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Life Imitates Art

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"As far as I know, the first suggestion in the scientific literature about terraforming the planets was made in a 1961 article I wrote about Venus. [...] The idea was soon taken up by a number of science fiction authors in the continuing dance between science and science fiction - in which the science stimulates the fiction, and the fiction stimulates a new generation of scientists, a process benefiting both genres."
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Leonardo da Vinci didn't invent the helicopter, but he did draw a picture of one.

Throw enough hypothetical inventions and scenarios out into the world and the chances are that some of them will eventually become reality. Some were ideas waiting to happen: even our stone age ancestors could see from birds that flying was possible. Some ideas required a bit more imagination. Either way, life has imitated art.

A Super Trope to Defictionalization, which is deliberately doing this as part of merchandising. Compare The Red Stapler, which is when art affects the popularity of something. Contrast Truth in Television.

See also Hilarious in Hindsight, Harsher in Hindsight, and "Funny Aneurysm" Moment. When taken Up to 11, especially with a dash of these thrown in for good measure, it can become Life Imitates Farce.

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Not to be confused with Art Initiates Life, which describes artistic pieces literally coming to life.


Examples with their own pages:

Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Gundam Wiki gives us this gem concerning the Minovsky Particle (emphasis added):
    ''The disruption of electromagnetic radiation is due to the small lattice of the I-field creating fringes that long wavelengths cannot penetrate, and that diffract wavelengths that have similar distance with the fringes. This diffraction and polarization process disrupts the electromagnetic waves. Notice in real life there is a similar experimental particle that could do the same thing in few thousandth of a second, which is still not practical but proves the theory to be correct.
  • In Gundam Build Fighters Try, it's revealed that the Build Burning Gundam Gunpla was hidden inside a Dom. Then, people revealed that, with a bit of work, you can actually fit an actual Build Burning Gunpla inside a Dom Gunpla! It got to the point where Gunpla stores had to put signs by their Dom/Rick-Dom Gunpla specifically stating that the models do not come with a free Build Burning Gundam!
  • From Hajime no Ippo, Ichiro Miyata's Jolt Counter was actually used in a real boxing title match by Juan Manuel Marquez to defeat Manny Pacquiao in six rounds.
  • The second series of 1983's Meme Iroiro Yume no Tabi is set in a future world a few decades ahead. It looks much the same, but everyone's using a new technology called the "Information Network System" to communicate, watch videos and listen to music, order stuff, and get information about almost anything.

    Comic Books 
  • Electronic tagging such as ankle bracelets used to track prisoners. Developed by a judge in 1979 based on a Spider-Man newspaper strip from the same year, involving the Kingpin.
  • Carl Barks has done this at least twice. He made up a method to raise sunken ships with ping pong balls, which was later successfully used. The guy who did it was unable to patent the technique because of Barks' story. In a different comic, he drew a molecule and described some of its reactions nineteen years before it was discovered by scientists.
  • Cracked.com compiled a list of 5 Things Donald Duck Invented.
  • Tintin already travelled to the moon in "Tintin Destination Moon" and "Tintin Explorers On The Moon" (1950-1953, in publication). This was almost fifteen years before the Americans actually landed on the moon. Tintin's moon exploration was also scientifically very accurate without any typical science fiction clichés of aliens and such, and while the the use of a single, non-modular rocket might seem simplistic compared to the Apollo-Saturn multi-stage booster rockets and separate lunar and command/service modules, it was actually one ("Direct Ascent"note ) of three flight profiles studied (the others being "Earth Orbit Rendezvous" and the eventually implemented "Lunar Orbit Rendezvous").
  • Once in a while, one of Diabolik's gadgets is produced in Real Life. For example, the 1967 story "The Heart of Fire" features an automotive navigation system, beating the Electro Gyrocator by fourteen years.
  • Less than a year after the publishing of Detective Comics #859, the issue that detailed Kate Kane's dismissal from West Point under DADT for being lesbian, a real-life USMA cadet, also named Katherine, also with similar impressive academic, military, and physical achievements, resigned from the Academy for similar reasons.

