Someone on Twitter recently asked me an interesting question:
After thinking it over, I decided that this was something we could explore a bit. The case that Joia is referencing deals with a story that takes place in the year 2058. Clearly, the technology in the tale should be far advanced beyond our own, current technologies.
And while that is true for the most part, there are some interesting differences: for one, most data is contained on a disc, like a DVD. It wasn't enough to take me out of the story, but funny enough that I remembered it long after reading. It's kind of like when you see a movie at the AMC IMAX, and they show you that intro sequence bragging about resolution equivalent to 15,000 CD-ROMS!!
It doesn't really matter that it's an amazing resolution; what matters to most viewers (enough to regularly elicit giggles from the audience) is that they use a CD-ROM for this analogy.
I use the IMAX example because it has the problem of dating itself. Likewise, a near-future science fiction book has the problem of dating itself very badly by using existing technologies as an integral part of the story. In 1995, when Naked in Death was written, CD-ROMs were kind of a big deal. In that scenario, should an author like J.D. Robb have the foresight to try and protect their story against outdating? Is that even possible for a near-future or hard sci-fi tale?
Back to the original question, what do we call the phenomena when "reality catches up to near-future fiction enough to see the two diverge?" Does it even need a name? I kind of like the idea of "near-future divergence," because that can cover a lot of things beyond just technology. What would you call it?