Follow TV Tropes


20 Minutes into the Future

Go To
Cars, elevated trains, pedestrians, and robots, a typical city scene.
"In the year 2015, they got everything wrong."
Caddicarus, on LEGO Drome Racers, which was released in 2002.

The Future, but not so far into it that you'd notice except for the abundance of Applied Phlebotinum. This is often a linear extrapolation of national malaise or existing crises, so American works of the 1970s have endlessly skyrocketing crime and inner urban decay note  whereas the 1980s brought the notion that Mega Corps and Japan (especially Japanese megacorps) would rule the world. When the 1990s came around, the US economy recovered while the Japanese economy tanked; The Great Politics Mess-Up and subsequent collapse of many authoritarian communist regimes drastically changed the political picture of both the present and the future. Instead of criminal anarchy or corporate governance, there's a lot more focus on how technology has come to permeate everyday life and challenge long-held conceptions of the individual and society as a whole. And, of course, works in the '90s naturally assumed that from that point on the only murderous enemies Americans would have to worry about would be right-wing militia fanatics, homicidal teenagers, and maybe the occasional petty dictator, but no one else. With the Turn of the Millennium and the New Tens, the issue seems to have become extreme Right-Wing dystopias and/or endless American Interventionism in the Middle East and Central Asia, occasionally spreading into South America, Africa, or Southeast Asia.


Obviously, 20 Minutes into the Future is the setting of most Flash Forward stories, though they usually don't make a big deal of it except as a minor joke. Of course, Science Marches On, so it's fun to watch 10 years later to see how wrong they got it. Television series are especially prone to this, as they tend to make use of various props, costumes, and effects that reflect the sensibilities of their time but become increasingly dated over a long run.

Both Max Headroom and Brazil lampshade the Zeerust problem by setting themselves explicitly "20 Minutes into the Future" and "Somewhere in the Twentieth Century", respectively (rather than identifying specific dates), and by mixing up production designs and costumes that would have been considered "futuristic" in the '80s with random elements from previous decades.


See also Next Sunday A.D., which is completely indistinguishable from the present, but claims to be happening in the future anyway. How much Applied Phlebotinum it takes to flip Next Sunday A.D. into full-scale Twenty Minutes into the Future is an interesting question, since many stories employing fictional technology are actually set in the present. Can result in I Want My Jetpack if the writers set the work not sufficiently far into the future, and the year the work was set in arrives in Real Life without any of the new technology featured. Compare to Urban Fantasy as the magical version. If you want to know a more "reversed" version of this trope (futuristic technology in the past), see Schizo Tech. Inverted by 20 Minutes into the Past.


    open/close all folders 

  • A Volkswagen commercial has someone debating about buying a car, only to have his future self (wearing nifty "futuristic clothes") from "13 days in the future" pop into the showroom and tell him to buy the car.
  • Kevin Butler of Sony greets the people of March 2010 from the "crazy" future of November 2010. Aside from declaring the success of the PlayStation Move, he says that people drink their food through straws, and Kansas City won the World Series.note 
  • The now-famous "1984" ad from Apple to promote their new Macintosh during the Super Bowl of, you guessed it, 1984. The ad depicts what would happen to the world had the Macintosh not been made in time and then IBM being displayed as a Big Brother Expy on a giant television screen — nobody could ever predict at the moment the great restructuring of IBM that happened around 2000 when the company reinvented itself as the big corporate friend of the hacker community, or that the once-implacable enemies Apple and IBM would become best friends and work together on the PowerPC line of CPUs for over a decade from the mid-90s.
  • A Nike Jordans commercial aired during the 2012 Olympics showed two preteens, one in China and the other in the U.S., watching the 2012 Olympics and being inspired to pursue careers in basketball because of it. It shows them training throughout grade school, playing each other in college sports, then being recruited for the 2029 NBA draft, then playing in the 2032 Olympics, which are apparently in Cairo. The technology gets increasingly high tech, showing whole building ads and futuristic TVs that take up whole walls.

    Anime and Manga 
  • AKIRA begins with a nuclear explosion in 1988 that sets off World War III. (In fact, the date of the explosion given in the movie, 1988.07.16, was the date the movie premièred.)
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • The original series, first aired on Japanese television in 1995-96, is explicitly set in the year 2015, with a Back Story involving an apocalyptic cataclysm in the year 2000. Despite having artificially intelligent computers, giant biotechs, and the ability to sequence a genome stored in some particle-wave matter in seconds, the Japanese government's nuclear-powered giant robot runs MS-DOS, and the wifi-enabled laptops in schools (despite doing wireframe 3D modeling) can only draw dialogue boxes using ASCII art. Shinji uses an "SDAT" personal stereo, a fictional product in a similar vein to the Digital Compact Cassette (a format that launched straight into obscurity in 1992) — in other words, a cassette player. Could be explained as the result of Second Impact stalling technological advances in all fields except those relating to the threat at hand.
    • Rebuild of Evangelion justifies the tape player by establishing that it was his father's, and therefore has sentimental value.
    • In the ending of the manga adaptation (which finished in 2013), a Cosmic Retcon resets the timeline so that said apocalyptic event never occurred. The brief glimpses we see of the new 2015 are much more in line with present-day fashion and technology.
  • 7 Seeds has its premise happen on Earth... Who-knows-how-many-years After the End, although the chapters that are flashbacks to how things were before the impact that doomed humanity definitely qualify as this. It overall seems to function just like "our" present of maybe The '90s or early 2000s.
  • Serial Experiments Lain has a creepy Opening Narration that states "present day, present time", but it's obvious by the iPhone-like HandyNAVIs and the existence of a Cyberspace that this was not the case for its launch year of 1997 — if anything, it looks much more like the world as it actually developed by 2020. This is a direct Shout-Out to Max Headroom's original opening. There are however some indications that it actually takes place in an Alternate Universe.
  • Patlabor, made in 1988 and set in 1998. Not much has changed besides mechas being commonly used for mundane tasks. "This story is a work of fiction — but in ten years, who knows?"
  • Manabi Straight! takes place in 2035, which looks just like today, but with fewer people and slightly fancier tech gadgets, such as PDAs and cell phones.
  • Fist of the North Star takes place in a post-apocalyptic future after an atomic war in "199X".
  • This trope is spoofed, as part of a general parody of Fist of the North Star, in episode 23 of Excel Saga (which aired in the late nineties):
    Narrator: The future! Nineteen-ninety...
    Audience: It's already passed!
    Narrator: Oh crap! You're right...
  • The Astro Boy manga, original publication 1951, had the titular robot boy being created on April 7, 2003, a time in which robots and flying cars were routine. When that date rolled around, the flying cars and robots were absent, but we did get a new television series, first broadcast on that exact date in Japan. At the very least, the Japanese government granted full citizenship to Astro Boy.
  • The future of Macross features not only the Macross crashing to Earth in 1999 but a global unification war where the forces that overthrow the world's governments are the good guys. And this is Back Story for the actual alien invasion in 2009.
  • Likewise, of course, for the three segments of Robotech (four, if you count "The Sentinels").
  • Deadman Wonderland is set sometime in the 2020s. Considering that most of the series is set in a prison, we don't get to see too much of the outside world. They do seem to have holographic projectors and some advanced robotics, but that's about it in terms of new technology. Tokyo is seemingly recovering from a massive earthquake that occurred ten years earlier, so it is a little crappy but, from what little we see of the world, it is not too different than today.
  • Attack of the Super-Monsters, a memorably bad live-action/anime combination, had sentient dinosaurs (played by hand puppets) returning to take over the Earth in 2000.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's takes place soon, proven by the fact that Tetsu Ushio was confirmed to be the same character as the one who appeared in the original series, only a few decades older.
  • Given the technology, it is also assumed that Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL occurs soon, possibly in an Alternate Timeline from 5Ds. (The writers have never confirmed nor denied that.)
  • Code E is set in 2017, although the only immediately recognizable difference from the actual modern-day are computerized blackboards in the classrooms and computerized billboards and ads on buses. These both exist, but aren't as widespread as in the series. There are also the big-ass 20 TB memory cards they're selling in the school mensa.
  • School Shock is set in 2017. The science fiction focuses on nanomachines, single-person aviation, cyborgs, and a little bit of Brain in a Jar tech.
  • Digimon Adventure 02 is set in 2002 in the original. Since the show was first premiered in 2000, the anime was set 2 years into the future. Digimon Tamers also plays with the trope, but is set in 200X — a CD drama setting past events with the Monster Makers in 1984 would set the series 3 years into the future, 2004.
  • Alien Nine takes place in 2014, but the setting isn't that different from the present, except for alien invasions being a daily part of life.
  • Real Account would be an example of Next Sunday A.D., being almost identical to the early 2010s era it is based on, if not for the titular social network, which purports to unify the diversified functions of such services onto one convenient platform. Which also traps some of its users into a Deadly Game.
  • Wangan Midnight is set in the year 20XX (According to its arcade game adaptation. The manga doesn't explicitly state that). The manga was first published in 1992 and is still being published to this day (it was ended in late 2012 as the C1 Runner arc). The year allows for cars that were previously nonexistent to be introduced in later chapters of the manga without forcing the story to advance years at a time. After all, how else can you make a Skyline GT-R R34, which started production in 1999, appear in the manga without making everyone age seven years?
  • Considering the nature of the heroines of Mnemosyne, it's a rather interesting case in that we get to see 2011, 2025, and 2055 in the span of four episodes.
  • X/1999 is set in, you guessed it, 1999. When it began publication in the early 1990s, it was Twenty Minutes into the Future. The series remains unfinished since 2003. CLAMP now admit that they guessed wrong on some noticeable details, such as the rise of cellphones.
  • Android Announcer Maico 2010 (made in 1998) provides another example of how hard prediction is. In 2010, the android Maico's first OS (operating system) is on a 3 1/2 inch floppy, and her full OS is on 50 CDs. It's now 2010, and Windows 7 is a 20 gigabyte OS supplied on DVDs or downloaded from the Net... and most people can't even remember the last time they used a floppy disk.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica averts this by using contemporary yet not entirely widespread technology and plastering it everywhere. Interactive whiteboards and digital picture frames already existed back in 2011 when the series was released, but they were and still are quite expensive to be used at a large scale; in Madoka Magica, they were everywhere and had already displaced plain whiteboards and picture frames. Word of God is that it takes place in 2011, the same year it was released. The only exception may or may not be Sayaka's MP3 player which can also snap open and play conventional Compact Discs, which looks pretty sleek but was very much plausible state-of-the-art technology for 2011. It's stated that the presence of the Masquerade has accelerated technological development to some degree.
  • The little-known 1982 anime film Future War 198X; The title says it all. At the time this film was made, it was assumed that whatever might happen to ignite a third world war would happen sometime in that decade. Given the political climate at the time, there was an excellent reason to believe that the 1980s would be the "make it or break it" decade as far as U.S./Soviet relations were concerned.
  • Code Geass aired in 2006, and is set in the late 2010s in the Alternative Calendar "Ascension Throne Britannia". While its relationship with C.E. is not given officially, it is widely speculated that a.t.b. coincides with C.E. (for example, many events with historical antecedents occur in the same periods in a.t.b. as they did in C.E.) and so one can conclude that this trope applies. On the other hand, it also happens to be set in a full-blown Alternate History. Given where the timeline splits from ours, some have speculated that Code Geass takes place in what would be the 1960s in our timeline.
  • Accel World is set in 2046 but it doesn't seem that different from modern-day Japan, aside from a few technological differences. Ditto for Sword Art Online, from the same author, which was set in 2012-2016 in the web novel version (written in 2002) before being shifted 10 years into the future for the published version.
  • Future GPX Cyber Formula, first aired in 1991, takes place in 2015, where CF has replaced Formula One as the premier racing series and racing cars are equipped with AI computer systems. Aside from that, the world itself still looks as it is in the present time.
  • The world of Only Sense Online is not very different from the real world, except for the existence of a mature Virtual Reality technology that enabled the creation of the titular MMORPG.
  • Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, created in 1972, is set in or around 2000. Yet the computers use punch tape and magnetic tape; tape recorders still exist; microfilm is still in use; there are no space shuttles (but there are moonbases and space stations); nobody seems able to track submarines.
  • The English dub to the 1960s anime Gigantor has it set in the year 2000. The original Japanese version is set shortly after World War 2. This was probably made to justify the giant robot, however, the fashion and technology levels (such as the TVs) make it look like a Retro Universe. The 2004 remake keeps it set in its original time period.
  • Plastic Memories takes place at an undefined point in the future. Androids called "Giftia" are commonplace and technology is more advanced, yet their world otherwise looks like 2010s Japan. Zack is shown playing what is essentially a technologically advanced Game Boy so it's likely not too far in the future (as a kid playing a 30-year-old console is more common than playing a 60 year old one).
  • A diary entry of Gerald Robotnik's in Sonic X is dated to "20XX". That was fifty years ago, meaning that the anime itself takes place anywhere from the mid 21st century to the mid 22nd century. Despite this, almost everything from fashion to cars looks completely at home in the early 2000s. The only major difference seems too mild for technological advancements such as robots.
  • Yo-kai Watch: Shadowside takes place 30 years after the original Yo-Kai Watch anime (which ended in 2017). Not much is different in the 2040s.
  • Technology in the world of My Hero Academia is a bit more advanced than our own; hologram projectors are small and cheap enough to be handed out with magazines à la CD-ROM demos. In an omake, Mt. Lady mentions 8K television.note  A censored date on Izuku's Hero License gives the year 20XX, narrowing the series to take place in the twenty-first century.
  • The short Magnetic Rose takes place in 2092. It's a plot point that Eva was alive decades ago during the early-to-mid 2000s (with the characters noting they've never met anyone alive during the 2000s). It takes place in space, however, not much seems to have changed on Earth. Fashion is similar to the 1990s and much of the technology seems similar, however, holograms exist, technology has advanced a fair sum, and space travel has improved.
  • The Comiq was written in 2018 and takes place in 2025.
  • Parts 4, 5, and 6 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure were written a few years before they take place.
  • In Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!, a Freeze-Frame Bonus calendar and the expiration date on Mizusaki's credit card shows the anime is set in the year 2051.note  This means the anime that inspired Asakusa was over 70 years old when she first watched it. However, the future as portrayed in the series doesn't seem very futuristic aside from some slightly more advanced technology and some implications that Japan has become more racially diverse.

