Used for questions on the science fiction genre itself, including its tropes and conventions. Should **not** be used to categorize questions about specific works of science fiction.

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2
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0answers
9 views

Novel where a man is paid to travel to a planet inside a metallic sphere

There was a book (it actually had a second book as well) where a guy gets paid with a group of others to go to a planet that is enclosed in a metallic sphere. There are many species in this planet. ...
5
votes
1answer
86 views

Can't Remember the Book - special mathematical conclave

I am trying to remember a book I read a while ago. It is about a boy who lives in some sort of special mathematical conclave that only opens its doors to the outside world every few years. An alien ...
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
25 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
183 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
56 views

Does the Cobalcat appear in any other stories apart from “Tuf Voyaging”?

There's a great early SciFi book by George R R Martin called "Tuf Voyaging". In one of the chapters he uses his spaceship "Seed Ship" to create a bunch of alien monsters for a planet that fights it ...
4
votes
1answer
145 views

Book with a fire hydrant with a tongue impaling a bird on the cover

A book I read in the late nineties to early 2000s. A boy and a girl travel to another dimension (?) with a creature that resembled a miniature star. The villain was a humanoid guy that may have been ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

What is earliest version of a “horcrux”? [duplicate]

I just realized a few days ago that Sauron's One Ring is kind-of like a horcrux, in that Sauron can't ever be totally destroyed as long as the One Ring exists. That set me to wondering: did Tolkien ...
2
votes
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
237 views

Why does Travertine have vis own pronouns in On the Steel Breeze?

In Alastair Reynolds' On the Steel Breeze, the physicist Travertine has vis own set of personal pronouns, something like ve (nominative) ver (accusative) vis (genitive) verself ...
7
votes
2answers
451 views

Why do so many shows use a 'High Council'?

Why is it that shows like Stargate, Star Trek, and others use a government body called the "High Council"? Within Stargate, the Asgard have a High Council. In Star Trek, Vulcans and Klingons have ...
1
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0answers
704 views

What is the real world equivalent of “Consortium” in Dan Brown's Inferno? [closed]

Today I was reading Dan Brown's latest novel Inferno (Excellent novel btw) and out of the many bizarre things, I was most intrigued by the discreet organization called Consortium that provides its ...
2
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0answers
68 views

Civilizations in SCI-FI stories [closed]

Did exist a sci-fi novels or comics where the civilizations from an alien planets are not group in a single culture but in many?, (like us with countries, states, races and languages). I seems that ...
14
votes
2answers
401 views

Difference between Space Opera and Science Fiction?

A while back a guy came into the place where I was working. He had a book (I don't remember the name). The book was, according to him, SciFi. I told him, "Great! My favorite SciFi is the Skylark ...
86
votes
2answers
7k views
+200

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?
3
votes
2answers
98 views

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 ...
4
votes
3answers
464 views

In Star Trek: TNG, what is the most common away team combo (e.g. Riker, Data, Troi?) and why?

In the video games Star Trek: 25th Anniversary, Star Trek: Judgement Rites, and Star Trek: A Final Unity, the away teams are explained very rationally - e.g. Kirk commanded the team, Spock provided ...
12
votes
2answers
967 views

What is the first reference to 'video calls' in sci-fi?

I was thinking earlier today about the future and how voice-based phones are probably on the way out with the rise of video-calls, which reminded me of the video calls in Back To The Future 2. Then I ...
1
vote
3answers
585 views

Is there any particular aspect differentiating feminist and non-feminist work in sci-fi/fantasy? [closed]

How does a work in sci-fi and fantasy qualify as a feminist or otherwise? Should gender based questions be part of the work and having only strong female character isn't sufficient? Case in point ...
1
vote
1answer
316 views

What are the largest characters by volume ever depicted in science fiction? [closed]

I'm talking about characters planet/star-system/galaxy-sized. Characters like Unicron, the 2001: A Space Odyssey baby, and even meta-characters, like Tenga Toppa Gurren Lagann (a ship powered by all ...
-3
votes
2answers
291 views

