Far future in science fiction and popular culture

The far future, here defined as the time beyond the 10th millennium, has been used as a setting in many works of fiction or popular scientific speculation.

Doctor Who

The British science fiction series Doctor Who has featured many events beyond the 10th millennium AD due to time travel being a key aspect of its format:

  • 12,005 AD: According to the episode "The End of the World", a new Roman Empire has been established on Earth by this year.
  • 17,100 AD: The Doctor and Amy Pond visit the Delirium Archive, and receive a message from River Song ("The Time of Angels").
  • 37,166 AD: Planet of Evil: A geological survey is almost annihilated by anti-matter creatures.
  • 200,000 AD: Events of "The Long Game". The Mighty Jagrafess is revealed to have usurped the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire.
  • 200,100 AD: Events of "Bad Wolf" and "The Parting of the Ways". Earth culture is dominated by lethal game shows and reality television transmitted from a giant space station. The Jagrafess is revealed to have been a pawn of the Daleks, who attempt an invasion of Earth after the Dalek Emperor recreates the race following the events of the Last Great Time War.
  • 500,000 AD: Humanity on Earth have evolved into Haemovores. The last creature alive in the polluted world is Ingiger, the Ancient One, who was brought to the 10th century by the power of Fenric.
  • 2,000,000 AD: The Mysterious Planet: Earth is devastated after being moved by the Time Lords and renamed Ravalox. At some unknown point thereafter, Earth is returned to its original position.
  • 4,000,000 AD: The Usurians exploit and ruthlessly tax humans on Pluto.
  • 10,000,000 AD: In The Ark, a group of humans and Monoids make a 700-year star voyage from Earth, which is about to crash into the Sun.
  • 5,000,000,000 AD: "The End of the World". The date is given by the locals as "5.5/Apple/26"; the episode establishes the destruction of the original planet Earth at this time, caused by the expansion of its sun.
  • 5,000,000,012 AD: "Twice Upon a Time", Establishes that the Testimony Foundation is designed to save people from death. The Foundation would take people near death and implant their memories into glass bodies, allowing them to live as glass persons founded on New Earth.
  • 5,000,000,023 AD: In the episode "New Earth", humans are shown to have moved to a new planet and called it New Earth in the galaxy M87.
  • 5,000,000,053 AD: Events of "Gridlock". Inhabitants of New New York released from quarantine. The Face of Boe (later hinted in "Last of the Time Lords" to possibly be a future version of Jack Harkness), one of the oldest creatures in the universe, apparently dies.
  • After c. 1,000,000,000,000 AD: "Hell Bent" establishes that the Doctor's home planet, Gallifrey, has been hiding at the end of time. (Note: dialogue in the episode suggests this point is only around 4,500,000,000 AD; however, this contradicts other episodes that place the end of time as happening much later.) Later in the episode, the Doctor and his companion, Clara Oswald, travel even further in time (see below).
  • 100,000,000,000,000 AD: "Utopia": The last remnants of humanity (who have mostly evolved back into today's familiar form) seek out a legendary utopia in this year, aided by a Time Lord with suppressed memories, revealed to be the Master.
  • After c. 100,000,000,000,000 AD: "Listen": Due to a malfunction involving an experimental time ship, chrononaut Orson Pink finds himself trapped at the end of the universe, though he is later rescued by the Doctor and returned to his proper time. It is stated that Orson is on one of the last planets in the universe.
    • In "Hell Bent", the Doctor and Clara travel to a point when Gallifrey is orbiting the last star in the universe and is inhabited only by the immortal known as "Me".


Frank Herbert's Dune series spans thousands of years of distant future history in a galactic, and eventually multigalactic, setting, describing an interstellar feudal system enabled by a prescience-imbuing drug known as the spice.[1]

Flight to Forever

In Poul Anderson's novella Flight to Forever, physicist Martin Saunders test drives a time machine to a short time in the future, then discovers that he is unable to return. He continues to go forward in time in hope of finding technology that can help them travel back in time. After visiting 2073, 2500 and 3000 AD, he then reaches:

  • 25,296 where Earth has been annexed as part of a galactic empire.
  • 50,000 where Earth is the only planet remaining in the empire.
  • 3,000,500 where Earth is populated by a race of impossible god-like beings.

Foundation series

Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, comprising the union of his Robot novels, Galactic Empire novels and Foundation novels, describes a future history of humanity from 1996 to tens of thousands of years from now.[2] The 11th millennium occurs after the end of the Robot stories.