    Audio Play 
  • Reverse Transmission: The audio play takes place close enough that Coca-Cola and Pepsi are still relevant products, but far enough to be cyberpunk-lite.

    Comic Books 
  • Grim and gritty superhero comic Batman: The Dark Knight Returns took place twenty minutes into a future in which Batman has retired.
  • Likewise, numerous other "grim and gritty" superhero comics influenced by Watchmen and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.
  • The DC Comics crossover Armageddon 2001, released in 1991. When 2001 rolled around, none of the future events happened (and because of the floating timeline, the crossover could no longer have really happened in 2001 anyway).
  • Deathlok, a Marvel Comics character, is a time-traveling cyborg from the 1990s, where civilization has been almost destroyed by nuclear war. In 1974 when the character was created, this seemed plausible, but by this point, he's had more than one major retcon. Which is a weird one. Obviously, cyborgs were not running around in Real Life in the '90s but in the Marvel Universe, cyborgs were quite common, among other things.
  • Kingdom Come takes place an indeterminate amount of time in the future of The DCU. This is noticeable less through advanced technology (since there was already plenty of that) and more through the aging of characters.
  • In one old comic book, aliens show up to a futuristic-looking Earth and contact the planet. When nobody answers, they take it as an insult and attack. In the last panel, we learn that humans are now living on Mars, and Earth has been uninhabited since the Nuclear War of 2000.
  • The X-Men story Days of Future Past, released in 1981, depicted a dystopian future in 2013.
  • The timeline of the Grendel series starts in the present day, becomes this trope for the Christine Spar story arc and its immediate aftermath, and then leaps ahead several generations for the Grendel-spirit's later incarnations.
  • The Highwaymen is about a pair of retired badasses from the late 20th century who have to get back together for one more job in 2022.
  • Commando had a series set soon where war was effectively outlawed. Instead, nations solved their issues using virtual reality.
  • American Flagg! is set in a dystopian (and eerily prescient in some ways) 2031.
  • Elvis Shrugged, an Alternate History Affectionate Parody of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, was published in 1993 and set in 1997.
  • Judge Dredd is set 122 years in an alternate future, and the character ages in real-time, meaning that number never changes. It also means that as of 2021, Dredd himself has aged 44 years since his inception in 1977.
  • The original Star-Lord stories took place in the early '90s (the comics themselves began publication in 1976), but this was retconned to the present when the character entered the mainstream Marvel Universe during Annihilation. Star-Lord was later given a revised origin in Guardians of the Galaxy that removed all of these aspects.
  • Pastitos Grandes from Puerto Rico Strong takes place in 2062. The clothing hasn't changed much since 2018, but people can use VR glasses to transport themselves into life-like versions of the past and there's now a space elevator.
  • Sensation Comics: Astra, Girl of the Future takes place in the far-flung future year of 2150, where humans have colonized most of the solar system and possess personal voice activated jets capable of spaceflight instead of cars. Regular news seems to have been superseded by live vlogs, as the main character does her newscasts by just leaving her camera-like device worn about her neck on and broadcasting while investigating things and going on adventures.
  • Paperinik New Adventures have a bit of variety with this, due to different authors and writers. Obviously the titular hero uses tech that's futuristic even in-universe, and commercial technology seems to roughly be on par with our own at the time of the comic's release (1998-2001), but the military makes use of mechs and space exploration has reached the point of manned missions to the rings of Saturn. There is also some commercially used advanced tech, such as Channel 00's camera suits (though they appear to be the only ones that make use of them) and holograms are used for advertisement, but still recent enough to be described as high-tech and be showed of at expos.

    Comic Strips 
  • In the old Buck Rogers comics, at one point the hero-pirate Black Barney is trapped on the floor of a Martian ocean, and discovers the wreckage of the first manned Earth-to-Mars expedition, launched in 1949. This was still some years away at the time of the strip, and would also be after Buck Rogers started his long nap.
  • Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future. The original series (written in the 1950s and 1960s) took place in an "advanced" future starting in 1995 spanning which had Britain as the world leader of space flight; missions to Venus, Mars, Mercury, and Saturn's moons (all of which had/have their own civilization) and beyond the solar system.
  • Flash Gordon started being published in the 1930s and took place in the future of 1970. Adaptations have variously taken place in the present, Twenty Minutes Into The Future, or in the far future.
  • The Oink! comic strip The Streethogs (1986-88) is set around the Turn of the Millennium. The setting is revealed as a Tomato Surprise some episodes into the run - it initially appears to be an anthropomorphic animals strip set in The '70s, until we discover that it's actually set in a near-future where little has changed except that pigs are now considered full citizens. And can ride motorbikes.

    Fan Works 
  • Marks of Time is set in 2024, which was twenty years into the future at the time of publication. Technology has some improvements: cell phones have become small earpieces, televisions and laptops are thin, and some devices understand voice commands. Also, hair dye is convenient and popular.
  • The Diary of a Wimpy Kid fanfic "Greg Runs For President" is set in 2052 (as Greg is running for the 50th US President), and shows that younger people can now work for political roles, despite nothing seeming out-of-the-ordinary for the late 2010s.
  • Amazing Fantasy:
    • The date is said to be 20XX, but the status quo (minus superpowers) is largely the same as the present-day thanks to heavy legislation to regulate Quirk usage and the regression of technology in the strife that preceded it. Subtle reminders of the time period pop up here and there, such as the 2,250-foot tall Bespi Tower in Musutafu and how Post Malone is considered "classical" music. Spider-Man himself is considered an "old-school" character despite being one of the most enduring comic book superheroes in real life.
    • This is made more apparent in the Melissa Shield side-story, where hoverboards and smart tables are treated as common appliances despite being decidedly futuristic by our standards.
  • NUMB3RS story Numb3rs Reunion takes place in the then-future year 2015, five years after the show ended.

    Films — Animation 
  • Big Hero 6 provides the page image, and according to a sign detailing the 95th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge takes place sometime around 2032. San Fransokyo is shown being rife with massive turbine kites, highly advanced robotics (of which even Baymax stands out in comparison) to the point where illegal bot fighting tournaments are commonplace and even partially functioning wormhole technology.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Seminal movie example: 2001: A Space Odyssey, which in the titular year had commercial spaceflight and space stations, moon bases, cryogenics, and at least two sentient computers. Oh... and the Cold War, and Pan Am and the Bell System. However, it was critically praised for realism in other things such as not having sound in space, not running the engine unless accelerating, and having flat panel screens. And a 10-minute call from the Moon to the Earth cost less than $2.
  • Implicit in the 2010 The A-Team, where the "crime they didn't commit" takes place during the supposed final US withdrawal from Iraq and the UCAVs that attack the team's plane are namechecked as Reapers, which don't as of Real Life 2010 have support for air-to-air missiles or cannon yet.
  • After the Marvel Cinematic Universe was mostly in the years of release, Avengers: Endgame starts a few months after its predecessor, but then skips ahead five years to 2023. Spider-Man: Far From Home takes place a few months afterwards.
  • Barb Wire is set in a second US civil war in the year 2017.
  • Bicentennial Man: In a change from "The Bicentennial Man" starting 20 Minutes into the Future, Andrew first shows up in "the not too distant future..." (which the 1999 trailer and the climax identify as "2005"). No mention of the original story's Ban on A.I. ever takes place. However, the story still takes place over two hundred years and four generations of Martins, so it doesn't stay "Next Sunday" for very long.
  • Captive State: Most of the film is set in 2027, nine years into the alien rule of Earth.
  • The Car: Road to Revenge is set at some unspecified time in the future that has some futuristic technology, primarily in the field of cybernetics. However, things like fashion, firearms, vehicles, etc. seem largely unchanged.
  • The 2006 Adam Sandler film Click takes place in 2006, 2007, 2017, 2023, and finally an unspecified date most likely in the 2030s before going back to the present day. The world doesn't look too different until the last two timeframes.
  • Cube 2: Hypercube: Subtly implied. A Mega-Corp with ties to the U.S. military has the resources and know-how to create a pocket dimension with Alien Geometries and engages in blatantly illegal experiments, but clothing fashions and day to day tech such as handguns and wristwatches appear to be unchanged. Then Kate hands over the device that Alex Trusk stole, disguised as a necklace, and it stays floating in midair.
  • Daphne & Velma, a prequel to the Scooby-Doo franchise, was released in 2018 and is supposedly set in the present day; however, it features technology such as holographic personal computer screens and edible food-producing 3D printers that is far more advanced than real-world 2018 technology.
  • Darkdrive: Technology hasn't advanced much beyond the invention of virtual reality.
  • Double Dragon is set in a Wretched Hive in the year 2007.
  • Subtly done in Exam, but the mysterious global plague and its treatment particularly the healing bullet strongly hint at wandering into sci-fi territory. The rest of the technology present is all very much present day stuff.
  • Fortress (1992): The first film is set in 2017. It was released in 1992. The sequel is from 2000 and set in 2027.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is set roughly ten years in the future, and while styles in clothing and automobiles seem more or less unchanged from the present, exotic (but semi-plausible) technologies like Powered Armor, Energy Weapons, Invisibility Cloaks and metal-eating Nanomachines are out in full force. Since the film is believed to be in a Shared Universe with the Transformers series, one can assume that this futuristic technology was reverse engineered from Cybertronian technology. The fact that G.I. Joe is in the "near future" could be taken to mean that the Autobot-Decepticon conflict is already over, or at least no longer set on Earth. It could also be taken to mean that the Autobots have either repaired or helped to repair the damage done to the pyramids in Giza by Devastator in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, during the ten-year gap between both movies, as Revenge of the Fallen is set in 2009.
  • The Japanese Godzilla movie Destroy All Monsters, made in 1968, was set in 1999, a year when humans would've supposedly set up a moon colony, built an island capable of holding Godzilla and his buddies, and contacted aliens in shiny silver suits.
  • The Irish short film High and Tight is set a couple of years in the future where a hypothetical war has broken out in Eastern Europe, and Ireland has entered the war.
  • In Inception, the only futuristic technology seems to be the technology to enter another person's dreamscape, but that is only used by a small number of people, and used constructively by a very small number of people. We get a brief glimpse of an "opium cave" where people go to have shared dreams in Mombasa — this pretty strongly implies that it's illegal, and if it is, it probably has a fair deal of recreational use in the Western world as well.
  • Interstellar takes place far enough into the future for there to be the launch of an interstellar mission, yet close enough to the present for farms and pick-up trucks to look twentieth-century.
  • Into the Forest: The year is never mentioned, but the family's computer technology is a few years more advanced than the film's 2015 filming date.
  • Poked fun at in The Lake House, when the female lead (who lives two years in the male lead's future) teases him by claiming that people eat food pills and drive flying cars in her not-at-all-distant future.
  • The 2020 film The Last Days of American Crime is set in 2024 and doesn't look entirely different from the present day aside from war zone levels of violence and of course technology advanced enough to end all crime.
  • Looper takes place in the year 2044, in an unnamed city in Kansas that looks very futuristic, but also suffers from massive poverty and rampant drug use, and is run entirely by criminals. Incidentally, the film is also being influenced from 2074, twenty minutes into their future, because the crime syndicates of that era use time travel to send people they need killed back into the past where the eponymous Loopers kill them, thus sidestepping the issue of 2074 nanite technology that makes killing people and disposing of bodies VERY difficult. Also, by 2044, one in ten people have the TK gene, allowing them to levitate coins for a few seconds. And while it appears that weapons have gone backwards, as Loopers are only issued blunderbusses instead of something more practical, there's a good reason for that: they are extremely practical for the range they're using them at, virtually guaranteeing a kill per trigger pull, while being almost useless in any other situation. That way, the criminals running the scheme aren't arming a bunch of people with weapons that can be used against them.
  • Gackt's vampire-yakuza movie Moon Child starts at the Millennium celebrations in Tokyo, then jumps forward to various points in the main characters' lives, passing 2014, and "A few years later". The setting has Japan devastated by an economic crisis leading to massive emigration to a fictional city on what appears to be Taiwan, where Japanese are low-class.
  • None Shall Escape, a 1944 film about a trial against a Nazi officer following the end of the then-ongoing second world war.
  • The world in Pixels looks like our 2015, but Barack Obama's presidency is said to have been over for quite some time and Violet has an android assistant.
  • Predator 2, released in 1990, predicts the grim voodoo gangs of 1997 Los Angeles. For the most part, the movie's future setting ages well, with the exception of the voodoo gangs and the heavily modified guns the police carry. No flying cars or bizarre mainstream fashions, though fedoras seem to have come back.
  • Privilege is set in "Britain, the near future," probably sometime in the early 1970s.
  • The B-movie Project Moonbase was made in 1953, but is set in 1970.
  • Queen of Blood: Filmed in 1966; set in 1990.
  • Most of Rise of the Planet of the Apes takes place in 2019. Surprisingly, not many technical advancements have been made.
  • RoboCop is frequently set in the "near future", which managed to accurately predict the state of Detroit several years later, as well as crappy gas mileage for cars, CDs being the norm, and sensationalistic news.
    • In the 2014 version, which is set in the 2040s but filmed in 2013, cars don't seem to have changed all that much in 30 years and except for more advanced phones, super-advanced robotic arms, and robots being used in a military capacity, there's not much to indicate this is the future. Cars look very much the same as they did in 2013, and the same goes for guns.
  • Robot and Frank features versatile humanoid robots that serve as caretakers for the elderly and voice-activated television sets, but otherwise resembles 2012 when it was released.
  • The very first scene of the film version of A Scanner Darkly states that the story takes place "seven years from now," which turns out to look kind of like the '70s (when the book was written), the early '90s (when the story was set), and the early 21st century when it was made ... all scrambled together. Justified insofar as the characters are living in a rundown part of town that likely hasn't been renovated in decades.
  • Soylent Green is set in 2022. However, the causes of that particular dystopia — overpopulation, pollution and intense climate change — are issues that are still relevant today.
  • Strange Days, released in 1995, is set in the last two days of 1999, by which time there's a lively (illegal) trade in headsets which can record and play back a person's experiences including emotions and all sensory data.
  • The experimental film Sweet Movie is set in 1984 (ten years after the film's release) and much of the plot is driven by a contest to find the purest woman in the world. It gets weirder from there.
  • The "Robo Hell" Framing Device in Tales from the Hood 2 is a set at some unspecified point in the near future, where Mr. Beach is preparing a launch a line of robots featuring artificial intelligence capable of self-learning.
  • Time Cop, the 1994 movie starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, takes place in several time periods, including 2004, when the typical family car resembles a tank and can drive itself. And flashlights are duct taped onto assault rifles...
  • In The Time Machine (1960) by H. G. Wells, the time-traveling hero sets off to the future from the start of the 20th century, stopping off at the time of both World Wars. Then he stops again in the year 1966, when World War III is starting. When he eventually gets to the far future, he discovers, via an ancient computer archive, that the world of the Eloi and Morlocks emerged in the aftermath of "a great war between the East and West." The 2002 version had him visit 2030 and 2037 instead.
  • Virus (1980): The film was made in 1980 and begins in 1982.
  • The 1982 political satire Wrong is Right, though 20 Years Into The Future would be more appropriate, given the movie's uncanny resonance with events post-9/11.
    Hale: (narrating) It all could have happened in the recent past. Or the present. Or even, in the near future. But it didn't. It did happen in that elusive time between now and later. That time when dark is light, when down is up, when foul is fair, when...
    Title Card: WRONG IS RIGHT
  • X-Men is set in "the not-too-distant future", with its two sequels following after that. Its prequel, Wolverine, is set about 20 years earlier (since Scott Summers is a teenager), placing it sometime between The '60s and The '80s. The climactic scene, set at Three Mile Island, would seem to imply it's set in 1979, if Deadpool slicing one of the cooling towers to pieces with his eye-beams is assumed to be analogous to the real-world event that occurred in that year. The World Trade Center is still standing in the first film, which seems to make the 'future' early 2001. However, "the not too distant future" subtitle gets a bit confusing by the time the third movie happens. Simply because two scenes occur before the opening credits, and they are stated to be "10 years ago" and "20 years ago." It is never specified when exactly those two scenes were supposed to be 10 and 20 years ago from, now or from the not too distant future. (Confused yet?)

