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Questions tagged [science-fiction-genre]

Used for questions on the science fiction genre itself, including its tropes and conventions. Should **not** be used to categorize questions about specific works of science fiction.

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Where does the archetypal image of the 'Grey' alien come from?

As I show below, typical alien depictions include an elongated, pale face, two dark elliptical eyes, and a small mouth. Who first used this design for an alien? Where does this design come from?
71
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14answers
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Why aren't alien planets as varied in climate as the Earth?

The Earth in all of its varieties has wide ranging climates. At the top level it has tropical, dry, temperate, continental, and polar climates. And yet often the planets depicted in science fiction ...
14
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3answers
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What is the origin of the word “terrans” when referring to humanoids and other earth-related things?

Quite often in science fiction we read an Alien character say: "They're going to the Terran system". "That's a Terran ship." "They're from the planet Terra". I get that Terra is the ...
89
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4answers
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Were there science fiction stories written during the Middle Ages?

Were there science fiction stories written during the Middle Ages (i.e., before circa 1500 AD)? Joannes Kepler wrote a science fiction work called Somnium in 1609, an "interview with a knowledgeable '...
58
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3answers
8k views

What was the first story to be set in the future?

Lots of science fiction stories today are set in the future. Sometimes they give a specific date, like they'll say "AD 2532". Sometimes it's not spelled out but it's obvious, like I'm not sure if Star ...
36
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5answers
19k views

Difference between Space Opera and Science Fiction?

A while back a guy came into the place where I was working. He had a book (I don't remember the name). The book was, according to him, SciFi. I told him, "Great! My favorite SciFi is the Skylark ...
25
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5answers
4k views

Was the original Enterprise truly the first sci-fi spaceship designed purely for exploration?

In this video, the astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson chooses the Enterprise over the Millenium Falcon. One reason he gives is that the Enterprise is the first sci-...
16
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3answers
605 views

Are there subgenres for science fiction with accurate science vs. made up science?

Are there terms that describe a science fiction story that strictly adheres to, I guess, plausible science concepts and technology versus science fiction were the science is really just made up and is ...
19
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1answer
434 views

Did Any SF Stories Predict a Televised Moon Landing?

I've read that even with all the SF stories written about the first landing on the Moon, not a single one written before the Apollo missions were planned ever had any hint that the first landing would ...
14
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16answers
4k views

What is the longest science fiction saga in books? [closed]

What is the longest science fiction saga in amount of books that wasn't created after movies or TV shows (that is, discarding Star Trek, Star Wars, X-Files)? Just to name a few: 2001, Rama, only 4. ...
11
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2answers
661 views

What work of scifi broke the mold of zombies being undead voodoo minions and depicted them as mindless maneaters?

In the beginning, IIRC, zombies were undead creatures created and controlled by voodoo priests or priestesses. What work of scifi was the first to break that tradition by depicting zombies as ...
36
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3answers
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Who was the earliest female science fiction writer?

Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in 1818. I wonder if most readers would consider the book within the science fiction genre. It certainly has claim to the Gothic and horror genres as well. If you do ...
44
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10answers
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What's the 'earliest future' mentioned in a work of science fiction?

Many pieces of science fiction are set in the future. E.g. Back to the Future has a future set in 2015, Bladerunner has one set in 2019, Alien seems to be set around 2087, and so forth. Q: I am ...
97
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2answers
7k views

Is there a term for the science fiction trope where a character lists two historical things and a future thing?

In Babylon 5, for example, a character lists famous bombings like "Hiroshima, Dresden, San Diego" with the first items in the list being real and the last being fictional. This dialog technique of ...
33
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12answers
11k views

What is the latest date for the setting in a sci-fi text or movie?

I was thinking of the Mayans this morning, and the controversy about the Mayan calendar in 2012 (through a long and circuitous thought process). But it got me thinking: Someone back 5000 years ago ...
55
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7answers
5k views

When was the first time that a science fiction story mentioned the concept of a “prison planet”?

For our purposes, "prison planet" may be defined as follows: "An entire planet, or at least the vast majority of its surface area, has been classified as a good place to dump convicted criminals so ...
2
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4answers
303 views

Who are the first dystopian science fiction writers?

My first thought is that in order to have science fiction in the middle age you need science. But magic and science aren't opposites, Amazonian tribes have a unique knowledge and a accurate taxonomy ...
19
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3answers
3k views

Why is green considered a toxic color in movies? [closed]

In movies I often see green used to color dangerous and/or poisonous substances colored green, like green clouds of gas considered poisonous, and green acid considered dangerous. Can anyone explain ...
18
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2answers
3k views

What is the earliest story to present man made machines as a threat to humans?

What is the first depiction of man made machines turning against human? I know of Terminator and Matrix but I suppose the theme is much older than those two? EDIT: I'm thinking more about machines ...
17
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1answer
3k views

What was the First Science Fiction Film?

Is Georges Méliès' film A Trip to the Moon (1902) the first science fiction film ever made? Or are there any SF films before it? I've searched and researched, on and off since I first saw it in a ...
15
votes
1answer
459 views

Was ‘The Return of the Archons’ the first example of “regularly scheduled chaos”?

In the original series Star Trek, the episode "The Return of the Archons" (TOS, S01 E21) has a placid, peaceful society with a scheduled time of utter lawless chaos. Several SFF works since then (like ...
12
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2answers
766 views

Is there a term for real-world science-based SciFi? [duplicate]

I've read just a few books in SciFi genre, never liked it, because it's usually written by writers, not scientists. Though, recently I've read few books written by Peter Watts and Stanislaw Lem. There ...
19
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2answers
3k views

What is earliest version of a “horcrux”? [duplicate]

I just realized a few days ago that Sauron's One Ring is kind-of like a horcrux, in that Sauron can't ever be totally destroyed as long as the One Ring exists. That set me to wondering: did Tolkien ...
12
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3answers
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When was the first driverless car story written?

Reading the question about a future (the future) when non-automatic cars will be illegal, a moment sometimes called the automotive singularity, sparked the question in my mind about when the first ...
9
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2answers
902 views

What is a hollow world?

I have heard the phrase hollow world several times, but seeing the question "Does the Song of Ice and Fire take place in a hollow world?," inspired me to finally Google the topic. This led to a TV ...
5
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4answers
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First instance of the flying saucer as a space craft?

A common idea of a spaceship, especially an alien spaceship, is the classic flying saucer, like the one below: What is the first instance of a flying saucer as a space craft in science fiction? ...
4
votes
1answer
141 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....
4
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1answer
117 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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2answers
2k views

How does Miller's planet in Interstellar have such huge time dilation yet such a small gravitational force? [duplicate]

In Interstellar, the crew of the Endurance experience extreme time dilation (7 years to an hour) on Miller's planet, due to its proximity to a black hole. However, they only feel 130% of Earth's ...