Star Wars has them. So do the Star Trek and Red Dwarf series. Which work of Scifi/fantasy, written or filmed, was the first to depict a person as a hologram?

  • First to have a holographic representation of someone, or the first to have a character who is a hologram? Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 21:02
  • @DJClayworth The first holographic representation of someone. Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 21:04
  • If "holograms" can be taken to mean "3D representation of a person for communication" then a scene from Campbells "Invaders from the Infinite" (first published serialized in 1932, and reissued in book form in the 60s) might qualify. To communicate with aliens in a hostile environment, Arcot and Morey create representations of themselves with their "artificial matter" generator. Commented Feb 8, 2023 at 20:29

3 Answers 3


The earliest I can think of (though there are likely others) is Foundation, published in 1951. Hari Selden appears several times as a holographic recording, warning the populace of impending crises. However, I'm pretty sure the word hologram is actually used in the book, so the thing to figure out might be who coined the word and when.

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    nature.com/physics/looking-back/gabor/index.html probably 1948 by a Dr. Gabor
    – horatio
    Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 21:56
  • Nice work. That's a pretty short window, too... Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 2:06
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    First, I think you missed out a "not" in the last sentence; you meant to say the word hologram is not actually used. Second, Hari Seldon's first holographic recording (if that's what it was) was mentioned in Asimov's short story "Foundation" which was first published in the May 1942 issue of Astounding Science-Fiction.
    – user14111
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 8:58

Obviously, the benchmark to beat is 1974 when Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Practical Joker", introduced the holodeck.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holography#Holography_in_fiction:

The Carpathian Castle (1893 novel by Jules Verne) the plot revolves around prima donna La Stilla, represented at the times of the events as a projected image.

I'm not sure if that counts (it was a projection but not technically speaking a hologram) but will post in case you meant to include any projections and not just literally holograms.

If that doesn't count, Lem's "Return From The Stars" (1961) has "holographic 3-D photos, as well as holographic theater plays" according to TVTropes.

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    Holey moley. 80 seconds. Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 19:39
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    "80 seconds"? I'm not familiar with that novel. Was it published before 1961 and did it have holograms? Commented Aug 16, 2012 at 19:49

What about the Wizard of Oz (1939 for the movie, not sure if this was seen in the books)? Maybe not a hologram in the strictest definition, but the technique is pretty similar.

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