  • Isaac Asimov:
    • All the Troubles of the World: Earth looks very different from present-day, with the superintelligent Multivac guiding humanity on both a personal level and on a society-level scale. Instead of internet cafes, there are booths for connecting to Multivac and getting answers to any question you would like, from the trivial to the personal.
    • "The Bicentennial Man": This story, published in 1976, imagines a One World Order in charge of a Colonized Solar System, clothing with static electric clasps (instead of zippers or velcro), as well as the proliferation of sentient robots that serve humans.
    • "C-Chute": The setting is a future with FTL interstellar travel, and humanity has recently encountered their first alien species. Both groups have colonized multiple star systems.
    • "The Dead Past": The largest change between current day and the "future" of this story is that scientific research has calcified into highly specialized fields, and only the world government approves research grants.
    • "Does a Bee Care?": The story, written in 1957, concerns a rocket built for a Lunar flyby by a private corporation.
    • "Dreaming is a Private Thing": This story explores the effects of "dreamies", a type of Virtual Reality storytelling that involves a helmet interface with a handheld "freezer" that carries the dream you want to experience. Dreams involve every sense you can think of, and have been made for fifty years.
    • "The Feeling of Power": This story is set so far into the future, Faster-Than-Light Travel is an Implied Trope and Earth has lost the ability to do Mathematics without a computer. Computers, when this story was written, were always large, bulky things, but Isaac Asimov predicted people would carry around pocket computers.
    • Franchise: The introduction of Multivac is really the only bit of technology added to 1950s culture/technology. The story is about Multivac being used to "streamline" elections by asking one citizen their opinions on current economics and extrapolating how the population would vote from that.
    • "Green Patches": This story takes place in a future with casual Faster-Than-Light Travel, where a scientific expedition can be launched to a quarantined world.
    • "Homo Sol": Despite the absence of any human calendar, we can safely conclude this story takes place in the future because Earth has created a central global government and built Faster-Than-Light Travel spaceships.
    • "I'm in Marsport Without Hilda": In this story, a Secret Agent is at a spaceport and tosses around fantastic similes while trying to interrogate people who basically own planets without upsetting them.
    • it's such a beautiful day: This story was first published in 1955, but takes place in 2117. The mother in the story is fairly easy to identify as a 1950s suburban housewife, but the house contains a number of technological marvels suited for events taking place over 160 years into the future.
    • "The Last Question": The story opens in 2061 AD, over a hundred years into the future from when this was published, and still somewhat similar to modern day, while characters celebrate that all energy generation has been changed over to a version of solar power that is sufficient for all the world's needs. The next scene jump, however, places the setting into distant future territory.
    • "Let's Get Together": Taking place a century into the Cold War, when Deceptively Human Robots are used as weapons of infiltration equipped to explode, scientists are studying force-fields, hyperatomics, and mentalics.
    • "Light Verse": This story has a number of technological advances that haven't been created yet, but a culture reminiscent of modern-day. It includes humanoid Robots and Space Stations, as well as light-sculptures; art in the form of "solid" light.
    • "Mother Earth": Several new technologies have been developed in this version of The Future, including Casual Interstellar Travel and community-wave. Not only has Earth been unified, but fifty additional worlds have been colonized. Each world is Terraformed and has its own planetary government.
    • "My Son, the Physicist": This story mentions Multivac, video-phones, stratowire, hair dye, and expeditions to Jupiter, but doesn't really establish how far into the future it was supposed to be. Considering that contemporary Science Fiction stories had solar system colonization happening in under a hundred years, this was supposed to be a near-future fiction.
    • Pebble in the Sky: Published in 1950, Joseph Swartz is originally from the year 1957, and we see him Time Travel to the distant future. Our brief look at 1957 America is not substantially detailed, making it a plausible future for several years, even after 1957.
    • "Profession": This story explores the idea of a society at least four thousand years in the future, where Neural Implanting has replaced mainstream schooling and Faster-Than-Light Travel has been used to colonize multiple worlds. The most precious resource isn't metals or living space; it is the creative drive to invent and innovate.
    • "Runaround": Published in 1942, this story takes place in 2015, with ubiquitous robots and interplanetary space travel.
    • "Sally": This story, published in 1953, anticipated commercial self-driving cars in 2015. The story itself takes place around 2057; Sally is a 2045 convertible that had been at the Farm for five years.
    • "Someday": Niccolo and Paul, children from a couple generations in the future, don't use books at all, having mechanical Bards that orally recite tales they've created from random combinations of plots and characters.
    • "Trends": John Harman complains about the technology in 1973 not being far enough in advance of the technology of 1923 (the story was published in 1939). He's preparing to set off in the first manned rocket ship, to the consternation of religious fundamentalists who believe that humankind was meant to stay on Earth.
  • John Birmingham's Axis of Time trilogy is an interesting case as it's very difficult to tell if it is meant seriously or is a very deadpan parody of techno-thrillers. The first volume was published in 2004 and it's (initially) set in a 2021 where everything that can go wrong with The War on Terror has gone wrong, turning it into a full scale war of the west against Islam, with the allies acting with as much brutality as the enemy (a sanctioned form of field punishment for the US forces is to put a Muslim enemy into a pig carcass and bury him or her alive). Probably the most ridiculous element is the predictions about technology, which include fusion reactors, Artificial Intelligence, military medical implants (which, amongst other things, reduce the soldiers' sex drive and dispense painkillers) and the routine use of Cloning Body Parts. This is all at least 20 years early.
  • James Blish's "Year 2018" (later incorporated in his Cities in Flight) : The Soviet Union still exists; McCarthyism has become permanent and has turned the US into an Orwellian police state. There is a political dynasty that always wins. The US has colonies on Jupiter's moons but one of the characters complains how SLOWLY space exploration is progressing. The only remaining religious group is Evangelicals. The fact that a powerful senator is from Alaska is considered a novelty.
  • Taken by Edward Bloor takes place sometime in the 2050s. The date is never specified, but it is hinted at by characters mentioning the recent 100 year anniversary of I Love Lucy. The major differences are that indentured servitude is legal, the ultrarich live in extremely gated communities, and it is common for the children of the ultra rich to be kidnapped for ransoms.
  • David Brin's Earth is set in 2040, and one of the primary notes in his foreword is how difficult it is to create a believable world set 50 years in the future.
  • Tom Clancy's first Jack Ryan novels, written throughout the 1980s, were set at an indeterminate point in the near future; the Cold War is still in full bloom and there's a vaguely Reaganesque Republican in the White House. The Sum of All Fears, however, tied the series to a specific point in history (the end of the first Gulf War), and from that point on the lead time inherent in the writing and publication of Clancy's novels meant that the series turned into an Alternate History of sorts; The Bear and the Dragon, published in 2001, must occur no later than June 1997 for the internal chronology to hold up. With The Teeth of the Tiger, Clancy moved the series back into an indeterminate near-future setting.
  • Justin Cronin's The Passage starts in a 2018 where a terrorist massacre in the Mall of America has resulted in an America where state borders have checkpoints, a second Class 5 hurricane has resulted in New Orleans becoming directly controlled by the Federal government and Jenna Bush is Governor of Texas. Also India and Pakistan nuked each other.
  • The Dirk Pitt series of novels by Clive Cussler are usually set a year or two into the future, with the United States switching to metric and super A.I. computers with hot chick holograms.
  • Philip K. Dick:
  • William Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy and Bridge Trilogy (written in the 1980s and 1990s, respectively) are both set in versions of the early twenty-first century. The Sprawl Trilogy (date unspecified) setting still has lingering Cold War after-effects and a massive Japanese economic presence; in the Bridge Trilogy (2006), a massive earthquake has resulted in the abandonment of the Oakland Bay Bridge, which has since been resettled as a sort of squatters' shantytown.
  • Joe Haldeman admits that setting his novel The Forever War, about a deep space war to start in the far-off future of 1996, was silly in retrospect, and was done mainly so that the non-coms could be Vietnam veterans. He told any objectors to just "think of it as a parallel universe."
  • Robert Harris's novel Conclave takes place at an undisclosed time in the imminent future. The book was published in 2016, and contains to references to 2017 and 2018 as though both years are in the very recent past. Technology and society are completely indistinguishable from that of the year the book was written, and there are many references to years as far back as the 1930s as being in living memory.
  • Harry Harrison:
    • "The Fourth Law of Robotics": Many of the stories from I, Robot are set just a few decades into the future, to explain the prevalent robotic technology. This story is set a few decades after them, with minimal changes to the available commercial tech. US Robotics holds a monopoly on the production of robots that are used across the world.
    • His 1966 novel Make Room! Make Room! is set in 1999. It's quite dystopian. Somehow 344 million people is supposed to be a lot of people.
  • In The Realm Of Carnal Horror by Asi Hart takes place in 2105, where much technology has been so much stunted by "the war," to the point that it feels like 2010. Biotech has made great advances though.
  • Any time Robert A. Heinlein's predictions didn't happen, it was an alternate timeline. He was fair in this, too, in that there were also timelines for the worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs, E. E. “Doc” Smith, and others. Interestingly, he did predict a few things accurately, like waterbeds and the rise of the Christian Right. Though perhaps the best one was Stranger in a Strange Land, which predicted the 1960s counterculture.
    • Heinlein invented the waterbed as a concept. That prevented it from being patented. He makes an amusing comment about it in his brick-sized diatribe Expanding Universe from 1980.
    • The themes in the book extrapolated heavily from the 1950s "Beat Generation" subculture, which was the precursor to the counterculture movements of the '60s and early '70s. Its "Church of All Worlds" was based on elements of the neo-pagan/"New Age" mystery religions which were gaining popularity among disaffected youth of the time. Heinlein himself wrote that the book "could not be published commercially until the public mores changed. I could see them changing and it turned out that I had timed it right." Many prominent figures of the counterculture would refer to Stranger in a Strange Land as a major influence on their thinking and philosophy, particularly the aspects of free love, communalism, and social liberation. Beyond merely predicting the counterculture, the book helped to create it.
  • The 1982 Stephen King novel The Running Man takes place in the year 2025, where Deadly Games are all the rage. Among its predictions is that by then the United States will be using New Dollars, possibly as a result of Ridiculous Future Inflation.
  • Super Minion is set in the 22nd century
  • James P. Hogan's Giants Series is based in the 2030s (it has a character born in 1984 who is 40-something at the time of the events of the novel). The series has mankind going from weaponized to no weapons somewhere around 2020 and having manned missions as far out as Jupiter. The remains of aliens (or our ancestors anyway) are discovered on the Moon, real aliens are found on one of the moons of Jupiter, and more aliens show up and later suffer from Fish out of Temporal Water with their own race due to their mode of transportation.
  • Nigel Kneale's 1979 novelization of the final Quatermass story is set in a dystopian future UK plagued by social breakdown, fuel and food shortages and heavily-armed street gangs. The Soviet Union still exists and it vies with the US to spend billions on useless space projects. No date is given but clues in the text indicate that it is happening in 1990. Ironically, it turned out to be at least partially Truth in Television, as the Soviet Union did still exist in 1990, not having broken up until around Christmas 1991. And the late Eighties were the scene of a last spat in The Space Race. Social breakdown in the UK, not so much.
  • Sergey Lukyanenko's The Stars Are Cold Toys takes place sometime in the very near future. Somehow, though, the invention of the jumper device means that most developed nations of the world now have their own manned space programs. Earth is also surrounded by a ring of laser-armed space stations meant to protect us from aliens (who blow up worlds before breakfast). Everything else is almost exactly the same. Yes, there is a secret government agency in Russia that develops advanced technology after watching sci-fi films, such as the Explosive Leash and Stun Guns. And Ukraine can apparently fight Russia to a standstill and afford aircraft carriers. But daily life is still exactly the same. Russian roads are still shitty (it's a main plot point in the first part of the book). People still drive regular cars. It is, however, mentioned that highly-advanced technology does exist. The aliens just won't let us have it.
  • Shepherd Mead's The Big Ball Of Wax (published in 1954) predicted that in 1999, Video Phones would be common (though he failed to predict personal computers or the internet, the things which made this very nearly right), TV sets would be wall-size and stereoscopic (we're still waiting...), videotapes would be widespread (he got that right too, though he thought they would be open-reel and didn't foresee DVDs), power transmission would be a reality and cars would thus be electric, contraceptive pills would be easily available (yes) and nearly all diseases eradicated (sadly, no), the Soviet Union would have fallen and Leningrad reverted to its old name of St. Petersburg (both yes)... and that XP would take over (he got that right... sort of, anyway, though his XP was EXPeriential Broadcasting, a way of recording and transmitting full-sensory material). Let's hope that the last one never comes true, or at least not the way Mead depicted it...
  • Keith Nartman's Drew Parke books, both written in 2009, are set in the mid 2030s.
  • Niven & Barnes wrote Dream Park in 1981, set it in 2051, and doomed it to datedness by making reference to an earthquake that'd leveled Los Angeles in 1985. In the first sequel, they retconned the quake to 1995, and in the second to 2005. They also retconned the first two novels' use of holographic displays to incorporate virtual reality elements in book three; ironically, this makes the tech in The California Voodoo Game seem less advanced than what's in Dream Park or (especially) The Barsoom Project, as mechanisms which were kept discretely off-stage in the earlier books are much more intrusive in the last.
  • Earth in Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom books seems to be situated here, especially in terms of medical technology — understandable, as part of the backstory involves a deadly flu epidemic.
  • "Sophia" from B.J. Novak's One More Thing: Stories And Other Stories, in which the narrator purchases a Sexbot that unexpectedly gains sentience and falls in love with him. No specific dates are mentioned, but the world the story is set in is pretty similar to that of its 2015 release date other than the existence of sexbots (which are treated as relatively new technology). Because the narrator discusses how the media treated this story, we know that Saturday Night Live, late night talk show monologues, and political cartoons still exist.
  • "All the Birds in the Sky": Book One takes place roughly contemporaneously with the publication date, albeit in a world in which time-machine plans are available open-source on the Internet. Later in the book our protagonists, who are children right now, have grown up & are living in the brave new world.
  • 1984 by George Orwell was allegedly titled when Orwell inverted the year of its authorship (1948). However, the early 1980s featured a great deal of hand-wringing about whether or not we'd succumbed to Orwell's dystopia. To be fair, Winston isn't sure that the year actually is, since the records have been tampered with so often and so thoroughly.
  • In the 1947 short story "Time and Time Again" by H. Beam Piper, the United States and Canada are embroiled in World War III in 1975. Allan traces the origins of the conflict to 1960 with the election of a "good-natured nonentity" as U.S. President. This President proved ineffectual and his poor handling of international relations made the war inevitable.
  • According to Ayn Rand, "the action of Atlas Shrugged takes place in the near future, about ten years from the time when one reads the book." In other words, Rand was using this trope quite intentionally. That's why the dialogue seems to go slightly out of its way to avoid referencing any specific year or century (with the possible exception of the Twentieth Century Motor Company), and why the setting's technology and sociology tend to be mildly anachronistic in a Steampunk kind of way.
  • John Ringo:
  • The Death series of mystery novels written by J.D. Robb (Moustache de Plume of Nora Roberts) takes place in mid-21st-century New York City.
  • Spider Robinson has a habit of setting stories five to ten years in the future and including elements such as zero-gravity vehicles, over-population to the extent that murder is no longer a crime even in Canada, Future Slang ("You taken slot!") that has completely replaced our current Saxon words, Dilating Doors, and a character glancing at his "watch finger". Robinson has in fact had to redate some of his own stories in reprint: the original (1982) edition of Mindkiller was set in 1995 and 1999, the reprint in 2005 and 2009.
    • His Callahan series is set in pretty much here and now. Including the characters attending the launch of STS-28 and 29 when it actually happened (mostly)
  • Matt Ruff's Sewer, Gas & Electric is set in 2023 and features a world almost devoid of black people due to a Synthetic Plague, robots and mutant sewer sharks.
  • Carl Sagan's Contact was written in 1983 and set in the late 1990s. Sagan did not foresee the fall of the Soviet Union at the time of writing and the Soviets had a large role to play in the novel's events. He also did not foresee the cell phone, as characters used pagers still. He did ambitiously have a character who solved the grand superunification theory (something that eludes us even today and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future)... And other human technologies that turned out to be beyond what had occurred by the late '90s, such as Space Stations serving as retirement homes for those who wished to extend their lifespans and could afford it, and shuttle services to go between earth and station.
  • The main plot of the 2009 novel Limit takes place in 2025. Author Frank Schätzing explained in an interview that although 2050 would be more realistic for the technologies portrayed, he considered it more important to immerse the reader in a time in which he or she might still be alive.
  • Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson was published in 1992, and for the timeline to work (Hiro and and Raven's fathers were WWII vets) the story would have to have occurred by sometime in the early 2000s.
  • John E. Stith's Manhattan Transfer is far enough into the future from the publication date of 1993 that they have tiny memory disks and something mentioned in passing called a "VirtReal Simulation", but the World Trade Center is still standing and there's no mention of The Internet.
  • Charles Stross' Halting State is set in 2018. Apparently Scotland's independence vote went forward in 2012.
  • The time-travelling South African white supremacists of Harry Turtledove's The Guns of the South come from the year 2015, though besides their being at the bitter end of a struggle to keep control in their country, the few hints of 2015 sound like 1992 in all but name.
  • Jules Verne's Robur the Conqueror is very clearly set near the time it was written, but it also casually mentions the existence of the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, and several other innovations that were still in the planning stages at the time.
  • Vernor Vinge's cult-classic novella, "True Names", published in 1981, involved some very educated guesses about the short-term potential of the personal computer. If this had been written fifteen years later, it would have been Next Sunday A.D..
  • David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest was written in 1996, and although the time frame of the events taking place in the novel is never clearly established, it is heavily implied to be set sometime around 2010 (estimates range from 2008 to 2011, with 2015 as an outlier).
  • H. G. Wells:
    • The War in the Air is a mixed bag. The details of the technology are largely wide of the mark, but he nails the strategic importance of air superiority and the political factors that would lead to a World War with uncanny accuracy (though the Chinese-Japanese alliance is something of a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment), and the final chapters are set in an After the End scenario that would not look at all out of place in a post-nuclear scenario. Wells himself acknowledged this in his preface to the 1917 edition, with some bitterness over the Cassandra Truth nature of his work. His amendment to said preface for the 1939 edition read, simply: "I warned you. You damned fools."
    • The Shape of Things to Come is a similar mix of prophetic and outlandish-in-hindsight, with submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and Poland being a military match for Germany. In fact, depending on how you look at it, this could probably be applied to most of his works.
  • P. G. Wodehouse's Ring For Jeeves is an interesting twist on this. Even though the Jeeves stories were written between the 1910s and the 1970s, they all take place in a Genteel Interbellum Setting...except for this one. Ring For Jeeves is the only novel that is actually set when it was written (the 1950s): World War II has happened, atomic technology is referenced, televisions exist and, most significantly, Britain is experiencing its post-war social upheaval that's dissolving the aristocracy and has resulted in Jeeves' and Bertie's temporary separation. It's the closest thing to Darker and Edgier that Wodehouse ever wrote.
    • In Cocktail Time, a gentleman disgruntled by an encounter with Drones writes a novel also called Cocktail Time, exposing the depravity of today's youth. The cover of this 'inner' novel is described as featuring a young man in spats dancing the rock-and-roll.
  • The Animorphs series started off presumably taking place in the "present day" relative to publication and eventually drifted into the recent past, such that the final book's Flash Forward to a few years later takes place in 2002, just one year after the book's publication date of May 2001. It actually describes the world of 2002 far better than it has any right to, noting that the reveal that aliens exist has led to an increase in terrorism, especially religiously motivated terrorism.
    • Earlier in the series, however, a Bad Future episode has the World Trade Center as the only piece of the New York City skyline still standing.
  • Catfishing on CatNet does not have a specific date, but happens in a pretty recognisable modern USA with about 25% of the cars on the road being self-driving, robots (that can't argue with the curriculum) teaching sex ed, and an AI.
  • The Countdown novels are set vaguely in the near future, with the prologue of The Liberators (the first book) taking place around the time of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan.
  • A Clockwork Orange takes place in a violent, crime-ridden, dystopian London where people still listen to records. Nothing ever clearly establishes the precise timeline of the book's events, but it doesn't appear to be too far from the present at the time, with the exceptions of a (slightly?) more corrupt law enforcement and new slang words.
  • The Devil's Footprints from 13 More Tales of Horror takes place in 2004 (the short story collection was published in 1994). Apparently, by that point, everyone should have had Smart Houses
  • In Dragon's Egg, The first human section is the year 2020 in a book written in 1980. There's not a lot of tech development though, there are no personal computers and no internet. The idea of any computer time being such a valuable resource that you have to pay for in the year 2020 is kind of funny in retrospect.
    • Perfectly reasonable for a timesharing system, even today. However, what the grad student is doing with the computer doesn't seem like something that would have required more than a quite modest personal computer in 2020.
    • The later sections of the book are set in the year 2050.
  • The web-novel Domina rarely mentions dates, but takes place in a city with easy Bio-Augmentation, trade with several space colonies, and a number of space stations are mentioned. Subverted when it turns out it's actually an Alternate Timeline 2001. Travelers from a distant future arrived in 1970 and started making adjustments, so society and technology advanced faster than they otherwise would have.
  • The start of the Empire from the Ashes series. The huge influx of advanced technology after the first book renders the date moot, though.
  • It's implied that Ender's Game and the Ender's Shadow series take place in Earth's near future; Earth itself is almost unchanged, but military technology is much more advanced. It could be that in a world where aliens have attacked and killed a sizable amount of people, all funding when straight to the military and space travel, causing other technology on Earth to stagnate. The Earth/space tech differences seem to be explained by military secrecy; the huge sci-fi advances described in Ender's Game and Ender in Exile (the ansible, M.D.D., and molecular disruption propulsion) are all kept so secret that only interstellar captains know about the ansible and propulsion, and only the fleet admirals know about the M.D.D. Also explained by having all the fanciest new tech described in the series directly taken from the Formics. The books following Ender's Game explicitly take place 3000 years after the first one, so it's averted there.
  • Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits has commonplace Automated Automobiles, google glasses, and holograms, but otherwise most things seem pretty close to where they are today, technologically. The only date stated is when a classic car is said to be from the 2020's, so it's set sometime after that.
  • The Glimpse was published in 2012 and is set in 2041 England which a global depression and Petrol Wars have turned into a dystopian state.
