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Timeline of fictional future events

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Science fiction and other related fields of fiction are often set in the future, or at least involve events in times that have not yet occurred. This list is a chronological collection of significant events from various works of such fiction. It includes some events that were set in the future when the fiction containing them was first written but which have now been overtaken by real history, becoming a form of alternate history or failed prediction in the process.

It is rarely true that science fiction writers are seriously attempting prediction — the needs of the story are usually the primary concern, and science fiction stories are often more about the present in which they are written than the future in which they are supposedly set.

Nevertheless, below are some notable fictional visions of the-future-that-never-was-and-probably-won't-be. See also: Timeline of Star Trek, Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic science fiction, Timeline of fictional historical events, and Timeline of fictional contemporary events.

19th century

  • 1868
  • 1877
    • A passing comet rips people, land, and air off the Earth. The small group takes refuge in a volcano on Comet Gallia. Calculating passing Saturn and a return to Earth in two years, the group begins to build a makeshift balloon and gondola - Off On a Comet by Jules Verne.
  • 1880
    • Prof. Von Hardwigg and his party descend into an Icelandic mountain in search of missing explorer Arne Saknussem and discover an unknown sea world with monsters - Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, 1864. *(In the 1959 film, he is known as Prof. Lindenbrook)
  • 1894
  • 1900

