Warrior Cats: Jayfeather says "great, let's round up all the useless cats and hope a tree falls on them." regarding Brightheart and Longtail. This happens to Long Tail 7 books later.
In Animorphs, Jake is shown a Bad Future in which the Yeerks have taken over Earth. The only part of the New York skyline left standing? The World Trade Center.
In the last book of the series (published in May 2001, set in 2002 or thereabouts) Jake mentions that since the war ended there's been a rise in terrorism, particularly religiously motivated terrorism.
And then of course there's the book where they get into the Yeerk pool by ramming a plane into a building (the building is hollow, so they put it on a collision course with the roof, bailed out as birds, and flew after the wreckage).
In Dragon Bones, Ward's mother is drug-addicted, and not quite there, mentally. She sometimes mistakes him for his father, and near the end of the novel, he stands beside her, trying to find her with his magical ability, and can't - her body is there, but she is gone.. Horrible enough as it is, but if you have a relative who suffers from Alzheimer's, you really understand how bad it is.
The 2002 novel House of the Scorpion takes place in a fictional nation created and controlled by drug lords that is between Mexico and the United States. Seeing that Mexico's local governments (and national) are becoming more and more influenced by the drug cartels, this is becoming more of a reality.
Debt of Honor, released in 1994 features at its climax a suicidally depressed Japanese Airlines pilot deliberately crashing his jetliner into the U.S. Capitol building during a special joint session of Congress confirming a newly appointed Vice-President, decapitating all three branches of government. One could say this predicted 9/11 to a certain extent, as Clancy went out of his way to illustrate how easy such an attack might be to carry out—the fact that the Capitol may have been the target of the 4th plane makes it even worse.
In Debt of Honor, deaths caused by faulty gas tanks in a popular model of Japanese car prompts the US government to enact punitive trade legislation against Japan. In 2010, major recalls of Toyota cars due to safety defects prompted a Congressional investigation.
Insomnia, where a extremist (driven mad by the Crimson King) attempts to pilot a Cessna loaded with C4 into the Derry Civic Center.
King himself had Rage taken out of print following a 1997 school shooting in Paducah, Kentucky.
As the storm clouds gathered over Europe and the Far East, Pulp Magazine hero Secret Service Operator #5 (1934 - 1939) fought attempts by various foreign armies from South America, Europe and the Orient to conquer the United States. The events are completely over-the-top as benefits the pulp genre, except for the time the Japs destroy an entire city (Philadelphia) with their atomic bomb! Only those evil Orientals would do such a dastardly deed...
In Spider Robinson's Lady Slings The Booze a throwaway comment is made in connection with a terrorist plot to the effect that they "aren't going to blow up the WTC because that only impresses the people that live within sight of the WTC".
You'd think Robinson of all people would have realized that with advances in communications technology in the decade and a half after when the novel was set (1985), the entire world would live "within sight of the WTC".
Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake has a passage describing several kinds of futuristic snuff sites. One of them is an assisted-suicide site, founded for entertainment. It's sickening as it is, but then the main character Jimmy goes and compares the site to Alex the parrot saying "I'm going away now." A few years after the book was published, Alex died.
Tad Williams' Doorstopper novel The War of the Flowers has a scene in which a skyscraper was set on fire and is in danger of collapse after an attack by a flying, fire-breathing dragon, and the main character, who are trapped on a high floor of said skyscraper, has to climb down flight after flight of stairs in the midst of smoke and flames. The book contains an introduction saying that he wrote the scene before 9/11, and the similarity between the events in the book and the experiences of the 9/11 survivors is simply an unfortunate coincidence.
In The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dorian blackmails a character Alan Campbell into helping him dispose of a body. While not stated outright, the strong implication is that Campbell was Dorian's ex-lover and Dorian was threatening to expose him as homosexual, thereby ruining his professional life and potentially exposing him to the threat of imprisonment. Later, of course, Wilde himself was ruined by exposure of his homosexuality.
The tragic book Of Mice and Men is this to anyone who knows the story. Throughout the entire book, the two main characters talk about owning a farm. Of course, tragic events overtake them and at the end Lennie, the Gentle Giant accidentally kills someone and a lynch mob goes after him. To avoid him getting hurt more than he has to, George shoots him in the back of the head.
