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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 is the first example of an intelligent symbiotic organism prior to Marvel comics?

I've been fascinated by Venom since I was a kid, and for years have been drafting short stories inspired by this type of character -- a sentient "infection" that can impart both power and weakness to ...
10
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3answers
2k views

Which SFF movie or TV series first showed Hitler?

Hitler is very famous in fiction world and SFF is no exception. For example, Captain America Comics has shown Hitler countless times since early 40s. But, I am only interested in the movie and TV ...
3
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0answers
165 views

When was hydroponics utilized for the first time in a sci-fi movie or a sci-fi TV show?

In the realms of sci-fi (movie or TV) with extra-terrestrial environments, from the perspective of life support, technological systems are present in order to allow human beings to survive and ...
7
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0answers
131 views

What is the first “stuck in a video game” type story? [closed]

I've recently started reading books that fall under a genre they are calling "LitRPG", and I noticed a lot of similarities to things like .hack and Sword Art Online. I remembered a lot of debate about ...
24
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5answers
6k views

Which Sci-Fi work introduced handheld wireless communicator?

Star Trek: TOS (1966) TV series showed such device long before mobile phones came into existence, but was it the first? In 1926, Tesla envisioned mobile phones even better than Star Trek: There ...
10
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0answers
126 views

What was the 1920's/1930's SF/horror “literary ghetto”?

I was doing some research on the 1920's author Leonard Cline to support an answer to this question, and I came across this October 2006 comment on his works by Weird Tales Magazine (defunct) [the ...
5
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1answer
172 views

Which Sci-Fi work first showed Tardigrades?

Tardigrades are tough creatures which can survive extreme heat, cold, pressure, radiation etc and that's why they are appearing in Sci-Fi works these days. Here are few examples: Star Trek: Discovery ...
-2
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3answers
194 views

Spinning Silver: the first Jewish protagonist in fantasy?

Naomi Novik's recent novel Spinning Silver made me wonder: is it the first fantasy novel with a Jewish main character? Or were there others before it? I am not looking for a shopping list here. ...
4
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0answers
86 views

What is the first instance of a Seeing Stone or Magic Mirror with multiple simultaneous connections?

What is the first science fiction/fantasy world that used a seeing stone or magic mirror in a way where a message/connection is duplicated across multiple endpoints at the same time? I know the Lord ...
8
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3answers
233 views

Which was the first sci-fi story featuring time travelling by passing memories back to your former self?

I've finished watching an anime called Steins;Gate (2011), where one of the time travel methods they feature is traveling back in time by passing memories back to your former self, similar to X-men: ...
3
votes
3answers
100 views

What was the first depiction of Robots/Androids performing faster than humans in movies?

In the movie Aliens, there is a scene where Bishop does his "thing with the knife", showing speed and accuracy that no human would have. In Star Trek:TNG we often see Data entering commands/queries ...
3
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0answers
92 views

Is P.O.E.M. India's first superhero team?

Brahmand Rakshak (ब्रह्माण्ड रक्षक) possibly first appeared in 2002 with the comics of same name. And then, there's Protectors of Earth & Mankind (P.O.E.M). It has appeared in dozens of different ...
33
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9answers
7k views

What was the first fantasy world/universe without real-world ties?

There seems to be a fairly common world building method now of setting fantasy works in standalone universes, completely separate (at least explicitly) from our own world, e.g. A Song of Ice and Fire, ...
2
votes
1answer
159 views

What is the significance of the Red Lotus?

The theme of a Red Lotus seems to show up in various fantasy works. For instance: In Ice Fantasy, where the Red Lotus seems to a magical flower of great power. In The Legend of Korra, where it is an ...
11
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3answers
402 views

“Your culture will adapt to service us” - has it ever?

We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile. ...
4
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1answer
106 views

Where did the term “the living impaired” originate?

In The Simpsons episode 9F04, "Treehouse of Horror III" (1994), Lisa refers to the "zombies" that Bart has just summoned and Bart snarkily replies that Please Lis, they preferred to be called "the ...
0
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3answers
141 views

First example of the poisoned hero's last battle

The two examples I can name off the top of my head are from The 13th Warrior when Buliwyf, dying from the mother's poison, fights his final battle and wins regardless, and in David Gemmell's Drenai ...
6
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0answers
235 views

Earliest historical example of “[super]heroes NEVER kill” and when did the prohibition become pervasive and accepted?