Dreams in Sci Fi movies — Matrix and Inception [closed]

Now according to Matrix if we die in a dream we die in real too But if we go by Inception if we die in a dream we wake up or go into a limbo . What sounds more correct and logical according to Sci ...
3
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0answers
116 views

Could American Dad be considered a Sci-Fi series? [closed]

American dad is a Fox Television animated series that is full of satirical humor on pop culture made by the same animators as Family guy. It has the makings of a Sci-Fi: A CIA agent with access to ...
10
votes
3answers
540 views

First use of a Quantum Computer in Science Fiction

Nobel-prize winning physicist Richard Feynman is given credit as inventing the concept of quantum computers in about 1982 in the paper "Simulating physics with computers." Also, recently the company ...
0
votes
2answers
241 views

Is there an encyclopedic book of fantastic materials?

I do not believe this to be a list-type question, surely only one or at most two such books have ever been written. I am searching for a book somewhat in the vein of Barlowe's Guide to ...
4
votes
3answers
246 views

What is the earliest novel/story to deal with cosmically vast expanses of time?

Can anyone tell me the name (and date) of the earliest story that deals with these kinds of journeys through cosmic time? I love stories that include journeys across incredible gulfs of time. I am ...
3
votes
1answer
325 views

Is it possible to call every mobile phone in a particular area at a time? [closed]

I've seen this phenomenon in the movie Eagle Eye, Sherlock Holmes television episodes, and The Lawnmower Man. Every mobile gets a call at a same time from the same guy in a particular area. Is this ...
1
vote
1answer
478 views

Worst Sci Fi / Future Fantasy Cliches [closed]

I am creating a futuristic fantasy setting for my latest novel. In your opinion what are the most over used cliches that I should avoid when creating the setting? Many thanks.
0
votes
1answer
132 views

How did the SciFi TV series originate as a genre? [closed]

What was the story behind the origination of SciFi TV series as a genre? More specifically, was it more of a drive to take SciFi ideas and material and bring it to the TV screen? Or vice versa, was ...
4
votes
1answer
174 views

Are there specific tropes/details/etc… that characterized Golden Age of Science Fiction?

Wiki article on the Golden Age of Science Fiction mentions a couple of major developments associated with it, but is pretty thin on comprehensive analysis: Space opera came to prominence ...
6
votes
3answers
396 views

What was the first SciFi work that referred to Pluto as NOT a planet?

In 2006, IAU changed its rules on what constitutes a planet. The most famous downstream impact of the new rules was that Pluto is now classified as Dwarf Planet (Plutoid) among Trans-Neptunial ...
11
votes
1answer
441 views

Why are there so many spiders in space?

In science fiction there are a lot of spiders or spider-like creatures depicted in space. In real life there have also been a lot of studies done on spiders in space. Has science fiction been ...
2
votes
1answer
264 views

What is the tallest terrestrial building/arcology that is not also a space elevator? [closed]

In one of the prequels to Dune books, I forget which, they describe a 900+ story building that is in ruins. In The Night Land, the Last Redoubt is a pyramid seven miles tall. I haven't seen the new ...
12
votes
6answers
1k views

Do authors ever create conflicting canon to irk fussy fans? [closed]

I know that this site is the haven for anyone who loves to dig deep into their favorite Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Even for a new visitor, from scrolling through this site shows that there's an awful lot ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Is it possible to journey to the center of the Earth as described by Jules Verne? [closed]

Are there volcanic tubes that could possibly lead an exploration to the center of the Earth as stated by Jules Verne in the movie "Journey to the Center of the Earth?
10
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3answers
1k views

Did Any Of The Aliens In The Independence Day Movie Survive Well Enough To Continue To Invade?

Here are things to consider: There were 36 "City Destroyers" and each of these have smaller interceptors, the thing our heroes fly into the Mother Ship to upload the virus and set off the Big Boy, ...
2
votes
1answer
187 views

Are “A Princess of Mars (1912)” & “At the Earth's Core (1914)” the same story?

