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Questions tagged [history-of]

For questions about the history of the genre: the origin and evolution of ideas in speculative fiction. Example topics include the first work of speculative fiction with a particular property, or the origin of a term or trope.

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What was the first science fiction or fantasy element to appear in any Batman comic?

Batman is obviously an on-topic character for our site. He regularly teams up with or confronts aliens and has awesome technology at his fingertips even if he himself is "just a man in a suit&...
Skooba's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Which was the first story to feature humans achieving immortality through science and technology advancements?

In 1956's Isaac Asimov's "The Last Question", in the future, humans were able to travel and colonize other galaxies and they also achieved immortality through science and technology ...
Pablo's user avatar
  • 5,791
6 votes
1 answer
254 views

What is the first science-fiction film that features the Silence Group?

According to Donald Keyhoe, author of "The Flying Saucer Conspiracy," the phrase "Silence Group" has been used in UFO circles since the early 1950s. Wikipedia (entry: UFO ...
Bingo's user avatar
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5 votes
0 answers
144 views

When were Oreo cookies retconned to Chocos in the DC Universe?

Manhunter's affection for Oreo cookies (by name) was first evidenced in Justice League International #8, but when and where were they retconned to DC Brand X "Chocos?"
Zook's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
258 views

Was Star Trek the first TV series or even movie that dealt with the great distances between galaxies?

In multiple episodes the incredible distance between The Milky Way and Andromeda is dealt with fairly accurately or at least consistently: even at highest warp the 2 million light years that separate ...
releseabe's user avatar
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24 votes
2 answers
4k views

Which female character in the MCU had the earliest comic book debut?

I recently stumbled upon a fascinating question here: “Which character in the MCU had the earliest comic debut?” While reading through the answers, I couldn’t help but notice that they all featured ...
galacticninja's user avatar
24 votes
1 answer
1k views

Looking for mid-1980's list of Science Fiction Landmark works

Back in the mid-1980s (it's unlikely to have been earlier than 1982 or later than 1987), I picked up a list of important/significant Science Fiction works. It was called something like "The ...
Ward - Trying Codidact's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
987 views

What is the first Sci-Fi/Fantasy film to include adverts for fake films with real actors?

A scene in Jurassic Park: The Lost World, includes adverts for three films that have been made up for the scene. Jack and the Behnstalks starring Robin Williams Tsunami Sunrise starring Tom Hanks ...
A.Steer's user avatar
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10 votes
5 answers
4k views

First mention of Einstein in Science Fiction?

We have seen Edison in a sort of War of the Worlds sequel written soon after Wells' novel but I do not think he authorized it. My guess is Einstein came much later, his name and work not nearly as ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 16k
2 votes
4 answers
228 views

First mention of barcodes in science fiction

Inspired by this question Sci Fi Dystopia: people classified by color coded bloodlines barcodes I wonder if anyone knows the earliest mention of barcodes in a SF book/film/TV show etc?
Danny Mc G's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
148 views

Earliest Depiction of Cultivated Meat in Science Fiction

I often see Mizora from 1880 thrown around as the earliest title where artificial/cultivated meat makes an appearance but I'm wondering if it was really the earliest. For instance, I know Winston ...
Hyperdrive Enthusiast's user avatar
7 votes
0 answers
151 views

Origin of chronokinetic receivers

What was the first story to feature the idea that time travel requires a receiver as well as a transmitter? By "time travel" I mean moving a material body backwards in time; no time viewers, ...
user14111's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
595 views

Earliest English-language fiction about humanoid "piloted" by tiny people

This question: Manga about miniature people piloting cloned women, movies like "Inside Out" and shows like the "Let's Kill Hitler" episode of the Doctor Who revival series got me ...
Anthony X's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
126 views

First sci-fi TV or film to use real world advertising of related products to bring those products into the canon of the universe

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, includes a news report within the film that describes the history of the Ghostbusters. This news report users two items of real world footage about Ghostbusters related ...
A.Steer's user avatar
  • 5,907
6 votes
1 answer
213 views

First story where a real world, world leader travels in time to a period that is contemporary to the story?

In the German novel Er ist wieder da, translated as He's back again, and released in the English speaking market as Look Who's Back. Adolf Hitler suddenly wakes up in 2011 Germany, with no knowledge ...
A.Steer's user avatar
  • 5,907
2 votes
1 answer
84 views

What was the First Horror Anthology?

This question What is the earliest published horror anthology of original material? asks what was the earliest horror anthology of original stories, published for the first time in the anthology. So ...
M. A. Golding's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
151 views

What was the first "Life in a Day" story?

