Slide 1 of 41
Fact or Fantasy?
The stuff of fantasy and science fiction seem more and more like reality as science and technology continue to advance. Why not then look at imaginary worlds to get a glimpse at what tomorrow might be like? Here are 20 realms that have captured our imaginations before, rated by how plausible they might be, from possible to optimistic to hard to imagine to pure fantasy.
WARNING: Potential spoilers.
Star Trek UniverseSlide 2 of 41
Star Trek Universe
The "Star Trek" series is packed with science and technology that inspired generations of scientists and engineers -- faster-than-light travel, teleportation, beam weapons, universal translators, hologram-based virtual reality and mobile communicators, among others. A number of these have actually, in some form, become reality -- then again, physics apparently stands in the way of warp drives, and despite a great deal of hand-waving, there seems to be little reason that so many aliens look, behave and can mate with humans other than budgetary limits and storytelling purposes.
Science Rating: Optimistic.Slide 3 of 41
Jurassic ParkSlide 4 of 41
In "Jurassic Park," scientists have recreated dinosaurs and other extinct life using cloning techniques and ancient DNA in fossils. When asked, scientists are often skeptical that DNA could survive over such long time periods, much less used to create viable organisms. Still, novelist Michael Crichton did try to make concessions by noting that broken patches of ancient DNA could be filled in with that from other, living animals. [Crichton: A Legacy of Sci-Fi Thrillers]
Science Rating: Optimistic.Slide 5 of 41
Star Wars' Galactic RepublicSlide 6 of 41
Star Wars' Galactic Republic
In "Star Wars," bionically enhanced characters battle with rayguns and communicate via holograms aboard spaceships over planet-killing weapons of mass destruction. The films have influenced science and technology in real life -- the space-based weapon platforms of the Strategic Defense Initiative debated in the 1980s were derisively called "Star Wars." Still, even more than faster-than-light travel, the biggest stumbling block toward accepting "Star Wars" as possible in reality -- despite a weak nod toward science with microscopic "midichlorians" in people's bodies -- is the notion of the Force as a physical force enabling telepathy, telekinesis and precognition.
Science Rating: Hard to Imagine.Slide 7 of 41
The World of NarniaSlide 8 of 41