Questions about the origin of an idea.

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46
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4answers
6k views

What was the first story to be set in the future?

Lots of science fiction stories today are set in the future. Sometimes they give a specific date, like they'll say "AD 2532". Sometimes it's not spelled out but it's obvious, like I'm not sure if Star ...
2
votes
0answers
67 views

What do fairies do with human children? [closed]

This question might be too broad but, let me first generalise a bit: No matter the background/story/world vampires drink blood and sparkle, because this sort of diet is necessary for their existence ...
3
votes
0answers
155 views

Why was Riverworld so well received when it was published?

I recently finished reading the first two books of Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld series. It sounds like the book made a major splash when it was published — it won a Hugo award, had several ...
8
votes
2answers
437 views

What is the origin of the word “terrans” when referring to humanoids and other earth-related things?

Quite often in science fiction we read an Alien character say: "They're going to the Terran system". "That's a Terran ship." "They're from the planet Terra". I get that Terra is the ...
4
votes
0answers
97 views

Is there a precedent for the use of “sol” or other terms for solar day?

In these two questions in Space Exploration Stackexchange the origin and use of the word "sol" to describe a solar day on astronomical bodies besides the Earth are being discussed. Like so many things ...
46
votes
4answers
6k views

Who was the first robot to refer to organic lifeforms as “meatbags”?

The term "meatbag" is used by robots (including Bender, from Futurama, and HK-47 from the Knights of the Old Republic games) as a pejorative term for a human or other creature. Where did this term ...
-2
votes
1answer
189 views

When did the lightsaber become an icon of popular culture?

The lightsaber is, almost unanimously, a universal icon of science fiction. The ultimate weapon belonging to a more civilised age. In its own way, it enjoyed a status and prestige akin to Darth Vader ...
31
votes
7answers
4k views

First use of the “captive human brains as computers” idea?

What was the first work that had the concept of using captive human brains as computers? Examples: the-matrix, as a popular fan theory (which is possibly canon) dollhouse, in hyperion-cantos, ...
4
votes
0answers
112 views

What was Mace Windu's connection to the Whills supposed to be in early drafts of the script for Star Wars?

George Lucas' first draft of the synopsis of the script for Star Wars - written in 1973 and titled "Journal of the Whills" - is said to begin as follows: This is the story of Mace Windu, a ...
21
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the first work to feature a planet that is one city?

Many sci-fi works have planets which are just one big city. (e.g. Trantor in Foundation and Coruscant in Star Wars) What was the first work to do so?
21
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a link between the Vogon's “Resistance is Useless” and the Borg's “Resistance is Futile”?

In the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy we read: FORD: Alright, just stop panicking! ARTHUR: Who said anything about panicking?!? This is still just a culture shock. FORD: Arthur! ...
-4
votes
1answer
58 views

Did any SciFi or fantasy movie/tv use “Hit the road, Jack” and which one was first?

"Hit the road, Jack" is a very popular song and used in plenty of films and TV. But that list doesn't include any SciFi or fantasy movies or TV. That's not conclusive - I know the Wikipedia list is ...
5
votes
0answers
70 views

Has Lego been mentioned or utilized in futuristic Sci Fi?

Please identify the first Sci Fi book or movie that mentions or utilizes Lego in its story line in a distant futuristic setting.
4
votes
1answer
214 views

Which Sci-Fi work was the first to depict “Multi-Alien Culture”?

While the concept of aliens exists from the ancient times, I think Multi-Alien Cultures have modern origin. Examples of Multi-Alien Cultures can be the scene of Mos Eisley pub or Jabba the Hutt's ...
2
votes
2answers
82 views

Is there an explicit “non-supernatural” version of “A Hero's Journey”?

Parts of A Hero's Journey seem to be inherently supernatural: Supernatural Aid The Meeting with the Goddess The Magic Flight, although I'm not sure it's inherently supernatural. Did either ...
1
vote
0answers
69 views

Who was the first SFF author to explicitly *reject* “Hero's Journey”?

By now, everyone and their pet Rancor knows that George Lucas officially stated that he intentionally based Star Wars on Joseph Campbell's concept of "The Hero's Journey" from his seminal "The Hero ...
2
votes
2answers
173 views

Where would Mrs. Weasley learn the phrase “scarlet woman”?

In Goblet of Fire Hermione is dragged through the mud in Witch Weekly by Rita Skeeter. After reading the article, Ron suggests Skeeter is making Hermione out to be a “scarlet woman”: “I told you!” ...
11
votes
1answer
548 views

What is the origin of Blue Harvest?

The working title of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi was Blue Harvest: Horror Beyond Imagination! Was the name "Blue Harvest" completely random or is it a reference to something? I ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

In Dune, what type of name is Chani?

Is is Jewish, Arabic, European etc? Does anyone know the origin of the name Chani?
2
votes
1answer
115 views

What is the One Ring's theme?

In the Hobbit and LOTR trilogy we hear this haunting piece (especially at 0:45) each time the One Ring is about to make it's presence felt. It's a powerful audio cue to the viewer, and is sometimes ...
2
votes
1answer
27 views

Spinrad essays on science fiction stimulating technology

Science fiction writer Norman Spinrad sometimes reviews books in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. Spinrad will use these book reviews as an excuse to jump on a soap box and deliver his own ...
0
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0answers
31 views

When do we first learn the emperor's name is Palpatine? [duplicate]

I do not recall hearing the name Palpatine in any of the original three Star Wars movies. When/where do we first learn The Emperor's name is Palpatine? First appearance of The Emperor. ...
8
votes
2answers
152 views

Who created the iconic Superman phrase 'truth, justice, and the American way'?

Interestingly the term is entirely missing from Superman's wiki-page. I was wondering who coined this famous phrase?
5
votes
2answers
105 views

What was the first robot in disguise?

As a kid, it felt as if any transforming robot other than the Transformers was a copycat. I have no doubt that a number of them were. But the Transformers may not have been the first, so What was the ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

What was the origin of the famous movie quote “all out of bubble gum”?

In John Carpenter's They Live we hear the famous line I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I'm all outta bubble gum. It obviously made it into the general vernacular, but ...
2
votes
2answers
125 views

Where did the suffix '-Man' originate?

Do we know much about the origin of the suffix -Man or man in relation to comic book heroes? To my knowledge, the first use was in June 1938: But was it ever used before then in a published comic ...
8
votes
1answer
147 views

Was Arthur C. Clarke ribbing Isaac Asimov in Childhood's End?

A quote from the book: A society consists of human beings whose behavior as individuals is unpredictable. But if one takes enough of the basic units, then certain laws begin to appear – as was ...
7
votes
2answers
111 views

What was the first work of science fiction to feature a counter-Earth?

A counter-Earth is a planet always opposite the Earth in its orbit around the Sun - or, as first conceived by Greek philosopher Philolaus, in its orbit around the central fire, around which the Sun ...
5
votes
0answers
52 views

What DC Comic Book issue was the first to use the phrase “To the Bat-Cave”?

I know it was used almost every week on the 1966 TV series, but I'd like to know if it was used in the comics, and if so, in what DC Comic Book issue was the phrase To the Bat-Cave! first uttered by ...
20
votes
5answers
3k views

Was the original Enterprise truly the first sci-fi spaceship designed purely for exploration?

In this video, the astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson chooses the Enterprise over the Millenium Falcon. One reason he gives is that the Enterprise is the first ...
5
votes
1answer
812 views

What's the history of the prefix “Age of”?

Context I came to realize that there are two recent films (probably more) which contain Age of in their subtitle: Avengers: Age of Ultron and Tranformers: Age of Extinction The thing about these ...
6
votes
1answer
597 views

What is the origin of the term Melange in Dune?

The geriatric spice Melange has been a staple of the Dune saga from the beginning. Mr. Herbert is known to have used Hebrew terms and Islamic undertones as well. Also Prana Bindu sounds like a ...
7
votes
0answers
74 views

What was the first Soviet/Russian SciFi work where Socialism lost and Capitalism won?

For obvious reasons, most (all?) Soviet works of Science Fiction depicted a future where Socialism either won, or was about to win (e.g. was in a wider state of adoption than current time) and ...
6
votes
0answers
63 views

What was the first SciFi story with kinetic space based weapons on Earth?