  • The "psychedelic" trilogy of SF novels (The Butterfly Kid, The Unicorn Girl and The Probability Pad), written and first published in or around 1967, were collectively described by one later reviewer as being like "a Flower Summer with videophones".
  • Halcyon Park takes place in 2036-38, and while there have been some major advancements, people still drive eco-friendly cars, use personal computers and phones, and police have gunpowder-based firearms. Some technologies have even regressed, whether due to criminalization, resource restrictions, or lack of public trust in major institutions (for example, the return of cash purchases rather than credit).
  • Hollow Places was published in 2016 and takes place in 2023. It features a few minor technological advancements including holographic clocks, prison cutlery able to cut food but not human flesh, and cellular services that extend deep underground.
  • House of the Scorpion is set at an indeterminate date, where a country run by drug lords exists between Mexico (known as Aztlan in the book's universe) and the United States, cars can fly, human cloning is commonplace, computer chips are put into horses and people's brains to control them, and illegal immigration on the U.S.-Mexican border flows not just towards the north, but towards the south too.
  • Left Behind takes place sometime in the present or near future, due to the idea that the Rapture could happen at any minute. The original series is somewhat dated by the lack of cellphones and widespread Internet access.
  • The Light of Other Days is mainly set in the late 2030s.
  • The 2008 novel Neuropath is set in an unmentioned year in the future. 2010 is mentioned as a year gone by, government buildings have fMRI scanners at the entrances, Europe is freezing to death because the Gulf Stream has changed course and Moscow has been reduced to a crumbling wasteland. What the book focuses on is the hunt on a serial killer who mind controls his victims.
  • Numbers 2: the Chaos was published in 2011 and takes place in 2026.
  • The Peace War was published in 1984. The prologue is set in 1997, which seems much like the present day. The bulk of the novel is set in 2047-2048, but for plot related reasons (the eponymous Peace War) there is little technology more advanced than in 1997, and in parts of the world it's more of a Feudal Future.
  • The Postman: Judging by the dates which the book gives, war broke out in 1994. The plot starts in 2010, sixteen years later. As the book itself is from 1985, it didn't leave long to invent cyborgs, Artificial Intelligence or laser weapons that could be mounted on satellites.
  • REMNANTS, first published in 2001 and set in 2011, is on the low end of this. There are self-driving cars, and minors can "drive" alone in some states; kids can apparently legally change their names easily, or else have all just decided to use weird nicknames like "2Face" and "Mo'Steel"; and the ubiquitous use of "links" turned out to be a fairly close prediction of cellphone culture. Oh, and there's some very experimental hibernation technology, but it's nowhere near safe enough for humans to use yet. Or wouldn't be, if book #1 didn't end with eighty humans having to blast off in a Sleeper Starship to escape the Earth's destruction (thus rendering most of the other technological changes moot). About half wake up 500 years later, while the rest Passed in Their Sleep.
  • Time Scout implies that it's this, but is functionally the same as Next Sunday A.D.. May be justified in that The Accident, a Class 0 Apocalypse How, might have stunted things.
  • Agent G by C.T. Phipps takes place in 2026 when cybernetics, AI, and Ridiculously Human Robots are all things that have been invented but are kept from the public. This all gets released in the second book and helps turn the setting into a Cyberpunk Dystopia by 2042.
  • Near-future military thriller Victoria, which chronicles a potential scenario for the downfall of the United States and its aftermath, begins in 2016 and continues into the 2060s. In general, society changes comparatively little (and even regresses somewhat in many places, due to a collapsing global economy), but there are significant advances in various fields, ranging from drone planes to workable cold fusion. There's also some incipient transhumanism, especially by the "villain" factions.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The first season of 24, aired in 2001, was set in March 2004 (as retroactively indicated by a shot of a character's driver license shown in season 4), and each following season has been set a few years after the previous one. (The most recent season, the show's sixth, aired in 2007 and was set in 2013; the seventh season, which began in January 2009 is set in November 2017.) Could be Twenty Seconds into the Future if not for the Applied Phlebotinum (real-time satellite surveillance, handheld remote heartbeat sensors, &c.) that pops up from time to time.
  • Alien Nation:
    • The TV series (and the film) was set in the near-future of the early to mid 1990s. The TV movies took place in the late 1990s and early 2000s: Emily was 13 in "Dark Horizon" and presumably between 16 and 18 in "The Udara Legacy", as she was still attending high school. The transition from TV series to TV movies involved some unfortunate timeline-tweaking with rather inconsistent aging. For the record, you could smoke in the police station, there were a few gags about non-existent sequels to famous movies (Back to the Future VI, etc.), and by the TV movies they had video-phones... but the cars still looked distinctively Eighties. At the time, they were using the most aerodynamic and "futuristic" looking cars they could get. Also, the computer user interfaces are distinctively Eighties or "Graphic-DOS" styled, with no notion of CUA-like interfaces anywhere... but Internet has been replaced by something called "Optinet". One of the movies has a computer with a then-futuristic touch screen (running what looks basically like Windows 95).
  • Amerika takes place in 1997, ten years after the United States was conquered by the Soviet Union.
  • The Barrier, released in 2020, takes places in a version of 2045 where Spain has become a Police State dictatoriship, the country is recovering from a major economic collapse and World War III, resources are becoming scarce, the consequences of climate change have become more pronounced and there is a deadly virus with no cure or vaccine going around. All of these are extrapolations of trends from the late The New '10s, and the much-feared pandemic from those times happened on the year the series was released.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003):
    • An interestingly related setting. The viewer is initially given no reference frame for when it occurs relative to Earth history, but it fits the pattern of Twenty Minutes into the Future in that it combines highly advanced, futuristic technology with a culture that is almost indistinguishable from the USA of 2005, down to the clothing. As the series progresses, more specific elements of American culture start appearing, and the fleet discovers the post-apocalyptic remains of a planet they believe to be Earth, whose inhabitants also had a culture resembling 2000s America. Eventually, the series is revealed to be occurring somewhere around the year 148,000 B.C.. All this has happened before and will happen again.
    • The prequel series Caprica, set about 50-60 years prior to the main series, follows the pattern to a degree by dressing the characters in fashions reminiscent of the '40s and '50s.
    • In addition to similarities in clothing, the series features other modern-day elements, such as British rifles and American HMMW-Vs.
  • Black Mirror, a British sci-fi anthology show, is often set in our world, just with some new technology some 20 minutes into the future. Much like The Twilight Zone, it explores modern anxiety with how technology is taking over our lives.
  • In the 1979 movie and subsequent TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, the titular character, Buck begins his journey in May 1987 in a deep space probe that was supposed to last a few months. Something goes wrong and he's frozen for 504 years. When he's awakened from his frozen state, he learns that a nuclear World War III, which took place on November 22, 1987, has made most of Earth uninhabitable.
  • Century City. Bright, clean, genetically engineered.
  • Made in 1978, but set in 2050, Come Back Mrs. Noah mostly portrayed its 'futuristic' status via the existence of gadgets such as the instantly boiling atomic kettle.
  • Humorously invoked by Conan O'Brien in his recurring "In the Year 2000" sketches: All of the "future" predictions are based on current events and celebrities. He took the joke even further by continuing the theme well past the arrival of the actual year 2000, although when he moved to The Tonight Show it was finally updated to "In the Year 3000".
  • Dark Angel made in 2000, takes place in 2019, with a backstory where in 2009 terrorists set off an EMP, turning the United States into a third world hellhole. Which keeps it from looking too dated; Dark Angel 2019 looks like regular 2019 except shittier. The only significant technological differences are the Transhuman people running around, and they were a secret project anyway, and the Police State flying drones that look very similar to real world drones.
  • Doctor Who has many episodes with this kind of setting.
    • Note that many of the stories explicitly set in the 1990s and the 21st century aren't really Twenty Minutes into the Future; they're really distant-future stories dated by a writer who didn't realize that the year 2000 really wasn't all that far off. However, "The Invasion" and subsequent UNIT stories were always intended to be set just a few years in the future. This was ignored in "Mawdryn Undead", but by UNIT's final classic-series appearance in "Battlefield", the setting was clearly re-established as the very-near future. The issue of "UNIT dating" (when exactly the UNIT stories take place, since there's a bucketload of contradictory evidence) is a notorious Continuity Snarl, leading to much debate among fans (although this is generational to a degree, it's very rare to meet a fan nowadays who argues that the 1970s UNIT stories were set later than broadcast date who isn't old enough to have watched them when they were first broadcast), has been parodied a number of times in the Expanded Universe and for a while got it's own Wikipedia entry (it also got lampshaded in the books and the New Series episode "The Sontaran Stratagem" by having Sarah Jane and the Doctor respectively say they "used to work for UNIT in the Seventies, or was it the Eighties?").
      • In "Mawdryn Undead", producer John Nathan-Turner demanded that one of the story's time periods be 1977. This caused Script Editor Eric Saward incredible trauma, because he knew about the UNIT dating situation and, more importantly, he knew the fans knew and would pillory the creative team for the 1977 decision. This is exactly what happened.
    • The Second Doctor's companion Zoe comes from the 21st century, but few dates are given for her era... until in "The Mind Robber" (aired in 1968), she is familiar with a cartoon character from the year 2000, implying that she's from a few years past that time at most. Or that she's a comics geek, which wouldn't be out of character for her.
    • "The Tenth Planet" (1966) was set in the futuristic age of 1986, and features the discovery of Earth's twin planet of Mondas, which begins to siphon off Earth's energy. Come 1985, and the show's still running; the story "Attack of the Cybermen" sees the Sixth Doctor heading off the titular attack before it affects the Mondas attack...
    • All episodes set in the present day from 2005's "Aliens of London" to 2008's "Journey's End", inclusive, take place a year after the airing date. note  This was due to "Aliens of London" being explicitly set a year after the first episode of the 2005 season. Thanks to the series taking a "gap year" in which only a handful of specials were aired, the series was able to align with present-day by the time the Tenth Doctor handed off to the Eleventh Doctor.
    • The first decade of the 21st century in Ahistory: An Unauthorised History of the Doctor Who Universe makes interesting reading. The writer takes a deep breath and presents the Cyberpunk near future of the 1990s New Adventures novels and the Present Day setting of the current series as happening at the same time, without further explanation. Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey...
    • "The Waters of Mars" aired in 2009 and was set 50 years in the future, when humanity has established its first Mars base.
    • The Spin-Off series Series/K9, broadcast from 2009 to 2010, takes place in the year 2050. At this point, Earth is an Unmasqued World with advances in technology from Virtual Reality to robots being commonplace and a looming Dystopian Secret Police which is actually a front for an Alien Invasion. However, architecture and clothing appears much the same.
    • "In the Forest of the Night", broadcast in 2014, included dialogue hinting that it takes place in 2016. As a result, all modern-day Earth episodes featuring companion Clara Oswald that followed (at least up until her departure broadcast in 2015) would have taken place at some point after their broadcast date. However, the spinoff series Class, which is set in the year 2016, explicitly places Clara's last modern-day episode in 2015, which is corroborated by the Doctor Who Expanded Universe.
  • Extant takes place at an unspecified point in the future where deceptively human robots exist.
  • Fringe is presumably this... as the very least, it's suggested by the scenes set inside Massive Dynamics and particularly by Nina Sharp's... generous enhancements.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: The series seems to be set not very far off, with the flashbacks in what's apparently present day. Tinder, Uber and Craigslist are mentioned. Luke is explicitly stated to have been born in 1980.
  • Head of the Class, where Howard Hessman's character comments at a reunion that his teacher's salary has finally reached six figures, and that even though teachers are now paid what they deserve, he's too old to enjoy it.
  • The I-Land: The time period of the "outside world" is never stated, but implied to be several decades into the future. Aside from the virtual reality experiment, the prison is outfitted with state of the art-technology such as laser fencing, drone surveillance units, and gravitation fields used to restrain people. Many other features are still the same, especially in terms of fashions.
  • Lost in Space (2018): The series is set "30 years in the future", from an unspecified baseline that is most likely the show's release year (2018). The major difference is part of the show's premise: a meteor impact has caused serious environmental damage. Human society looks pretty similar but we have some cool computer tech and, of course, spaceships that can travel to Alpha Centauri.
  • Mann & Machine takes place in Los Angeles in "the near future." 1995 and 1997 are both mentioned as previous years; those years were three and five years into the future at the time the show aired.
  • Max Headroom: The Trope Namer.
    • The original TV movie was entitled Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future and the phrase was reused in the opening sequence of the resultant TV series (which takes place in a different universe and begins with a shortened remake of the movie). The date the series takes place is never explicitly pinned down, but the teenage character Bryce Lynch's birthdate was given in the movie and series pilot as October 7, 1988.
    • You can still smoke in public buildings. It's a federal offense to turn your TV off. This being cyberpunk, there is an Internet, though it gets called "The System", and the way it's shown to work is pretty thoroughly gonzo. There are no reality shows. Japan rules the business world. Network news is filmed on camcorders. There is still a Soviet Union, which has colonized part of the Third World.
    • Also transplantation "body banks" which will pay for fresh corpses, no questions asked.
  • The Outer Limits (1963) episode "The Duplicate Man", filmed in 1964, is set in 2025, when space travel is common, cloning has been outlawed and statues of alien lifeforms are exhibited in a museum. The smaller changes from the present are also interesting: future tech includes Video Phones (with rotary dials!) and light-activated drinking fountains, and the protagonist wears an early Beatles-style collarless suit and drives a Cool Car that's actually a customized Buick Riviera created for the film For Those Who Think Young.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): The setting of several episodes.
    • "Resurrection" takes place in 2009, 12 years after humanity was wiped out in a biological war on July 24, 1997.
    • "Unnatural Selection" and its sequel "Criminal Nature" take place at an indeterminate point in the near future when genetic engineering of children, resulting in Designer Babies, is relatively common in spite of the fact that it is illegal. However, this DNA alteration can result in Genetic Rejection Syndrome.
    • "The Refuge" takes place in the 2000s, by which time it is common for patients with incurable diseases to be placed in stasis until cures can be found.
    • "The Deprogrammers" takes place in the near future, two years after Earth was conquered by the Torkor. Millions of humans have been brainwashed into becoming the perfect slaves.
    • "The Hunt" takes place at a time in the near future when hunting animals has been banned and obsolete androids are hunted instead, though the practice is illegal.
    • "The Joining" takes place in 2011 and 2012, by which time the United States has established the research facility Aphrodite on Venus and is preparing a mission to Jupiter.
    • "Joyride" takes place in 2001, then two years in the future, when the first commercial spaceflight is launched.
    • "Essence of Life" takes place in 2014, eleven years after a devastating plague.
    • "Gettysburg" correctly predicted that an African-American man would be U.S. President in 2013.
    • "Patient Zero" involves a soldier named Colonel Beckett from 2015 who travels back in time to 2001 to stop the outbreak of a plague which killed billions of people, including his family.
    • "Family Values" takes place in January 2003, by which time household robots are becoming common.
    • "The Surrogate" takes place at some point after May 2002, then one year into the future.
    • "The Vessel" takes place several years after 2003.
  • The seventh and final season of Parks and Recreation was aired in 2015 and took place in 2017. It played with minor advances in technology, like holographic tablets made by new social media giant Gryzzl, and other celebrity and pop-culture news, e.g. the Cubs winning the World Series, Elton John owning Chic-Fil-A and Shailene Woodley and Morgan Freeman having an epic feud.
  • Planet of the Apes:
    • In "Escape to Tomorrow", Burke and Virdon's ship was in the vicinity of Alpha Centauri on August 19, 1980 when it entered a time warp and crashed on the ape ruled Earth in 3085.
    • In "The Interrogation", the recently rediscovered book on brainwashing that Wanda uses in her interrogation of Burke was published in 1986.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy intro implied it took place in a close future, in which mankind was able to build space colonies with interstellar travel capacities. Next series, Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, had a crossover which took place after Galaxy ending, and Earth technology could build Zords, so it was reasonable to assume it took place in the future. However, it was retconned as happening in current time due to crossover with Time Force (which took place in 2001 despite Rangers coming from the future)
    • Power Rangers S.P.D.: Rubber-Forehead Aliens live among us in 2025 and no one seems bothered in the least by this. But if you happen to be a human with special genetic abilities, you're an outcast.
    • The setting of the first half of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, until the writers outright forgot that they'd claimed the show was "In the not-too-distant future".
    • The heroes of Power Rangers Time Force hail from the year 3001. Most of the action takes place in 2001, though (the present day at the time of airing), so it's hard to say how advanced (or not) society is by then. At the very least, aliens are common, there are flying cars, and it's mentioned that junk food has been outlawed. Oh, and Designer Babies are normal, with mutant failures bearing the brunt of Fantastic Racism.
    • Power Rangers RPM. Exact date unknown, but it's at least 2013 (aired in 2009, plus about a year After the End and a three-year buildup beforehand). According to some sources, it takes place in 2085 - but according to others, it's an Alternate Continuity, and so could be an alternate '09.
  • The "present-day" of Quantum Leap is set in the far-off future of 1999. From what little we see of the future during the series, cars are more streamlined and can go faster, electric cars have their own lanes, some cars have holographic displays and tracking devices, prostitution is legal, and women wear clothing that lights up. But firearms, military uniforms, and congressional committees haven't changed. Guess Beckett altered history more than Al or Ziggy expected him to...
    • The late 1990s were chosen most likely because Bellisario wanted to keep the time-travelling within Sam's lifetime, but also within the audience's past. Therefore, the show's "present" needed to be futuristic, but couldn't be too far in the future.
    • Project Quantum Leap is a black project, so it could still take/have taken place.
  • seaQuest DSV. Genetic engineering. Compulsory vegetarianism. Air-processing plants. First season: 2018. And the "Dagger" Super Soldiers created during the "Dark Age of Genetics" (2001-2003).
  • Space: 1999. Still waiting for the Moon to be blasted out of orbit.
  • Space Island One was set on a space station just a hair more advanced than would be possible today.
  • Inverted in Stargate SG-1 in the episode "2010", where contact with an advanced civilization willing to share technology makes 2010 a much different world than it was at the time of filming. A very visible bit of Zeerust is the fashions of this 2010: taking a cue from Wild Palms, President Kinsey wears an outfit that would look more at home in 1910.
  • One of the places that they liked to reference and visit in Star Trek. Star Trek: The Original Series gave us some troubling news about genocidal wars of the 1990s. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine visited the second quarter of the 21st century. When TOS visited the near-future world of 1968 in "Assignment: Earth" and Star Trek: Voyager flashed back to 2000 in 1999, those were examples of Next Sunday A.D..
    • Quite niftily, one episode of TOS that came out in 1967 ("Tomorrow Is Yesterday") had the crew going back in time to the late sixties—where they pick up a radio broadcast talking about a manned moon launch coming up on Wednesday. Guess what happened on a Wednesday in 1969 in real life.
    • With the Deep Space Nine example, the two-parter "Past Tense", the staff were creeped out to find that they'd actually foreseen a situation that hit reality much earlier than they predicted. In the show, San Francisco in 2024 has concentrated its homeless population into walled "Sanctuary Districts". In real life, the mayor of Los Angeles proposed something eerily similar to clean up the downtown area. The proposal was announced while the episode was filming.
  • The MTV sketch comedy show The State lampooned this idea with a sketch where a man wakes up in a hospital after only a short time knocked out in an accident only to find that he missed the "most exciting 15 minutes in the history of the world", and now aliens have landed and all sorts of things have changed.
  • TekWar is set in the year 2045 and features androids that look just like people, cyberspace, and "Tek," a narcotic in the form of a computer chip that interfaces with the user’s brain.
  • The British 1970s series Time Slip showed several potential versions of the year 1990. Cloning. Melted polar icecaps. Longevity serums. Global computer control. Europe being geologically restructured to maximize efficiency. And computers were still room-size monstrosities with reel-to-reel tapes. And as to the sense of taste in décor, let us just say that it is truly fortunate for our corneas that only one episode has survived in its original color.
  • The Tribe was a post-apocalyptic series set in a Type 2 Teenage Wasteland after a mysterious virus killed off all the adults. Based on the technology commonly used and traded by the various Tribes (CD players, egg-shaped original iMacs, no iPods), the Virus struck some time in the late '90s or early '00s.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • In "Elegy", Professor Kurt Meyers tells Jeremy Wickwire that Earth was devastated by a nuclear war in 1985 and it has taken 200 years for humanity to rebuild. It is also mentioned that the cemetery asteroid Happy Glades was established in 1973.
    • In "Death Ship", the spaceship E-89 lands on the thirteenth planet of Star System 51 to investigate the feasibility of establishing a colony in 1997.
    • In "On Thursday We Leave for Home", the Earth ship Pilgrim I containing 113 people landed on the planet V9-Gamma in August 1991. A ship arrives to bring the impoverished survivors back to Earth in 2021.
    • In "Steel", it is mentioned that boxing matches between human fighters were banned in 1968 and that the sport came to be dominated by robots. The episode takes place on August 2, 1974.
    • In "The Old Man in the Cave", a nuclear war devastated Earth in 1964. Millions of people were killed and the world is contaminated with radiation. The episode takes place ten years After the End in 1974.
    • In "The Long Morrow", the astronaut Commander Douglas Stansfield embarks on a 40 year round trip mission to a solar system 141 lightyears from Earth on December 31, 1987.
    • In "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", the opening narration gives the date as 2000 "for want of a better estimate." It takes place in a world where people undergo surgery called the Transformation at 18 years old to make them look like everyone else.
    • In "The Brain Center at Whipple's", Wallace V. Whipple replaces the workers at his factory with an automatic assembly machine called the X109B14 in 1967.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • In "Quarantine", Matthew Foreman entered suspended animation on June 18, 2023 in the hope that his cancer could be cured in the future. After being revived in 2347, he learns that 80% of Earth's population were wiped out in a nuclear war in 2043.
    • In "The Mind of Simon Foster", the United States is experiencing a major economic depression in 1999. Unemployment is at 32%.
    • "Father & Son Game" takes place at some point after the early 1990s, by which time a person's consciousness can be placed in a Cyborg body. Interactive touch screen, speaking computers are commonplace.
  • Most entries of the Ultra Series are set in this period, with things like colonization of the Moon or Mars being mentioned often, spaceflight being done regularly by pilots, and ray guns being the weapon of choice against the Monster of the Week, while everything else looks as it was in the years the show was produced in.
  • Viper: In Season 2-4 the intro still mentions that the story takes place in the 21st century. But there are no futuristic concept cars like in Season 1 anymore. Even actor Jeff Kaake mentioned in an interview that the future setting was dropped for Season 3.
  • The 1960s series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was set in the 1970s-80s.
  • The setting (and almost-subtitle; they went with "Almost Tomorrow") of the second season of War of the Worlds (1988). Martial law. Bad air. Food shortages. Genetic engineering. "Totally real" VR simulations. Eight-bit computers.
  • The 1992 series Wild Palms was set fifteen years in the future, with technology and fashion that look nothing like that of the real 2007, assuming a revival of Edwardian-inspired fashion. And a lounge-style revival of popular sixties tunes.

