Excerpt from Quartz
Written by Alice Bonasio
Mark Twain is best known for all-American novels like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. But he was also a forward-thinking futurist. Back in 1898, in his short story From The London Times, Twain described a gadget called the Telelectroscope—a “limitless-distance” telephone that connected people around the globe. “By grace of this marvelous instrument he was almost as free as the birds of the air… Now and then I would hear him say, ‘Give me Hong-Kong’; next, ‘Give me Melbourne’ … Sometimes the talk that came from those far regions through the microphone attachment interested me, and I listened.”
Indeed, when it comes to technology, reality often plays catch-up to fiction. So it should come as no surprise that some of the people responsible for the greatest technological strides of the past decades cite literature as a source of inspiration. Here are a few of the books that have fired up the imaginations of our biggest innovators and fed their ambition to transform the world.