precognition and synchronicity

I realized earlier this week that all the science fiction stories I’ve been consuming lately have a common theme – a character who can see the future and present at the same time. They’re all about someone who surpasses thinking just in the present and develops the ability to treat time as a fluid experience.

Remember the 2016 movie Arrival with Amy Adams? A couple weeks ago I read the 1998 short story that the film is based on, called “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang. That’s about a scientist who learns the ability to live simultaneously in the present, past, and future thanks to learning the language of some alien visitors to Earth.

Also, the new film version of Dune was just released a couple weeks ago and I’ve watched it twice since then. The core of the story is about a young noble named Paul whose vivid dreams turn out to be accurate predictions about the future.

Side note: Dune and Arrival were both directed by Denis Villaneuve.

Third, I’ve been watching the TV series adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. The adaptation is looser than I expected, but one of the main characters is a young woman named Gaal who, in the most recent episode from last week, develops the ability to see the future. As the Wikipedia article puts it in the summary of Episode 7, “Gaal’s outrage at her mentor’s manipulation is momentarily quelled by the revelation that she possesses a latent prescient ability.”

I wonder why all these sci-fi stories share this concept all at the same time. I don’t think that the idea of protagonists developing precognition is hugely pervasive, but for whatever reason all the sci-fi in my life this month has shared this theme.

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