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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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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What devices and ideas of science fiction did mathematician Eric Temple Bell ("John Taine") invent?

I found out, much to my surprise, that Eric Temple Bell wrote a number of science fiction novels under the name John Taine. Eric Temple Bell is well known as a mathematician who wrote a book of "...
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What is the earliest instance of magic smelling like ozone?

Aside from being set in pretty cynical universes, both Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher saga and Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain stories don't have a lot in common, aside from one thing that's nearly ...
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What was Mace Windu's connection to the Whills supposed to be in early drafts of the script for Star Wars?

George Lucas' first draft of the synopsis of the script for Star Wars - written in 1973 and titled "Journal of the Whills" - is said to begin as follows: This is the story of Mace Windu, a ...
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Dedication of Clarke's "Imperial Earth"

Arthur C. Clarke's 1976 novel Imperial Earth is dedicated For a lost friend and has this Hemingway quote on the dedication page Remember them as they were; and write them off. Is the backstory ...
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Where did the belief originate that Cthulhu cultists will be devoured first?

In this excellent answer, user tobiasvl remarks (...) had your question been "Where did the belief that Cthulhu cultists will be devoured first when he awakens originate?", I'd not have answered (.....
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Where did the idea of the 'City in Bottle' originate?

Where did the well known trope of a 'City in a Bottle', as associated with middle eastern mythology, originate? It is referenced in modern culture (see the City in a Bottle Magic: the Gathering Card, ...
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What was the first SF story to feature a quantum anomaly?

This is a question about science fiction, but it concerns a very particular piece of physics. I will give a detailed background before getting to a precise statement of my question. In 1928 Paul ...
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What was the first SciFi story with kinetic space based weapons on Earth?

While it's well-known that Arthur C. Clarke developed the idea of geostationary satellites, it seems far less known that another SciFi author, Jerry Pournelle, developed the idea of kinetic orbital ...
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First use of backwards time travel in fiction?

The First use of time travel in fiction question resulted in forwards time-travel as the accepted answer. So now I'm wondering about backwards time travel. This answer from that question, which I ...
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When did the term "space opera" first refer to the SF subgenre, rather than just formulaic, schlocky SF?

In 1941, Wilson Tucker coined the term "space opera", in parallel with "horse opera" and "soap opera", to refer to schlocky, formulaic writing, the kind of stuff that ...
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Did Tolkien invent the trope of the "green glint" in the eye? If not, who did?

In J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers (1954), Sméagol has a transient "green glint" in his eye when his Gollum alter ego surfaces in his consciousness. At the word hungry a greenish light was ...
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When did the name "Well of Souls" become commonly used in SF and fantasy?

The Well of Souls is an underground passage beneath the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. But it's also a name that crops up repeatedly in fantasy and science fiction. The best known examples of the name ...
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Is there a precedent for the use of "sol" or other terms for solar day?

In these two questions in Space Exploration Stackexchange the origin and use of the word "sol" to describe a solar day on astronomical bodies besides the Earth are being discussed. Like so many things ...
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First science-fiction/fantasy story that converts its exposition to a fictional language?

I'm pretty certain that there are works of fiction purely in a fictional language. For instance I'd be surprised if some uber-geek hasn't written some fan fiction entirely in Klingon. I also know ...
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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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What's the first appearance of Becoming the Costume on Halloween in literature?

What's the first appearance of Becoming the Costume on Halloween in literature? Something turns people into whatever costume they are wearing.
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What DC Comic Book issue was the first to use the phrase "To the Bat-Cave"?

I know it was used almost every week on the 1966 TV series, but I'd like to know if it was used in the comics, and if so, in what DC Comic Book issue was the phrase To the Bat-Cave! first uttered by ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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When was the idea of three bites to become a vampire codified?

In vampire fiction, depending on the author, one common method of creating another vampire is that the vampire maker must bite the victim on three different nights before the victim becomes a vampire. ...
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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 ...
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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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First story to describe cannibalism in a futuristic society?

What is the first sci-fi story (if any) to describe how cannibalism would look in a futuristic society?
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Where did "Dungeon Breaks", a.k.a monsters flooding out of a dungeon, come from?

Where did "Dungeon Breaks", a.k.a monsters flooding out of a dungeon, come from? We know where the term for monster-zone "dungeons" came from, since that was my question... But &...
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The most intelligent individual in our universe joins a society with a crowd of his correspondents in many alternate universes

This trope has been well known recently in the animated series Rick & Morty which depicts a mega-space habitat populated by millions of Ricks ruled by a Council. I don't know of many precedents ...
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Earlier references to spread spectrum than Starship Troopers?

So, I'm re-reading Heinlein's Starship Troopers, for the first time in many years, and I noticed that he describes something very much like spread spectrum radio: The frequency control to maintain ...
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Which author first referred to their own work as Grimdark?

This question does not apply to writers who have called their work grimdark in retrospect. Meaning, after the book had already come out. There are books that came out decades ago, before the term '...
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3 votes
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What is the first work featuring functional zombies at freezing temperatures?

I was reading 'Monster Hunter Alpha' (2011) by Larry Correia and there was a zombie that was able to function with temperatures well below freezing. I am not including details as spoilers. In this ...
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3 votes
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390 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 ...
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2 votes
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Is the tier-based Cultivation system due to modern, possibly LitRPG, influence, or does it come from earlier sources?