  • Flight of the Conchords parodied this with their song Robots which took place in "The Distant Future...the year 2000..."("Things have changed a lot since the robot revolutions of the late '90s.") - despite the fact that it was written much later.
  • The murder that starts the action in David Bowie's 1995 Concept Album 1. Outside takes place on December 31, 1999. Technology hasn't advanced that much, but True Art has — into "art-crime", muggings and now a murder performed and presented as works of art. Let's all be happy this didn't come to pass. (The inspiration for this world came from the work of such Real Life artists as Damien Hirst and Chris Burden; the short story in the liner notes that provides the backbone for the songs mentions them and others by name as the precursors to the art-crime trend.)
  • Bosnian rapper Edo Maajka's new music video for song Panika (Panic) is set "23 minutes after this moment", according to the Youtube description. It starts realistically, with a poor man beaten and robbed by a group of men, but then he creates a futuristic weapon and attacks the said group.
  • !Hero: The Rock Opera tells the story of Jesus in an Alternate History where He wasn't born until the modern age, where the world is ruled by a One World Order called I.C.O.N. which has banned all religions except for Judaism.
  • "Space Odyssey", the final song on The Byrds' 1968 Notorious Byrd Brothers album, opens with the lines, "In nineteen and ninety-six we ventured to the moon/Onto the the Sea Of Crisis like children from the womb/We journeyed cross the great wall plain beneath the mountain range/and there we saw the pyramid, it looked so very strange." Basically a reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • Canadian band Tokyo Police Club have a song called 'Citizens of Tomorrow,' which predicts humanity's enslavement by robots, who implant microchips in our hearts and make us work to build their giant spaceships. "That's 2009" for you!
  • Exaggerated withMy Chemical Romance, who created Danger Days, a rock opera taking place in the dystopian wasteland of 2019. The album was released in 2010.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Adventures of Slim Goodbody: Nutri City has a lot of technology that is ahead of the time, but still plausible, like robots that can understand English and move on their own. Though there is some Magitek thrown into the mix as well.
  • The majority of Gerry Anderson's series, such as Stingray, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet take place 100 years from the date the shows were being made, setting them in the 2060's. The biggest oddities are relatively small nuclear reactors (which permit most of the rest of the vehicle technology) and whatever heavy-duty equipment allows WASP to hide their city underground.