20th century

  • 1902
  • 1905
    • Martian three-legged ' fighting machines ' invade southern England in The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells (written in 1898).
  • 1910
    • When the orbit of Comet Halley intersects with the Earth, catastrophe ensues, but the comet gases cause an alteration of human psychology to a more rational thought-process - as revealed In the Days of the Comet by H. G. Wells (written in 1906).
  • 1917
    • March 5 - British RFC Flt. Lt. Decker is lost over France - and flies through a white cloud - but returns unexpectedly, a changed man. The Twilight Zone episode The Last Flight.
    • September 9 - George, the Time Traveller, encounters his friend Filby, but it's actually Filby's now grown son James, who advises his father was lost in the Great War - George Pal's production The Time Machine, 1960.
  • 1920
  • 1925
  • 1932
  • 1939
    • Global Airlines 33 leaves the Jurassic Age in its hope to return to 1961. Instead, the jet airliner is flying over the 1939 New York World's Fair. The Twilight Zone episode The Odyssey of Flight 33.
  • 1940
    • At the home of Everytown resident John Cabal, his contemporaries discuss the prospect of war. But Cabal interjects ' If we don't end war, war will end us '. Then over the wireless, reports announce that enemy bombers are approaching - H. G. Wells' film Things to Come, 1936
    • June 10 - Thinking he's having a problem with his machine, George halts his progress in time-travel and is stunned to witness ' flying machines ' battling above London - George Pal's production The Time Machine, 1960.
  • 1950
    • Politicians and engineers battle themselves, deception, and nature in the quest to build an undersea tunnel from England to the US - Transatlantic Tunnel, 1935.
  • 1951
    • An air force crew and scientists at Polar Expedition Six, the Arctic, discover a crashed saucer and fight for their lives against an 8-foot, plant-based, humanoid alien - The Thing From Another World.
    • A saucer suddenly lands in a Washington D.C. field, and a humanoid visitor steps out, with a message for Humanity. He's preceded by a towering silver robot, whom the visitor calls Gort - The Day The Earth Stood Still, based upon Harry Bates ' short story Farewell to the Master, 1940.
  • 1952
  • 1955
  • 1959
    • British RFC flyer Decker emerges from a cloud to land his SPAD XIII at a modern USAF base in France, unprepared to encounter an old friend he'd deserted - The Twilight Zone episode The Last Flight.
  • 1960s
    • Ingsoc comes to power and forms the state of Oceania (George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four) (approximate date).
    • Seeds of a semi-nuclear Little War begin to sprout; over decades, it will destroy Washington D.C. and surrounding areas (novel version of Logan's Run).
  • 1961
    • Capt. Farver and the New York-bound flight of Global Airlines 33 find themselves drastically increasing speed in The Twilight Zone episode The Odyssey of Flight 33.
    • The winged Saturn launch vehicle completes Wheel Space Station 1, operational with a crew of 45. Eagle One lands on the Moon July 1963, followed by Eagle Two and Eagle Three - Man Conquers Space, 2006.
  • 1964
    • Trent, a man with a glass hand and no memories, is hunted by aliens from a thousand years in the future - Harlan Ellison's Demon with a Glass Hand, episode of The Outer Limits
  • 1966
    • August 11 - The Time Traveller encounters his old friend's son James again, now elderly, just prior to a nuclear explosion - George Pal's production The Time Machine, 1960.
    • After three decades of global war, a great plague wipes out most of the people on Earth. (Things to Come film, 1936)
  • 1967
    • A computer malfunction sends a group of American nuclear bombers on an attack course toward Moscow. (The novel version of Fail-Safe)
  • 1970s
    • A possible setting of Doctor Who's "UNIT Era". It is also possible that it takes place during the 1980s.
  • 1970
    • An older John Cabal, a member of the global 'Wings Over the World', lands his flying wing aeroplane in world-war torn Everytown. He advises that peace has arrived, but the town's head, 'The Boss', does not approve. (Things to Come film, 1936)
  • 1972
    • February - Astronaut George Taylor and three other volunteers (John Landon, Dodge and Stewart) depart Earth from Cape Kennedy on a mission that will take them 2,000 years into the future. (Planet of the Apes)
  • 1973
    • Designed by Adm. Harriman Nelson (USN-Ret), the nuclear supersub USOS Seaview, with its transparent hull-plating 'window' nose section, undergoes radio silence and deep-diving trials in the Arctic Ocean.
  • 1974
  • 1980s
    • A possible setting of Doctor Who's "UNIT Era".
    • A manmade superflu breaks out and kills 99.4 percent of the population of the planet (The Stand by Stephen King).
  • 1984
    • April - Winston Smith, a secretly rebellious file clerk in the Ministry of Truth, is arrested and tortured by Big Brother (Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell and its two film versions).
    • The first T-800 series Terminator arrives, sent back in time by Skynet in an attempt to prevent the birth of resistance leader John Connor by killing his mother Sarah before he is even conceived. The John Connor of 2029 sends Kyle Reese back to defend Sarah from the Terminator. He knows that Reese, though doomed, will fall in love with his mother and is, in fact, his father (The Terminator).
  • 1986
    • March 25 - An on-course NASA never embraces the shuttle program. Leaving from the orbiting Aries command module, the Challenger excursion module lands in Mangala Valley, Mars - Voyage by Stephen Baxter, 1997.
    • The planet Mondas approaches Earth orbit with an invading force of Cybermen, but they are stopped by the Doctor and his companions (Doctor Who: "The Tenth Planet").
  • 1987
  • 1988
    • A flying saucer carrying enslaved aliens ("Newcomers") crashlands in the Mojave desert. (Alien Nation movie)
    • A wall is built around Manhattan Island, creating the one maximum security penitentiary for the entire country. (Escape From New York)
  • 1992
  • 1993
  • 1994
  • 1995
  • 1996
  • 1997
  • 1998
    • The Umbrella Corporation conducts experiments on the citizens of Raccoon City using the Tyrant Virus, or T-Virus for short, which is a mutagenic virus developed to create Bio-Organic Weapons, or BOWs for short. (Resident Evil)
  • 1999
  • 199X
    • All Year - The world is saved from the alien menace known as Giygas by 4 young children, led by Onett native, Ness, with PSI powers and friendship. (EarthBound)
  • 2000

