s fascinating work, visit her website here.