The most famous example of this trope (at least for me) is the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Inner Light." Picard is zapped by a mysterious probe and is seemingly transported ...
miken32's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
832 views

Was the idea of a ship going through a star to refuel based on previous work?

In Stargate Universe there is a spaceship called Destiny which travels the universe seeding planets with stargates and flying through stars to refuel by collecting the raw materials inside. The ship ...
Cave Johnson's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
339 views

Where does the "Starname Prime" naming scheme for planets originate?

I mean the name of a star followed by the word Prime, used to denote the system's most important/primary inhabited world. For example, Earth would be called Sol Prime using this naming scheme. I've ...
Mash's user avatar
  • 481
3 votes
3 answers
267 views

What was the first "Earth all along" story in Science Fiction?

In a similar vein to this other question and this other question, what is the first story where people explore a mysterious planet that turns out to be a post-apocalyptic Earth? Youtuber Liminal ...
Spencer's user avatar
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9 votes
9 answers
4k views

First instance of a light shooting up into the sky

In the early-to-mid 2010s, a popular trope in sci-fi blockbusters was to have the third act begin with a (usually blue) beam of light shoot into the sky or from the sky, either to open a portal to ...
Donatello Swansino's user avatar
22 votes
4 answers
3k views

First fictional lab-created plague

I'm doing my regular reread of Stephen King's The Stand and I got to wondering about the first example of a fictional manmade plague. I know in the book Day of the Triffids there was a lab created ...
Danny Mc G's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
227 views

What is the earliest example of a deal with the devil that hinges on a trick of wording?

The deal with the Devil is a common trope. Also common is the notion that you had better check the terms extremely carefully, because the Devil is prone to slipping in tricks of wording to his ...
causative's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
662 views

What is the earliest mention of fae being able to literally steal a human's name?

There is a trope circulating on the internet that if a fae (or fairy, elf, etc.) asks for your name, and you give it to them, they can literally take your name from you, leaving you nameless. How far ...
causative's user avatar
  • 665
3 votes
2 answers
216 views

Does the idea of a human being tricking demons (a bit like Constantine) come from folklore or some particular story predating Hellblazer?

A few years ago, I started reading the Hellblazer comic-book series, and while I enjoyed it a lot, I felt that the concept of a human being tricking demons (something the character Constantine is ...
J-J-J's user avatar
  • 865
7 votes
1 answer
212 views

What was the first time that a life clock was used in sci-fi?

The concept of a life-clock has been used numerous times in sci-fi. A recent example is the 2011 film In Time, where everyone has a clock built into their arm that starts to countdown to zero once ...
A.Steer's user avatar
  • 5,907
18 votes
2 answers
4k views

What was the first work that used an earworm as a defense against a mental attack or probe?

In The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester, which was published over the course of 1952–1953, the existence of a professional caste of psychics is central to the plot. Much of what happens in the novel ...
Buzz's user avatar
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8 votes
0 answers
187 views

What was the first work to consider the issue of Teleportation = Death?

It's common joke that the Star Trek teleporters actually kill the person they dematerialize and recreate a copy. (Last week, SMBC joked that by 2026, all the strip's jokes will be about this question....
Buzz's user avatar
  • 98.6k
6 votes
2 answers
418 views

First Isekai with 'video-game-like' skills?

It seems the only Isekai I hear about these days (at least from friends and on this site) are ones where the characters have "video game skills", but reading up on the genre that's not the ...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
1k views

Earliest 'space locust'/'devouring swarm' type of alien in science fiction?

Modern examples include the Zerg from StarCraft, Tyranids from Warhammer 40,000; the aliens from Alien (1979) are also central examples and seem like the immediate antecedent for most modern takes. ...
RegorOld's user avatar
  • 109
10 votes
6 answers
3k views

What is the first story to contain toys that are alive?

Stephen King wrote the short story Battleground in 1972. The story involves an assassin who kills a toy maker. The assassin then receives a package containing toys which then kill him. The short story ...
A.Steer's user avatar
  • 5,907
19 votes
4 answers
5k views

First instance of a universe being "close enough"

My favorite Simpsons episode is the 1994 Halloween episode in which Homer Simpson repeatedly travels back in time and makes changes in the past, resulting in bizarre alterations to the present. ...
Sean's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
403 views

Gypsy association with both vampires and werewolves: folkloric or from one particular story?

I think Stoker has gypsy minions to Dracula. My question is whether folklore predates this or it was Stoker's invention which gave rise also to werewolves (as in Siodmak's flicks)?
releseabe's user avatar
  • 16k
2 votes
2 answers
223 views

What is the earliest work to have a species deliberately falsify its level of technology?