    Films — Animated 
  • Kung Fu Panda: Just like how Shifu had to tutor Po in the ways of the martial arts, the actors behind their characters oddly paralleled that considering Dustin Hoffman tutored Jack Black to improve his acting to raise it to his standard.
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • 1934 film Flirtation Walk opens with a carrier-based air attack on Pearl Harbor. (It's an Army/Navy drill.)
  • Technovelgy tracks down sci-fi tech in Real Life, such as transparent data tiles like those in Minority Report.
  • In the Jim Belushi film K-9, Detective Dooley's K-9 partner Jerry Lee, played by real police dog Koton, was shot while apprehending a suspect in the attempted murder of a police officer. Two years after the film's release, Koton, who had returned to real police work after the movie, was shot and killed while apprehending a suspect in the attempted murder of a police officer.
  • The Truman Show Delusion.
  • A fan of Iron Man built his own personal digital life assistant and named him JARVIS.
  • A giant sign in the shape of a bull was built for the movie Bull Durham. Placed over the outfield fence, if hit by a home run ball it would light up and make noise, and the person who hit it would win a free steak. The real life Durham Bulls baseball team kept it.
  • In the movies of Sacha Baron Cohen, the artistic premise of the story and characters is always deeply intertwined with the real life behavior of those who aren't in on the joke. So to say that life imitates art is somewhat trivial. Nonetheless, there were some moments in Brüno when the real life external circumstances surrounding the film's production evolved similarly to the fixed prior notion of the movie's plot, as it had been conceived of before filming.
    • This occurred when they were in Italy for Fashion Week. The plot of the movie was that Bruno would cause a major disturbance at a fashion show, resulting in his being thrown out, blacklisted, and possibly even arrested. In fact, all of these things happened in real life, and so when he is later disallowed from entering fashion shows, it is because he was actually black-listed by that time.
    • Later, when Bruno sits down at a restaurant and commits "carbicide" by gorging himself on several ice cream sundaes, it was carbicide for both Bruno and the actor, Sacha Baron Cohen. Cohen had actually spent many months prior refraining from carbs, in the course of body sculpting for the role.
    • Kazakhstan actually started expanding its potassium exports in 2014. Whether they will become number one exporter of potassium remains in question.
  • A dark, tragic version occurs in The Return (2003). Father is given a Disney Villain Death. One of the film's other actors, 15-year-old Vladimir Garin, had one in Real Life just one month after shooting had completed; he never even lived to see the premiere.
  • For decades, many in the United States believed the hypothetical of a black U.S. president, while possible, would never likely happen, at least, for a really long time and fictional portrayals such as Morgan Freeman in Deep Impact (1998), the 2003 Chris Rock comedy Head of State and even Terry Crews in Idiocracy (2006) were the absolute closest things African-Americans had. However, on November 4, 2008....
  • After the release of 2006's Night at the Museum, the number of visitors at the American Museum of Natural History, which the movie modeled after and where it was set in the 1993 Film of the Book version, increased by 50,000 the previous year during the holiday season and 50,000 more between December 22, 2006, and January 2, 2007.
  • Possibly a cross between this and just plain Fandom, but since the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark, many, many real life archaeologists have been wearing wide-brimmed fedoras
  • In the 1997 Bean movie, Bean destroys a priceless painting, and attempts to fix it by drawing a new face over the top, and eventually replacing the original with a poster. In 2012, a 100-year-old painting of Christ was "restored" by an amateur who essentially painted a new face over the top. An official was quoted as saying, "If we can't fix it, we will probably cover the wall with a photo of the painting." In an incredibly bizarre coincidence, the Theme Song of the Mr. Bean show is "Ecce Homo", the same name as the painting.
  • In The Natural, an ailing Roy Hobbs hits a dramatic and unlikely home run to send the New York Knights to the World Series. Four years later, an ailing Kirk Gibson would hit a dramatic and unlikely home run to win game one of the 1988 World Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers. To hammer the point home, one of Gibson's team mates during the post game interviews wrote on a piece of tape and stuck to the nameplate over his locker Roy Hobbs.
  • Another from Cracked: A whole list of these. In order: Actor playing Achilles injures Achilles tendon; Actor gets Oscar nom for playing Oscar-Bait actor; Actress playing hidden voice-double has her own hidden voice-double; Actor whose character gets scanned into a computer gets scanned into a computer in real life; and Actor who plays a doctor in movie is (or was) an actual doctor-turned-actor.
  • In Audition, a guy tries to help his friend get over the loss of his wife by holding a fake audition to find him a new girlfriend. It doesn't work out too well for his friend. According to Vanity Fair, and confirmed by Paul Haggis, the Church of Happyology did just that, minus the murderous girlfriend part, for Tom Cruise, allegedly interviewing the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Lindsay Lohan, Sofia Vergara, and Kate Bosworth before picking Katie Holmes. It was going quite well, actually, until Holmes plotted her escape/divorce and now it's all in the news.
  • The success of V for Vendetta helped popularize the Guy Fawkes mask, which are now widely available for purchase. What's different is the purpose they're used for: by Anonymous and various supporting groups as a symbol of protest. Just like in the movie.
  • Between Get Shorty and Be Cool, Chili Palmer's movie, eventually released as Get Leo, was a hit. Then the studio forced Chili to make a sequel, which flopped badly enough to make him want out of the movie biz. Be Cool lampshaded the fact that it was a sequel and that sequels are often worse than the original. Rather bizarrely, audiences agreed.
  • Set 20 Minutes into the Future, RoboCop 2 shows Detroit trying to stave off bankruptcy after most city services have already been contracted out to the Mega-Corp Omni Consumer Products. In 2013, Detroit actually filed for bankruptcy, even after a state appointed emergency manager privatized many city services.
  • In Gone in 60 Seconds (1974), one of the police cars, 1 Baker 11, has a camera mounted in the center of the back seats facing forward, presumably to record the chase for police records.note  Dash cams in police cars weren't common for another decade and a half.
