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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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Which was the first sci fi story to succesfully predict a future event/technology etc.? [closed]

I've read that science fiction started to have a higher reputation after an FBI agent went to investigate how a science fiction writer knew about the nuclear bomb they were creating. He didnt know, he ...
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3answers
94 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 ...
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0answers
75 views

What is the highest number a comic book issue ever achieved naturally? [migrated]

Action Comics #1000 was first published in the US earlier this year. I got the impression that this seemed to be an unheard of before milestone. Most likely due to the fact that such a daunting ...
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0answers
82 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 ...
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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, ...
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1answer
148 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 ...
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3answers
343 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. ...
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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 ...
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3answers
131 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 ...
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0answers
226 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 ...
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1answer
102 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 ...
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1answer
212 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 ...
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3answers
566 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 ...
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5answers
290 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 ...
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0answers
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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 ...
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0answers
245 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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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3answers
484 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 ...
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1answer
85 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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, ...
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2answers
282 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 ...
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0answers
159 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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0answers
152 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
75 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 ...
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1answer
174 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 ...
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2answers
121 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 ...
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1answer
96 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....
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1answer
87 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
152 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 ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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0answers
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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 ...
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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
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1answer
534 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 ...
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1answer
119 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. ...
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1answer
1k views

Was Wicket W. Warrick named after Warwick Davis?

Wicket W. Warrick is an Ewok from the Star Wars universe. The character first appeared in Return of the Jedi and was intended to be played by R2-D2 actor Kenny Baker. However, Baker fell ill and was ...
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1answer
193 views

First instance of human/centaur romance

Throughout the TV shows Hercules and Xena, humans being romantically involved with centaurs is pretty common, despite it being so controversial. What is the earliest example of this happening in ...
4
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1answer
64 views

Where does the notion of being injured or killed by an illusion originate?

It is a standard trope, especially in fantasy role-playing games, that characters may be injured (or even killed) by illusionary creatures or obstacles that the victims believe in. I would like to ...
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1answer
197 views

What is the earliest work of sci-fi that features crows as an advanced/technologically evolved species?

Inspired by this news article about crows and technology evolution. What is the earliest work of sci-fi that features crows that have evolved to near or beyond human levels of technology/advanced ...
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1answer
1k views

When and where was the name “Kal-El” first used?

When and where was the name Kal-El first used? I know Jor-El (formerly Jor-L) was in the earlier prints. But, when was the name "Kal-El" first used/created to designate Superman?
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2answers
444 views

Is Alfred’s batsuit based on a previous work?

In The Lego Batman Movie, Alfred dons a Batsuit of his own to help the rest of the Bat-family save Gotham. The movie has several easter eggs and references to previous Batman works so I was ...
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140 views

identify author based on almost no information

I asked John Varley about this directly, but he says he forgot. in his 1986 short "the Unprocessed Word", he cites three other authors whose work in longhand and/or typewrite proves that you don't ...
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0answers
74 views

Which SFF comics first used a grawlix?

I have a feeling that grawlixes were designed for comedy cartoons used in newspaper columns (although I can't find its exact origin; not talking about the term "grawlix" which I believe was coined in ...