Sci-fi Science Experiments with unforseen consequences?

I’ve been trying to think of a properly descriptive title for what I mean, I was going to call it Mad Science but that’s not really appropriate.

What I’m thinking of is like the event in ‘Flash-Forward’ by Robert J. Sawyer where a science-experiment causes everyone on earth to experience a ‘flash-forward’ to experience events twenty years in the future. Of course with everyone’s consciousness temporarily out of their bodies global catastrophe ensues and everyone subsequently has to come to terms with what their glimpse of the future told them.

Or ‘Einstein’s Bridge’ by John Cramer where another science experiement (I believe involving a particle accelerator like the Machine of Doom at CERN) rips a hole between dimensions with Bad Results.

Does anyone have any other good examples? They don’t have to be on such a large scale.

Frankenstein? :smiley:

Battlestar Galactica? :smiley:

Well, there’s the Quantum Gravity series, where a science experiement (I believe involving a particle accelerator like the Machine of Doom at CERN) rips a hole between dimensions with Bad Results. Involving elves and faeries. And demons.

I think it would be more interesting to name some of the few in which the experiments DOES NOT have unforeseen consequences. The unexpected make for much better fiction, though it is used so often that unforeseen consequences have become predictable and even trite.

Well I just find it interesting the various scenarios the authors come up with, I found the ‘Flash-Forward’ concept a really clever idea.

One of my favorites in that vein is “A Statue for Father” by Issac Asimov.

An unexpected scientific breakthrough lies at the heart of many SF stories – not always with dire results. It’s an ynexpectedly good result that lets the Good Guys (the US, rather than the Japanese) win in Heinlein’s Sixth Column/The Day After Tomorrow.

Fredric Brown has someone unexpectedly invent a space drive by tinkering with a sewing machine in What Mad Universe. (It HAS to be a parody of E.W. “Doc” Smith’s stories. In turn, Brown made fun of his own “sewing mqachine drive” in his later novel The Lights in the Sky are Stars)

The whole premise of the walt Disnet film The Ansent-Minded Professor (and it’s remakes and sequels) is that “Flubber” has unexpected results.

The conclusion of Bear’s Blood Music is truly uplifting, if you are a planetary mass of superintelligent gray goo. :wink:

I never saw that one… Was it the Bollywood remake? :smiley:

I can’t hear the words “Unforseen Consequences” without thinking of the game Half-Life.

Jurassic Park . . . although it’s debatable whether the re-creation of dinosaurs for primarily commercial purposes counts as a “science experiment.”

Stephen King’s The Mist involved an intra-dimensional portal(filled with lots of nasties) inadvertently opened due to something called “Project Arrowhead” up at a military base.

Dan Simmons Hyperion involved Earth getting destroyed by a black hole created in a laboratory, later referred to as the “Big Mistake of '08”

And The Stand involved a bioweapon getting out of its bottle, and Firestarter involved a government weapons project that produced a superpowered mutant. King seems to like the theme.


…it even has a chapter at the beginning called “Unforeseen Consequences…” :stuck_out_tongue:

The Fly

Crack in the World : while trying to harness the energy of Earth’s magma, scientists start a chain reaction menacing to split the world in two.

It’s an absolute staple of Sci-Fi short stories… One I remember (if any dopers can put a name and title to this story, I’d actually like to read it nagain)…

A scientist is obsessed with discovering a truth behind a story the ancient past (whether the ancient Spartans actually killed their children, if I remember rightly). He experiments with a known technology (given a suitably hi-tech sounding made up name), that potentially could give the ability to see into past. His experiments go against secretive government controls, that for some unknown reason ban research into that particular area.

He seems to have cracked the system, and mad about the government restrictions, he publishes details of his experiment, and his blue prints to all the press outlets he can think of. Soon (but too late to prevent the publication of his experiments) the government gets wind of his plan and reveals to him why they are trying so hard to restrict that technology. The technology will never allow anyone to see into the distant past (fundamental physical laws mean you well never be able to see more than a few seconds into the past). However by allowing people to see what was happening anywhere in the world a fraction of second ago, he as got rid of the concept of privacy for all mankind, as with his machine anyone can see what anyone else in the world is doing right now (or at least a fraction of a second ago).

Asimov. The Dead Past.

Beat me to it, so all I’ll add is “Carthagians,” not “Spartans”

I’m pretty sure that you’re thinking of something other than Hyperion.

… like I’m supposed to remember details like that after thirty years…