The Spider novel City Destroyers featured a structure called the Sky Building collapsing. In the 1970's, a redacted version of this novel changed it to the World Trade Center.
Van Wyck Mason wrote a novel positing an attack on Pearl Harbor, written in the early 1930's. Actually, numerous works depicted this, such as the first Shield/Wizard meeting.
There's a long, long history of this. A novella called Futility Or The Wreck Of The Titan was written wherein a drunken old captain has to fight for his life after the ship he pilots — described as "the largest ship in the world" — is sunk by an iceberg. The novel was written fourteen years before the sinking of the RMS Titanic under practically identical circumstances. The ship in Futility is like a slightly smaller version of the Titanic. It was initially rejected for publication due to being "unbelievable."
In the Clive Cussler bookValhalla Rising, the Corrupt Corporate Executive bad guy plans to have his goons blow up an oil tanker in San Francisco Harbor, thereby destroying the SF "World Trade Towers", making America revolt against imported energy, and increasing the value of his own domestic oil holdings. Wincing yet?
It gets better; one of his lieutenants leaks the plan, and the ship is boarded by special forces troops, who find it a perfectly normal oil tanker. The hero of the book realizes that the baddie had planned to say "World Trade Center" as a decoy, and had not gotten SF's WTC and the one in New York confused. Yes, that's right, the bad guy planned to blow up the base of the Twin Towers and a good portion of Manhattan. Thanks to the Freudian slip, the real ship being delayed, and the hero's submersible, disaster is averted. But barely.
I completed this manuscript in October 1994. At that time, I'd structured the events which occur in Chapter Nineteen because I could think of no more loathsome, despicable, and cowardly act any individual or group of individuals could commit. It is my belief that the sentence "The end justifies the means"—that suppression, repression, and/or murder become somehow acceptable if committed in the name of a "cause" or belief which reduces individuals to expendable pawns—is the vilest of human poisons, and that terrorism, regardless of the terrorist's "cause," is the ultimate act of dehumanization. I did not expect that between the time I wrote this novel and the time it was published a United States citizen in Oklahoma City would demonstrate an even worse contempt for human life and the fundamental values of his own society or prove capable of an act even more despicable than my fictional villains. That some human beings are capable of such atrocities is an inescapable lesson of history. That we cannot allow those acts to go unpunished or extend to those who commit them any shred of respect, whatever the "cause" which motivated them, is a lesson the civilized human community must teach itself.
Although the work wasn't published until the 2000s so no-one could have read it, but J. R. R. Tolkien's story The Notion Club Papers, written in 1944, is set in 1987. The characters mention that six months ago in 1986 there was 1) a disaster involving a spacecraft, 2) a nuclear disaster, and 3) during the course of the book the greatest storm in history hits England. All three proceeded to happen inReal Life.
The Zack Files book Never Trust A Cat Who Wears Earrings features a curse that is turning Zack into a cat that he can only break by performing a ceremony in the shadow of the World Trade Center. Reading it now, the Fridge Logic seems to be that he would keep turning into a cat, which now has some pretty dark implications
The 1996 book Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre has a doctor character who is described as the worst serial killer in British history, with a kill count of about 30. And then, just two years later...
The fact it's just sodamneasy to put 1984 into this territory these days might be the reason why Orwell's Magnum Opus wasn't mentioned in this article until now.
This claim tends to be made of almost all works of dystopic fiction, but it's invoked so often that it's lost a lot of its meaning, and has even begun to rob the original works of their relevance. Basically, it would be safe to assume that for every work of fiction set Twenty Minutes into the Future, there's someone who feels this trope applies.
Still, the work itself applies. Try to reread it after you finished it once. It's never the same again. ESPECIALLY if you managed to avoid knowing storyline beforehand. There is a definite in-universe application in that O'Brien who appears to be working for the rebellion, is working for the government. All of his past actions take on a new, sinister light.
Specifically the article linked above, which shows the prevalence of CCTV monitoring in the UK - including a half dozen cameras with direct views either to Orwell's apartment. That definitely counts.