  • In Police Academy, the cadets are told the city-wide riot has become too out of control for them to handle, and all police personnel are pulling out of the area, which causes the riot to intensify. LAPD doing just that - withdrawing from a liquor store looting that turned to assualting passing motorists at Florence Boulevard and Normandie Avenue in South Central LA, following the acquittal of the officers involved in the Rodney King beating, led to the six day LA riots.
  • The fancy map on the windshield in Starman? Take a smartphone or tablet connected to the Internet, a few parts, hook up to a car, and the result is a GPS heads-up display.
  • The 1969 film Marooned is about a spaceship malfunctioning and leaving the three astronauts unable to deorbit with dwindling oxygen and other resources. The movie was seen in the theatre by Jim and Marilyn Lovell. Marilyn then had a nightmare where her husband was in that exact situation. Three months later, Jim Lovell captained Apollo 13.
  • The 2002 Mexican film El Crimen del Padre Amaro shows a Catholic Priest receiving money from a drug lord which he then uses to build a new hospital; He justifies it by saying that although it's "bad money", it becomes "good money" through good works and intentions. 3 years after the film was released, the Bishop of Aguascalientes used pretty much the same justification when questioned if his Diocese had received money from drug traffickers.
  • The Parent Trap was a Disney movie about two identical twin sisters being separated by their divorced parents and living a continent away from each other without knowing of the other's existence. They run into each other in an American summer camp and conspire to get their parents back together. Minus the "get the parents back together" part, a similar story occurred with the case of two originally South Korean twins who had been put up for adoption in 1987 and separated. They had been raised in the United States and Europe and rediscovered each other through social networking in 2013. They're even aware of the parallels.
  • A fast food restaurant obviously ripping off McDonald's, barely staying out of legal trouble with the real deal? It was McDowells in the 1988 Eddie Murphy film Coming to America, and MaDonal in the real world's Kurdistan in the following decade. The founder wanted to bring a real McDonalds to Kurdistan, but was refused a franchise.
  • An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn had such a Troubled Production (a Sylvester Stallone movie in which the film is recut without the director's permission into an incoherent mess that the director then tries to disown and finally sabotage) that it almost turns into a documentary about itself. Most notably, the director was so dissatisfied with the film that he got his name removed, meaning that a film where the main character is named "Alan Smithee" had an actual director credit for Alan Smithee (because at the time, it was the only name directors could use to distance themselves from their projects. This led to the Director's Guild discontinuing the practice of using that name as a pseudonym; aliases are now selected on a case by case basis.)
  • Fanboys deals with a Secretly Dying Star Wars fan who gets to watch The Phantom Menace as a dying wish before it's even released; In November 2015, a Star Wars fan suffering from terminal cancer would get to watch an unedited print of The Force Awakens before passing away shortly after.
  • Dark Water is a horror movie about a girl discovered dead in a water tank after complaints are made about the water, and it features a malfunctioning elevator. This is frighteningly mirrored in real life with the mysterious death of Elisa Lam at the Cecil Hotel. Security footage showed her displaying erratic behavior in an elevator that wouldn't close, and days after she disappeared, people complained about the water, and she was found dead in one of the rooftop tanks, with no explanation as to how she got there.
  • Playtime (1967) is a satirical take on the artificiality and homogeneity of modern culture. One scene demonstrated this by showing the hero looking down into an office area where the workers are each sitting in odd boxes—cubicles. The cubicle as a feature of office culture, which would have looked very weird to 1967 audiences, soon became standard all over the world.
  • Hulk had a type of medicine known as nanomeds. Over a decade since the movie, nanomeds were quite useful and reliable.
  • At one point in Urban Legend, Alicia Witt's character goes to the university's Spooky Silent Library to do some research and finds The Encyclopedia of Urban Legends. No book with that title ever existed until after the movie was made and released (this isn't a case of Defictionalization or The Red Stapler; folklore professor and author Jan Harold Brunvand says in his introduction to the real Encyclopedia that it had been in development for quite some time before the film was even being made).
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory had a rather embarrassing incident for Denise Nickerson, who played Violet Beauregarde. For the most part, the factory scenes were shot in chronological order, with the child actors leaving right after filming their downfalls. However, a broken shoe from Nickerson's wardrobe forced them to switch the filming of Violet and Veruca's respective scenes. After wrapping her infamous transformation into a blueberry, Nickerson flew home to New York. Two days later, she was sitting in math class when all the students started staring at her: her face was turning blue! As it turned out, the makeup had seeped into her pores and was resurfacing. Fortunately, it wasn't permanent and soon cleared up.
  • This Is Spın̈al Tap: The band talks about how a previous drummer died in a "bizarre gardening accident" that was "best left unsolved." In 1992, Jeff Porcaro, drummer for Toto, died when he allegedly inhaled a lethal dose of insecticide he had just sprayed around his greenhouse. However, coroners later put his death down to a heart attack due to cocaine abuse. Family and friends disputed this, claiming that he had a family history of heart conditions and was not a heavy cocaine user.
  • In 1984, Drew Barrymore starred in Irreconcilable Differences, about a girl who becomes emancipated from her parents. Barrymore herself became an emancipated minor at age 14. As in Irreconcilable Differences, even her mother admitted it was for the better.
  • The documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, which chronicles the Troubled Production of Apocalypse Now, points out several parallels between the events of Apocalypse Now and its production, including the Descent Into Madness.
  • American Animals is a dramatization of a real robbery. The robbers watch a bunch of heist movies for inspiration and institute the color-themed aliases from Reservoir Dogs. The leader gives one member the alias "Mr. Pink," and they have an argument about it that mirrors the film.

