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What do you remember about the year 1997? Probably not a whole lot. Titanic? The Spice Girls? The tech bubble economy? It's the kind of year that won't get a lot of mentions in future history books.

But the same can't be said for science fiction. According to a lot of science fiction movies, comics and TV shows, 1997 was the single most eventful year in the history mankind. Why did they all pick 1997? Who knows? But according to sci-fi ...

6
It's the Year SkyNet Becomes Self-Aware (Terminator 2)

What Science Fiction Promised Us:

"Three billion human lives ended on August 29, 1997."

According to Sarah Connor in Terminator 2, 8/29/1997 at 2:14 a.m. (EST) was the exact moment when machines decided they had enough of our bullshit and started wiping us out like ants, if ants were wiped out with nuclear explosions. The movie predicted that on that date, a complex artificial intelligence defense system would become aware and take control of the country's entire nuclear weapons arsenal, launching an attack against Russia basically just to piss them off. And that would lead us to this part:

Now, we're not advocating the extermination of the human race or saying that a nuclear apocalypse would be "balls awesome" -- we're not soulless monsters. However ... this chain of events did eventually lead to the creation of possibly the most awesome series of killer robots in science fiction history, plus a badass human rebellion led by guys like adult John Connor and time-traveling Kyle Reese. Honestly, we'd be lying if we said a big part of us wasn't looking forward to getting to see all that shit for real.


Sure, we all probably die. But to Terminators, instead of cancer and diabetes and heart attacks.

Plus if the humans win the war, we'd be left with the coolest looking home appliances ever.

What Actually Happened:

In the U.S., the computer networks of government agencies like the FBI, CIA, and the Departments of State and Justice were all breached at the same time in June, 1997, along with various computer systems and power grids all over the country.

Getty
"Now, delay Starcraft one more time and see what happens."

But, just as we all got our hopes up and started stockpiling shotguns, it all turned out to be an unannounced anti-hacker exercise carried out by the those jerks at the NSA.

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5
HAL 9000 is Brought Online (2001: A Space Odyssey)

Via Sciencefictionwallpapers.com

What Science Fiction Promised Us:

Damn, 1997 was a huge year for evil, artificial intelligence.

In 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL 9000 is a supercomputer with highly advanced cognitive skills that eventually decides to kill everyone on his spaceship (except for astronaut David Bowman, who went on to become Ziggy Stardust). Most of 2001 takes place in 2001, as the name subtly suggests, but the book establishes that HAL became operational on January 12, 1997 (in the movie it's 1992). This means that he was somewhere between 4 and 9 years old when he went on that murderous rampage.

Photos.com
Ages 4-9 are the normal "murderous rampage" period in cognitive development.

Psychopathic tendencies aside, HAL is a remarkable piece of work: he carries out pretty much every operation in the ship, from piloting maintenance pods to controlling the life support systems of the sleeping astronauts. This would prove to be not such a great idea, but still ...

Also, just to demonstrate how smart he is, the movie shows him playing a chess game with one of the astronauts and defeating him.


Later, HAL had sex with his wife.

That's some pretty impressive technology you've come up with, 1997.

What Actually Happened:

Eerily, 1997 was the first time a computer defeated a world chess champion (Garry Kasparov) in a full match. The computer was called Deep Blue and was especially made by IBM. Now move each letter in "IBM" to the left and see what it spells.

Via Wired.com
Not on your keyboard, genius -- think.

It's not like IBM intentionally planned for this to happen on that exact year as some kind of tie-in publicity stunt; Deep Blue had played against Kasparov the year before, winning a single game but losing the match. Another IBM computer lost against Kasparov in 1989. After being defeated in 1997, Kasparov accused IBM of cheating, claiming he saw "deep intelligence and creativity" in the machine's moves. IBM responded that it was just that good, then dismantled Deep Blue anyway (possibly after it started calling everyone "Dave").