Double whammy for Sylvia Plath. "How did I know that someday—at college, in Europe, somewhere, anywhere—the bell jar, with its stifling distortions, wouldn't descend again?" In the month following the publication of The Bell Jar, she killed herself. For the same reason, Lady Lazarus, a poem about her previous suicide attempt and foreshadowing her next attempt, is just heartbreaking when she writes: This is Number Three./What a trash/To annihilate each decade.
Christie's detectives also take Jewishness as indicative of moral weakness or outright criminality - descriptions of eyes "lighting up" at the thought of money and "thick Semitic lips" become painful to read given what was to happen in the 30s and 40s.
In the 1935 Harriet Vane novel Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers, one of the collegians at Vane's British alma mater claims that "What this country needs is a Hitler!" (Of course, a lot of Britons — including King Edward VIII — had similar feelings before the full extent of the depravity of the Nazi regime was known.)
The Robin Cook thriller Vector features an antagonist (formerly an employee of a Russian government-run bioweapons project) who manufactures anthrax in preparation for a biological attack and kills someone with an anthrax-laced letter as a test to see how potent his toxin is. The book was published in 1999. Then two years later, it happened for real...
The Robert R. McCammon novel Swan Song has a chapter where a militant cult is laid siege to. The siege ends when their building burns down with them in it. A few years later, this happens to the Branch Davidians.
Aaron Allston's Sidhe-Devil came out in June 2001. The back-cover blurb (accurately) describes part of the situation the heroes have to deal with as "a mad genius is sending fiery destruction against the city's skyscrapers."
Far more depressing is in one of the later books, Wintersmith when Roland reflects on his time in the world of the fairies and all it's horrors. He makes the following statement, which just kicks you right in the teeth now: Roland hates things that make you forget who you are. Once you forget who you are, you lose everything.
The Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches" features a villain who's locked his daughter up as a tormented prisoner, and whose young son tortures helpless animals. At the time, the son's behavior was seen as a hereditary clue to the father's cruel nature, and the villain's motives were financial only; nowadays, readers are more likely to deduce the man was molesting (or beating up) both his kids.
And the first line he says to Watson ("You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.") is somehow made more cringeworthy by the fact that now, over 100 years later, this still makes sense.
In the movie version of Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan, Gloria finds out her ex-husband is gay after trying to seduce him. Years later, Terry McMillan and her husband split up after he reveals that he was gay and marrying her to get a green card.
In the final chapter of Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, a novel about a soldier's experience during World War I, the protagonist, Paul Bäumer, reflects on how miserable the rest of his life is going to be if he does manage to survive the war. One of the reasons he gives is that the next generation, having not known war, will not be able to understand what he endured.
The German novella Mario and the Magician written in 1929 and set in 1926, describes the changes happening to Fascist Italia, as seen by eyes of a liberal family from then democratic Germany, and repeatedly shows how the change makes Italian people intolerant, arrogant and aggressive. When Nazis came to power, they made the same to Germany, only much, much more worse.
Also in the end, Cippola is shot dead by Mario, whom he previously braiswashed into doing icky things. Mussolini (for whom Cippola was an obvious stand-in) was in the end shot by people of his own nation.
The controversial underground novel The Turner Diaries has been linked to quite a few illegal activities, but nowhere is this Trope more appropriate than when it was revealed that the book at least partially inspired Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in planning his attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. (In the book, the FBI Building was destroyed via a nearly identical means. Former soldiers who were in the army with McVeigh recount that he read the novel frequently, and the book was found in his possession when he was arrested.) Even the author of the book, admitted white supremacist William Luther Pierce, could not condone the attack.
In the fantastic history book A Little History of the World it talks about how humanity has come a long way from mindless persecution and hatred of other cultures and at the end of the original print, which was about WWI, it had a message of hope for the future. This was in 1935; the German-born Jewish author added another chapter after WWII really lamenting some of the things he said in the book.
In the original German edition, the last chapter involves a scathing critique of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, accusing him of just letting France and the UK impose the Treaty of Versailles, and says "so this is how Wilson treats his opponents." In The '90s, when the book was finally translated into English, the writer includes a footnote explaining that many people in Germany really had no idea of Wilson's far lighter proposal for the defeated Central Powers, and bought into the "stabbed-in-the-back legend", and that he was horrified at the fact that he had just repeated Nazi propaganda without knowing it.