    Fanfiction 

    Literature 
  • Jules Verne's Nautilus... a long-range electric submarine powered by steampunk!
    • The world's first SSN was called Nautilus because of the book.
    • And Verne himself got the name from the real (and much less sophisticated) submarine designed for Napoleon by one Robert Fulton.
    • Nautilus was a popular submarine name for years, both before and after Verne's book, because the nautilus is a fairly well known sea creature.
    • Space flight was also predicted by Jules Verne.
      • What's more, he predicted that the first mission to the moon would be launched from Central Florida. For the right reasons, even: Florida is closer to the equator than almost any other part of the United States, making it much more suitable to space launches.
      • Also, the idea of using a giant cannon to launch things into space is being considered in Real Life for unmanned satellites.
  • H. G. Wells' The Time Machine proposed that time was the fourth dimension about ten years before Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity.
    • Einstein based his theory of 4D spacetime on preexisting mathematical theories that were around when Wells wrote his story, though.
      • Incidentally, that part of relativity - the use of 4 dimensional non-euclidean geometries to explain General Relativity - was co-developed by Bernhard Riemann.
    • The better example is when he managed to predict isotopes before the actual research papers about them came out.
    • Also, the description in The War of the Worlds of the Heat-Ray (the original book, not the Hollywood versions which turn it into a flamethrower or generic Energy Weapon) sounds suspiciously like the yet-to-be-invented microwave laser or maser.
    • Don't forget his short story The Land Ironclads, which feature tank-like vehicles a decade before the first tanks were used in the Somme.
      • DaVinci came up with the concept first, though.
      • And even before that, the Greeks put catapults in siege towers.
  • Arthur C. Clarke's geosynchronous communication satellites. Although Clarke first published the idea as a scientist before he put them in his novels, so he arguably did invent Clarke's Orbit.
  • Predictions of The Other Wiki
  • The fella who invented the waterbed in Real Life was unable to patent it because it had already been thoroughly described by Robert A. Heinlein in Stranger in a Strange Land.
    • Likewise, one fella who tried to patent a method for lifting sunken ships ran into trouble because it was described thoroughly earlier - in a Carl Barks comic!
    • The word "grok", now a widely-used term, originated in Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land as a word from the Martian Language spoken by the protagonist.
    • Heinlein's Powered Armor is on its way to reality thanks to defense contractor Raytheon and several other groups. As of 2008, development is at the stage of strength-amplifying mechanical exoskeletons. No word yet on bulletproof plating and Arm Cannons.
  • Aldous Huxley kinda made up embryonic stem cell research in his dystopian novel Brave New World.
    • For that matter, the characters' ideas about "family" are slowly becoming more and more realistic.
    • At the time the book was written, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome was not known to exist. Huxley made up a condition that later turned out to be real, and even managed to get the symptoms right.
  • Ray Bradbury predicted portable audio players and cell phones in the early '50s.
    • See also the two-way radio watches of Midnight, Dick Tracy, and Doc Savage (who debuted after Dick Tracy but used a radio watch before the other two).
  • The T-Minus countdown system (10, 9, 8, etc.) was first used in Woman in the Moon before being adopted by NASA. Wernher von Braun was known to be a fan of the film and used a countdown in every launch he participated in, possibly as an homage.
  • In 1898 Morgan Robertson wrote a novella named Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan about an ocean liner named Titan which sinks in the North Atlantic after striking an iceberg. In the novella, Titan was one of the largest passenger ships of the time and considered indestructible, and had way too few lifeboats for its 2500 passengers, over half of which died in the accident. 14 years later... (The Real Life incident didn't have a battle with a polar bear, however)
  • Isaac Asimov's short SF story "The Feeling of Power" is based on the premise that people would completely forget how to do mathematical calculations manually - on paper paper - and end up relying entirely on machines. His "hand computer" predates the calculator. And the story was initially rejected by publishers because it was deemed ridiculous that people could forget how to do arithmetic.
    • However, when his idea became reality, educators wasted little time taking this fiction as gospel - insisting that students learn how to solve problems on "paper paper". It is worth speculating however, on how long it will be, if that day is not here already, where calculators are viewed in the same light as rulers, compasses and protractors.
  • One anecdote long known to fans of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy tells of a terminally ill fan who, inspired by the books' running joke about one being secure in the knowledge that he's prepared for anything so long as he "knows where his towel is," made sure to keep his own towel with him in his final days.
    • When Douglas Adams died of cardiac arrest in 2001, he was at a gym, so he actually did have a towel with him at his time of death.
    • Modern smartphones and tablet computers with access to Wikipedia (or, possibly more accurately, TV Tropes) bear much more than a passing resemblance to the features of the titular Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. One can even update Wikipedia's entry on Earth to say Harmless or Mostly Harmless, but it's been done to death already.
  • Go reference-spotting in Idoru. Okay, so it's made in 1995 when the internet was actually invented, but many things are just now becoming possible - and done.
    • Notably, Japan now has at least one virtual pop singer. Yes, idoru are real.
      • RAH's Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966) had CGI of Adam Selene appearing on vidscreens.
  • Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities is sometimes criticised for being a thinly-veiled Roman à Clef dealing with events that happened in New York City in the late '80s and early '90s. This ignores the fact that the book was published in 1987, and all of the writing happened before that, meaning that most of the events upon which is was supposedly "based" actually didn't happen until after the novel was published.
  • Dale Brown predicted low-observable external weapons pods well before Boeing made it possible.
  • In The Sum of All Fears, it's mentioned that local wags near the Strategic Air Command HQ joked that the relatively new (at the time) Command Center was made so that the actual place matched up with the common Hollywood depictions of the facility, which were better than the original structure.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle invented Sherlock Holmes, perhaps the most famous detective in history. Not content with writing about a detective, Doyle actually ended up becoming something of a detective himself, proving the innocence of two men who had been wrongfully convicted in separate cases.
  • The topper might be Murray Leinster's prescient short story A Logic Named Joe. In it, he describes a networked computer system in homes across the country that allows people to learn how to cheat on taxes, find hangover cures, kill their spouse using hard to trace household chemicals, and most of all allows young children to discover porn. He not only predicted the internet, but he predicted search engines, online porn, filtering software, and the sinister uses people have for Google. In March of 1946.
    • The same story also predicted online television, on-demand television, online video chat, the various other mundane uses that people would use the internet and home computers for, and even made a pretty good guess as to what desktop computers look like.
  • A throwaway reference in the backstory of John W. Campbell's "Frictional Losses": the Japanese attempted to counter an invasion (by space aliens) by supercharging airplane engines, packing the planes full of explosives, and ramming them into the invaders' ships. He published this in July 1936.
  • In Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift describes the two moons of Mars as discovered by the Laputan astronomers. 150 years later, the two moons of Mars were actually discovered. (Contrary to some reports, their orbital period and diameter do not match what is described in the book.)
    • Actually, as soon as it was discovered Jupiter has four (apparently) moons, people started speculating Mars has two.
  • John Brunner's Stand on Zanzibar, written in 1969 and mentioned above, takes place in 2010 when the Earth's population has reached 7 billion. He was only one year short of when that milestone was actually reached.
  • There's a theory going around that cyberpunk (and especially Neuromancer) drastically influenced the development of the internet. It doesn't hurt that William Gibson coined the term "cyberspace". But wait, it gets weirder- Some followers of the genre suspect the recent lack of literature is due to this defictionalization, combined with a general perception that since 9/11 things have been looking a little more dystopian.
  • In Karel Capek's 1924 novel Krakatit a scientist discovers how to create explosions by breaking up atoms.
  • Louisa May Alcott based Little Women on her family, with a few changes. In reality, Elizabeth Alcott died before Anna (Meg's real life counterpart) married. Years after the second part of Little Women was published, May (Amy's real life counterpart) married the man who had comforted her when Abba Alcott died, just as Amy married Laurie who had comforted her after Beth March died.
  • As Gabrielle Donnelly wrote her modern-day sequel to the Little Women trilogy, The Little Women Letters, she sent her manuscript to a young London friend, Harriet, to ensure the spoken language was up to date. Towards the end of the book, Harriet moved into a Belsize Park flat with a former college room-mate, just as Lulu, the book's main character, did.
    Gabrielle Donnelly: In view of which, I was tempted to write an extra chapter in which Lulu‘s older friend, a writer living in Los Angeles, won the lottery and became exceedingly rich.
  • In 1920s Soviet satirical novel The Twelve Chairs a con man sold tickets to access the Proval lake (literally "gap", "collapse", "fall-through"). "For repairs. So that it wouldn't fall any further." In the 1980s the local authorities really started selling tickets. And then closed the access for a while to clear away the debris and reinforce walls. And in 2008 a statue of the con man with tickets was installed by the tunnel entrance.
  • In his 1907 novel The Marvels of the Year 2,000, Emilio Salgari (better known as the author of Sandokan) described a world eerily similar to the current one, including high-speed electric trains, television, off-shore platforms, and, less happily, nuclear weapons and the fear of them forcing the world to peace (he described a powerful chemical explosive capable of shattering mountains that somehow ended in the hands of pretty much all countries, forcing them to redraw the borders as the first measure to prevent the last war).
  • In 2012, Russian writer Mikhail Belozerov wrote Ukrainian gambit: the war of 2015 (Russian: Украинский гамбит. Война 2015) as a speculative novel set 20 Minutes into the Future. The story was centered around a squad of Russian volunteers from the Donbass region, who fight against Ukrainians, Tatars and the NATO response force. Short of NATO involvement, everything else later turned out to be Truth in Television.
  • EE Smith described a command and control system he invented for the Lensman setting which allowed the heroes to direct the movements of thousands of starships all across the galaxy in a manner that was comprehensible for a single commander to understand what was happening and coordinate. A US Navy Admiral informed Smith after the war that the command and information control centers (ops rooms) the US Navy ultimately placed in their warships to manage and coordinate ship and fleet actions, now used by warships worldwide, was directly inspired by and based on Smith's creation.
  • The Janie series of novels centers on the titular Janie, who finds out that her parents aren't her real parents and she was actually kidnapped as a child by their daughter from her real family. In 2016, South Carolina teen Alexis Manigo found out that her mother actually kidnapped her from the hospital as a baby from her real mother and her birth name is Kamiyah Mobley. Alexis stated that nothing was ever out of the ordinary, other than the fact that she had no Social Security number or driver's license.