  • Dimension X: In episode forty-one, an adaptation of Clifford D. Simak's "Courtesy" aired in 1951, humanity has colonized numerous planets, including Landro, by 1997.
  • Journey into Space:
    • In Journey to the Moon / Operation Luna, the rocket ship Luna lands on The Moon on October 22, 1965. Stephen "Mitch" Mitchell is the first person to walk on its surface. The first moonwalk is broadcast to Earth over the radio.
    • In The Red Planet, a fleet of nine ships, consisting of the flagship Discovery and eight freighters, bound for Mars is launched from The Moon on April 1, 1971. They arrive at their destination in October. By this time, there is a lunar colony.
    • In The World in Peril, the Lunar Controller notes that no weapon has been fired in war in the ten years since 1962.
    • In The Return from Mars, Jet, Lemmy, Doc and Mitch arrive back on Earth in 2026.
    • In Frozen in Time, the Ares arrives on the Earth Saviour Operation base on Mars on March 9, 2013, which was then five years in the future.
  • In The Stan Freberg Show (1957), "Incident at Los Voraces" begins with the narration: "It was 1960 when the incident occurred — that's almost ten years ago."

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Earth in The Splinter is this setting with a cyberpunk theme.

    Theme Parks 
  • The old ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter attraction at Walt Disney World was set in a future where unscrupulous Mega-Corp organizations span across entire solar systems. It was slightly tongue in cheek, but a large departure from the tone of everything else in the park.
  • The original version of Disneyland's Tomorrowland from The '50s depicted houses made entirely out of plastics and commercial space travel in the year "1986". Obviously, The '80s didn't turn out that way.

