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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17
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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 ...
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.
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
233 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
82 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
75 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
205 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
90 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 ...
-7
votes
1answer
121 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 ...
-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 ...
7
votes
2answers
565 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
109 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
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
263 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
60 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
148 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
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
396 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
457 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
1k 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
votes
0answers
71 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
833 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 ...
90
votes
2answers
7k views

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
99 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
525 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
992 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
591 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
386 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
332 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
votes
0answers
118 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
570 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
243 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
250 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
344 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
488 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
137 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
180 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
440 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
447 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
283 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
votes
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
189 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
1k 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
462 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
211 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?