    Music 
  • Zager & Evans's song "In the Year 2525" predicted test tube babies about 10 years before the first one was born.
  • In the song, "One Piece at a Time" by Johnny Cash, the narrator works on an assembly line putting together Cadillacs. Since he can't afford such an expensive car, he decides to get it "one piece at a time" by sneaking parts of the car out in his lunch box and his friend's mobile home over a period of several years to avoid suspicion. While this plan failed in the song (when the car was finally put together, was an odd-looking mess since it used parts from so many different models), an automotive assembly line worker in Chongqing, China successfully put a motorcycle together this way over the course of five years beginning in 2003, though the thief got caught shortly after finally putting it together.
  • "Linus and Lucy" was played on Elton John's Red Piano. Remind you of Schroeder?
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic:
    • His music video for "White and Nerdy" featured a throwaway joke about vandalizing the Wikipedia page about Atlantic Records. That page has now been vandalized enough times in that manner that its talk page prominently features a warning about it.
    • Early in his career, he had a hit with "I Lost on Jeopardy". He competed on Rock & Roll Jeopardy! nearly two decades later... and lost.
  • No less than fourteen drummers have taken the stage with space-rockers Hawkwind at one time or another. This may well have been the origin of the "disposable drummer" gag in This Is Spın̈al Tap.
    • Although rock drummers and to a lesser extent bass players have a (deserved or undeserved) reputation as temperamental and frequently quitting.
  • The video for the 2005 Eminem song "Like Toy Soldiers" features Eminem pacing in the corridors of a hospital while doctors attempt to save the life of his best friend, fellow Detroit rapper Proof, after he was shot. Their efforts were in vain; one of the last scenes of video shows Eminem attending Proof's funeral. On April 11, 2006, Proof was shot and killed in real life due to a barroom dispute.
  • The song "Miss America" by Styx foreshadowed 1984 Miss America pageant winner Vanessa Williams' fall from grace. She resigned the title after nude photos taken before her pageantry days surfaced in Penthouse magazine.
  • In an August 1998 interview with American Country Countdown, Mark Wills revealed that, when he was listening to the demo for his hit "Don't Laugh at Me", he actually passed by a homeless man holding a cardboard sign, when the song is about not judging people of that sort.
  • Two examples from the Pet Shop Boys:
    • "King's Cross": Only last night I found myself lost/By the station called King's Cross/Dead and wounded on either side/You know it's only a matter of time — this song was released two months before the 1987 fire at King's Cross tube station that killed 31 people.
    • "Dreaming of the Queen": A song that combines references to death and Princess Diana, often presumed to relate to Diana's death in 1997, was actually released in 1993.