In Isaac Asimov's short story "Evidence", Stephen Byerley is a candidate for mayor of NYC who is accused of being a robot, which would disqualify him from the election. The premise seems kind of silly and it's hard to believe that so many people would believe that Byerley is a robot based on such flimsy evidence. Fast forward to 2008, when people are arguing that President Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States, and it seems much more plausible.
It's a little more harsher than that: Quinn, the political boss who propagates the rumor, is a conservative Sleazy Politician who admittedly couldn’t care less for the civil rights of his people, and so his subordinates. Byerley is a liberal public prosecutor who really is doing things to stop crime and redeem criminals. Quinn only opposes Byerley liberal position because, well, he is a conservative. To be a robot is a rumor so incredible that when it proves false, only shows the extremely superficiality and stupidity of those who oppose Byerley.
Humorously, there, in fact, Ain't No Rule that says that a robot can't be mayor of New York.note " He or she needs to be 18 years old and a resident of NYC on Election Day." The only legal leg to stand on would be arguing for or against citizenship of a robot. This is also the case for the US President, who has but three requirements, none of which refer to species.note be a natural born citizen of the United States; be at least thirty-five years old; have been a permanent resident in the United States for at least fourteen years.
The Great Gatsby has the Jewish mobster Meyer Wolfsheim who works in an office labeled "The Swastika Holding Company." Oh Crap!. In 1922, when the book was written, Those Wacky Nazis had only recently adopted the swastika as a symbol, and were still a decade away from coming to power.
In the first book from the series A Song of Ice and Fire, Tyrion and Jaime Lannister discuss the fate of Bran Stark, who'd fallen from a tower and would be crippled for life even if he survived. Jaime, who'd been the one to throw him from the tower, commented that if it had been his decision, he'd euthanize the boy rather than having him grow up a cripple. Tyrion disagreed, since he himself was a dwarf, and stated that death was too final and that life held endless possibilities even for "cripples and grotesques." Three books later, Jaime himself became a cripple when his sword hand is cut off and he contemplates letting himself die, before being convinced to live in order to see his family again and avenge himself.
In the technothriller series Talon Force book Dire Straits published a few months before 9-11 the plot revolves around Islamist terrorists trying to take over Turkey. Osama Bin Laden is mentioned to be a major backer of the terrorists and one character laments that he's been tried in absentia.
When The Tomorrow Series was first published, an attack on any Western state that could actually threaten it seemed inconceivable. Then came 9/11.
Another point is that it depicts Australian people fighting the occupiers - but shortly thereafter, Australia itself participated in the Iraq occupation.
Anthony Horowitz wrote a short story called The Man With the Yellow Face, where a boy is frightened of a mysterious man he believes is coming to kill him, and worries that the man might be "one of those suicide bombers you read about in the Middle East." The story was published in 1998 ...
Dr. Crusher: Tasha, stay out of trouble. I don't want to see you in sickbay again for a long time.
Yar: Don't worry, I'm not coming back.
It's true, too. She didn't. Not alive, anyway.
Immortal Coil, published in February 2002, has a grief-stricken Data, mourning the death of his mother, rant that he would never see the people he'd lost in the afterlife, if there was one, because he would never die - since with adequate repair, he could in theory last almost indefinitely. Then came Star Trek: Nemesis, released in December 2002, which killed him off. Appropriately enough, he mentioned Tasha Yar - the closest thing he'd had to a love interest prior to the book in question - during said rant.
In-Universe in the Dale Brown novel Shadows of Steel: Hal Briggs is chastened for taking a risk that gets him hurt by a ZSU-23 antiaircraft gun. Guess how he dies, several books later?
Another Dale Brown novel, Storming Heaven,note published in 1994 concerns a terrorist group using cargo planes to attack American airports and other targets. Eventually, they attempt to crash a 747 into the White House.
