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The future is a wonderful place, where many things are far improved from their state in our present time: Travel, food production...memory retention.

In the future, people seem to know all the details of their history and are able to spout them off to the local Fish Out of Temporal Water without a moment's hesitation, despite the fact that in this day and age, many a college-educated adult couldn't tell you who won the Battle of Trafalgar[1] or who Simon Bolivar[2] was without at least stopping to think.

This may be justified in Crystal Spires and Togas cases, where the education system is demonstrated to be miles and miles ahead of what it is currently, or in situations where people of the future possess special technology that improves learning and memory. Regardless of the justification, this can cause severe Fridge Logic if the future society in question also demonstrates that it screws up details about our current society. One questions whether the history buffs of the future can be believed...

Examples of We Will All Be History Buffs in the Future include:


Anime and Manga

  • Many characters in Ghost in the Shell spout off about all sorts of historical occurrences and books. Justified by the fact that cyberbrains allow people direct connection to the internet, and provide dramatically enhanced memory.
  • For a post-apocalyptic manga set centuries in the future, Gunnm makes some oddly specific references to historical events and people, up to and including Alan Parsons.

Comic Books

  • Subverted with Booster Gold of The DCU. He's an ex-jock museum janitor from the future who used stolen super-gadgets to travel into the present and become a superhero. He uses a robot helper with the voice of Fry from Futurama to anticipate crimes, but he doesn't actually know much about the history. This gets him in trouble a lot...
    • This may be a Series Continuity Error as in his original origin story he actually studied history in college, specializing in "the Age of Superheroes". Although, it never said he passed...

Film

  • Justified in Demolition Man, where one of the protagonists is an actual 20th century buff.

Literature

  • In David Weber's Apocalypse Troll, the time-traveling fighter jock just happens to be history buff, able to spout encylopedic explanations of events leading up to her time of origin. This extends to technical explanations of future machinery that had already become antiquated by her time.
  • In There Will Be Dragons, the first book of the Council Wars series, the section of the world the protagonists live in is kept from sliding into total barbarism after the tech supporting the decadance got turned off. Justified in that the people who know the most are all re-enactors who've been living the life (or an idealized version of it, at least).

Live Action TV

  • Various Star Trek series are guilty, justified in that most of the characters spouting off these historical facts are just that damn smart.
    • Star Trek: Voyager, oddly, is the most convincing of the various series: rather than The Spock, who knows Earth history better than all the human crewmen, it has Tom Paris, who is interested in 20th century history and culture. They portray it realistically - he accidentally reveals himself to a 20th century human by referring to the Soviet Union in the present tense in 1996 (because he was only five years out...). Also, he's more interested in the 1950s than (as you might expect) the 1990s the decade the show aired.
  • Phil of the Future does this a lot.
  • Red Dwarf, in particular series 1 and 2, makes many humorous references to 20th century culture that seem dated 2 decades on, never mind three million years. Rimmer and Lister are from the 22nd century but even then it still makes little sense.

Newspaper Comics

  • Subverted by Monty, when Professor Xemit, a time-traveler from the year 2525 stranded in the present, when asked who will win the 2008 US presidential election tell Monty that he has no idea, given the early 21st century is (to him) an extremely long time ago.

Tabletop Games

  • Lampshaded in a recent BattleTech publication of in-universe conspiracies, has one tract about how crazy it is that so many things reference the 20th Century, which was over 1000 years ago...and there are only a few references to say, the 29th Century, only 200 years before.

Western Animation

Notes

  1. The British
  2. South American Independence Leader
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