    Pinballs 
  • The playfield for Williams Electronics' Space Shuttle shows two astronauts installing an orbital telescope, six years before the Hubble Space Telescope was deployed.

     Professional Wrestling 
  • In 1999, Triple H "married" Vince McMahon's daughter, Stephanie, in a Vegas drive-thru ceremony.note  While it initially was a stick-it to Vince, it eventually turned into a power brokering that consolidated Vince and Triple H's ambitions into the "McMahon-Helmsley Faction". In 2003, Triple H and Stephanie really did tie the knot and started a family. This in turn likely helped Triple H move from working the ring to working the front office of WWE as the VP of Talent and Live Events (and indeed, he will likely become Vince's successor when the time comes).
  • Similarly, CM Punk and AJ Lee were involved in a storyline which saw the latter taken an interest in Punk and months of flirting and a few kisses between them. They started legitimately dating in 2013 and got married the following year.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the White Wolf RPG Aberrant, a 1999 sourcebook gives the Pope's name as Benedict XVI. A common choice of papal name, true, but the next Pope to take office was Benedict XVI in 2005.
  • In Battletech, Vehicles are equipped with ferroglass cockpits. Now we have transparent aluminum. We're getting pretty close. (Sort of... The aluminum we now have is only transparent to certain types of radiation. And to create this material one electron has to be shot out of each of it's atoms with a soft x-ray laser, one by one. But it's a start. A slow, limping, crawl of a start.)
  • Demon: The Descent has an in-universe example, via special ability called "Like the Movies" that allows a character to turn certain situations into fiction-like coincidences. Using it too much attracts the attention of the God-Machine, that apparently has enough time on its hands to watch human media and know if someone's using tropes to make things easier for themselves.

    Theater 
  • When the original production of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music opened on Broadway, Len Cariou (Frederik) and Victoria Mallory (Anne) were dating. In the musical, Frederik is a middle-aged lawyer and Anne is his teenage trophy wife. However, Anne ends up running away with her stepson, Henrik. After the production closed, Victoria Mallory and Henrik's actor, Mark Lambert, ran away together without telling anyone, just as their characters did.
    • Their daughter, Ramona Mallory, debuted on Broadway in the latest revival as... Anne.
  • The Irish comedy musical I, Keano is a send-up of the Saipan incident, the real-life falling-out between Republic of Ireland national football team star Roy Keane and manager Mick McCarthy before the 2002 FIFA World Cup, which led to Keane going or being sent home and not playing in the tournament. During the production's first run, three major cast members—including Mario Rosenstock, who played "Keano"—publicly left the show.