  • 11,300 AD: Events of The Stars, Like Dust. The planet Rhodia rebels against a local tyranny and rediscovers the US Constitution, leading to a brief experiment with democracy.
  • 12,000 AD: Events of The Currents of Space. Trantor expands its territory. Knowledge that Earth is the human birthworld is slowly fading.
  • 12,500 AD (1 GE): the Galactic Empire is founded with Trantor as its capital.
  • 13,327 AD: Events of Pebble in the Sky. A shunned Earth rediscovers its heritage.
  • 24,520: AD: Events of Prelude to Foundation. Hari Seldon begins his attempts to make psychohistory practical in order to stave off the imminent collapse of the Empire.
  • 24,528569 AD: Events of Forward the Foundation. Hari Seldon, his family gradually dying around him, begins to formulate the Seldon Plan and found the Foundation and Second Foundation.
  • 24,567 AD (12,067 GE; 1 FE): Hari Seldon put on trial. Foundation exiled to Terminus
  • 24,569762 AD: Events of Foundation. Anacreon declares independence. The Foundation's homeworld of Terminus is cut off from the Empire. Over time, it begins to exert religious and then economic influence over its surrounding region.
  • 24,762867 AD: Events of Foundation and Empire. Trantor is sacked. The Foundation is attacked first by the remnant Empire and then by the Mule, a powerful psychic, who succeeds in conquering it, overthrowing the remains of the Empire and establishing his own.
  • 24,867943 AD: Events of Second Foundation. The Second Foundation defeats the Mule and then eludes the First Foundation's attempt to conquer it.
  • 25,065 AD: Events of Foundation's Edge. Golan Trevize attempts to locate the legendary Earth, only to discover Gaia, a previously unknown power in the galaxy, who offer an alternative to the Seldon Plan or a new Empire: Galaxia, a galaxy in which all life and nonlife is unified in a single intelligence.
  • 25,066 AD: Events of Foundation and Earth. Golan Trevize locates Earth, now radioactive and uninhabitable, but ultimately locates Daneel Olivaw, a 20,000-year-old robot who has been secretly guiding humanity's evolution from a base on the Moon.
  • 12,700,000-15,000,000 AD: Humanity has completely died out according to an alternate future described in The End of Eternity. This future was supposedly avoided by ensuring that humanity gained access to intergalactic travel. The book's connection to the Foundation series is contested, but several links have been established.

The Future is Wild

The Future is Wild was a speculative documentary hypothetising how life could evolve over the course of millions of years:

  • 5,000,000: the world is in an ice age. The Mediterranean Sea will be a vast salt plain and the Amazon rainforest will be a grassland. Creatures of this land include huge killer birds, thin-legged pigs, sticky-frilled lizards and birds that act like whales. Humans, by this time, have either gone extinct or left the planet.
  • 100,000,000: in 100,000,000 years' time, the world will be very hot due to excess volcanic activity. Antarctica will be a lush rainforest. Creatures of this world include dinosaur-sized tortoises, amphibious octopuses, four-winged birds and eusocial spiders. At this time, there is also only one species of mammal left, which is "farmed" by the spiders.
  • 200,000,000: in 200 million years' time the world will contain one global ocean and one continent, like Pangaea. Approximately 100 million years before this time, there was a mass extinction and now most of the world's land is desert, with few rainforests. Creatures of this world include air-breathing flying fish, giant plankton, various huge worms, highly specialized insects and intelligent, arboreal land-squid. There are no mammals, no birds, no reptiles, no amphibians, only one species of flowering plant and only sharks left to represent aquatic fish. Other creatures have moved in to fill these niches.

Last and First Men and Star Maker

Olaf Stapledon's novels Last and First Men and Star Maker are speculations on the evolution of intelligence in the universe. Last and First Men explores the future evolution of intelligence on Earth, while Star Maker explores the technological and social changes undergone by various alien species.

Last and First Men

  • 100,000 AD: Rise and fall of the Patagonians; the First Men enter in eclipse.
  • About 10,000,000 AD: Rise of the Second Men; the Martian Wars and the Ruin Of Two Worlds.
  • 120,000,000 AD Third men in the wilderness; Rise of Fourth men.
  • 400,000,000 AD: The Moon crashes into Earth, the Fifth Men migrate to Venus.
  • 1,000,000,000 AD: The Sun begins to expand into a Red Giant, migration of the Ninth Men to Neptune.
  • 2,000,000,000 AD: End of Man (the Eighteenth Men).
  • 5,000,000,000 AD: The Sun dies.

