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5 Science Fiction Stories Set in 2021: Cyborg Dolphins, Moon Mining, and More

Does your head have room for these gigs of data?

Johnny Mnemonic
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  • Photo Credit: TriStar Pictures

2020 was the worst year of most of our lives, but with a vaccine on the horizon, and hope for a more coherent national response, there's a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. 

Of course, we're not the only ones to try and predict what 2021 has in store—sci-fi writers have been doing that for decades. Here are 5 science fiction stories set in 2021, full of prescient and preposterous predictions for the year ahead.

Happy new year!

Johnny Mnemonic

Johnny Mnemonic
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  • Photo Credit: TriStar Pictures

This 1995 film is based on a story by William Gibson, the father of cyberpunk. It stars Keanu Reeves as the titular Johnny, an information courier who stores top-secret information in his brain implant. 

In order to modify his information-carrying capacities, Johnny had to lose his own long-term memories—but that's a small price to play in a world where instant gratification is the norm. 

In 2021, society is so addicted to technology that many people suffer from a disease called ‘the black shakes,' caused by electromagnetic waves. The grimdark future posited by this movie is full of giant corporations, freedom fighters, and cyborg dolphins. 

In short, it looks like the future we’d get if Waterworld and The Matrix had a baby, and that baby lived in Newark. 

Moon Zero Two

moon Zero two
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  • Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

This 1969 sci-fi movie Moon Zero Two was billed as “the first moon ‘western,’” which gives you an idea of what to expect about the film’s vision for our coming year. 

In the 2021 of Moon Zero Two, humanity has colonized the Moon, with plans to expand to Jupiter’s moons and Mercury. 

Bill was the first man on the Moon, but he’s since left the monolithic Space Corporation behind in search of adventure. 

The fates of Bill, a new Moon arrival named Clementine, and space millionaire J.J. Hubbard intertwine in a tale of lunar prospecting and power struggles. 

Moon Zero Two posits that, if humanity does colonize the solar system, we’d likely be just as unscrupulous and greedy on other planets as we are on Earth. Honestly, checks out. 

But at least this movie's vision of 2021 features excellent interstellar fashion (pictured above)! 

A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place
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  • Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

The 2018 post-apocalyptic movie A Quiet Place takes place in 2021, as indicated by a headstone and title cards shown briefly at the start of the film. 

Frankly, the future of A Quiet Place is not one we want to live in. Deadly beasts capable of unbelievable speed and ferocity have taken over the planet. The creatures hunt using sound, which means that the only way to survive is through complete silence — as the tagline says, if they hear you, they hunt you. 

The movie follows one family whose fluency in American Sign Language has helped them survive the apocalypse for 473 days — but the realities of life are quickly becoming untenable in this vision of the future. 

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books like Parable of the Sower Children of Men

The Children of Men

By PD James

In P.D. James’ classic dystopian novel The Children of Men, the United Kingdom in 2021 is pretty grim. 

It’s been 26 years since ‘Year Omega,’ when sperm counts declined globally and a civil war broke out. Now, humanity as a whole is incapable of reproducing. The last generation of humans, called the ‘Omegas,’ are revered. Many humans are mourning the offspring they weren’t able to have, and treat their pets as literal children (even more so than is socially accepted today). 

The UK is experiencing an existential crisis, and as generations die out, they prepare for a future in which the few survivors must possess survival skills.

But one radical organization, known as the Five Fishes, envisions a more sustainable future for the country...


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  • Photo Credit: Showtime

This sci-fi drama, which ran for two seasons in the early aughts, sees the inverse future for 2021. 

In Jeremiah, anyone over the age of 15 was killed by a plague known as ‘the big D.’ A young man named Jeremiah and his friend Kurdy travel the country, hoping that Jeremiah’s father might still be alive. 

This bleak future is characterized, much like The Walking Dead, by power struggles and feuds between survivors—but in this case, none of the characters are older than their twenties. 

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