    Video Games 
  • In 2009, Cracked published a humorous series of photographs under an article named If Video Games Were Realistic. One of the images had a Guitar Hero controller with six buttons per fret, on each fret of the entire guitar, simulating a real six-stringed guitar. Well, guess what kind of guitar controller was published with Rock Band 3 the very next year.
  • The Team Fortress 2 Medic uses a special device called the Medigun to heal his allies. There is now a spray gun that applies stem cells extracted from the patient's skin to treat second-degree burns.
  • Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work had the Hard Disk Cafe, a parody of Hard Rock Cafe, but there later appeared a real Hard Disk Cafe in Calgary, AB, Canada. Maybe coincidence.
  • Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit, Hot Pursuit 2, Hot Pursuit 2010, and Rivals showed sports cars being used as police units. Although unbelievable, there is a Lamborghini Gallardo (550-4) in Italy being used as an interceptor unit.
  • Remember the Air Taser that you could use to light enemies on fire in Syphon Filter? Several real life accidents have occured where people were lit on fire by police tasers, usually involving flammable liquids.
  • Obscure Super Famicom kuso-ge Hong Kong '97's plot involved turning the recently deceased "Tong Shau Ping" (Deng Xiaoping) into a weapon. The game was made in 1995, while Deng actually died in 1997.
  • In Dwarf Fortress, there was a point at which carp accidentally became the most monstrous beasts in the world, dragging a dwarf into water and tearing him to shreds while they drowned. The dwarven "leaders" tackle this problem the same way they tackle any other problem: doing nothing. In real life, a invasive species of Asian Carp has appeared in the Great Lakes. It has a tendency to jump, and while it doesn't exactly tear people apart, they have been known to knock people out of small boats. In true Dwarf Fortress form, what has the government decided to do about this invasive species? Nothing.
  • In Command & Conquer: Generals, the Chinese field aircraft generically known as Mikoyan-Gurevich fighters (MiGs). Visually they're based on the MiG MFI, 1.44, and 1.42 series, which never saw production and only got a maiden flight long after the projects had been canceled. However, in the real world China is developing the Chengdu J-20, which looks very similar to the MiG 1.44 family and is slated to enter service during the years Generals takes place.
  • There must have been a few Battlezone fans at BAE Systems and Polish Defence Holding. Their tank concept PL-01, which they unveiled at the 2013 MSPO International Defence Industry Exhibition, is suspiciously similar in shape to the tanks of that game.
  • One of the subplots in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater involves ADAM, an NSA code breaker who fled to Russia. Edward Snowden, anyone?
  • In the original installment of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon, the first few missions of the game center on a U.S.-led armed intervention in the Republic of Georgia in the wake of a Russian invasion amidst the impending restoration of the Soviet Union. Oddly enough, the Russians did invade Georgia after the latter's attempt to restore government control over the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the latter being a major setting in the game. (Also, this brief conflict took place in 2008, the same year in which the game takes place.)
    • A lesser example exists in Island Thunder, where the Ghosts are tasked with safeguarding democratic elections on Cuba after the death of Fidel Castro in 2006. Castro did concede power to his brother Raul Castro in the wake of ill health that year and eventually passed in 2016.
  • The first part of Byteria Saga: Heroine Iysayana was released in 2003, the titular anti-heroine being an blonde slut and Hard-Drinking Party Girl. Shortly before the events of the game, Iysayana and Odil had been drunk enough to spontaneously marry, then gotten divorced again within a few days or so. Less than a year later, Britney Spears did almost the same in Real Life, which was eventually referenced in Chapter Three of the game.
  • In Mario Strikers Charged Football, if you score a goal against Bowser Jr. there might be a sequence of him kicking a goal post in anger, only to hurt his foot. A year later, Campino of Die Toten Hosen made the news when one of his favorite clubs, Liverpool F.C., lost the UEFA Champions League semi-final and he picked the wrong garbage can to kick.
  • Madden NFL:
    • Madden NFL 15 predicted in a simulation of Super Bowl XLIV that the New England Patriots would win against the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 after being down 14-24 in the third quarter. They did just that, although it took Seattle to make a huge mistake on their final play to make it happen, not a Hail Mary pass by quarterback Tom Brady. Bonus points for having Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman on the cover.
    • Some unorthodox football strategies gained acceptance in the real NFL in part because Madden made them common knowledge amongst football fans. These include going for it on 4th down in your own territory, running parallel to the goal line to burn off extra seconds, and deliberately stopping at the one yard line to burn off more time rather than scoring. (Hilariously, the Jets tried the Madden counter-strategy of allowing the opponent to score, but the Jaguars refused.)
    • The "running parallel to the goal line" is an interesting twist. In reality, this play has occurred at least as far back as Buccaneers safety Neal Colzie's interception return in the 1981 season opener, showing that it existed before Madden. However, the modern generation of football players (and even a good number of coaches) are going to recognize the strategy much more from playing Madden. This makes Colzie's return something of an Unbuilt Trope for the strategy.
  • The plot of Mega Man Zero 4 was that refugees from Neo Arcadia were fleeing to the crash site of the Eurasia Space Colony, which had naturally regrown the whole century since the crash due to environmental conditioning equipment in the wreckage that remained functional. Real-life nature said "fuck that" and reclaimed the Fukushima Daiichi area in seven years.
  • Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe marked the final Mortal Kombat game marketed under the Midway Games banner. Who would gain control of the franchise in the aftermath? WB Games. And who owns DC Comics? Warner Bros. (Scorpion even showed up in Netherrealm Studios' first non-Mortal Kombat fighting game, Injustice: Gods Among Us, a DC Comics fighting game).

