Questions about the origin of an idea.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

18
votes
3answers
3k views

Earth: Green Planet or Blue Planet?

I was reading some older (1930s-era) science fiction and noticed that Earth was described as the "Green Planet". In contrast, modern science fiction uniformly describes it as the "Blue Planet". When ...
6
votes
1answer
130 views

What's the first movie in which an alien says “We come in peace”?

It occurred to me after yesterday's movie night that The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) is the earliest movie I know of where the alien actually says this. KLAATU ...
2
votes
3answers
119 views

First mention of antimatter as a weapon system

I am writing an essay about something semi related. When did the word or concept of antimatter first appear? When was it first used as a weapon system, in film, book or comic?
3
votes
2answers
88 views

Has George Romero ever revealed where he got the idea for his zombies?

The first concept of zombies was quite different from the ones we are familiar with today. They were simply people who had been put under a magical spell which turned them into mindless slaves. This ...
28
votes
2answers
2k views

Which fictional work first used the term “space-time continuum”?

I would expect that it's post-Einstein, but probably not by too much. I know that Star Trek used it to death, but I suspect that it pre-dated ST.
12
votes
2answers
319 views

First draft of The Lord of the Rings: Who was “M”?

The first words Tolkien wrote of the Lord of the Rings are preserved in a manuscript of which the first page is reproduced in The Return of the Shadow. When he first put pen to paper he wrote in ...
5
votes
1answer
202 views

Did Star Trek invent the holodeck?

I first saw the holodeck in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Had any other science fiction work used computer-programmable virtual recreation before Star Trek? If so, where was it first used in sci-fi? ...
3
votes
5answers
232 views

Origin of black hole time-travel and alternate universe tropes in sci-fi?

As far as I know, the first person to suggest in the scientific literature the existence of what we would today call a black hole was John Michell in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal ...
1
vote
1answer
95 views

First reference to a wireless communication technology in Science Fiction?

Considering we have a 'wireless communication technology' currently in the form of mobile phones and two-way radios, and have had so for quite some time, I was wondering what is the first reference to ...
3
votes
4answers
138 views

Which SF Universe Was the First to Have Multiple Forms of FTL?

Most SF universes have only one form of FTL, but a few, such as the Honorverse, may have more. Other than naturally occurring wormholes being used (especially if wormholes in that universe are mostly ...
2
votes
1answer
191 views

What was the first use of white eyes?

To clarify think about storm how her eyes turn pure white. Often when you see Batman or Wolverine in costume their eyes are just white (no eyes). When did this first become a thing? First usage of ...
46
votes
16answers
8k views

Which Sci-fi universe uses the most forms of FTL (Faster Than Light)?

This question about the Honorverse brings up an interesting point. I’m not familiar with the Honorverse, but from the question, it looks like there is, essentially hyperdrive (involving gravity waves) ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the first instance where Familiars are called Familiars?

What is the oldest instance of magical familiars being used by witches in fiction, and also called familiars, or a cognate? For example, an English novel having familiars and calling them 'familiars', ...
1
vote
0answers
84 views

Which novel has the earliest appearance of the consumption of monsters as food?

I came across people talking about adventurers eating the monsters that they hunt, so I was wondering: "What is the earliest appearance of adventurers eating weird food made from the remains of the ...
1
vote
3answers
152 views

Did “The World Set Free” inspire the creation of nuclear weapons?

I recently discovered that the term "atomic bomb" was from the H. G. Wells novel "The World Set Free". Although not the intention of the novel, did it inadvertently inspire the creation of such ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Who was the first protagonist to routinely save the world?

These days, "saving the world" is a fairly routine action for fictional characters, whether they're superheroes or scifi adventurers or fantasy questers or even just tough-as-nails cops or oil ...
-3
votes
5answers
162 views

Which Science Fiction Story, etc. Had the Most Life Bearing Worlds in the Solar System?

This is different from asking which story,etc. had the most habitable worlds in the solar system. A habitable world is one where Humans can live without space suits and airtight enclosed communities ...
-4
votes
5answers
109 views

Which science fiction work had the most habitable worlds in our Solar System?