Another thing they promised us in 2001 was that by now, space travel would be commonplace and Pan-Am would be flying passenger shuttles between the Earth and orbiting space stations, complete with space stewardesses and in-flight entertainment. Obviously that was bullshit, because Pan-Am closed in 1991.


And we still haven't seen our sweet fro-hats.

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4
New York is a Prison and the Planet is on the Verge of WWIII (Escape From New York)

Via Thefilmstage.com

What Science Fiction Promised Us:

Escape From New York showed us a dystopian future in which New York has completely given up on that whole tourism thing and turned the island of Manhattan into basically one huge maximum security prison populated by the scum of the Earth (New Jersey remains largely unchanged). Things aren't much better outside New York, though, because the entire planet is balls deep in World War III.

What's so awesome about that? This guy:


"It takes an hour every morning to keep my stubble this way."

When the Air Force One crashes in Manhattan and the President is captured, professional badass Snake Plissken is sent in there to rescue him and thus prevent an impending nuclear catastrophe (since the President was actually on his way to a summit with China and the U.S.S.R.). Of course, all of this happens sometime in the year 1997.

Via Newsrealblog.com
Looks like late February, early March.

What Actually Happened:

As the '90s unfolded it became increasingly obvious to the citizens of New York that the prison island future they were promised would never materialize. A world summit did take place in NYC in 1997, but it was actually about environmental issues and sustainable development (rather than ending World War III). The closest thing a nuclear disaster to strike the state in that year was a rubella outbreak.


"Snake Plissken in: RUBELLA PANIC!"

Meanwhile, instead of being kidnapped by crazy murderers, the President of the United States was having sex with interns and getting away with it (for a while anyway).

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3
A Mission is Launched to Colonize Other Planets (1965's Lost In Space)

Via Desktopstarships.com

What Science Fiction Promised Us:

In the classic sci-fi TV series Lost in Space (better known as Hey, Star Trek's on! Wait, no ... no, nevermind) the Robinson family becomes stranded in a distant galaxy after their mission to colonize other planets is sabotaged by a dangerous enemy agent (whom they decide to keep around anyway, on account of his charming personality).

Via Screened.com
"Yes, this looks like a man we should leave alone with our young son as often as possible."

The amazing technology available to the Robinsons in this futuristic era includes a nuclear powered spaceship capable of interstellar travel (the Jupiter 2), shiny silver spacesuits equipped with stuff like jetpacks and ray guns, and a highly intelligent, extremely well-armed talking robot.

Via Orbotix.com
That they use as a nanny.

The date the mission was launched? October 16, 1997.

What Actually Happened:

In the real world, October 16, 1997, was the first time the New York Times showed color pictures on its front page, and also ... no, that's it. That's the most exciting thing that happened on that day. Seriously.

The day before that, however (10/15/1997), happens to be the day that NASA launched the Cassini/Huygens probes on a mission to Saturn -- and they're still out there. In 2005, the Huygens reached Saturn's moon Titan and became the first probe ever to land on the outer region of the Solar System. The project involved 17 nations, hundreds of scientist and almost 20 years of preparation. The Cassini and the Huygens aren't exactly the Jupiter 2, but they did pass right next to Jupiter on their way to Saturn.

Via Wikimedia Commons
Also known as Jupiter 2.

This means that the creators of Lost in Space were only off by one day, seven crew members (and a robot) and thousands of light years of distance. Not too bad. Who knows, maybe that Lost in Space movie from 1998 will turn out to be just as accurate.


Please dear God no.

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2
The Predator Will Show Up in L.A. (Predator 2)

What Science Fiction Promised Us:

Predator 2 was basically the same as the first one, replacing the jungle for Los Angeles, Arnold Schwarzenegger for Danny Glover, and the present for the near future of 1997. Los Angeles is in the middle of a scorching heat wave and a bloody turf war between drug dealers, and Glover plays the LAPD detective who's getting too old for this shit.

Via D.ratingmovies.com
You know ... this shit.

