I came down with some sort of sinus infection on Sunday morning. The feeling of impending doom that sickness tends to inspire got me contemplating my own future, as we’re all wont to do when times are tough. That eventually brought me back to this timeline of the far future that BBC Future put together.
Though it was created in 2014, the vast scope of the timeline makes it no less relevant a year later, which is probably why it kept turning up on my Twitter feed after the new year. In the scope of this timeline, what’s a single year? Merely a blip on the radar screen of human existance.
But what really intrigues me is how useful such scientific predictions are for a scifi writer. I’m certainly keeping it bookmarked for future writing projects. It’s difficult to imagine what the Earth looks like 1,000 years from now. A million years? Forget it.
I suppose that’s part of what makes the Homecoming Saga by Orson Scott Card so interesting to me. It takes place 40 million years in the future which, according to BBC’s timeline, is somewhere between the irradiation of Earth due to the star T Pyxidis going supernova (10 million years), and the Mediterranean Sea disappearing due to the continent of Africa colliding with Eurasia (50 million years).
Card’s story doesn’t take place on Earth, though—at least, not where I am in the series. It’s set on a planet called Harmony where, in the third book, Ships of Earth, the troupe of characters travels across the desert to reach a place where there are supposed to be ships that will carry them to Earth through space. Or so I presume.
If they do make it to Earth—and they like each other so little I suspect they might not, in the end—what will it look like? Will it be inhabitable? Or is their whole journey literally a dead-end? I’ll keep reading to find out.
Check out some of BBC’s other timelines:
- Near future predictions with Tomorrow’s world: A guide to the next 150 years
- And of course, Apocalypse when? Infographic guide to Doomsday threats, which makes my sinus infection pessimism look like a walk in the park.
And for easy viewing, here’s the full Timeline of the Far Future: