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 "In the year 2525, if man is still alive..."

Zager and Evans


Contrary to certain well-regarded opinions, there is always more of the future. Been to 2015 to check out the neat flying cars and holographic movies? Why stop there? Why not take a jaunt to the 22nd century, stow away aboard a starship and seek out new life and new civilizations? Or skip ahead a few millennia, enlist in the Imperial Guard and become a horrifying Chaos abomination fight for the glory of the God-Emperor of Mankind? Just be careful you don't go too far, or else you might run into malicious little transhumans in flying capsules festooned with all kinds of lethal gadgetry...

Some works treat "the future" as a brick wall: once you get there, you don't get to go any further. Others are well aware that once you introduce anything beyond the mundane present day, the sky's the limit (or, more accurately, the heat death of the universe).

Examples of To the Future and Beyond include:


  • In Millennium, agents from the future (31st Century) are using desperate means to replace the dying human race with people abducted from the 20th century from airplanes just before they crash. Due to the deteriorating time line, however, the 31st Century is rocked by temporal distortions (or timequakes) which force the re-population effort to rely on their backup plan: send everyone into the far, far future. The fate of the main characters (and possibly humanity?) is represented by 1980s abstract visual effects.
  • Happens in both movie version of The Time Machine.
    • Played with in the 1960 version, where the protagonist leaves 1900 to visit the "future" years of 1917, 1940 and 1966 before stopping in 802,701.
    • In the 2002 movie, the protagonist stops in 2030, 2037 and 802,701, also briefly witnessing a Bad Future...er in 635,427,810.


  • The Time Machine: The Time Traveler already went extremely far into the future, but after his adventure he gets the idea to go even farther. Not surprisingly, it is Nightmare Fuel for him and he goes back to his own time.
    • The Nightmare Fuel specially is the fact that human beings in 1 million AD and beyond are completely unrecognizable to their current selves, being something more akin to oddly shaped kangaroos or just floating blobs. This is probably the reason why most other writers tend to stop their view of humanity's future at around the 25th century or so.
  • In the Poul Anderson novel There Will Be Time, the protagonist travels forward in time, beyond the Maurai Federation's rise and fall to a future in which his own long-term programs have paid off: humans have made contact with extraterrestrial beings and are assimilating into a broader galactic culture with the help of experienced human space travelers and time travelers.
  • The protagonist of The Man Who Folded Himself notes that you run into difficulties when traveling too far into the future (or past), with one of the first problems being the evolution of language making you and the natives mutually incomprehensible. Travel further and they end up not even being recognizably human.
  • In "Blood", a short story by Fredric Brown, two vampires escape lynching with a time machine. They travel to more and more distant futures in order to find an age when vampires have been forgotten, so that nobody can recognize them as a threat. When they finally find it, they are stranded there with no fuel -- all radioactive isotopes on Earth have already decayed. And the dominant lifeform is plants.
  • Poul Anderson's Tau Zero is essentially this trope turned Up to Eleven IN SPACE!, although with a single continuous travel instead of a number of discrete ones.
  • In the Italian novel 190 miliardi di anni dopo (190 billion years later), a paleontologist goes Human Popsicle[1] in the hope of being revived by a more advanced civilization. He wakes up in a world of half-dolphins half-humans, but his reviving causes an unpleasant politic stirrup, so he timeskips again... And again as some A Is decide he'd look very good in a museum... And again to avoid freezing to death in a glaciation... At a point, he's talking to intelligent photons near the heat death of the universe. And then the real Mind Screw begins.
  • Happens twice to Viktor Sorricaine, the main (human) protagonist of Frederik Pohl's novel The World at the End of Time thanks to suspended animation and relativistic contraction of time.

Live Action TV

  • Star Trek already takes place in our future in the first place, but occasionally the crews have to deal with time travelers from even much farther away in the future. Some examples are the Vorgons from the The Next Generation episode Captain's Holiday, Captain Braxton and the time ship USS Relativity from Voyager, or Daniels and his enemies in the Temporal Cold War from Enterprise.


  • The page quote comes from Zager and Evans' In the year 2525, which explores the future of mankind between the years 2525 and 9595.

Video Games

  • Empire Earth is divided in fourteen epochs, including two future ones: Digital Age and Nano Age. Empire Earth: The Art of Conquest adds Space Age too.

Western Animation

  • Dexter's Laboratory: In Ego Trip, Dexter goes farther into the future of his life, from him as a standard worker in a cubicle, to him as a Future Badass and finally, him as an old man.
  • Johnny Test: In the episode "Sonic Johnny," after Johnny inadvertently sets his Super Sonic Scooter that his sisters made him to the Mach 9 setting which not only sends Johnny and Dukey to the future, but makes all the technology in Porkbelly short out. In the future, he is a wanted criminal, and Johnny keeps going further into the future to escape them. Not surprisingly, he is still wanted, and not until the end of the episode do they finally go back home.
  • Futurama, "The Late Phillip J. Fry." Fry, Bender and Prof. Farnsworth are on a time machine that only goes forward. In testing it by going ahead one minute, they accidentally go too far, so they try to find a future where backwards time travel is possible. They end up going to the end of the universe, only to discover the same universe starting again, so they just go forward to the point where they started (and they end up doing it twice because they overshoot the mark again).
  1. actually he has his corpse submerged in a polymer that should conserve him like a bug in the amber
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