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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14
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4answers
3k views

What was the first sci-fi TV series to have titles for each episode?

Star Trek: The Original Series had titles for each episode. (e.g. - “Amok Time,” “Balance of Terror,” “The Doomsday Machine,” and so forth.) Doctor Who episodes had titles as far back as 1963. (e.g. -...
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4answers
244 views

What was the first self-referential scifi book?

I think it was the first book of Zelazny's Amber series where the main character Corwin has a chat with his retired military buddy while on an excursion to our world. The buddy wonders aloud if we're ...
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2answers
300 views

To what extent were the writers of Bill and Ted's aware of the TARDIS?

I mean, they're both time traveling phone booths.... Doctor Who obviously predates Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, but was also possibly quite obscure for Americans pre-Internet.
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First sci-fi based explicitly on the Hiroshima bomb?

Reading the synopsis of Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965), it involves a feral child who was affected by the bombing of Hiroshima. (It really sounds kind of intriguing despite apparently goofy ...
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5answers
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What is the earliest instance of “Dark Elves” in modern Fantasy?

In many different modern fantasy settings, Dark Elves as a race share some common traits, and can be considered to be an archetype of sorts from which each setting adapt some features to better fit in ...
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0answers
108 views

Looking for source of the argument: Zombies are communists, vampires are capitalists

Hope this is the right forum for this question. About 10-15 years I came across a discussion/text. In this there was an argument, that zombie stories were a metaphor for the (capitalist) fear of ...
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Which was the first sci fi story to feature self incorporated teleportation?

Many sci fi stories have the idea of teleportation or instant transmission. This question in Sci-Fi SE has covered the first use of teleportation using a machine (aka transporter). But how about self ...
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What work originated the term “dark lord” as a conventionalized title for a preternatural overlord?

In a comment on one of my recent answers, someone snarked at my calling Darth Vader "the dark lord," as if that title were specific to Voldemort from the Harry Potter novels. Actually, the title is ...
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What was the first work to show silicon-based life as “rocky”?

With the discovery (in the early twentieth century) that molecular biology is based on the interactions of carbon-chain molecules, it was naturally suggested that extraterrestrial life would probably ...
6
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1answer
168 views

Who was the first to attribute superhuman intelligence to vampires?

I believe Dracula in Stoker was portrayed as clever -- not sure that this is explicitly discussed anywhere in the book: wisdom acquired through the centuries or supernatural cunning. In Salem's Lot, ...
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Which was the first story to feature force fields?

In science fiction series and movies like Star Trek, Star Wars, The war of the worlds, Independence Day (1996) , Macross (1982) , spaceships and/or robots use force fields to protect the mechas from ...
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What are the earliest instances of a virus causing large-scale mutations?

The Resident Evil series of movies and video games regularly features grotesque monsters created from the exposure of humans and animals to the T-virus/G-virus/C-virus. Obviously the way this is ...
6
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1answer
193 views

What is the earliest example of an eldritch abomination in human form turning to slime after death?

Fantasy, science fiction, and horror literature are replete with examples of inhuman beings with human-like forms, often to work wickedness among mankind. When they are slain, such monsters' glamours ...
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3answers
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Who first proposed the idea of citizens having to wear bombs?

Who was the first to propose in speculative fiction that citizens all wear bombs that could be remotely activated as a measure to keep people obedient to the law? The earliest I can think of was Jack ...
2
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2answers
270 views

Whose mother's name was known first?

What was the first instance for both Superman and Batman of the reader learning the name of their human mother? I am looking for a rough idea of real life time (year) as well as issue number.
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Did the original X-wing Starfighter have a fifth thrust source?

It is well known that X-wings Starfighters are driven by 4 fusial thrust engines mounted on each wing but in an early 1975-76 Star Wars concept art by Joe Johnston and an original painting by Ira ...
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1answer
138 views

When did vampires first come about? [closed]

I am researching a vampire essay thing and I can not find the exact date as to when they were first seen or what the story was that first had vampires in it.
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Which Sci-Fi work introduced the concept of “AI Doctor”?