How much of the tier-based Cultivation system is a modern creation? As that link says: Ranks / Levels / Layers (级 jí) (层 céng) – a common way to quantify martial power or the progress made in ...
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What is the origin of the trope of enslaved wizards/witches?

I have been reading The Wheel of Time books, and found the Seanchan Damanes to be very similar to The Tethered Mage books, where magic is rare and strictly controlled (even with minders that use ...
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Which was the first story to feature the use of "spiritual energy" to enhance the user physical abilities?

In Hunter x Hunter (1998) people use Nen, which is the ability to control one's own life energy or aura for strengthening one's own physical abilities and creating energy attacks among other things. ...
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2 votes
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Where does the "superheated ground laser" originate?

I've noticed a specific type of laser weapon appearing in various places. Instead of dealing damage by making contact with the target, most of the damage is inflicted by the laser's effects on the ...
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2 votes
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What is the first work that depicts vampirism curing or 'perfecting' somone's physical state?

It's a common trope that once someone has become a vampire, that their minor physical ailments are resolved or cured entirely. What is the first instance of this occurring?
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2 votes
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What was the first movie with an object associated with a person being depicted to fall more slowly on Mars than it would on Earth?

This comment in Space SE got me wondering, and I can't think of a counterexample. Especially since Hollywood seems to think that Mars has 1g (and all other planets too). :-) When an object is ...
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Where did the space-suit design used in Mobile Suit Gundam by the Zeons originate, or did it originate from Gundam?

As the title says. I swear I've seen sci-fi art from before then that had similar suit designs, seen here, and I'm curious of who came up with it originally. It's sort of difficult to find other ...
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2 votes
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Swat Kats: What is the origin of Dark Cat?

In the short-lived [but kick @$$ awesome!!!! ] Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron, the titular heroes faced an impressive roster of villains, ranging from mad scientists [Dr. Viper] to undead sorcerers [...
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Was Gene Wolfe the first to use the animal-plant-mineral naming convention

In The Book of the Long Sun, Gene Wolfe uses the convention that male characters are named for animals or things derived from animals, female characters are named for plants or things derived from ...
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Who was the first person in-universe to call Superman a god?

Plenty of filmmakers and writers have embraced the idea that Superman represents a god descended upon mortal men. I'd like to know who was the first person in-universe that actually referred to ...
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2 votes
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Earliest Telepathic bonding story?

I was wondering about the earliest use of telepathic bonding in both fantasy as well as science fiction. I guess I should narrow it down by excluding simple telepathic 'speaking'. So, I define it as ...
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Do Museos exist in anything other than T. A. Barron's Merlin series? What originated the idea?

In T. A. Barron's Merlin series, a creature mentioned a few times by Barron is the Museo. A Museo is a creature that can produce a single note that carries the weight and meaning of an entire song. ...
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1 vote
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Which was the first sci fi story to feature a character with psychometric powers?

According to Psychometry, Psychometry also known as token-object reading, or psychoscopy is a form of extrasensory perception characterized by the claimed ability to make relevant associations from ...
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1 vote
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What is the earliest story or book combining technological FTL communication with lack of FTL travel?

What is the earliest story or book combining technology for FTL communication with a lack of FTL travel? I first remember encountering this concept in Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game: ("Ender's ...
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1 vote
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Which Sci-Fi work introduced the idea of "Consciousness Backup/ Transfer"?

I have encountered Consciousness Backup/ Transfer technologies countless times in science fiction. Its purpose is achieving indirect immortality most of the time. Some examples on top of my head: The ...
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1 vote
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Who Invented DRADIS?

As the question implies: in the BSG (Battlestar Galactica) reimagined universe, is it ever mentioned in-universe the background of DRADIS (Direction, RAnge, and DIStance) and who invented it? I’m ...
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1 vote
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In what SF&F work did the trope of revealing murals in an ancient ruin originate?

Lovecraft and others used the notion of highly detailed and descriptive murals in the ruins of ancient civilizations. Just by looking at what is painted or carved on the walls, the protagonists of a ...
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The earliest story example of a software engineering workplace immersed into Virtual or Augmented Reality?

Virtual and Augmented Reality are topic of many cyberpunk or similar books, yet I cannot recollect of those authors who approach to describe a VR/AR immersed workplaces in a more or less "hard sci-fi" ...
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Which Sci-Fi work introduced the idea of "Little aliens = Hyper intelligence"?

I have encountered it countless times, but I have two clear examples in my mind at this time: 1. Grey Matter from Ben 10 From Ben 10 Wikia Grey Matter's small size belies his great calculative and ...
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Which Sci-Fi work first showed an exoskeleton capable of flying?

Flying exoskeletons are famous tropes in science fiction. Some examples on the top of my mind: Ironman Star Wars (Boba Fett) Centurians Which Sci-Fi work first showed an exoskeleton capable of ...
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-5 votes
1 answer
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What is the first work to base Hogwarts uniforms on modern school uniforms?

The text of the first Harry Potter book describe the school uniform as a black robe with a black cloak, a hat, and dragon hide gloves when hand protection is needed, and I think that's pretty cool. ...
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Who was the first Fantasy heroine named Alice?

Lewis Carroll’s Alice, From Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, seems to be a good candidate as the “first” Alice in a Fantasy story, but is this the case or were there other fictional heroine Alices ...
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