21st century

23rd century

  • 2233
  • 2254
    • Space station Babylon 4 disappears shortly after construction is finished.
  • 2256
    • Construction is finished on space station Babylon 5.
  • 2257-2262
    • The events of Babylon 5, starting with the attempted assassination of Vorlon ambassador Kosh upon his arrival on the station.
  • 2258
    • Vulcan is destroyed by the red matter weapon launched by Nero's ship. (Star Trek).
  • 2260
    • During the mostly covert Corporation Wars, Izanagi Corporation's research facility on Lamdon 3 was destroyed by a strike force from the Axon Research Corporation, despite the protection of the NEG ThunderCrash force. Axon was able to not only destroy the facility, but also retrieve the advanced plasma ion tank under development there. (Unreal series of PC games)
  • 2263
  • 2263-2268
  • 2271
  • 2274
  • 2285
  • 2286
    • The alien probe returns to Earth to communicate with the humpback whales and Kirk and his crew travels back in time to 1986 to pick George and Gracie. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home).
  • 2287
  • 2293
    • Klingon diplomats launch a peace initiative toward the United Federation of Planets, following the disastrous explosion of the energy facility on Praxis. This leads to the Khitomer Accords and peace between the Empire and the UFP. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

24th century

24th 1/2 century

  • Sometime halfway through the 24th century
    • Duck Dodgers is on a reconaissance mission to the mysterious Planet X, in order to recover the rare element Illudium Phosdex, the shaving cream atom. He's jeapordized by the ambassador from Mars, Mavin the Martian.

25th century

  • 2419
    • Buck Rogers awakens from his coma (original novella version by Philip Knowlen, 1928).
  • 2491-2492
  • 2500
    • Oceans cover the Earth except for a few natural and man-made atolls - and remnants of humanity. A new breed of human, called Mariner, helps a woman and a child in their quest for a legendary location, Dryland - Waterworld, 1995

26th century

  • 2517
  • 2520
    • A botched first contact between the Earth Empire and the Draconian Empire leads to a short but bloody war that results in millions of dead. A peace treaty is negotiated and a frontier established between the two interstellar powers, but a cold war lasts for years afterward (Doctor Who - Frontier in Space).
  • 2540
    • Raids on cargo ships, apparently by both sides, threaten to start a new war between the Draconian and Earth Empires. However, when it is revealed that the Daleks are responsible, the two empires form an alliance to battle the Daleks (Doctor Who - Frontier in Space).

30th century

  • 3000
    • Earth is in the grip of a new ice age when a scientific team unearths an Ice Warrior spacecraft beneath the glaciers, its crew in suspended animation (Doctor Who - The Ice Warriors).

31st century

  • 3000s
    • By this century, time travel is commonplace. In one alternate future (later cancelled), Earth has long been devastated by an undisclosed conflict. (Star Trek: Enterprise episode, "Shockwave").
    • The decline and eventual end of the Earth Empire, as Earth's various colonies break away from it (Doctor Who - The Mutants).
  • 3001
  • 3007
  • 3028
    • Earth is destroyed by the Drej. Surviving humans drift throughout the galaxy. (Titan A.E.)
  • 3044
    • 16 A.E. (After Earth) - the events of Titan A.E. occur.

33rd century

40th century

  • 4000
    • Events of Magnus, Robot Fighter. Magnus liberates North Am from the dictatorship of H8, Chief of the Robot Police.
    • Mechas, the next phase of intelligence on Earth, are involved in on-site excavation of a frozen-over NYC, when they discover a preserved android: a boy named David - AI: Artificial Intelligence 2002

41st century

49th century

50th century

52nd century

  • 5167-5171+?
    • Events of Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda.

61st century

  • 6041
    • Machinery rules the galactic universe, with humanoids and conscious robots in control, the human race is reduced to a state of apathy. (TV version of Dune)

62nd century

  • 6100s
    • The Great Revolt, a human rebellion against the machines, forcing human beings to use their minds for development and breeding; this leads to the formation of mental training schools and the discovery of the spice Melange, both of which would be the turning point for the human race. (TV version of Dune)