In Young Jedi Knights, one of the earlier Star Wars book series, Jacen and Jaina are tricked by Sith into fighting each other to the death (each is forced to believe that the other is actually an unknown Sith), but recognise each other just in time. Much later, in Legacy of the Force series, they fight again - this time Jaina kills Jacen, who was now really a Sith, but considered surrendering and repenting.
The theocratic dystopia pictured in The Handmaid's Tale has many parallels with the Taliban, who seized power in Afghanistan barely a decade later.
Some people have said that much of modern feminism in the United States parallels the feminist movement that, in the book's backstory, accidentally brought about the state of affairs in the book.
Stephen Baxter's Titan (written in 1997) opens with the Shuttle Columbia suffering an accident on re-entry, which causes the death of an astronaut and the loss of the orbiter. Cue 2003.
Terroristerna, the last novel in the Swedish 70'ies Crime Fiction series The Story of Crime (a.k.a. the Martin Beck novels) by Mäj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö ended with the Swedish Prime Minister (An Expy of then-Prime-Minister Olof Palme) getting shot and killed due to horrendous police incompetence. In 1986 the real Olof Palme was shot and killed on the street in Stockholm, the killer escaped and was never found due to horrendous police incompetence.
A brief passage in The Wild Boy mentions how there won't be a New Year's celebration because much of humanity has died. Part of it goes "...And Dick Clark? he's dead." It was written in the early 2000s, though that part was several years in the future.
In the YA book Legend, some people are protesting the state-sponsored execution of a poor teenager. Though they're pretty peaceful, they are quickly and brutally killed by the many soldiers standing by. If you don't check the copyright date (early 2011) and consider the book's political leanings you'd think it was a thinly veiled Ferguson allegory.
A novel called The Dorset Disaster centers on a nuclear explosion caused by tampering with the reactor's controls due to problems with overly-sensitive equipment. It was written in 1985, and has some similarities to the Chernobyl disaster a year later, though the novel was set in the US. Also somewhat eerie is the way everyone assumed the explosion was terrorism, much like fears today when a disaster occurs.
At one point in Alex Garland's The Beach, Sal (the only character who keeps a calendar) mentions that it's the 11th of September, and several other people are surprised at the news. Why? Because it means there's a big annual party a few days away! The book was written in the mid-90s, and the date was presumably picked at random.
Genesis 8:7-12 talks about Noah's Ark during the time when the whole earth is already submerged in floods. On August 7, 2012, much of Manila, Philippines was submerged in floods due to heavy monsoon rains.
Given the Bible's enormous length and scope, there is almost always a passage somewhere that relates to contemporary events - people see analogues to the Roman Empire in the European Union, to "the four horsemen" in Genghis, Subotai, Kublai and Ogedai Khan etc.
The 2004 book Forty Signs of Rain ends with a massive tropical storm named Sandy hitting the Washington DC area. Fast forward to 2012, and we have Hurricane Sandy.
Also, another story is Emil and the Detectives, about a German boy in 1929. Around ten years later, he'd be old enough...Not just that, he'd probably end up shooting and killing the French boys that helped him.
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables: "Citizens, the nineteenth century is great, but the twentieth century will be happy. Then there shall be nothing like ancient history: there shall be no more fear, as today, of a conquest, an invasion, a usurpation, an armed rivalry of nations, an interruption of civilization because of the marriage of kings, a birth of hereditary tyrannies, a division of peoples by congress, a dismemberment by the collapse of dynasty, a combat of two religions butting each other like two goats of darkness on the bridge of infinity; there shall be no more fear of hunger, exploitation, prostitution through adversity, misery from unemployment, and the scaffold, and the sword, and battles, and all the brigandage of chance in the forest of events." Ouch.
The Lincoln Rhyme novel The Broken Window has a plot that revolves around intrusive government surveillance that can reach into every aspect of a person's life and is abused by "God" the Big Bad of the story to put people through a living hell, which at the time it was written in 2008 plausible but still firmly in the realm of fantasy. Cue the revelations about the NSA's PRISM program and suddenly Jeffrey Deaver seems almost prophetic.
There's a book called Final Exam◊ that came out in 1990, 9 years before the Columbine shooting. (Look at the cover.)