We see AI doctors in Sci-Fi works all the time. Examples can be the famous medical droids of Star Wars (first encounter 1980): Click images to enlarge. The Doctor (Emergency Medical Hologram Mark ...
6
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2answers
302 views

Did a SciFi magazine really feature a story by L Ron Hubbard about founding Scientology?

On another Q&A site, I read a couple posts from someone. The posts claimed that a certain SciFi magazine (Some others in the comments speculate that it might be either Astounding or Analog, BUT IT ...
5
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3answers
364 views

What was the first retconned superhero origin story?

Inspired by this question. The “Superboy” in that question not only isn’t the “original”, his origin story even as the “new” Superboy has apparently changed multiple times. There was a time when ...
7
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5answers
276 views

Earliest story with mind-transfer to a biological body custom-made to replace a worn-out/dying body

Around the turn of the millennium there were a couple of stories in which mind transfer played a more or less important role. With mind transfer, I'm referring to the transfer of an individual's ...
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7answers
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What were the prevailing real-life cultural connotations of “clones” in 1975 (Star Wars' 3rd draft)?

The original 1976 Star Wars script references The Clone Wars (which wouldn't be realised in fiction until decades later): LEIA: General Kenobi, years ago you served my father in the Clone Wars. Now ...
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What is the earliest example of an accidental origin of life or civilisation?

The trope The essence of the trope goes like this: Somebody creates a new biosphere or civilisation by accident, such as leaving some sandwich lying around. Often, the product is microscopic with ...
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Is the Night's Watch voting system based on history?

In Game of Thrones S5E2, the Night's Watch holds a "choosing" to select the next Lord Commander. To vote, each member places a ring-shaped token over the dowel corresponding to their preferred ...
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3answers
163 views

First use of a fossil vertebrate footprint in speculative fiction

Dinosaur tracks were brought to the attention of scientists in the early nineteenth century, before dinosaurs were properly understood. The first published reports in North America were in 1836, ...
3
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1answer
276 views

When was the Spear of Destiny used for the first time as a plot device?

I remember an episode from the 1997 TV series Roar featuring a young Heath Ledger where the Spear of Destiny, also known as the Holy Lance or the Lance of Longinus, appeared as a plot device, but I ...
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1answer
102 views

When was the first time that a human skull with a black raven sat upon it was used to refer to Edgar Allan Poe?

I am curious about when was the first time (novel, tale, paint, drawing, etc.) that the iconic human skull/raven motif was used to refer to the Master of the Macabre, Edgar Allan Poe?
3
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1answer
141 views

What was the first work with High-rise buildings on the Moon?

Provided that on our Moon the gravitational forces are much smaller than on Earth and that the lateral forces (wind, moonquake) are negligible, it could be possible to construct buildings a few km ...
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2answers
339 views

What was the first science-backed example of human-powered, flapping-wing flight on Luna?

Forty-some years ago, I read a fact article in Analog magazine that said humans ought to be able to fly with arm-powered flapping wings -- on the Moon, with increased atmospheric pressure/density. ...
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4answers
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What's the origin of the trope that dragons used to be common but aren't any more?

It's common in fantasy stories for dragons to be formerly common but rare or extinct by the time of the story, for example, in Discworld, Game of Thrones, and perhaps The Hobbit (I can't recall enough ...
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1answer
115 views

Why don't dragons walk like other lizards? [closed]

I just occurred to me that, in all fiction that I can think of, dragons don't move like other lizards. I want to clarify that I'm talking about more traditional 4-legged dragons and not 2-legged ones (...
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Who was the first to make use of the joke “You mean, when are we?”

There is a very common joke in time-travelling stories. One person asks "Where are we?" and the other responds, "When are we?". What is the earliest instance of this joke being made? I am ...
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2answers
178 views

Which SFF work was first to use dinosaurs?

We see dinosaurs in SFF worlds all the time. e.g. Jurassic Park, Terra Nova, Doctor Who, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Teen Titans etc. After the discovery of dinosaurs, which SFF work was ...
3
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1answer
154 views

Is there any information on Zordon of Eltar?