Today, it's often taken for granted or as a truism that heroes don't kill (despite plenty of evidence historically and in fiction to the contrary). In fact, it is often taken to the extreme that the ...
-1
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1answer
104 views

Can Unburied bodies cause plagues? [closed]

I've read several books that involve a massive civil war or conquest and often in these stories there is a link to unburied bodies being left in fields/villages causing a plague. I've done some ...
11
votes
1answer
218 views

What is the earliest known usage of the term “redshirt”?

I'm curious as to when the term "redshirt" is first known to have been used. Just in case anyone needs the background, from Wikipedia: A "redshirt" is a stock character in fiction who dies soon ...
18
votes
3answers
594 views

Are there any clear predecessors to the idea from Harry Potter of wands with special cores?

It now seems like a common idea, perhaps one with a long reaching tradition. But my Google results seem to be solely dominated by Harry Potter references. I've found references to wands with different ...
3
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5answers
299 views

Where does the trope of magic spells being driven by advanced technology originate from?

Imagine a typical fantasy world, where wizards need to perform rituals, or specific hand movements, and utter specific phrases with correct pronunciation to trigger well-defined magic spells. The ...
6
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0answers
174 views

Was the viewscreen in TOS viewed as novel or incremental at the time?

Obviously the original Star Trek presented a number of amazing technologies (even if it wasn't necessarily the genesis of all of them). Today we have amazingly huge high-resolution screens becoming ...
14
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0answers
261 views

Who was the first sci-fi/fantasy character to be betrayed by their cape?

When you are a sci-fi/fantasy character, hero or villain, you might be tempted to wear a cape. Capes are cool. You look cool with a cape, you can hide secret weapons in it, and depending on your ...
46
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6answers
7k views

What was the first work set in a post nuclear war earth?

The first one I know of is A Canticle for Leibowitz, 1959. Are there any earlier ones?
23
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7answers
4k views

What was the earliest story about an AI takeover before the book “Colossus”?

There are hundreds of movies, books, and stories today that have their roots in the 30s-50s. One of my favorites is the "computer takes over the world" genre that birthed movies like the Terminator ...
13
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3answers
539 views

Who was the first superhero to wear a cape in comics?

Plain simple question: Who (and when) was the first superhero to wear a cape in comics? By cape I mean: Superman man type Mandrake type By cape I DON'T mean: Pelts, e.g., Hercules lion pelt By ...
5
votes
1answer
89 views

When was methane first described as a rocket fuel in an SF story or plot?

The SyFy.com article If we’re going to go to Mars, this is how we’ll have to deal with trash ends with Mars and deep space will be an even greater challenge because astronauts will be too far from ...
9
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1answer
2k views

Who was the first comic book superhero to fly without technological means?

We know Superman only started to fly in 1940/1941. So who was the first comic book super hero to fly without: The use of technological means Any gadget or the like (magic carpets, Mjolnir). By fly, ...
8
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2answers
288 views

When did the Suicide Squad start to contain villains?

When did the Suicide Squad start to contain villains? Given the initial squad seems to have been formed of heroes. So here goes my question: Name the issue and launch date of the first villain to ...
12
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0answers
171 views

Which was the first story featuring merging of alternative/parallel universes?

In Orguss (1983), a space-time oscillation bomb explodes, and as a result, several dimensions are merged into one, having Earth inhabited by different races. Reading on the internet, I found about ...
21
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4answers
5k views

Which Sci-Fi work first showed romance between a human and an android?

Here, by android, I mean "an AI robot which looks and acts like a human." It shouldn't just be "Sex Robot". Emotions between both parties need to be involved. At this time, there are two examples in ...
10
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5answers
1k views

Which was the first sci-fi story to feature human transfer of consciousness into an artificial body for eternal life?

I was reading about Galaxy Express 999 (1978), and I saw this manga featured the idea of human transfer of consciouness into an artificial body for eternal life similar to Altered Carbon or with some ...
19
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2answers
3k views

First use of Davy Jones in Scifi and Fantasy Literature

Apparently the Flying Dutchman is believed to be a Dutch man-of-war seen in clouds around the Cape of Good Hope. According to Wikipedia, the origin of Davy Jones is even more vague. So, my question ...
4
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0answers
171 views

Which SFF work first showed “Luck” superpower?