Star Maker

  • 20,000,000,000 AD: The War of Worlds occurs.
  • 30,000,000,000 AD: The Second Galactic Utopia occurs.
  • 40,000,000,000 AD: The First Colonization of Dead Stars occurs.
  • 50,000,000,000 AD: The Supreme Moment of the Cosmos occurs.
  • 500,000,000,000 AD: Complete physical quiescence of the universe.

"The Last Question"

Isaac Asimov's short story "The Last Question" charts the future evolution of Man as subsequent generations ask ever-more complex computers the same question: "Can entropy be reversed?" The story begins in 2061, when the supercomputer Multivac is asked the question and responds: "INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR MEANINGFUL ANSWER". The story then jumps forward to an unspecified time at least a thousand years later, in which a spaceship-borne computer is asked the same question, and gives the same answer.

  • ca. 22,000: Humans, now immortal, are filling up the Milky Way galaxy and are considering expanding beyond it. The Galactic AC is asked the question and replies: "THERE IS INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER"
  • ca. 10,000,000,000: Mankind now sleeps in hibernation as minds travel the universe. The hyperspatial computer the Universal AC is asked the question and replies, "THERE IS AS YET INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER."
  • ca. 100,000,000,000: Man, now a single cosmic intelligence, realizes that the stars are winding down. The Cosmic AC is asked the question and responds: "THERE IS AS YET INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER."
  • ca. 10,000,000,000,000: Man fuses with the AC and entropy destroys the universe. Some unspecified amount of time later, the AC, from its home in hyperspace, formulates its answer to the question and demonstrates it with the exclamation "Let there be light!"

The Late Philip J. Fry

The Futurama episode "The Late Philip J. Fry" (inspired by Flight to Forever) concerns a journey into the far future:

  • 10,000 AD: Post-apocalyptic future in which first the humans, then the apes, then the birds, then the cows, and then the ambiguous slug-like creatures each created and destroyed their respective civilizations.
  • 105,105 AD: Snowball Earth in which the Inuit ride walruses.
  • 252,525 AD: Medieval world in which knights ride ostriches.
  • 351,120 AD: Ocean planet in which giant carnivorous shrimp use merman-like lures to catch prey.
  • 1,000,000.5 AD: Another medieval world in which mankind has been enslaved by giraffes.
  • 5,000,000 AD: Humanity has diverged into two separate species, hyper-advanced elfin humanoids and the brutish Dumlocks.
  • 5,000,005 AD: Time by which the Dumlocks have destroyed the elfin humanoids' civilization.
  • 10,000,000 AD: Terminator-esque future in which humanity has been enslaved by killer machines.
  • 50,000,000 AD: Advanced civilization composed primarily of scantily-clad buxom women.
  • 1,000,000,000 AD: All life is extinct on Earth.
  • 1040 AD: The universe ends. At some point later, a second universe begins.
  • 10,000 AD, again: Post-apocalyptic future in which first the humans, then the apes, then the birds, then the cows, and then the ambiguous slug-like creatures each created and destroyed their respective civilizations.
  • 1040 AD Again: The second universe ends. At some point later, a third universe begins.
  • 3010 AD, after two complete cycles of the entire universe: The same exact universe, except ten feet lower.

Star Trek

The science fiction franchise Star Trek has made several allusions to far future events:

The Time Machine

H. G. Wells's novel The Time Machine concerns an anonymous Time Traveller who embarks on a journey to Earth's far future:

  • 802,701: Most events in the novel occur in this year. The Time Traveller discovers a land in which the idyllic humanoid Eloi have been reduced to the level of cattle for the cannibalistic Morlocks, who reside underground and tend their "flock" above with vast machines
  • ~30,000,000: The Time Traveller arrives at a twilit, desolate beach. The only inhabitants he sees are large, mothlike creatures and giant, threatening crabs.
  • c. Beyond 30,000,000: The beach is now flecked with ice and snow; the only observed life is a football-sized tentacled creature. In the more distant future, the Sun turns red and the planet is left Moonless. The Earth becomes a cold wasteland where all life (except for green slime) has died out.