By habitable worlds I mean worlds where humans from Earth could live without spacesuits or airtight enclosed habitats. The creator of this website attepted to build the ultimate solar sytem, a ...
10
votes
3answers
309 views

What is the first work of science fiction in which no character is an earthling and there is no mention of Earth?

I am looking for the first work of science fiction in which no character is an earthling and Earth is never mentioned or referred to, even indirectly. Star Wars would be an example of such a work.
13
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the origin of the term “first contact”?

This term has a long history in Star Trek: Star Trek: First Contact ST:TNG episode "First Contact" First Contact Day Also: Stargate: Atlantis episode "First Contact" Does this term originate in Star ...
1
vote
0answers
27 views

What is the origin of the 'typical' alien? [duplicate]

When most people (well, probably not people from this site, but the general public) think of an alien, they probably think of an alien in the general form like below: This sort of alien has the ...
4
votes
1answer
88 views

What is the first reference to a hologram in science fiction?

The title says it all: what was the first reference in science fiction to a (3-D) hologram of anything? Similar question here, but I'm asking when and what was the first use of a hologram generally, ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Who invented orcs?

When telling my less than fantasy-savvy friend about a book I've been reading, she asked a question I could not answer: who came up first with these "orcs" I was talking about? There are at least ...
6
votes
3answers
262 views

Did Science Fiction anticipate a device like a smartphone?

Personally, I never saw the smartphone coming, but maybe science-fiction did. Basically, I'm looking for the first science fiction story (if one exists) where people commonly have a device which can ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Did fictional works anticipate the discovery that the universe contains more than one galaxy?

As I understand it, until very recently (the early 20th century), people assumed that our galaxy was the only one in existence - basically, up to that point, the words "galaxy" and "universe" were ...
25
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the first instance of a mechanism for faster-than-light travel in science fiction?

The idea that considering the galaxy is so large, let alone the universe meant that sci-fi stories involving traveling to various planets and star systems required a mechanism that involved ...
8
votes
5answers
222 views

Did fictional works involving alien abduction antedate claims of abduction?

Which fictional work (of any format) was the first to feature the abduction of a human from Earth by aliens? In particular, did this work precede the first reports of purported abductions in the ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

First reference to extraterrestrial life forms who weren't considered Gods in sci-fi?

Extraterrestrials/aliens form a major part of science fiction. I know there are myths going back to ancient times of aliens, but I was wondering what the first reference in the actual science-fiction ...
78
votes
7answers
8k views

What was the first Sci-Fi work to feature a spaceship?

I can't believe this question hasn't been asked here before, but I haven't been able to find it, so here goes. When was the first spaceship featured in science fiction? By the time of Asimov, ...
70
votes
5answers
8k views

What is the first reference to an internet of computers in science fiction?

Considering the internet has substantially revolutionized our way of life (you're using it right now in fact) I was wondering whether it was ever envisaged in science fiction. I'm therefore inquiring ...
7
votes
2answers
298 views

What is the first reference to a 3d printer in science fiction?

Considering 3d printing has really only just become a very accessible concept, I was wondering what is the first reference to a 3d printing machine of some description in science-fiction? I would ...
8
votes
2answers
316 views

Is there any out-of-universe meaning to starship registry numbers?

In the Star Trek universe, Starfleet vessels have registry numbers that typically begin with the prefix NX or NCC. The most famous of these is NCC-1701, the registry number of the USS Enterprise and ...
8
votes
0answers
129 views

Science fiction by mathematician Eric Temple Bell (“John Taine”)

I found out, much to my surprise, that Eric Temple Bell wrote a number of science fiction novels under the name John Taine. Eric Temple Bell is well known as a mathematician who wrote a book of ...
6
votes
0answers
163 views

Who originated the concept about how gods are actually aliens who need “worship energy”?

An early story I've come across is the Star Trek "Who Mourns for Adonais?" about how the Olympian gods were actually powerful aliens. When they realized that humanity no longer worshiped them, they ...
2
votes
1answer
134 views

Earliest story involving a Man-Made Creature turning on its creators?