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of Æon Flux, a woman who had a chunk of her spine shot out by a gun turret was able to have screaming orgasms by having the remaining nerves dangling from the gap stimulated with surgical tools. In what must be the absolute weirdest example of this, a few years later some doctors tried this in Real Life & found it actually works.
  • King of the Hill: In what might be the most startling example of this, in 2007, a former Laotian general allegedly trained a paramilitary group in America to retake Laos from the communists. Two years earlier in the episode "Orange You Sad I Did Say Banana?", a former Laotian general trained a paramilitary group in America to retake Laos from the communists.
  • The Simpsons examples:
    • "Bart to the Future" presents three ideas for America's political future that have since become more considerable issues: the U.S. has handled its increasing foreign debt like an irresponsible person shrugging off bill collectors, marijuana legalization has been given more actual consideration, and the election of the first female U.S. President seems very possible at this writing (Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination in 2016, being the first female Presidential nominee of a major party).
      • At the time of this writing, Trump has won. We eagerly wait now for Lisa Simpson becoming the next president.
    • In the episode "The Mansion Family", Homer takes Mr. Burns' yacht into international waters to avoid state blue laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol on Sunday. After mocking the Coast Guard's inability to do anything to stop them the yacht is seized by pirates. When appealing to the Coast Guard for help the crew replies, sarcastically, that "Navy SEALs are on the way". In 2009, when the Maersk Alabama was hijacked by Somali pirates, the first such hijacking of an American flagged vessel since the 19th century, Navy SEALs were dispatched to the scene, shooting three of the pirates from the rear of a Navy destroyer and rescuing the hijacked crew.
    • In "Trash of the Titans", Homer is elected sanitation commissioner of Springfield, but he ends up spending his entire year's budget in one month. Homer recoups the money by having other cities pay him to mash their excess garbage into a nearby mine shaft. But it proves too much, and Springfield ends up so badly trashed that the town has to be moved five miles down the road. In Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the Toronto City Council had seriously considered turning the abandoned Adams Mine into a dumping site for Toronto's garbage until then-councilors Jack Layton and Olivia Chow showed them this episode, and they immediately changed their minds.
    • In "The Trouble with Trillions", Cuba is facing economic collapse, prompting Fidel Castro to think about reaching out to the United States. They bounce back when they take the 1 trillion dollar bill from Mr. Burns. In December 2014 Cuba was facing economic collapse due to the collapse in Venezuelan oil subsidies so President Raul Castro, Fidel's brother and successor, reached out to US President Obama and and restored diplomatic ties, significantly eroding the 50+ year embargo between the 2 nations.
    • In "The Last of the Red Hat Mamas", Homer gets in trouble at an Easter egg hunt when he tries to steal eggs from kids' baskets to please Maggie. In 2016, a PEZ-sponsored egg hunt descended into chaos with reports of parents stealing eggs from other children.
  • South Park:
    • Season 10 of the show featured a two-parter entitled "Cartoon Wars," which focuses on Fox's dilemma over what to do about broadcasting an uncensored image of Muhammad on Family Guy. Cartman argues that they're putting themselves in danger by agreeing to show the character (though he's really only doing this because he hates the show, as Trey Parker and Matt Stone do in real life), while Kyle's argument, that eventually wins the executives over, is that they're just giving in to demands. In-story, the network agrees to let it go uncensored, but viewers don't see this; the "censored" message was real, as Comedy Central refused to show Muhammad on television. note  Four years later, Comedy Central wussed out about showing Muhammad (as Kyle had warned Fox not to), also censoring the customary ending speech (which didn't mention Muhammad at all and was about giving in to fear and intimidation). Parker and Stone were not pleased.
    • Early on in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, the boys pay a homeless man to get them into an R-rated movie. During the movie's theatrical run, there were reports of underage teens purchasing tickets to Wild Wild West and sitting in the theaters showing the South Park movie instead. Matt and Trey were not happy about this because they hated that film and were mad that they inadvertently helped it make more money at the box office.

    Other 
  • Leonardo da Vinci thought of a helicopter 500 years before it was made.
    • As noted at the top of the page, Life Imitates Art Imitates Art Imitates art Imitates Life. Chinese toy helicopters from circa 400 BC may have been depicted in European painting prior to Leonardo's time.
  • Ray Guns were common in fiction for decades, but it was not hard science, because you just couldn't actually make a weapon just by shooting energy alone. Then the laser was invented in the 1960s.
    • Though you still can't build a gun out of them. Heavy artillery, maybe. Pistols? It's going to take a while.
      • You can buy a laser "pointer" powerful enough to set fire to paper. It's not a lethal weapon but we're getting a lot closer.
      • So far, using lasers as weapons hasn't managed to get past Awesome, but Impractical. Humans are made primarily of water, and water takes an awful lot of energy to heat up. You can give someone a pretty bad burn with a laser, but it's hard to actually kill someone with one.
      • Blinding on the otherhand, or causing skin cancer!
      • Blinding can also cause plane crashes, as there have been reports of people pointing their lasers skyward and being arrested for it.
      • On the other hand military (and perhaps even civilian) aircrafts will soon be equipped with missile-destroying chemical lasers.
    • Laser cannons are now a reality.
    • One avenue of research towards this is for cinema accurate blasters is the plasma bullet, superhot plasma encased in an electromagnetic field. This would provide the laser appearance and the slower visible speed while maintaining the effectiveness.
    • Electrolaser riflesnote  are the closest we're probably ever going to get to sci-fi ray guns. Their main use is Bomb Disposal.
  • "Kremvax" started as one of several fictional Vax computers joining the internet on April 1, 1984, which was an April Fools joke by Piet Beertema. When the first genuine Moscow site joined the internet, its gateway machine soon was kremvax.demos.su
  • It's Cracked at it again with 6 Eerily Specific Inventions Predicted in Sci Fi.
  • A deliberate one, after the movie Project X came out, several teens tried to replicate the movie's Wild Teen Party, with bad results. 2 of them ended in violent shootings, and another ended with a riot and cars being set on fire.
  • The World Trade Center attacks. Some websites are dedicated to listing popular media involving damage to the towers or the use of intentional plane crash attacks.
  • The real life story of Big Edie and Little Edie Beale, an aging mother and daughter who resided in the falling-down mansion of Grey Gardens, is eerily similar to that of Miss Havisham and Estella in Great Expectations, except the daughter was the one who got rejected by her fiance, and unlike Estella, she never left the house (except when she ran away to New York for a few years). Miss Havisham herself may have been based on the real-life shut-in spurned bride Eliza Emily Donnithorne.
  • As mentioned above, tanks are notable for the fact that they were an entirely fictional concept for a long time before Real Life decided that they'd be useful for the purpose of war, with the invention of a reliable and compact internal combustion engine and the caterpillar track making them practical to build.
  • Invoked with the Science Channel series Sci Fi Science. Dr. Michio Kaku discusses current technology and theories that would allow the creation of science fiction as reality. Justified in that scientists look to science fiction as inspiration to recreate the entertainment they enjoy.

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