“The Great Leveler” is a book that argues that the greatest redistributions of wealth in history are during times of war, plague, and catastrophe, citing the Black Death and WWI as “actually suppressing inequality, by raising the price of labor.”
Agatha Christie essentially invented the standard modern crime fiction formula that most TV shows follow: A murder is committed, multiple suspects (all concealing secrets), the detective gradually uncovers the secrets, discovering the most shocking twists towards the end and solving the crime.
In 1981 Dean Koontz wrote a book “The Eyes of Darkness”. The chapter 39 it mentions a Chinese military lab outside of the city of Wuhan, where a deadly virus is invented as part of the country’s biological weapons warfare programme. Owing to the lab’s location, the virus is named ‘Wuhan-400’.
The Russian novel We (1920-21) by Yevgeny Zamyatin is considered one of the grandfathers of the dystopian genre and influenced George Orwell’s 1984. “Zamyatin’s influence on Orwell is beyond dispute…1984 shares so many features with We that there can be no doubt about its general debt to it.”
C.S. Lewis nominated J.R.R. Tolkien for the 1961 Nobel Prize for Literature. He was rejected on the grounds that his writing “has not in any way measured up to storytelling of the highest quality.”
It took Ray Bradbury 9 days to write his novella, The Firemen, in the basement of a UCLA library on a typewriter rented for 10¢/30 minutes. After being urged by his publisher, he returned to the basement, got to work, and expanded his novella into Fahrenheit 451, which also took 9 days to write.
There is a scifi short story called ‘The Man Who Came Early’ where a modern engineering student is sent back in time but his lack of practical know-how and his over-sophisticated ideas lead to none of his suggestions being implemented.
When Roald Dahl attended school, the nearby Cadbury chocolate factory would occasionally send boxes of new chocolates to the school to be tested by students. It is believed that this likely inspired him in writing his third children’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
In 1969 an experimental book named The Unfortunates was published. It shipped as a ‘book in a box’ consisting of 27 unbound sections with the first and last chapter specified. The remaining sections range from a single paragraph to 12 pages in length and are designed to be read in any order.
Douglas Adams came up with the title for The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy while lying drunk in a field near Innsbruck with a copy of The Hitch-Hikers Guide to Europe. Looking up at the stars, he thought it would be a good idea for someone to write a hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy as well.