    Video Games 
  • The Framing Device storyline in the Assassin's Creed games, first released in 2007, take place over the period of a few months in 2012. Assassin's Creed III takes this trope to its logical extreme: Desmond's storyline starts on October 31st 2012, one day after the game's initial release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in North America, and the same day it was released in Europe. Later games simply had them be set around the time of release.
  • Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow is set in 2035, 36 years after Dracula was supposedly defeated for good and his castle banished into a solar eclipse. Ironically, the only modern or futuristic things and people in the game are a U.S. Army soldier, in-game items that are never shown graphically, a handgun, and a positron rifle.
  • The first four .hack games take place in 2010, with a virus having wiped out all computers except for the Altmit OS in 2005. The next three games take place in 2017.
  • Chrono Trigger. Though it obviously takes place on a non-Earth world, its dinosaurs did die in 65,000,000 B.C., making it clear that it was somewhat Earth-like. In its version of 1999, mankind lives in domes with air fortresses and sentient robots. This one is obviously on purpose, considering that A.D. 1000 corresponds roughly to modern times, and A.D. 600 to medieval times.
  • Nearly every Tom Clancy game. It pretty much comes to a head in EndWar, where the US is able to now deploy units anywhere in the world in an hour and thirty minutes, nuclear weapons are rendered useless by shields (but "rods from God" aren't, and neither are Kill Sat lasers), and many European nations have banded together. There are miniguns and better armor, and evil Russians, and technology that's conceptual or prototype here is deployed (there's even a bit of Back Story about H&K and FN suing the US Government for stealing the name and design for their own weapon).
  • The Sims is never said to take place at any specific time in the Simverse, although The Sims 2 is set around 25 years after the original while The Sims 3 is set 25 years before. The neighborhoods are very similar (well, with the limitations of the game) to our current society and levels of technology (with some differences between each game) - except for the robots (both A.I.s that begin functioning as household servants but can be freed and helpful household robots), aliens, werewolves, ninja teleportation, resurrection, the Grim Reaper, zombies, plantsims (Sims that function like plants, needing oxygen and water to survive), and more.
  • Crystalis: October 1, 1997. The END DAY. The Game Boy Color remake didn't specify the date of the end of the world (it was released after 1997, which should be obvious since the system it's on was also released after 1997). Seeing how the remake wasn't received as well as the original, most Crystalis fans probably don't care.
  • The original Command & Conquer game's non-Secret History backstory begins in late 1995 (the year it was released), and subsequent games are generally set Twenty Minutes Into The Future. The canonical dates are 1999-2002 for Tiberian Dawn, late 2030 for Tiberian Sun, 2031-32 for Firestorm, 2047-49 for Tiberium Wars and 2077 for Tiberian Twilight.
  • Duke Nukem:
    • Duke Nukem I was released in 1991 and takes place in 1997. Its setting looks somewhat futuristic while also retaining many elements from the late '80s and early '90s.
    • Duke Nukem II came out in 1993 and its opening shows a very futuristic city with a caption "NEO-L.A.: THE FUTURE". No year is given directly, but in the story, Duke says he defeated Dr. Protonnote  "last year", which means the events in the game take place in 1998.
    • Duke Nukem 3D is placed in December 2007. It was released in 1996. It's kinda funny (sad) how the sequel was promised to be out in 98...
    • The sequel Duke Nukem Forever looks like it could be more or less in the present day...but going by the fact that it's set during the run of the 67th President of the United States, that would set it at least in year 2104 up to year 2196. This is barring any previous Presidents leaving office early. Which Number 67 does in a very violent way... Further muddled by the fact that, in what's likely another reference to the game's extremely long development time, everybody at the beginning of Forever refers to the events of 3D as having taken place "twelve years ago", which would place Forever in 2019 or 2020.
  • Deus Ex, released in 2000, is set in 2052 and features some impressive — but not too out-there — advances in computer science (artificial intelligence), genetics (engineered mutant species), robotics (commercially used security robots) and, most importantly, nanotechnology. One of the game's plot points is the nanotechnologically augmented, super-powered protagonist who replaces the old cyborg augments. There's also mention of mining operations on the moon.
    • Deus Ex: Invisible War moves the setting 20 years and into the actually future. Bio-modification (with super-advanced biological nanotech) is commonplace, the nation-state is gone and replaced with competing international interest groups, a Borg-like hivemind of cyborgs controls the black market, and nanotechnology can now build or dismantle large cities in a matter of minutes.
    • Deus Ex: Human Revolution is set in 2027. Nanotechnology is in its infancy and instead people use more mechanical cybernetics, but this technology appears very impressive. The most implausible bit is Hengsha, a skyscraper-covered Chinese island expanding upward via a giant platform above its skyscrapers on which new buildings are built, taking "social stratification" to a whole new level. Better get on that ASAP, China.
      • Even the developers themselves said at one point that that last bit is "not going to happen".
      • The timeline shown in the tie in Sarif Industries website shows that this is a minor example of an Alternate Universe; the titular prosthetics company was founded in 2007, amongst other examples.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • Grand Theft Auto 2 took place "in the near future". 3 hints to its time were given, yet they all contradict each other. The manual states "3 weeks into the future" while entries on the official website are dated 2013. As if that wasn't enough to throw you off, a DJ on the radio states "The millennium's a' comin'!". There wasn't much future technology to be seen, although a few examples exist - one of the weapons is an electric arc gun and one of the gangs is hinted to use Expendable Clones as mooks.
    • Averted in Grand Theft Auto III and the other games in its continuity - it took place in 2001, the same year it was released, and the next four games were all prequels variously set between 1984 and 1998.
  • The original Half-Life 1 took place sometime during the 2000s. The sequel takes place 20 years later. Fans have debated the exact date of the Black Mesa Incident quite heavily. According to the Half-Life wiki, the exact year is most likely 2003 though 2008 is also possible. 1998 was a third option until Word of God dismissed it as a mistake.
  • Inverted in Halo; though the first game takes place in 2552, with the overall series taking place in the 26th century, most of humanity's technology is remarkably close to present day, with a few exceptions, such as anti-gravity warships, holographic AIs, portable railguns and powered battle armor. This was lampshaded by the original Bungie developers, who jokingly realized that for 500 plus years of innovation, combat will have advanced way beyond what Halo depicts. Something along the lines of "combat just 250 years from now will be, I drink something, and everyone else on the battlefield dies." That said, current developers 343 Industries have been moving Halo's humans towards a more recognizably futuristic society.
  • House of the Dead III, a 2002 game, is set in 2019, and by then the world is in a post-apocalyptic state. Inverted in The House of the Dead 4, which was released in 2005 in Japan. On top of being a prequel to the third game, it's set in the past (2003).
  • Mega Man:
  • Each game in the Metal Gear series (with the exception of prequels) is set nearly a decade after the ones when they were released: the first Metal Gear 1, originally released in 1987, is set in the placeholder date of 199X (later established to be 1995 or '96, depending on the source), Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, released in 1990, is set in 1999; Metal Gear Solid, released in 1998, is set in 2005; Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, released in 2001; is set in 2007 and '09; Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, released in 2008, is set in 2014; Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, released in 2013, is set in between 2016 and '18.
  • Even though it has very strong Post-Cyberpunk vibes, Mirror's Edge doesn't show any technologies that are not already very common and a society that could be right around the corner any time now.
  • Call of Duty:
  • Perfect Dark takes place in 2023, and it seems we're less than two decades away from flying cars, self-aware robots, extra-terrestrial contact, and a black president. That last one's already in the past.
  • Trauma Center: It's 2018. AIDS has been eradicated, tumors can be removed by a simple process, and there's a wonderful antibiotic gel that disinfects, arrests bleeding and instantly heals small wounds. On the other hand, weird man-made parasites called GUILT are tearing up your organs from the inside, petrifying your liver and wrapping webs around your heart, draining it of its energy.
  • Uplink, written in 2001 and focusing on Hollywood Hacking in Far-Off Year of 2010 AD, has more than a few issues. For the more technically-oriented gamer, this can lead to either Narm or unintentional hilarity. A 60 GHz processor is quite slow (a tribute to the megahertz race of the moment), and gateway computers with multiple processors are common, while only specialized systems support daughterboards. BBS software still holds a major part in the world, and Inter NIC can be used as a proxy and hacked into with a basic dictionary attack.
  • Frontlines: Fuel of War takes place in the year 2024. The biggest differences are that military robotics are widespread (everything from hand-held flying recon drones to minigun and mortar equipped mini-tanks to hand-held miniature attack helicopters to automated sentry guns); the XM8, or at least a heavily modified version of it, is in widespread service; and that Peak Oil has been reached and passed, and now everyone's scrambling to get something out the door to help people.
  • The SNES cult classic EarthBound, released in North America in 1995, takes place in 199X, making it seem like a very different game once 2000 rolled around.
  • Killer7, with a good measure of alternate history.
  • Battlefield: Bad Company 2 takes place in at least 2016, if the description for the SPAS-12 is right. (it's been serving for over 37 years; the gun was introduced in 1979).
  • Hydrophobia is based sometime in the mid 21st century. The global human population has reached crisis points and Thomas Malthus' theories on population seem to be right, all-be-it slightly delayed. The game takes place on a massive city-sized luxury ocean vessel that has already been in operation for 10 years prior the events of the game.
  • Both The Conduit and Conduit 2 take place in the near future; the backstory of The Conduit even includes a second terrorist attack in the United States on September 11.
  • The setting of Smash TV, released in 1990, is a violent game show in the now-not-so-futuristic year of 1999.
    • Total Carnage, which was released the following year, is also set in 1999.
  • Blood 2: The Chosen is set in 2028, exactly one century after the first. The only truly advanced things that appear in the game are a lightning gun, a napalm gun, and giant airships, and only one of the three is new to the series.
  • BattleTanx and its sequel, released in 1999, set in 2001 and 2006 respectively. Tanks in-game are certainly more advanced than in real life; the real-world M1 Abrams is the Jack-of-All-Stats to things such as hovering tanks or tanks with laser cannons.
  • Aerobiz: The Supersonic Era of gameplay from the 1994-released Aerobiz Supersonic has the player starting in 2000. It painted a bright future of supersonic airliners and 1000+ passenger super-jumbo jets covering the globe.
  • X-COM: UFO Defense takes place in the year 1999, and was released in '93. Terror from the Deep is set in the year 2040, and from the look of things, the world didn't change one bit over the years. The reboot Enemy Unknown is set in 2015 and came out in 2012.
  • The Trail Of Anguish is set in 2073, but it's set at a campus that would seem perfectly at home in the early 21st century. The game's a prequel to The Perils of Akumos, which is instead full-on sci-fi.
  • World of Warcraft: Played with in the final content of Cataclysm. The Hour of Twilight instance and the Dragon Soul raid both take place in modern Azeroth's Dragonblight, with Deathwing and the Old Gods laying siege to Wyrmrest Temple, but are both accessed through the Caverns of Time. Also, for obvious reasons regarding Wrath's content, non-instanced Dragonblight looks the same. To any character it can seem like these two instances are set 20 minutes into Azeroth's future.
  • Pokémon games have all look like they have been 20 minutes into the future, although it's not clear if this was intentional (it could just be a technologically advanced universe). The Pokémon-related technologies (TMs, HMs, Pokémon Centers, Poké Balls) all seem to work consistently within the universe and seem to be extensions of normal technology. Robotics and genetic engineering are well advanced beyond the real world but within the realm of reason... Until you get to the Apricorns, which just confuses everything. And never ask Bill about that time he turned himself into a Pokémon. This trope seems to be played fully straight as of Gen VI though. Previously Pokedexes were based off the current Nintendo handheld (or the iPod in Gen V) and the communication device was some sort of portable cellphone-Esque watch. In Gen VI both your Pokedex and your Holoclip are holograms, playing off of the system's 3D capabilities.
  • While events of The Longest Journey take place in the 23rd century, the manual mentions that advanced technology such as Faster-Than-Light Travel and Anti-Gravity was invented at the beginning of the 21st century. Better get on that quick.
  • Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (released in 2013) parodies this trope. "The year is 2007. It is the future."
  • A somewhat obscure arcade/SNES shmup called Strike Gunner S.T.G. took place in A.D. 2008.
  • Obsidian states that pollution has grown way out of control in 2066, and this prompts the creation of the CERES orbiting nanobot satellite to fix the atmosphere.
  • King of the Monsters, released in 1991, takes place in Japan in 1996 according to the attract mode sequence. The sequel was released the following year and takes place in 1999 when only three of the monsters have survived.
  • Downplayed in Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, which was released in 1988 and takes place in 1997, with two visible technological "advances": People exclusively use "Cash Cards" instead of actual cash, and TVs no longer seem to have buttons on them.
    • It is however revealed very early that the alien villains have been downgrading human intelligence for a while in preparation for their invasion, which would have inhibited developments. After the Skolarian device is activated, their attempts are undone and human intelligence is restored to normal. The telephone systems are completely abolished (as they had been used by the villains), and are replaced by telepathy and dream-sharing for communication.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's 3 takes place 30 years after the events of the original (it's unclear when that game took place, though it's theorized to be set in 1993, meaning 3 could take place sometime in the 2020s). In a clever way of avoiding an inaccurate depiction of future technology, the player's tools are explicitly from the first game's era. Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator (aka FNAF 6) takes place at some point after that, given the Big Bad of 3 returns to become part of the Big Bad Ensemble in 6. The audio heard in the Insanity Ending is labeled in the game files as HRY223, hinting it specifically takes place in 2023. It also avoids an inaccurate depiction of future technology by way of the player character just starting out in running his own pizzeria, and therefore only able to afford older technology.
  • Overwatch is explicitly set 60 years in the future at the time of release, placing it at 2076. While there is an abundance of sci-fi tech — there's been a Robot War, experiments with chronological disassociation as a side effect, a colony of genetically modified gorillas on the moon; most of the lore implies that all the really advanced stuff is in the hands of governments and powerful corporations while the average joe has to make do with "merely" ubiquitous hovercars and robotic servant devices.
  • Laurentia from Nexus Clash has all the hallmarks of this trope. That said, thanks to the Eternal Recurrence that drives the series, it's not actually Earth.
  • Hong Kong '97 was released in 1995. It correctly predicted the year of Deng Xiaoping's death.
  • The Neo Geo and Super NES game Super Baseball 2020 was released in 1991 and predicted that we will have baseball with humans playing alongside robots in that year. It is 2021 at the time of this writing though, and there still are not any baseball-playing robots.
  • The Spectrum Retreat takes place sometime in the 2020s, though the exact date is hard to determine, as the protagonist is stuck in a full-immersion VR system that has apparently become extremely popular at the time.
  • Watch Dogs: Legion doesn't say what year it is specifically set in, but as of its reveal, it is set during a post-Brexit No Deal United Kingdom sometime past 2020.
  • The sci-fi spinoff Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon takes place 22 years after release, in 2022.
  • Metroid: The 1987 Official Nintendo Player's Guide describes how the Galactic Federation was founded in the distant, far-flung year of 2000, and that Samus's mission (and, by extension, this game) takes place in 2005. It's uncertain if this was ever canon according to Japanese materialsnote , but if it was, rest assured that it isn't anymore.
  • Neo Cab: The game never names a year, but it's far enough in the future that all cars are electric and self-driving vehicles are the norm, but near enough that all the technology is recognizable.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony seems to be this way. There's a Ridiculously Human Robot within the cast, and the Class Trial room, instead of a circle, is now composed of hovering glowing platforms that move around, and the Ultimate Academy seems to have been abandoned for a long time. This was intentional on the part of Team Danganronpa, who wanted to create an After the End feel. That is, the in-universe Team Danganronpa, who adapted the fictional killing games into the real world.
  • In Snatcher, the Catastrophe (an event which results in the deaths of 80% of the Eurasian population) occurs on June 6, 1991, in the Japanese versions (the first versions of the game were released for Japanese computers in 1988). Changed to 1996 (convenient due to the presence of a third 6 in its date) in the English Sega CD version released in 1994.
  • Policenauts, the Spiritual Successor to Snatcher originally released in 1994, states that mankind's first fully functional space colony would be launched in 2010.
  • Remember 11 takes place in January 2011 and mentions the existence of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) VI, used in the field of psychology to classify and describe the symptoms of disorders; the DSM-V wasn't published until 2013.
    • Similarly, Ever17 is set in 2017 with parts in 2034.
  • The Zero Escape series' present day is 2027—29, with parts set in the far-off future of 2074. A lot of the technology is considered a standard affair by the characters (such as a freezing fire extinguisher and holograms), while others surprise even them, like the extraordinarily life-like robots and the ADAM machine.
  • The Ace Attorney series typically sets itself over a decade into the future. The first game (released in 2001) takes place in 2016. With the fourth game (2007) there was a seven-year leap from 2019 to 2026, and the series' current year as of Spirit of Justice (2016) is 2028. Generally the technology in the early games fitted that of the time of the game's release, however the last few games have begun implementing bits and pieces of casual futuristic technology. This includes holograms, robots with pretty advanced A.I, and computer programs that can replicate investigations. Additional material also seems to suggest that household robots are commercially available.