I have encountered Luck superpower several times. Some examples which are in my mind: In Deadpool 2 (2018) movie, there was a mutant girl in X-Force team who had this superpower. In Harry Potter ...
79
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4answers
7k views

Is there an identifiable origin for the association of minotaurs with battle axes?

I was playing an old video game today, and I had to kill an minotaur armed with a battle axe. Afterward, I thought to myself, Minotaurs in fantasy imagery tend to carry axes a lot. I wonder where ...
3
votes
1answer
84 views

What is the first use of “glamour” to describe magic? [closed]

There are a number of stories about magical beings, typically the Fae, that are said to possess "glamour" which gives them a variety of powers. Typically these abilities are somehow illusory but can ...
4
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1answer
166 views

Writing PAX on the Moon

I know that a Czech author J.M.Troska had a character write PAX on the Moon with a death ray in his book Captain Nemo I. Nemo's empire (1939). I only know about these books because I got my hands on ...
4
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1answer
180 views

When, Where and Why did the fashion to depict Fantasy Dark Lords Wearing Spiked Crowns Start?

I am asking when, where, and above all why, did the fashion to depict dark lords in fantasy stories wearing spiked crowns start? Why do some artists think that is a good idea? Most high fantasy ...
3
votes
2answers
127 views

Which Sci-Fi work first showed artificial destruction of a planet?

We see artificial destruction of a planet lots of times. Famous examples are: Destruction of Alderaan by Death Star in original Star Wars movie (1977) Destruction of Earth to build Hyperspace Bypass ...
3
votes
1answer
100 views

What Was the First Science Fiction Use of Space Quadrants?

In Star Trek TOS episodes, interstellar space was divided into large volumes each containing at least several stars. These volumes were identified as sectors and quadrants. http://memory-alpha.wikia....
5
votes
1answer
91 views

What was the first Science Fiction use of Space Sectors?

In space operas is it common to divide interstellar space into sectors and/or quadrants containing at least several stars each. Star Trek TOS used both "sector" and "quadrant" as divisions of ...
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1answer
164 views

Which SFF work first showed virgin birth?

Star Wars showed virgin birth of Anakin. "There was no father." - Shmi Skywalker (to Qui-Gon) Which science fiction or fantasy work first showed virgin birth? Note: Real-world mythologies ...
38
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3answers
6k views

What was the first 3D CGI used in Star Trek?

This means I'm seeking the first three-dimensionally computer-modeled and rendered imagery used in Star Trek. We know there was extensive 3D CGI used in DS9 (Odo) and Voyager (USS Voyager). But ...
0
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0answers
46 views

Origin of the Short Fat Headed Alien Concept [duplicate]

Anyone knows when that concept was first used? There are so many cases that describe them like that, like the Roswell case, but what I'm wondering is if there is a origin story or movie that ...
3
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0answers
135 views

What was the first instance of a relationship between werewolves and vampires? [duplicate]

What was the first known instance of a story that provides a relationship between werewolves and vampires? What was that relationship? In some movies (Underwold, Van Helsing and Twilight), werewolves ...
20
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4answers
3k views

What is the first known work of fantasy to feature a sentient weapon?

Similar to this question asking for magic sword examples, I was curious as to the first depiction of a sentient (independent feelings/thoughts) weapon? It doesn't need to necessarily be able to speak, ...
17
votes
1answer
639 views

Where did the term “sophont” originate?

I recently finished Ken Liu's phenomenal English translation of Liu Cixin's The Three-Body Problem, and the term "sophon" to describe an AI constructed out of a sub-atomic particle reminded me of the ...
35
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4answers
6k views

What was the first instance of a fighter spacecraft

While spaceships of varying size and technology have long been a fixture of sci-fi, fighter sized spacecraft used for combat seem to have only appeared in the late 70s. Since fighter planes have been ...
6
votes
1answer
171 views

What was the earliest work that identified the pineal gland as an ESP organ?

The pineal gland is, evolutionarily speaking, a weird object. It probably began as a photoreceptor organ, and in some vertebrates (such as tuataras) it is still connected to the parietal (third) eye. ...