Both "A Princess of Mars (1912)" and "At the Earth's Core (1914)" are written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Different setting, same style, same story, with a couple of tweaks. Man goes on a journey to ...
4
votes
1answer
968 views

Fictional Sci-Fi Dates Calendar?

Is there any kind of online database, that features calendar of dates from sci-fi books/movies etc. Not sci-fi real life events calendar, but something similar to this for example, but more detailed
3
votes
2answers
428 views

How could Doug Carlin possibly go through time without getting completely mangled?

I have watched this sci-fi thriller Deja Vu almost 10 times and could not get one thing. Denny (Adam Goldberg) explains to Doug (Denzel Washington) about the machine which was under the workshop ...
-3
votes
1answer
201 views

Is *Imperium* a common trope in science fiction? [closed]

In science fiction is it a popular or common trope where either the main empire or the human empire is styled Imperium whilst all others are referred to as empires?
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Does an illustration of Tochee from the Commonwealth Saga exist?

One specific creature from the Commonwealth Saga has caught my interest -- Tochee. My imagination is really bad, and I can not hold all the descriptive details in mind at once. I have tried to find ...
8
votes
2answers
389 views

What work of scifi broke the mold of zombies being undead voodoo minions and depicted them as mindless maneaters?

In the beginning, IIRC, zombies were undead creatures created and controlled by voodoo priests or priestesses. What work of scifi was the first to break that tradition by depicting zombies as ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Why do alien cultures tend to have one language, one religion etc

What are some common logical reasons given within any sci-fi universe for the lack of cultural diversity within a single alien race? Examples of what I mean: Star Trek: Vulcans come from Vulcan and ...
16
votes
5answers
730 views

What was the first SciFi work that theorized that Homo Sapiens were seeded on Earth by intelligent aliens?

What was the first SciFi work that theorized that Homo Sapiens were seeded on Earth by intelligent aliens (as opposed to all the other Earth species which evolved separately)? The earliest one I can ...
1
vote
0answers
123 views

What is the average duration time of a sci-fi radio play(drama) nowadays and how long it was in the 60's and 70's? [closed]

What is the average duration time of a sci-fi radio play (drama) nowadays? How long were the radio plays in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s? I mean, are/were they 10 minutes, or 20, or even 30?
1
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0answers
155 views

Cyberpunk with “spiritual” elements = science fantasy? [closed]

I am working on a story that incorporates spiritual elements (the soul, non-physical beings, God, etc) in a cyberpunk setting. Does this make it "science fantasy"?
2
votes
1answer
280 views

What are Science fiction stories that feature characters with Downs Syndrome or other special needs? [closed]

The title says it all, I hope. I'm interested in movies, comics, TV-series, but most strongly written material. To give some background, I recently noticed that people with special needs don't ...
18
votes
6answers
1k views

What was the first sci-fi work that had an intelligent virus/bacterium?

What's the earliest example of an intelligent virus/bacterium? There have been a number of comic-book characters (e.g. Sublime, Hlavac, Despotellis), television versions (e.g. the black oil from the ...
8
votes
2answers
309 views

What was the first SciFi work that had a “biologically different” intelligent race?

What was the first SciFi work that had a an intelligent race that was biologically significantly different from humans? Not simply "non humanoid", but, say, non-vertebrate (non-humanoid vertebrates ...
6
votes
4answers
455 views

What is the earliest example in sci-fi or fantasy FILM containing a family link between Hero and Villain?

I can think of the obvious Star Wars but after that I am stumped. Anyone else have an earlier example? Edited due to question being deemed too broad.
16
votes
2answers
1k views

What would the sky look like standing inside a Dyson Sphere?

I am working on a roleplaying campaign guide set inside a Dyson Sphere. It's a solid shell around a star like our own and is 300 million kilometers across centered on the star. The atmosphere hugs ...