No, it’s true. Sixty-one of them, in fact, by nearly as many artists, which is why this is one of those rare times I won’t credit them all. (If you want to know the origin of any of the images, ask in the comments.)
I can barely speculate as to why giant balls have suddenly become a thing in speculative art, but I suppose it has something to do with their geometry. They look simple, and the heavens are full of them — planets and stars and black holes — and yet, creating a sphere is harder than, say, creating a cube, whose parts fit neatly at right angles. Hence, the sphere becomes a visual metaphor for super-advanced technology, or anything we don’t quite understand.
As for why now, perhaps we have become more aware these last few years that we are already living in the future. But who knows?