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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40
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4answers
5k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
96 views

Is there a movie that is based on or very similar to Robert Heinlein's “Tunnel in the Sky”? [closed]

One book that I've always wished there was a good movie for, was Robert Heinlein's "Tunnel in the Sky". I really loved that book when I read it as a teen. I was just wondering if there was ever a ...
-1
votes
2answers
80 views

How does Miller's planet in Interstellar have such huge time dilation yet such a small gravitational force? [duplicate]

In Interstellar, the crew of the Endurance experience extreme time dilation (7 years to an hour) on Miller's planet, due to its proximity to a black hole. However, they only feel 130% of Earth's ...
8
votes
2answers
429 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
536 views

Can you identify these Doctors of the science fiction genre in miniature formats?

Please identify these Doctors, their minions, their comic or science fiction genre of origin and links, if possible.
4
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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 ...
11
votes
0answers
51 views

Novel about alien symbiotes persecuted after they reject their hosts

Two alien races are living in sybioses. The symbiote is an energy creature of some sort. The host aliens do something violent (maybe an action in a war?) that causes the symbiotes to decide to ...
-1
votes
0answers
50 views

Sci-Fi: Can a Steampunk World be possible? [migrated]

I have been wondering, can a Steampunk (Steampunk as being powered by mainly by steam) society be possible in our universe? If so, how? If not, please explain why. I prefer detailed explanations, no ...
3
votes
1answer
170 views

Why do (some) people consider “The Heat Death of the Universe” to be science fiction?

One of the stories in the collection Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century (Justine Larbalestier (ed.), 2006) is "The Heat Death of the Universe" (Pamela Zoline, 1967). ...
7
votes
1answer
142 views

What separates a Cyberpunk setting from a futuristic setting?

I understand this is a commonly used style in Science-fiction. However I can never determine the difference between what some call a "Futuristic" setting and a "Cyberpunk" setting.
3
votes
1answer
80 views

Can someone find an episode of a show that ends on a battlefield after a planetary battle?

I am looking for a sci-fi show where soldiers are staging on a space station preparing for an assault on a planet. With all the soldiers on the space station, tempers flare and there is a brawl. A ...
5
votes
1answer
112 views

Please help me remember book about children and stones that possessed power

It's a children's book, there was a group of children (who I think were running away from a man) and these kids were able to 'listen' to stones. And then there was this other child, a girl. She ...
7
votes
1answer
119 views

Looking for sci-fi book about alien invasion where Earth builds a giant laser to stop an incoming alien fleet

Looking for a science fiction novel I read as a kid where a few hostile alien saucers show up and the US Air Force is trying to bring them down. It's too fast for any missiles/cannons to work, and ...
7
votes
1answer
146 views

YA dystopia novel of battle school with unusual military control scheme

Some sort of battle school (no, not Ender's Game), where teens are being trained as military commanders. The control system for their army hinges around some sort of system that requires extremely ...
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
125 views

Looking for a title to a 80s sci fi film

Does anyone know the title of an 80s or early 90s sci-fi flick where there's a group in an underground facility and there's some type of monster mutants chasing them. The only part I remember at the ...
2
votes
1answer
223 views

Trying to find title of book from 70s or 80s about super intelligent being

From memory, the story had some military themes. Person or being became increasingly powerful and telepathically connected to everything and everyone. Think it was primarily set in UK. There may have ...
-7
votes
1answer
114 views

Why so many scifi books have a one world government if this idea is considered stupid? [closed]

There are some guys that believe that a new world order will happen, those guys are called crazy and etc.. with people saying their idea is super mega ultra stupid. So, my question is, why something ...
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 ...
3
votes
0answers
96 views

Story Identification: Devouring Darkness

So I started reading a novel somewhere around 20 years ago and I'm very fuzzy on the details. What I remember is it involved a cloud of darkness just kind of rolling over and consuming everything it ...
7
votes
0answers
81 views

Children's SF novel about someone sent to rescue his brother / find out what happened to him?

I recall a book I read back in middle school (ca. 1981), where humanity had sent an astronaut to check out signs of an intelligent race or something like that, but he disappeared. Earth then sends ...
4
votes
1answer
101 views

What is the name of this book? Symbiosis in cave between man and alien

Old book, maybe in the 70's. A man hides in a cave and an alien creature drops on his head and they become a symbiosis. It gives him the ability to delve into disturbed minds and help them ...
4
votes
4answers
354 views

First instance of the flying saucer as a space craft?

A common idea of a spaceship, especially an alien spaceship, is the classic flying saucer, like the one below: What is the first instance of a flying saucer as a space craft in science fiction? ...
5
votes
1answer
168 views

A Sci-fi book about blue people who were enslaved

I believe it was a dystopian story about blue people who had been enslaved. I remember it as a sci-fi story. I don't remember anything else about it, just that there were blue people, they were ...
5
votes
1answer
225 views

Whose definition of “science fiction” is this?

Sometime in the last quarter of the 20th century (or just possibly in the very early 2000s) I read somewhere the following definition of science fiction (not word-for-word, I paraphrase): Science ...
5
votes
1answer
255 views

Book where man is abducted by crab-people aliens

It's a sci fi I read in the early 90s about a man who gets abducted by aliens (crab-people) and is kept in a room where they watch him. They put him in with another alien species female that looks ...
2
votes
1answer
103 views

Book about government department controlling the release of advanced technology

I read a book a few months/years/lifetimes ago. To be fairly specific about it, without giving away the plot, it's about a scientist and his team that discover how to create and control gravity and ...
17
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 ...
26
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.
5
votes
1answer
256 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? ...
5
votes
5answers
354 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
117 views

Book about a boy (man?) who was genetically modified by his father

I believe this book was published in the 1970s or 1980s. What I remember is that it was about a boy whose DNA was modified (using insect DNA?) before birth by his father, who was a genetic researcher. ...
6
votes
0answers
94 views

Book where a mysterious force transports most of the humans from Earth to various other planets and times

I forget the title and author, but he described the opening as such: a mysterious force, likely aliens, removes a large proportion of humans from Earth, and transports them to different planets, while ...
0
votes
2answers
250 views

AI Logic Bomb ignored or shrugged off

Modern computing is not immune to logic bombs or race conditions or runaway threads. But it does have techniques to minimize the impact of this. A watchdog timer requires that the program or system ...
1
vote
1answer
106 views

Are there any sample of elvish-like civilization being in their prime time [closed]

In a lot of SF and Fantasy work, there is a civilization being elven archetype. I mean, civilization being in their fall, once powerful and full of magic or technology or sometimes both, now dying ...
-6
votes
1answer
165 views

How Can Fictional Fusion Reactors Possibly Be Dangerous? [closed]

In various science fiction movies and tv shows fusion reactors can sometimes have runaway reactions and explode, the threat of that happening is used in various *Star trek: The Next Generation ...
-4
votes
6answers
217 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
141 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
585 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
126 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
33 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
3answers
408 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
67 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
162 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
140 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
742 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
486 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
vote
0answers
2k 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 ...