Warhammer 40,000

The Games Workshop-created wargaming franchise Warhammer 40,000 is, as its title suggests, set around the 40th millennium of its fictional universe.[3]

  • >14,000 AD: Age of Terra. Mankind is confined to the Solar System. The future Emperor of Mankind secretly guides humanity's evolution.
  • 14,000-25,000 AD: Dark Age of Technology. Mankind develops warp travel and reaches out to other star systems, in the process attaining its highest level of technical sophistication.
  • 25,000-30,000 AD: Age of Strife. The rise of psykers and the influence of the Chaos Gods sends the human race into a period of anarchy. Persistent warp storms cut off many human worlds from the rest of the galaxy.
  • Early 30th millennium AD: The Fall of the Eldar occurs. the Chaos God Slaanesh is born. The event calms the warp storms, allowing humanity to advance across the galaxy again.[3]
  • 30,000 AD: Age of the Imperium begins. Emperor of Mankind, after unifying shattered Terra, launches a Great Crusade to reclaim the human planets under his rule and locate the 20 Primarchs scattered across the galaxy by the forces of Chaos.
  • c. 30,004 AD: The Horus Heresy begins.[4] The Emperor, after defeating Horus, is placed near death on the Golden Throne.
  • 35,000: Age of Apostasy. The Imperium falls temporarily under the tyrannical rule of Goge Vandire.
  • c. 40,000–41,000 AD: Setting of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, it is the temporal setting for most of the related backstories, novels, video games and other spin-offs released as of January 2013.
  • 41,999: The 13th Black Crusade's encroaches on Terra. Cadia is eventually destroyed by Abaddon.
  • 41,000: The Ultramar Campaign and Terran Crusade see the Primarch Roboute Guilliman resurrected as he takes command of the Imperium. This action attracts the gaze of the Chaos Gods, and the Warp is thrown into a turmoil on a level unseen since the Age of Strife, creating the Great Rift, a galaxy-spanning gateway to the Warp.

Xeelee Sequence

Stephen Baxter's Xeelee Sequence, a collection of novels and short stories describing Mankind's war with a superintelligent race called the Xeelee, spans a time period from the Big Bang to billions of years in the future.[5]

  • 10,102 AD: events of Lakes of Light
  • 10,515 AD: events of The Gödel Sunflowers
  • 10,537 AD: events of Breeding Ground
  • 12,478 AD: events of The Dreaming Mould
  • 12,659 AD: events of The Great Game. War with the Xeelee begins
  • 20,424 AD: events of The Chop Line
  • 21,124 AD: events of Vacuum Diagrams
  • 22,254 AD: events of In the Un-Black
  • 23,479 AD: events of Riding the Rock
  • 24,973 AD: events of Exultant. Conquest of the Galactic Center by the human race.
  • 24,974 AD: events of Mayflower II
  • 27,152 AD: events of Between Worlds
  • c. 40,000 AD: the Bifurcation of Mankind occurs
  • c. 90,000 AD: Reunification.
  • 104,858 AD: Events of Raft and Stowaway
  • 168,349 AD: Launch of the Exaltation of the Integrality.
  • 171,257 AD: events of The Tyranny of Heaven
  • 193,474 AD: events of Hero
  • 193,700 AD: Events of Flux
  • 200,000 AD: Establishment of the Commonwealth
  • c. 500,000 AD: events of Transcendent
  • c. 500,000 AD: Mankind begins its retreat
  • c. 1,000,000 AD: events of The Siege of Earth. Humanity is defeated and imprisoned
  • c. 1-4,000,000 years from now: Xeelee and photino birds alter physical universe.
  • c. 4,000,000 years from now: Migration of Xeelee through the Ring. Sun leaves the main sequence. Events of Secret History.
  • 4,101,214 AD: events of Shell
  • 4,101,266 AD: events of The Eighth Room
  • 4,101,284 AD: events of The Baryonic Lords
  • 4,900,000 years from now: Final destruction of the Ring by photino birds begins.
  • 5,000,000 years from now: events of Ring
  • 10,000,000 years from now: Virtual extinction of baryonic life. Most of the last humans survive on a time-shifted Earth.
  • 3,800,000,000 years from now: PeriAndry's Quest
  • 4,000,000,000 years from now: Climbing the Blue
  • 4,500,000,000 years from now: events of The Time Pit
  • 4,800,000,000 years from now: events of The Lowland Expedition
  • 5,000,000,000 years from now: events of Formidable Caress. Milky Way-Andromeda collision.
  • 1,500,000,000,000 years from now: stars evaporate from galaxies