64th century

Distant future

  • Date unknown
  • ~7000
  • 7089
  • 12,005
  • 26,900
  • 28,400
  • 50,000
  • 200,000 (2,000th century)
    • The period of the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire. Earth is at its height, covered with megacities, with five Moons and a population of 96 billion, the centre of a galactic domain that covers a million worlds and a million species. However, its development is retarded for 91 years by the manipulations of news space station Satellite 5, until it is put back on track by the Ninth Doctor (Doctor Who - The Long Game).
  • 200,100
    • One hundred years on from The Long Game, mankind's development is still being obstructed, this time being kept docile by the watching of hundreds of deadly game shows produced by the Badwolf Corporation (Doctor Who - Bad Wolf).
  • 202,115
  • 802,701
    • The Time Traveller encounters a garden world and sees Humanity has divided into the meek Eloi on the surface and the subdwelling, cannibalistic Morlocks - H. G. Wells' The Time Machine novel and films
  • ~1,000,000
    • The Solar System is destroyed as the Human race leaves its cradle for the last time (Babylon 5).
  • ~2,000,000
  • ~3,000,000

Dave Lister awakens from stasis and the events of Red Dwarf take place

  • ~5,000,000
  • ~10,000,000
    • The 57th Segment of Time, when solar activity wipes out all life on Earth. Refugees of humanity leave for the planet Refusis (Doctor Who - The Ark).
  • ~30,000,000
    • The Time Traveler stops on a shoreline, finding a dark world where intelligent life is wiped out, the day/night sequence has vanished, the air thinner, and the Moon gone. Shivering, and with darkness and falling snow, he stares as a solar eclipse begins - and a single football-shaped creature hops about near him - H. G. Wells' novel The Time Machine
  • 50,000,000
    • After humanity's final extinction, an insect-like race arises on Earth and becomes the dominant species. They are possessed by the Great Race of Yith, who have been forced to leave their previous home on a planet near Taurus. At some point in the future, this race will also die out, and the Yithians will be forced to relocate again to Mercury, taking over the bodies of a plant-race living there. (H.P. Lovecraft)
    • Homo Sapiens have completely died out along with large predators and herbivores. The primary predators are descendents of rodents, appearing as new forms of bears, wolves, and large cats. Even penguins evolve into a kind of small whale - Dougal Dixon 's After Man, 1981
  • 100,000,000
  • 200,000,000
  • 6,354,279th century
    • 635,427,810
      • Time Traveller Alex Hartdegen escapes from the Morlocks, but emerges to see the rust-colored clouds and sunlight of the far future and a broad Moon-like landscape laid waste to the horizon - and wonders who the bipeds are, walking in a line in the distance - Simon Wells' production The Time Machine, 2002
  • 4,000,000,000
  • 5,000,000,000
    • The year 5.5/Apple/26, when the Sun's expansion is finally allowed to consume the Earth (Doctor Who - The End of the World).
  • 5,000,000,023
  • 400,000,000,000
  • Simulation of 1912 Earth inside a giant computer.
    • Europe and parts of Africa and Asia disappear and are replaced by a primeval continent (Darwinia (novel)).
  • "1993"
    • The Red Dwarf crew travels into the far distant future to a point after the Universe has begun collapsing towards a Big Crunch, causing time to run backwards until it is the equivalent of 1993 on Earth again (or 3991, as the locals write it). They spend three weeks in Nodnol (London backwards). In the novel Backwards, they arrive to collect Lister in Niagara Falls in the year 9891 (1989).
  • 100 trillion- The stars and suns have burnt out as the end of the universe approches. The remnants of the human race lives in silos, trying to get to a last paridise, utopia. the events of Doctor Who (utopia)

The end of time

  • The Restaurant at the End of the Universe in the novel by Douglas Adams.
  • The Inquisitor decides there is no afterlife or god, and that the only purpose in existence is to lead a worthwhile life. So, he constructs a time machine to judge every person in history. (Red Dwarf)
  • The guru Gaspar and the God of War, Spekkio, await the ones who will slay Lavos and its spawn. (Chrono Trigger) (However, the timeline of Chrono Trigger is completely independent of our Earth's).

Beyond the end of time

  • Climax of Isaac Asimov's story The Last Question. The end of time itself is said to be ten trillion years in the future, and the climax of the story occurs even later, after a "timeless interval".

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