What are some fiction books that are popular/influential enough to have a real-life impact?
Posted on 13th of May, 2019


I was actually surprised to discover that there are a bunch of planets out there that were named after famous authors. Everyone from Orwell and Dickens to Clarke, Asimov, Tolkien, Mark Twain, Jane Austen, Lewis Carrol and even Jack London have their own planets. Granted, most of these planets are pretty minor in the grand scheme of things and there are so many of them out there, but still, imagine how awesome it would be to have an entire planet named after you. However, spare a thought for the authors who did not get an entire planet named after them, but only an impact crater somewhere on Mercury. Authors who have had this dubious honor include Rudyard Kipling, William Shakespeare, Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Don't feel too bad for Kipling, though, as he has already got enough things on our own planet named after him. These include a lake, as well as two towns in the USA, named Rudyard and Kipling respectively. Apparently Kipling himself wrote a thank you note to the railroad general manager who named these towns after his famous author.
You can look at just about any popular book franchise to see that they have a real-life impact amongst their hardcore fans. Whether it is naming their children and pets after their favorite characters or getting tattoos of scenes or symbols described in the books, these examples are everywhere. If you need any famous examples, I can think of a few actually.

The Culture Series - Iain M. Banks. Banks is a Scottish author who is known for his science fiction books, particularly the very popular "Culture" series. The books are about the "Culture" which is pretty much a society that is made up of humans, aliens and artificial intelligences that co-exist peacefully. Banks himself described this setup as space socialism as everyone who is party of the Culture have access to virtually whatever they want and don't have to work for it. The second Culture novel, The Player of Games, was published in 1988 and featured ships named "Of Course I Still Love You" and "Just Read the Instructions." As anyone who has watched the SpaceX launches will know, these are also the names that Elon Musk gave to the two autonomous spaceport drone ships that he used. Musk is not the only one who have paid homage to the Culture novels either. The Five Deeps Expedition, which is the world's first manned expedition to the deepest point in each of the five oceans, named their submersible the DSV Limiting Factor and its mother ship, the DSSV Pressure Drop. Both of these names come from ships in the Culture novels.
I actually know of a couple of cool things that were named after authors or books. Did you know that Michael Crichton has an actual dinosaur named after him after Jurassic Park made paleontology cool again? It's true, a Chinese paleontologist discovered a new type of ankylosaur dinosaur in 1999 and called it the "Chrichtonsaurus bohlini" in honor of Michael Crichton.
How has nobody mentioned Dracula by Bram Stoker yet? I think his story of the undead count has almost single handed shaped the way in which vampires are portrayed in popular culture. So much so that when other authors try to change things about the "rules" that he set forth their work is seen as weird. Everyone was laughing at the sparkling vampires in Twilight, but nobody thought to think twice about why Stoker made his vampires fear garlic. I think that Tolkien had a similar effect when he created the different fantasy races such as elves and dwarves and so on, but his impact was more on the literary and fantasy world and not so much the real world as in the case of Stoker. There has to be plenty of other writers who accomplished similar feats, but I just felt like Stoker deserved a mention because his cultural impact is so often overlooked.

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