    Web Animation 
  • TVTome Adventures and its reboot, TOME, both take place in the year 2020.note 

  • Angel Down is stated to take place in the 24'th century, though the only notable differences from our time are the commonplace use of Artificial Limbs and a Space Elevator seen in the Chicago skyline during chapter 3.
  • Landon Porter's The Descendants takes place in the 2070s.
  • The original Umlaut House takes place in 2020 (the strip having begun in 2000); the sequel takes place about twenty years later. The original sees only a few Unobtanium gadgets, which the sequel takes a lot farther.
  • In The Last Days of FOXHOUND, the rather messy dating of the Metal Gear series is avoided by the use of 200X, typically on the cover of "The American Journal of Inaccurate Genetics", or just plain covered up, like this.
  • Ron Planet, by the creators of Homestar Runner, puts a unique twist on the concept by taking place in a near-future like our own time, except that humanity has completely given up on space exploration. Rather than being a high-tech future or a Crapsack World, it is disappointingly realistic. The plot revolves around the world's last astronaut, Ron Planet, who does freelance work (hey, somebody's got to maintain all those satellites).
  • Venus Ascending is set early in the life of an interstellar space program, which is apparently near enough to star the high school cast of the rolling-present Venus Envy in their twenties.
  • Diesel Sweeties and Questionable Content seem to be set in the present day, except for fully-functioning AI robots as members of society.
  • The exact timeline of Zombie Ranch has been kept deliberately vague (although references are made to the present day as a not-too-distant past), but a lot of the technology shown already exists in some form or is in development. There's definitely some Phlebotinum at work, though, not only in the form of zombie-based miracle drugs but devices like the free-floating camera drones.
  • Shifters is set in the year 2034.
  • O Human Star takes place in 2021, with flashbacks to 2001.
  • Pacificators is a weird sort. We don't know how far in the future it takes place (it's very viable that it takes place centuries in the future), but they suffered a Second Dark Age in which all of their technical knowledge has been lost; ever since they've been searching for the "advanced" artifacts of the past (our time) and attempting to learn from those. At the moment, their top-line technology is the steam engine and the phone. They've yet to re-discover the light bulb.
  • Pilot takes place in the year 2025. Not much has changed, though AI and robots are now commonplace.
  • Ennui GO!: Set about 2030 or so, judging by Hashim's comment that since Extreme Sports ended in 2000, all contestants have to be at least 50. The only advance is that prosthetics have evolved to cybernetics. Also, US Presidents are all genetically engineered human/beetle hybrids after Donald Trump's term, although this is meant to be a secret (shhh!).
  • Pinch Point: The story takes place in the 2060s. In the 2030s there was a war that's still ongoing. Technology hasn't changed much due to the post-apocalyptic elements, but even in the 2030s, not much was different from the 2010s.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • The Jetsons. It takes place in 2062 (100 years from the day of the show's launch). This was parodied in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, where the Jetsons came from the year 2002 to the distant past of 2004. In the Jetsons' time, they use punch cards, got meals from instant devices, and have huge personal communicators.
  • Thundarr the Barbarian: In 1994, a runaway planet hurtles between the Earth and the Moon, devastating Earth and destroying human civilization.
  • The Old Grey Hare is a 1944 Bugs Bunny cartoon in which Bugs and Elmer are shown in the year 2000. The only actual wrong predictions are read in the newspaper, where "Smell-O-Vision" is announced to replace television and Bing Crosby (who died in 1977) and Carl Stalling (who died in 1972) is implied to still be alive.
  • Gargoyles, which is primarily Urban Fantasy, uses this to add some sci-fi elements to the plot. Though the world mostly resembles America in the late 1990s, there are a few William Gibson-Esque MegaCorps with everything from Powered Armor to Cool Airships to nanobots at their disposal.
  • Batman Beyond is set fifty years into the future of the DC Animated Universe (counting from whenever the present presently is), and by then Neo-Gotham's a Cyberpunk dystopia of human gene splicing, flying cars, Kill Sats, big, brick-like cell phones, and night clubs that play nothing but industrial techno.
    • Oh, and Bruce Wayne had retired 20 years before the events of the show, as shown in a prologue scene during the first episode. Aside from Bruce being older and wearing a new bat suit, hardly anything else looks any different from the 'modern' Gotham City during this sequence.
    • Meanwhile, Justice League has huge space stations with artificial gravity, a Kill Sat, sentient robots, and lasers. Having people like Lex Luthor and other mad scientists around probably helps, as well as reverse-engineered alien technology.
    • Widespread AI is the premise behind the spin-off The Zeta Project, which shows more of the Batman Beyond world outside of Gotham.
  • The Batman episode "Artifacts" is like this, as well as being one big Mythology Gag dedicated to Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.
  • The Batman Unlimited series of animated films, which tied in to an action figure line and began with Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts, is set an undetermined amount of time into the future. The technology employed by Batman and his allies includes high-tech vehicles and plenty of mechs, with Gotham City having a slightly futuristic tinge to it. The series also comprises Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem and Batman Unlimited: Mech vs. Mutants.
  • Parodied in The Ripping Friends, in the two-part episode entitled "A Man From Next Thursday." The Ripping Friends' city, Ripcot, is said to be so advanced that it exists in "next Tuesday." The villain, Thursday Man, comes from the highly futuristic world of "next Thursday."
  • Made fun of in South Park episode 31, "Prehistoric Ice Man". The episode was about a man who had been frozen 32 months earlier who was thawed and supposedly had trouble adjusting to the 'future', so Dr. Mephisto locks him in an enclosure in his lab where everything is made to look like a permanent 1996 (the episode aired in '99), and the mid-1990s are spoken of as a strange, bygone era, with extremely specific things from '96 apparently having already been forgotten. ("The ice man is listening to Ace of Base, which was a very popular group during his era. Their primitive drumming soothed his people's tempers.") In fact, in an in-universe example of Reality Is Unrealistic, it's everyone else who has trouble adjusting to him, since none of them can understand what he's saying - even though he's speaking English too - because they assume that since he's an "ice man", he has to be speaking some primitive Neanderthal tongue. (Stan even gives him the name "Gorak.")
  • The Simpsons episode "Lisa's Wedding" features a look at the year 2010, which was at the time of the episode's airing 15 years into the future. The changes are a bit hard to detail, but perhaps the funniest change is that Moe now has an eyepatch, and when he says to Hugh (Lisa's fiancée) that the Americans saved the British's "arse" back in WWII, Hugh retorts, "we saved your arse in World War III." And Big Ben is a digital clock that nobody has figured out how to set (i.e. it still blinks 12:00).
  • Lampshaded in Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, where present-Stewie and future-Stewie travel 30 years to the future and present-Stewie remarks that nothing seems different. Future-Stewie replies "Well, it's been only thirty years". They do have time-tourism and present-Stewie expected to be emperor of the world by that time. Presumably, he'd have made some changes.
  • Transformers: The Movie and the third season of the 1986 cartoon are set in the early 21st century (in the far-off year 2005). It is roughly 20 years after the original series just far enough forward for Spike to have grown up and had a son. Likewise, Transformers Energon is set just long enough after Transformers Armada for the human characters to have grown up. Does anyone remember having cars like those, wearing pimped-out space suits (whilst still on Earth), the government setting up a publicly known organization to counter alien threats, building space-craft capable of traveling entire galaxies away or riding around on their hoverboards? To be fair though, much of the technological achievements present in that universe could be chalked up to having the Autobots sharing Cybertronian technology with us if you wanna provide an excuse.
  • The Invader Zim universe contains hovercars, teleporters, and all sorts of futuristic technologies... while NASA is still relying on Martian rovers, humanity is still completely unaware of any life in the universe, and only about 5% of the vehicles on Earth can fly. The rest are basically stylized cars.
  • Jonny Quest. It's still set in the present day, but there is futuristic tech, like robots and personal hovercraft, and prototypes like the Parapower Ray Gun. Overlaps with Zeerust since you can tell by the dated aesthetic, but a lot of the tech featured is still in use or hasn't been made yet, such as the walkie-talkie that basically allows two-way video conferencing.
  • Futurama:
    • The show pokes fun at this on occasion, in the fact that it takes place 1000 years later, thus the Couch Gag in the opening title claimed "YOU CAN'T PROVE IT WON'T HAPPEN!". In the first episode, Suicide Booths also had printed on them "since 2008".
    • Cultural trends seem to repeat themselves exactly 1000 years later, mostly so the writers can make fun of current events and fads. This extends beyond the timeframe the show is set in, as silent holograms are a thing of the past and the Professor is shown to have gone through a disco phase and, earlier, a hippy phase. In the pilot, it is also shown that a medieval society arose at some point while Fry was frozen and given URL's line "I'm going to get 24th-century on his ass," this probably was also offset by 1000 years.
  • Generator Rex takes place in a setting where nanites are so advanced that they can easily rewrite a person's DNA. The show also featured a working Space Elevator, flying transports that use anti-gravity to stay in the air, and a cold fusion reactor.
  • The setting of Sealab 2021. The show it parodies, Sealab 2020, arguably suffered worse from the trope because it took itself seriously.
  • Big Hero 6: The Series shows more of the differences between the 2030s and the 2010s. Fashions, slang, and the general atmosphere don't seem different from the 2010s, however, they have robots that can turn into frisbees for one. At the same time, everyone still uses touchscreen tablets.
  • While set in the present day, the title character from Dot. owns a tablet that appears to be very futuristic, with holographic apps being plot points.
  • One episode of Ren & Stimpy was set in a futuristic House of Next Tuesday.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "SB-129", if the calendar in the future is accurate, this means that the episode starts and ends on March 6, 2017.

Alternative Title(s): Twenty Minutes In The Future, Urban Sci Fi, Near Future


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: