Questions about the origin of an idea.

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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.
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3answers
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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 ...
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0answers
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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
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1answer
70 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, ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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2answers
182 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 ...
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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 ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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5answers
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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
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1answer
50 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 ...
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7answers
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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, ...
67
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5answers
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What is the first reference to an internet of computers in sci-fi?

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 sci-fi. I'm therefore inquiring as to ...
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2answers
277 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 ...
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0answers
108 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
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0answers
143 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 ...
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1answer
122 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 ...
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1answer
94 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 ...
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1answer
107 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
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1answer
169 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 ...
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4answers
143 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 ...
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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 ...
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7answers
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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?
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4answers
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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 ...
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3answers
211 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
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1answer
299 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 ...
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2answers
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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, ...
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4answers
585 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 ...
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1answer
143 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 ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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2answers
359 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
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2answers
205 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 ...
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1answer
157 views

Which Sci-Fi work introduced “Bug-eyed Aliens”?

Although you can see Bug-eyed Aliens in modern times (Men in Black, for example), it was already out-dated in 60s. In a special episode of Doctor Who which featured making of Doctor Who, the producer ...
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1answer
271 views

Does Star Trek's adherence to naval tradition have roots in NASA or earlier real organizations or works?

Is it well established that Star Trek follows naval tradition. For example its ranks come from USN. Ships share names with real Earth vessels, etc. I was surprised that the contingency speech on the ...
4
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1answer
169 views

What's the Original example of the common fantastical trope of Dwarf vs Elf?

Related this another recent question What's the original fictional (including) mythological example of Elves and Dwarves being set up as rival races? Is this a trope that first made it's appearance ...
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3answers
269 views

What is the first occurrence of a pre-teen female superhero in comics?

I am looking for the first appearance of a female heroine that would generally be considered a super-human and who is under the age of 13. Wonder Tot comes to mind, but is this the first?
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1answer
201 views

The idea of humanity forgetting Earth as its place of origin

After reading Foundation's Edge I'm wondering if the Foundation series was the first literary work to consider the possibility of humanity (as a whole or most of it) forgetting Earth as its place of ...
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2answers
346 views

First use of time travel in fiction

Where was the first literary appearance of time travel? I know H.G. Wells coined the term "time machine", and according to wikipedia he popularized the concept of time travel. Since they don't give ...
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3answers
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What is the science-fiction tradition of flying cars having their wheels turned sideways?

The DeLorean in Back to the Future turns its wheels sideways when it is about to fly. Also, there are many children's toys that feature similar concepts, such as this Lego kit, which features two such ...
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2answers
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Where does the archetypal image of the 'Grey' alien come from?

As I show below, typical alien depictions include an elongated, pale face, two dark elliptical eyes, and a small mouth. Who first used this design for an alien? Where does this design come from?
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2answers
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Where did the notion that Dragons could speak originate?

There are different sources in which dragons are able to speak and not speak. Speaking examples: Smaug in The Hobbit Skyrim DragonHeart Non-speaking examples: Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice ...
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2answers
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What are the origins and ur-examples of a “combine all mysteries and conspiracies” sub-genre?

One of my favorite series is "Area 51" by Robert Doherty. Among the things that attracted me was the formula of taking all (or at least a significant amount) of the worlds mythology, weirdness, and ...
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0answers
135 views

What was the first SFF work where magic (spells) had to be primarily channeled through wands?

Magic Wand is a fairly common SFF trope, made ever-so-more popular by Harry Potter. What was the earliest published SFF work where the trope was used? Criteria: Wands are listed as a ...
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1answer
335 views

Did “the force” ever use a different name?

I know that the dark side and the light side of the force were referred to as Bogan and Ashla (in reference to both Typhon's light and dark moons), But did "the force" as a collective ever use a ...
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0answers
167 views

Stories involving Time Travel and Disease Immunity? [closed]

When Europeans came in large numbers to the New World, the sicknesses they carried caused pandemics for Native Americans and wiped out much of the population. I would imagine that if a time traveller ...
5
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3answers
232 views

What are the roots of the 'characters representing bureaucracy' as a theme in British fantasy/sci fi?

In British SciFi/Fantasty we see the following genre/themes: Adams - HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy - the Vogons - bureaucratic officious overlords Gilliam - Brazil - The ministry - turning people ...
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1answer
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Who, or what, are the human characters in the original 1977 Hildebrandt Star Wars poster?

Who, or what, are the human characters in the original 1977 Hildebrandt Star Wars poster? They are definitely NOT Mark Hamill or Carrie Fisher. Is there any canon information regarding whether or not ...
12
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1answer
432 views

Origin of word “matrix” used to describe a virtual reality environment?

What's the origin of the word "Matrix" used as either a name or a description of a virtual reality environment? The best known example is of course from the film of the same name, and it's widely ...
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6answers
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Where does the motif of a reanimated human head originate?

Futurama has all the heads in jars. The Invisibles (a little more fantasy than scifi) has a scene with the detached head of John the Baptist supposedly speaking prophecies. The general idea gets ...
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4answers
1k views

First known author to use the concept of “Bigger on the inside”

Who namely known author used the concept of being bigger on the inside first? A holodeck is bigger on the inside, the TARDIS is, on Diskworld the Home of Death and Rincewind's Luggage are, Hermione's ...
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2answers
306 views

What is the history of the term “Canon” as applicable to speculative fiction?

According to what I read, the original usage of the term "canon" as applicable to a set of literature works from a creator was by Ronald Knox in reference to Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes" works (in ...