Far future in science fiction and popular culture

The far future, here defined as the time beyond the 10th millennium, has been used as a setting in many works of fiction or popular scientific speculation.

Doctor Who

The British science fiction series Doctor Who has featured many events beyond the 10th millennium AD:


Frank Herbert's Dune series spans thousands of years of distant future history in a galactic, and eventually multigalactic, setting, describing an interstellar feudal system enabled by a prescience-imbuing drug known as the spice.[1]

Foundation series

Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, comprising the union of his Robot novels, Galactic Empire novels and Foundation novels, describes a future history of humanity from 1996 to tens of thousands of years from now.[2] The 11th millennium occurs after the end of the Robot stories.

The Future is Wild

The Future is Wild was a speculative documentary hypothetising how life could evolve over the course of millions of years:

Last and First Men and Star Maker

Olaf Stapledon's novels Last and First Men and Star Maker are speculations on the evolution of intelligence in the universe. Last and First Men explores the future evolution of intelligence on Earth, while Star Maker explores the technological and social changes undergone by various alien species.

Last and First Men

Star Maker

"The Last Question"

Isaac Asimov's short story "The Last Question" charts the future evolution of Man as subsequent generations ask ever-more complex computers the same question: "Can entropy be reversed?" The story begins in 2061, when the supercomputer Multivac is asked the question and responds: "INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR MEANINGFUL ANSWER". The story then jumps forward to an unspecified time at least a thousand years later, in which a spaceship-borne computer is asked the same question, and gives the same answer.

"The Late Philip J. Fry"

The Futurama episode "The Late Philip J. Fry" concerns a journey into the far future:

Star Trek

The science fiction franchise Star Trek has made several allusions to far future events:

The Time Machine

H. G. Wells's novel The Time Machine concerns an anonymous Time Traveller who embarks on a journey to Earth's far future:

Warhammer 40,000

The Games Workshop-created wargaming franchise Warhammer 40,000 is, as its title suggests, set around the 40th millennium of its fictional universe.[3]

Xeelee Sequence

Stephen Baxter's Xeelee Sequence, a collection of novels and short stories describing Mankind's war with a superintelligent race called the Xeelee, spans a time period from the Big Bang to billions of years in the future.[5]

Other fiction

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Film and television




See also


  1. "brianpherbert.com". Archived from the original on 13 April 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  2. "TimeLine for the Robots & Foundations Universe". sikander.org.
  3. 1 2 "Warhammer 40k Timeline". Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  4. Troke, Adam; Vetock, Jeremy; Ward, Mat (2012). Warhammer 40,000 (hardcover) (print). Warhammer 40,000 Rulebooks. Cover art by Alex Boyd; illustrations & reproductions by Games Workshop staff artists & designers; storytext by Alan Merret (6th ed.). Nottingham, UK: Games Workshop. p. 168. ISBN 978-1-90796-479-4. C. 800.M30[:] The Great Crusade; Abnett, Dan (2006). Horus rising: the seeds of heresy are sown (mass market paperback) (print). Horus Heresy Novel Series. 1. Cover art & illustration by Neil Roberts (1st UK ed.). Nottingham, UK: Black Library. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-84416-294-9. It had been,... the two hundred and third year of the Great Crusade.
  5. "Stephen Baxter: Articles". Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  6. The disparity in the Xenogears years is due to the vagueness of the calendar conversions used in the game. The accompanying literature, Xenogears Perfect Works (PW), states that in AD 2510 the calendar system restarted and was labeled TC, for Transcend Christ. Again in year 4767 TC, the calendar system restarts and is called the New Era (the reference point being the year the Eldridge crashed onto the unnamed planet). PW continues on, stating the events of Xenogears begin in the year 9999 of the New Era. Whether year 0 is counted in any of the calendar systems is up for debate therefore leading to the disparity in the beginning of the events of the game.
  7. EVE Online Gallentean Timeline
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