Does anyone know of the earliest known record of a story involving some sort of artificial creature, brought into existence by humans, that, at some point, becomes violent and attacks its creators or ...
-1
votes
1answer
140 views

Which Sci-Fi work introduced the idea of “Energy Swords”?

There are countless Sci-Fi works featuring Energy Swords. But, which one was the first? Which one bring this idea in the world? Strict definition of an Energy Sword can be complex because of ...
1
vote
1answer
118 views

Which Sci-Fi work introduced the idea of “Little Green Aliens”?

I have seen little green aliens in lots of places (Ads, cartoons, magazines etc.). I remember a Tom and Jerry TV movie featuring attack on Earth by little green martians. Other examples can be the ...
5
votes
1answer
204 views

Which Sci-Fi work introduced the idea of “FTL Travel”?

Faster than Light travel (beating ultimate speed limit of nature) is common to Sci-Fi, especially Space Opera. Other names can be warping etc. Which Sci-Fi work introduced this idea? Note: It's ...
2
votes
4answers
162 views

Which Sci-Fi work introduced the idea of “Virtual Reality”?

There are countless Sci-Fi works featuring Virtual Reality (Definition: A computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Which Sci-Fi work introduced the idea of “Aliens”?

Today, we live in a world in which the term alien is a common thing. But, if you move few centuries back, this won't be true. We should be grateful to that great writer who laid the foundation stone ...
27
votes
7answers
3k views

Which Sci-Fi work introduced the idea of “Mad Scientists as villains”?

You can find mad scientists as villains in countless Sci-Fi works. The famous Eggman from Sonic game franchise is a good example. Which Sci-Fi work introduced this idea?
8
votes
4answers
480 views

Which Sci-Fi work introduced the idea of big Starships which don't land on a planet?

You can find this in countless Sci-Fi works: Big Starships which don't land on any planet, but establish an orbit around a planet if necessary. If crew want to land on a planet, they use shuttle pods ...
5
votes
3answers
235 views

Which Sci-Fi work introduced the concept of “Advanced aliens mistaken as Gods”?

I see "Advanced aliens mistaken as Gods" in lots of Sci-Fi works. For example, Asgardians and Kree had been mistaken as Gods in Marvel Cinematic Universe. This book also has this concept. Star Trek ...
14
votes
1answer
337 views

Origin of Arcane Magic

I apologize for the length of this post, but it's a burning question. To see the actual questions, scroll down to the quoted text. I advise against this, though, as the intermediary text is pertinent ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

A Slime Draws Near! What work of Fantasy/SciFi introduced Slime Monsters?

A modern staple of fantasy legends, the Slime Monster is an amorphous, shapeless, gooey creature best represented by the original Dragon Quest Slime. They are typically weak, but certain slimes, ...
6
votes
4answers
602 views

Which Sci-Fi or Fantasy work introduced the idea of TV preternaturally harming people?

In Doctor Who (2005) episode The Idiot's Lantern, Rose and lots of people were sucked by TV to remove their faces. Interestingly, it wasn't my first encounter with such an idea. Long before new ...
4
votes
1answer
157 views

Not-So-Grim Reaper

In current media the personification of Death is often shown as a fairly pleasant and sympathetic character, as in the Sandman graphic novels and some of the original Twilight Zone episodes. How far ...
6
votes
3answers
238 views

Where did the idea of “rocket tubes” come from?

I can't remember where I first came across it, but I know that I read at least one old SF story as a child which referred to "rocket tubes". I'm not asking for story identification. I know there were ...
7
votes
2answers
385 views

Were the -man/-woman/-boy/-girl suffixes of superheroes once considered…erm…goofy?

This is a question which bugged me in my childhood. Being German, I recognized that most of the superheroes names were not translated at all (Superman, Batman) or were translated incompletely. Well, ...
7
votes
2answers
220 views

What is the earliest example of Superman-style flight?

Stories of flying people (or demi-gods or gods) go back all the way into pre-history. But in my experience, most or all of the early representations of super-human flight are either based on an item ...