Oh, right, there's also a space hunting Rastafarian going around, killing people for fun. Danny Glover proceeds to thoroughly kick his ass back into his spaceship, at which point all the other Predators come out and basically start cheering him for killing their buddy.

Via scottalanmendelson.blogspot.com
"Gary was such an asshole."

And that's what made the whole movie worth it. In the Predator universe, 1997 was the year when Danny Glover kicked more ass than anyone else in the universe.

What Actually Happened:

Minus the whole alien hunter thing, this one's actually the closest movie on this list to hit the mark. 1997 did in fact have one of the most scorching summers on record for the time. The 103 degrees in Pasadena actually shattered a record held since 1938. You could barely see past your own nose with all the heat-induced distortion.

Via Worldharmonyrun.org
It's a bunch of really fat, cloaked Predators!

Gang warfare in L.A. isn't exactly new, but 1997 also happened to be the year of the infamous North Hollywood Shootout, one of the most violent in U.S. law enforcement history, in which the police actually had to get guns from a local gun shop just to be able to return fire on a gang of bank robbers.

The shootout went on for 44 minutes, and was even adapted into a movie called 44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shoot-Out, which we're gonna go ahead and imagine as Predator 2 without the alien. Sadly, they completely missed the opportunity to cast Danny Glover as the lead detective.

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1
The Terrorist "V" Launches His Attacks (the Comic V for Vendetta)

Via Wall.alphacoders.com

What Science Fiction Promised Us:

The V for Vendetta comic is essentially the same as the movie, only with less bullet time kung fu fighting and a few pesky ideological discrepancies. First published in 1982, the story predicted that by the '90s, England would have become a totalitarian state ruled by a Big Brother-type Leader. That all changes on November 5, 1997, when an anarchist known as V begins fighting the fascist government through a series of carefully planned terrorist attacks. Another difference with the movie is that in this version, the masked protagonist is more prone to breaking into musical numbers.

V for Vendetta didn't show a whole lot of technological advancements, except maybe the surveillance system enforced by the government. In the comic the Leader sits in a dark room surrounded by screens, presumably watching people as they poop, all day, every day. They even put speakers and microphones on the security cameras in order to make the lack of privacy as complete as possible.

Via Wisardwriter.info
"At night, your light bulbs will be replaced with bees. For your protection."

That's 1997 England. As for the rest of the world: They're all burning up in flames due to a massive nuclear war. So, yeah, we're actually glad this one didn't come true.

What Actually Happened:

Not only did England not turn into a totalitarian state, 1997 was actually the first time the Conservative Party lost the general election since 1974. Some of our British readers might point out that the Labour Party wasn't really any better, but the Conservative defeat at least broke the 20 year one-party monopoly. Meanwhile, instead of a masked terrorist playing twisted cabaret songs in his hideout, the country was more concerned with Elton John singing to the recently departed Princess Diana.

Via The Sun
Which is pretty much the same thing.

It turns out that in 1997, England's privacy wasn't being violated by government cameras on every corner, but by paparazzi. And by government cameras on every corner.

The mass surveillance trend in the U.K. began in the late '80s and became widespread in the '90s; by the early '00s it was estimated that there were 4.2 million CCTV cameras installed across the country. More recently they've started adding microphones and speakers to them. Even the propaganda seems like it was directly lifted from V for Vendetta or 1984.

Via Notbored.org
"The British government supports Alan Moore. We want to make sure he stays inspired."

But that's not all: There's also the fact that, in a roundabout way, V for Vendetta ended up inspiring hundreds of thousands of protesters around the world (not just Anonymous) to adopt Guy Fawkes masks as a common symbol. The fact that this was achieved through a bastardized Hollywood adaptation would probably drive V to suicide.

For more ways we were let down, check out 8 Badass Sci-Fi Predictions That Came True In Lame-Ass Ways and The Hoverboard Lie: How Back to the Future Ruined Childhood.

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