I am looking for the earliest example of a work where a species pretends to be at a much lower or higher level of technology than the one it has achieved. An example of this would be the Organians in ...
Kevonni's user avatar
  • 443
-3 votes
1 answer
163 views

First occurrence of the hero's counter-plan needing the villain's plan to succeed fully

When was the first occurrence of the hero's plan to save the day require the villain's plan to succeed (at first)? The villains plan needs to succeed fully (so no "actually you thought you did it&...
Parrotmaster's user avatar
  • 2,619
18 votes
1 answer
6k views

When did Dracula first say Blah Blah Blah?

In Hotel Transylvania Dracula is offended whenever anyone who is impersonating him says Blah Blah Blah. In the Dracula mythos, when did Dracula first say Blah Blah ...
A.Steer's user avatar
  • 5,907
1 vote
1 answer
269 views

What is the earliest example of LLMs used for AI in hard-sci-fiction before 2018?

All the AI in fiction, and none that I came across thought it could be helped by brute-forcing language in statistical models. What is the earliest example of large language models or something ...
Jaysen Naidoo's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
205 views

Is there an SF story on the theme of language that does NOT use the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis? [closed]

There are numerous SF stories based on language but I have never heard of one that doesn't focus on the idea that language shapes thought. For example, here is a previous question that lists a few ...
Qwokker's user avatar
  • 167
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

When was the first time a human spoke an alien language in Star Trek, without the use of the Universal Translator?

The Universal Translator in Star Trek translates languages to allow species to communicate with each other. This obviously leads to a need not to know an alien language, as the computer will translate ...
A.Steer's user avatar
  • 5,907
5 votes
0 answers
124 views

What was the first story to depict a modern objective-based approach to artificial intelligence?

A great deal of older science fiction has a rules-based approach to artificial intelligence. Think Isaac Asimov's three laws of robotics: the robot has a set rule, and it follows it. In many such ...
Adamant's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
263 views

Where did the idea of "surrogates for astronauts" appear for the first time?

I have watched the latest season 6 of Netflix's Black Mirror and I have a question about its third episode, Beyond the Sea. This episode is about two astronauts, David and Cliff, who are on a six-year ...
polfosol ఠ_ఠ's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
4k views

What is the origin of the "suddenly you have no mouth" trope?

A fairly common trope in the fantasy/science fiction/horror genre is the sudden absence of one's mouth and the inability to breathe and/or scream. Off the top of my head: Neo in The Matrix and Black ...
ThePopMachine's user avatar
17 votes
2 answers
3k views

What was the literary origin of the idea that in the far future the moon would get closer to the Earth?

Something that comes up a lot in science fiction novels that take place on Earth in the distant future is the idea that the moon will get closer to the Earth (sometimes close enough to share a common ...
Buzz's user avatar
  • 98.6k
22 votes
7 answers
5k views

Which was the first fictional work to bring up the concept of giant bugs?

I was playing some video games, and eventually came face to face against giant bugs. When I realised it's a very common trope which I keep seeing in many games, I jokingly told myself: "Giant ...
Clockwork's user avatar
  • 7,598
5 votes
2 answers
2k views

Which was the first isekai tensei "reincarnated into another world" story?

There is a very popular Japanese animation genre now called "Isekai Tensei", where a person is reincarnated into another world. There are probably over a hundred of these animes now, each ...
Pablo's user avatar
  • 5,791
1 vote
2 answers
263 views

When and where did 'hench' become a verb? [closed]

Inspired by this question, when did people start to use "hench" as a verb? Was there a popular fictional origin, or did this usage originally come from non-fiction discussions of villains' ...
Andrew's user avatar
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7 votes
4 answers
3k views

First story to suggest some successor to steam power?

I would mention that during the 19th century, people spoke of steam (despite it not being very new, perhaps few people had direct contact with it until steam trains, etc. started to expose people) ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 16k
7 votes
0 answers
136 views

What was the first work where the main characters became the 'aliens' who crashed at Roswell?

In some science fiction works, such as Futurama's Roswell that Ends Well and DS9's Little Green Men, established characters somehow go back in time and crash-land near Roswell New Mexico, and ...
Nu'Daq's user avatar
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11 votes
4 answers
3k views

What's the oldest story where someone teleports into a solid or liquid?

Video games coined the term for this — "telefragging." Sometimes two people teleport in the same place instead of one person teleporting into a solid, but it's usually grisly for the ...
andrewthestackexchanger's user avatar
14 votes
3 answers
4k views

What's the first time travel story which acknowledges trouble with tenses in time travel?

It's often said that travelling through time screws up the tense system. Sometimes the fact is lampshaded with something like this: "Then I will have seen my future self in the past... uh... what ...
andrewthestackexchanger's user avatar

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