The Garden of Forking Paths by Borges Read it in high school Spanish IV class along with other wonderful Borges stories.
Written in 1941, predated V. Bush’s “memex” concept by only four years (1945). While it’s not known if Borges directly inspired V. Bush’s memex, it was certainly a ‘sign of the times’ and Ted Nelson was inspired by V. Bush’s memex, which led to his work on hypertext and hypermedia, which in turn inspired many others in the development of information retrieval software including the inventor of the www, which led to what we have today so far.
Interestingly, Ted Nelson’s full vision isn’t realized yet but neither is Vannevar Bush’s memex, neither is Borges’ Garden of Forking Paths, which is not strictly a “vision of the future” but rather akin to an inside look at the nature of forking and branching to nearly (but not quite) infinite possibilities.
Related ideas are the concepts of multiverse and parallel universes, well known to anyone who is into sci-fi or even brushes past a Science show for a moment.
In Philosophy, you have the schools of Kripke and David K .Lewis, of which I much prefer David Lewis’ vision as it’s far more flexible and easier to work with.
Yet none of these were the first to think of “possible worlds”. Not only is possibility embedded in our human languages, proof of the concept being with us at all times from all time, but in recognized form you have Liebniz’s “best of possible worlds”. from the 17th/18th century.
and then you have ecology, Eugenius Warming’s late 19th century systems of botany indicating the complexity of systems and their interplay – a much different flavor than Darwin’s cage fighting motif, although that’s more the interpreters of Darwin than Darwin himself.