While it's well-known that Arthur C. Clarke developed the idea of geostationary satellites, it seems far less known that another SciFi author, Jerry Pournelle, developed the idea of kinetic orbital ...
3
votes
1answer
128 views

What effect did Mariner 4 mission's findings have on depictions of sentient Martians?

Science fiction used to always try to meet contemporary scientific conceptions. Many past Sci-Fi works had speculated about martian civilizations until the Mariner 4 spaceflight dispelled these ...
25
votes
4answers
4k views

What's the history of the term “starship”?

Context: I rewatched Star Wars: A New Hope in preparation for the impending release of The Force Awakens, and was struck by this, in the opening crawl: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, ...
1
vote
1answer
116 views

Where did wishes come from?

When you look into the wish trope, you tend to get pointed back to Aladdin from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights as the originator. But wishes in Aladdin really didn't work the way modern ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

Did the term “congresscritter” originate in SF, and, if so, who first used it?

The title pretty much says it all. I thought it would be easy to find the origin by googling, but although there are many references, none of the ones I scanned included the origin. I remember ...
30
votes
4answers
6k views

Was Roddenberry really so far ahead of his time on race?

Gene Roddenberry is often credited with being revolutionary in his treatment of race equality in the characters of Chekov, Sulu, and especially Uhura. The on-screen kiss between Shatner and Nichols ...
3
votes
1answer
76 views

Origin of Codex Alera?

According to the Wikipedia page on Codex Alera: The inspiration for the series came from a bet Jim was challenged to by a member of the Del Rey Online Writer’s Workshop. The challenger bet that ...
0
votes
3answers
140 views

Which Sci-Fi work introduced the idea of “Resurrection of Dead by Time Travel”?

In Sci-Fi world, Time can re-written. Lots of Sci-Fi works exploit time travel to bring back the people once dead, either in the same timeline or in a different timeline. I asked a similar question: ...
4
votes
2answers
211 views

Which Sci-Fi work introduced the idea of “Protecting Child-self”?

The special case of Bootstrap Paradox in which a guy travels back in time to protect himself is common these days. I have encountered it countless times. The first example I encountered was in ...
-4
votes
2answers
135 views

What the earliest instance of an average human being magically summoned to another world, while being ignorant about the actual summons?

What the earliest instance of an average human being magically summoned to another world, while being ignorant about the actual summons? Basically, it's Summon Everyman Hero trope, but restricted ...
6
votes
0answers
256 views

First story that converts its exposition to a fictional language

I'm pretty certain that there are works of fiction purely in a fictional language. For instance I'd be surprised if some uber-geek hasn't written some fan fiction entirely in Klingon. I also know ...
33
votes
11answers
11k views

What is the latest date for the setting in a sci-fi text or movie?

I was thinking of the Mayans this morning, and the controversy about the Mayan calendar in 2012 (through a long and circuitous thought process). But it got me thinking: Someone back 5000 years ago ...
26
votes
4answers
3k views

When was Superman's backstory and the fate of his parents revealed?

I was pondering the issue of why so many superheroes are orphans, which led me to consider who was first identified as an orphan and when. Although Batman was probably hot on Superman's heels, I ...
12
votes
2answers
941 views

What was the first instance of a space walk in film or television?

This question made me realise that, really, we don't see many space walks in Star Trek. It got me to thinking about space walks generally in science-fiction and how they've been portrayed (like those ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

Who was the first African/Black superhero?

While reading an article on Marvel's Luke Cage, it mentioned a few other black superheroes, but I didn't see a couple that probably opened the doors to such a thing. I then looked up who I thought was ...
20
votes
2answers
3k views

Identify this image of a metallic castle or fortress that has a radar dish and a skull with a green “W” on its forehead

I recently attended BrickCon 2015 in Seattle and saw this outstanding mosaic. It's roughly 5 feet tall and 7 feet wide. However, I have no idea what the mosaic is. It looks cartoonish, but I don't ...
2
votes
3answers
967 views

Text and origin of the original “always be batman” quote

I found different forms of the quote on the internet and mostly without origin. Which one is the real batman quote? Remember to always be yourself. Unless you can be batman. Then always be batman. ...