The American version of Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger, or the Might Morphin Power Rangers, introduces their mentor Zordon as a "Space Wizard" who was trapped in a dimensional tube. Im the Japanese original, ...
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7answers
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Where does the image of a data connector as a sharp metal spike originate from?

In several fictional universes, if a robot or cyborg has to physically interface with a computer, a very long sharp metal spike is used, instead of a normal cable socket with multiple wires insulated ...
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1answer
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What is the origin of the “clerics can create water” trope?

All Dungeons and Dragons edition I'm familiar with have its Cleric character class. Apparently, D&D Cleric is a trope of its own. Many D&D "clerical" spells were still inspired by popular ...
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4answers
613 views

What's the origin of the trope where *healthy* immortality is a cause for sadness?

In the spirit of this question: In a lot of science fiction and fantasy, there is the trope of someone becoming immortal, but then being really sad about it... ...but ruling out the immortals who ...
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10answers
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What is the origin of the “being immortal sucks” trope?

In a lot of science fiction and fantasy, there is the trope of someone becoming immortal, but then being really sad about it, deciding that it is worse than being mortal. What is the oldest work to ...
3
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3answers
234 views

What was the earliest printed map in the modern (since 1800) fantasy genre?

Like many readers, I was enraptured by the maps in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (1954-55) and The Hobbit (1937). After their 1965 reprinting in a widespread American edition, maps became ...
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1answer
242 views

What was the earliest printed map in the modern science fiction genre?

Like many readers, I was enraptured by the maps in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (1954-55) and The Hobbit (1937). After their 1965 reprinting in a widespread American edition, maps became ...
79
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4answers
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Sol Ⅲ = Earth: What is the origin of this planetary naming scheme?

It appears to be a fairly common planetary naming scheme in science fiction: Take the common name (or its bayer designation) of star and append the planetary ordinal in the form of a Roman or Arabic ...
5
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1answer
112 views

What work contained the first mushroom trees?

Mushroom trees are a familiar component of exotic locales, like Draenor (Warcraft), Morrowind (The Elder Scrolls), and Felucia (Star Wars). The first example I know of is the Mushroom Planet series ...
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14answers
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Was there an original and definitive use of alternate dimensions/realities in fiction?

The fictional device or premise of alternate dimensions or realities seems so common today that it requires almost no explanation when used in stories. But despite how common this is now, it must have ...
3
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1answer
252 views

What was the first science fiction series?

What was the first science fiction series? Did any series predate the 1936 series of Flash Gordon? I don't really know a sensible way to search IMDb for the answer. Wikipedia, erroneously, suggests:...
5
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3answers
240 views

What is the first work of science fiction to take place during or after the most drastic effects of unintended human-caused climate change from CO₂?

Of the science fiction I have read, a lot of it takes place very or somewhat far into the future, but, even among quite recent stuff, a large majority of it makes no mention of what the Earth will be ...
10
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1answer
369 views

When was the first time Batman disappeared at the end of a conversation?

Batman has a habit of talking to someone like Commissioner Gordon, then disappearing when their back is turned. When was the very first time that Batman did this, either in the comics or some other ...
2
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1answer
115 views

When was DNA evidence from a crime investigation in space first used in a SciFi plot?

In the Space SE question Why were blood and hair follicles from 25 people put on the Moon? I wrote It sounds more like a potential plot for a future CSI Spaceforce episode. That got me thinking, ...
5
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4answers
275 views

Earliest story to mention the different surface gravity on the Moon

What was the first science fiction story to mention that the Moon has a lower surface gravity than the Earth? I'm sure that was mentioned many times in science fiction before the Space Age began in ...
7
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2answers
479 views

What was the earliest appearance in SF of a likeable AI character?

In Heinlein's 1966 classic "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" the loss of self awareness in Mike (HOLMES) the computer struck me indelibly in my formative years. This speaks to Robert A Heinlein's ...
8
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1answer
330 views

Where did the term “hazard-class” to describe a wizard, sorceress, etc. originate?

I just enjoyed Scott Lynch's "The Fall and Rise of the House of the Wizard Malkuril" in Dozois' The Book of Magic. There seemed to be many more and less obscure references to fantastic fiction, and ...