Other fiction


Film and television

  • 10,535: The Don Hertzfeldt-directed couch gag from The Simpsons episode "Clown in the Dumps" features Homer time-travelling his TV forward to that year to watch The Sampsans epasode numbar 164,775.7.
  • 12,00412,006: The events of Eureka Seven.
  • 14,292: On the distant finale of Aim for the Top! Gunbuster, mecha pilots Noriko Takaya and Kazumi Amano arrive on Earth 12,000 years ahead of their time, having entered on a Black Hole in the early 21st century and experienced the effects of extreme time dilation. The story of Diebuster, its sequel, takes place 10 years prior to EoG and ends with the same event, this time seen from Earth's perspective.
  • 40,000: The film Barbarella takes place in this year.
  • ca. 50,000: In the Stargate Atlantis episode "The Last Man", by this time Lantea's sun has turned into a Red Giant, rendering the planet uninhabitable.
  • 207̃,012 (pronounced twenty-seventy-twelve): In the Gravity Falls episodes "The Time Traveler's Pig" and "Blendin's Game", the year that time traveler Blendin Blenjamin Blandin is from.
  • ca. 1,000,000: In the Babylon 5 episode "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars", approximately one million years after the founding of the Interstellar Alliance (2262 AD), humans evolve into beings of energy. They leave Earth for the old Vorlon homeworld—and ultimately destroy the solar system to keep any remaining technology out of the hands of younger races.
  • ~2,000,000: The Ralph Bakshi film Wizards is set in this year.
  • ~3,002,100: most of the events of the sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf occur around this time (the premise of the show is set "3,000,000 years into the future" after protagonist Dave Lister, who is from the 22nd century, is put into suspended animation for that many years).
  • ~41,740,659 A.D.: Guardians Evolution takes place.
  • 100,000,000: The Cartoon Network series Time Squad takes place during this year where there are "no more wars, no more pollution, and bacon's good for your heart". Also, all the nations have formed into one supercontinent.
  • 400,000,000,000: Ren & Stimpy's space adventures as Commander Hoek and Cadet Stimpy take place in this year.


  • 11,344: Events of Planetfall[6]
  • 11,945: Events of Nier: Automata
  • 13,271: Events of Creeper World
  • 14,672: Getsu Fuuma Den
  • 17,27617,278: The events of the game Xenogears begin.[7]
  • 23,341: The current date in the MMORPG Eve Online.[8]
  • 189,346: Current date in the Noctis universe.
  • 1,000,000,000: Approximate date of the Numenera setting as it is stated the Ninth World takes place 1 billion years in the future, after eight previous civilizations.
  • 281,474,976,712,644: Setting of the cancelled game 0x10c
  • Unknown date-possibly very far into the future: Setting of the Warframe universe.


  • 10,00015,000: Micronauts: By this time, humanity has evolved into a variety of subspecies. Several of these species flee across time and space to escape a genocidal war.
  • 14,017: The current year of the Archie Comics series of Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • 85,270: Many of the events of the DC Comics' DC One Million series. Superman emerges from his 15,000-year exile in his Fortress of Solitude inside the Sun.
  • 100,000: The "Superman Of The Future" seen in Action Comics #256 claims to come from this year.
  • 4,000,000 Captain Marvel Jr. #99 shows that by this period the Earth is inhabited by little green men.
  • 5,000,000: The Futurians: The time era where the Inheritors lived before their attempted conquest ruined their Earth and they travelled back to the late 20th Century to try to conquer a younger Earth.


  • 12,570: Date of the Orion's Arm world building project.

See also


  1. "brianpherbert.com". Archived from the original on 13 April 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  2. "TimeLine for the Robots & Foundations Universe". sikander.org.
  3. "Warhammer 40k Timeline". Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  4. Troke, Adam; Vetock, Jeremy; Ward, Mat (2012). Warhammer 40,000 (hardcover)|format= requires |url= (help) (print). Warhammer 40,000 Rulebooks. Cover art by Alex Boyd; illustrations & reproductions by Games Workshop staff artists & designers; storytext by Alan Merret (6th ed.). Nottingham, UK: Games Workshop. p. 168. ISBN 978-1-90796-479-4. C. 800.M30[:] The Great Crusade; Abnett, Dan (2006). Horus rising: the seeds of heresy are sown (mass market paperback) (print). Horus Heresy Novel Series. 1. Cover art & illustration by Neil Roberts (1st UK ed.). Nottingham, UK: Black Library. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-84416-294-9. It had been,... the two hundred and third year of the Great Crusade.
  5. "Stephen Baxter: Articles". Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  6. "The Infocom Gallery: Planetfall".
  7. The disparity in the Xenogears years is due to the vagueness of the calendar conversions used in the game. The accompanying literature, Xenogears Perfect Works (PW), states that in AD 2510 the calendar system restarted and was labeled TC, for Transcend Christ. Again in year 4767 TC, the calendar system restarts and is called the New Era (the reference point being the year the Eldridge crashed onto the unnamed planet). PW continues on, stating the events of Xenogears begin in the year 9999 of the New Era. Whether year 0 is counted in any of the calendar systems is up for debate therefore leading to the disparity in the beginning of the events of the game.
  8. EVE Online Gallentean Timeline Archived 2009-01-30 at the Wayback Machine
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