Ray Bradbury's short story "The Veldt" features two kids using a virtual reality playroom to create violent scenarios of bloodthirsty, man-eating lions on an African veldt. When their parents try to stop these gory fantasies after the family therapist tells them they need to live a low-tech lifestyle, the kids trick them into getting trapped in the room and eaten by the lions. In The Fifties, when it was written, it served as a critique of mindless and often violent TV. Nowadays, with talk of video game addiction, and with so many people linking violent video games to youth violence in Real Life, the story is even more chilling (even though a good deal of the video-game allegations are sketchy at best).
A rare in-universe example in Triggers by Robert J Sawyer, where a character wonders whether an Expy of The West Wing will continue to be set in the White House even though the real building was recently destroyed by terrorists.
David Sedaris wrote several essays that mention his sister, Tiffany. At age six, her older siblings convinced her to lie in the middle of the road and get hit by a car to make their mom feel guilty, telling her death is "like sleeping, only you get a canopy bed." In another essay, her father browbeats her for stabbing David with a pencil until she couldn't hold a crayon without bursting into tears. Finally, in "Put A Lid On It," he describes how his parents put her in a reform school (the now infamous Elan School), causing her to resent her family and separate herself from them as much as possible. All of this presents enough of a sad portrait of his sister's life, but when you learn she committed suicide in 2013 and, in her will, banned her entire family from attending her funeral (all chronicled in David's essay "Now We Are Five"), the whole thing becomes downright heartbreaking.
In-Universe in The Fault in Our Stars, Van Houten insults Augustus' intelligence by saying his cancer must have spread to his brain. A Kick the Dog moment on its own, but then Gus later reveals that his cancer did in fact return and has spread to the rest of his body.
Spice, an ubiquitious drug from Dune and several other science fiction works after that, is one of the many genericized trademarks for synthetic marijuana which has far nastier effects & withdrawal symptomps than its natural counterparts and some death records to top it off (compared with natural weed which didn't kill anyone).
One inspiration for The Giver was Lois Lowry's conversations with her son, a USAF fighter pilot, prior to the Persia Gulf War. Her son would later die in a plane crash after the novel's publication.
It gets harsher when you know the details. The novel opens with a plane flying low over the community. A few years after the novel was published, a USAF pilot, who was known for low overflights and showing off crashed his plane, killing all on board. Later in the novel, the Giver told Jonas of how wars had been started when planes were fired on by mistake. A few years later, two US fighter jets misidentified two US Army Blackhawk helicopters and shot them down, killing all on board. These two incidents resulted in a push for greater accountability among USAF personnel. On May 30, 1995, Major Donald Lowry's F-15 crashed. The cause: two airmen had misconnected two control rods. The Air Force sought to prosecute the two airmen involved, despite evidence that the Air Force knew of the potential for such an accident and had done nothing to fix it. They sought the Lowry family to testify for stiff punishment of the men involved, but the Lowrys wrote a letter asking for leniency. The day the court-martial was to begin, one of the airmen charged left the base and headed to a wooded location he frequented. The airman's father and other Air Force personnel joined a search. The airman in question was in a hunting shack. As his commander approached, he shot himself in the head. He left a note for the Lowrys, in which he stated, "I know I am going to heaven. And in heaven I cannot hurt anyone else, not even by accident."
"Non-magic people (more commonly known as Muggles) were particularly afraid of magic in medieval times, but not very good at recognizing it. On the rare occasion that they did catch a real witch or wizard, burning had no effect whatsoever. The witch or wizard would perform a basic Flame Freezing Charm and then pretend to shriek with pain while enjoying a gentle, tickling sensation. Indeed, Wendelin the Weird enjoyed being burned so much that she allowed herself to be caught no less than fortyseven times in various disguises."
Not only did witch burnings actually occurnote mostly in 15th, 16th and 17th century Europe, though not Salem but the accused were horribly tortured to make them confess, precisely because of the belief presented in this book: it was believed that serious pain had to be inflicted because otherwise the "Devil's charm" would render immunity. Thousands of real women died horrible deaths after enduring unbelievable torture, many simply because they were perceived as outsiders or "different" in some way. Rowling's fiction of one character's experience of history was probably meant to assuage children's fears, but omits discussion of the truth about these women and the power struggles that killed them.