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.”
Ian Fleming named his character “Goldfinger” after the stern architect Ernő Goldfinger, whom he despised. When Ernő filed a suit over the name, Fleming threatened to rename the character “Goldprick”. Ernő dropped the suit in exchange for legal fees and six copies of the book.
Jules Verne’s shelved 1863 novel “Paris in the Twentieth Century” predicted gas-powered cars, fax machines, electric street lighting, maglev trains, the record industry, the internet. His publisher deemed it pessimistic and lackluster. It was discovered in 1989 and published 5 years later.
From the late 18th to mid-19th century, it was considered bad for women to read novels based on the belief that women were not “able to differentiate between fiction and life.”
Starting in 1910, a series of books were published featuring a fictional boy-inventor by the name of Tom Swift. One of these books was titled “Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle.” Many years later, this led to the naming of the TASER that police now carry: “Tom A. Swift Electric Rifle”.
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein published a best-selling romance novel that spawned a twenty-episode TV series and a stage musical.
The alternative history novel “The Man in the High Castle” features a “novel within a novel”. While the actual book is about Nazis winning WWII, the in-book novel is about an alternate universe in which the Nazis lose the war.
There is a surviving fantasy novel written in the 2nd century AD in Roman Syria that features explorers flying to the moon, a first encounter with aliens, interplanetary war between imperialistic celestial kingdoms, and the discovery of a continent across the ocean
After 18+ years marooned on an island, the real-life heroine the novel The Island of the Blue Dolphins died just 7 weeks after being rescued.
Agatha Christie’s novel “Elephants Can Remember” reveals distinct signs of Alzheimer’s onset, e.g., 20% fewer words or ⅕ of her vocabulary lost; 6 times more use of nonspecific words such as “thing”, and a sharp drop in “idea density”. That novel’s last line is “Maybe it’s OK not to remember.”