SF predicting the present: novel anticipated Detroit water crisis


One of my favourite examples of SF coming true is Jules Verne’s A Trip to the Moon. I cannot remember all of the similarities as I read about it many years ago. But some that stuck in my head was that the story spoke of three men, same length of time for the trip, launch was within 10 miles of the actual one in 1969, same orbital mechanics, Earth splashdown was within 100 miles and more.

Actually, Verne’s protagonists “launch” (via a giant cannon) from Tampa, which is quite a bit further away - although Verne actually gives the exact location as 27°7′0″N 82°9′0″W, which places it closer to Port Charlotte.

That said, it was three men, and the trip was five days each way, so that much is about right. The orbital mechanics were roughly correct, inasmuch as Newtonian physics are roughly correct regarding gravity, and they did splash down within 200 miles of the coast - although their projectile capsule sank, and had to be fished up from the bottom of the sea. (And much of these details are actually from the sequel, “Round The Moon”.)

That said, there’s plenty that doesn’t really work. Everything about the space cannon notion, particularly the launch and re-entry, would be lethal to the occupants. (They re-enter at 115,200 miles per hour, in a projectile weighing 19,250 pounds, without heat shielding, without a parchute, and sink to the bottom of the ocean for several days while machinery to retrieve it is built, readied, and finally shipped out to the landing site.) The travelers also throw a dead dog out a window during their journey, among other various oddities.

And to be fair, people had been writing stories of visiting the moon for many centuries. Verne just happened to be one of the more recent, and the technology he employed as the means of travel was consequently that much more feasible - we’re only more accepting of reaching the moon via a giant bullet than via a hot air balloon because the contrast to modern rocketry is lesser to our modern eye.

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True. But when you consider that his book (which was actually titled From the Earth to the Moon) was written in 1865, 104 years earlier, it was surprisingly prophetic.

The title I quoted, A Trip to the Moon, was the 1902 adaptation :smile:

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They could of eaten that.

They weren’t taikonauts.

The book involves a drought though. Detroit has plenty of water, they just have Republican assholes who have seized control of the city being all “Fuck you, I got mine”.

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Sort of. DWSD, the water/sewer authority, made a massive miscalculation in their attempt to collect past-due amounts from customers. They went after those least able to pay, and those not terribly behind on their bills - en masse. More like “the poor need to punished harder.”

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