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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.

120
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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?
3
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2answers
165 views

What are the origins and ur-examples of a “combine all mysteries and conspiracies” sub-genre?

One of my favorite series is "Area 51" by Robert Doherty. Among the things that attracted me was the formula of taking all (or at least a significant amount) of the worlds mythology, weirdness, and ...
5
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3answers
1k views

In Star Trek: TNG, what is the most common away team combo (e.g. Riker, Data, Troi?) and why?

In the video games Star Trek: 25th Anniversary, Star Trek: Judgement Rites, and Star Trek: A Final Unity, the away teams are explained very rationally - e.g. Kirk commanded the team, Spock provided ...
16
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2answers
2k views

What is the first reference to 'video calls' in sci-fi?

I was thinking earlier today about video-calls, which reminded me of the video calls in Back To The Future 2. Then I remembered that a similar technology existed in Gerry Anderson's (RIP) ...
2
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1answer
2k views

What are the largest characters by volume ever depicted in science fiction? [closed]

I'm talking about characters planet/star-system/galaxy-sized. Characters like Unicron, the 2001: A Space Odyssey baby, and even meta-characters, like Tenga Toppa Gurren Lagann (a ship powered by all ...
4
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5answers
394 views

What is the earliest novel/story to deal with cosmically vast expanses of time?

Can anyone tell me the name (and date) of the earliest story that deals with these kinds of journeys through cosmic time? I love stories that include journeys across incredible gulfs of time. I am ...
6
votes
1answer
331 views

Are there specific tropes/details/etc… that characterized Golden Age of Science Fiction?

Wiki article on the Golden Age of Science Fiction mentions a couple of major developments associated with it, but is pretty thin on comprehensive analysis: Space opera came to prominence ...
14
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3answers
803 views

What was the first SciFi work that referred to Pluto as NOT a planet?

In 2006, IAU changed its rules on what constitutes a planet. The most famous downstream impact of the new rules was that Pluto is now classified as Dwarf Planet (Plutoid) among Trans-Neptunial objects;...
11
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1answer
584 views

Why are there so many spiders in space?

In science fiction there are a lot of spiders or spider-like creatures depicted in space. In real life there have also been a lot of studies done on spiders in space. Has science fiction been ...
2
votes
1answer
740 views

What is the tallest terrestrial building/arcology that is not also a space elevator? [closed]

In one of the prequels to Dune books, I forget which, they describe a 900+ story building that is in ruins. In The Night Land, the Last Redoubt is a pyramid seven miles tall. I haven't seen the new ...
14
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6answers
1k views

Do authors ever create conflicting canon to irk fussy fans? [closed]

I know that this site is the haven for anyone who loves to dig deep into their favorite Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Even for a new visitor, from scrolling through this site shows that there's an awful lot ...
2
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1answer
289 views

Are “A Princess of Mars (1912)” & “At the Earth's Core (1914)” the same story?

Both "A Princess of Mars (1912)" and "At the Earth's Core (1914)" are written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Different setting, same style, same story, with a couple of tweaks. Man goes on a journey to ...
5
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1answer
3k views

Fictional Sci-Fi Dates Calendar?

Is there any kind of online database, that features calendar of dates from sci-fi books/movies etc. Not sci-fi real life events calendar, but something similar to this for example, but more detailed
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 ...
13
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4answers
3k views

Why do alien cultures tend to have one language, one religion etc

What are some common logical reasons given within any sci-fi universe for the lack of cultural diversity within a single alien race? Examples of what I mean: Star Trek: Vulcans come from Vulcan and ...
20
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5answers
1k views

What was the first SciFi work that theorized that Homo Sapiens were seeded on Earth by intelligent aliens?

What was the first SciFi work that theorized that Homo Sapiens were seeded on Earth by intelligent aliens (as opposed to all the other Earth species which evolved separately)? The earliest one I can ...
28
votes
8answers
2k views

First use of the term “warp” to denote travel/speed?

I have just watched Space Battleship Yamato (2010) and they used the term "warp" to denote a type of drive. I think Star Trek is the obvious place where this term was first used to describe faster ...
22
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7answers
2k views

What was the first sci-fi work that had an intelligent virus/bacterium?

What's the earliest example of an intelligent virus/bacterium? There have been a number of comic-book characters (e.g. Sublime, Hlavac, Despotellis), television versions (e.g. the black oil from the X-...
9
votes
2answers
578 views

What was the first SciFi work that had a “biologically different” intelligent race?

What was the first SciFi work that had a an intelligent race that was biologically significantly different from humans? Not simply "non humanoid", but, say, non-vertebrate (non-humanoid vertebrates ...
7
votes
1answer
199 views

Which work of science fiction was first to link alien invaders with Halley's Comet?

The 1985 movie Lifeforce featured space vampires traveling in the tail of Halley's Comet. Is Lifeforce the first work of science fiction to link invaders from space with Halley's Comet?
6
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5answers
577 views

What is the earliest example in sci-fi or fantasy FILM containing a family link between Hero and Villain?

I can think of the obvious Star Wars but after that I am stumped. Anyone else have an earlier example? Edited due to question being deemed too broad.
16
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2answers
3k views

What would the sky look like standing inside a Dyson Sphere? [closed]

I am working on a roleplaying campaign guide set inside a Dyson Sphere. It's a solid shell around a star like our own and is 300 million kilometers across centered on the star. The atmosphere hugs ...
8
votes
2answers
422 views

First SciFi book/movie that has species ethics deliberately built based on game theory

What was the first SciFi book/movie that has a species or other large group whose ethics is deliberately built based on game theory? Doesn't have to use the word "Game Theory", as long as the concept ...
71
votes
14answers
8k views

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 ...
8
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2answers
508 views

Do replicators ultimately lead to a money free state? [closed]

In all the two settings I've seen with some form or matter-matter or energy-matter converters (replicators) they both have either no money system (federation in star trek) or some other form of ...
0
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5answers
757 views

Concept of Invisibility [closed]

From the various sci-fi movies & games, Are there any logical theories for the concept of invisibilty?
47
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4answers
9k views

What is that high-pitched sound from all those 50s sci-fi B-movies?

It's an iconic sound but I have no idea what makes it and not much of an idea how to describe it. but I'll give it a try. It's an artificial, high-pitched whistling sort of sound. You normally hear it ...
4
votes
2answers
650 views

Are characters in scifi/fantasy TV shows more likely to die?

There are many science fiction/fantasy TV series where several/many main characters are killed (A Game of Thrones, Firefly / Serenity, Earth: Final Conflict, Robin Hood, even back in Blake's 7 days). ...
9
votes
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 ...
19
votes
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 ...
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 ...
7
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4answers
1k views

Which genre mentioned the first “pleasure” humanoid robot/android?

Which genre mentioned the first "pleasure" (aka sex slave/sex toy) humanoid robot/android? Was it Sci-Fi (the earliest example I can think of is "Tripping the Rift", but i'm certain there were ...
14
votes
4answers
848 views

What's the earliest example in Science Fiction of a robot 100% mimicking a human?

The classic example is, of course, Stephen Byerley from Asimov's "Evidence". Were there SciFi works featuring robots that are able to be indistinguishable from humans (by sight or behavior) prior to ...
20
votes
6answers
614 views

What was the first known mention of artificial food generators?

I'm referring to devices like Star Trek replicators and matter compilers in Neal Stephenson's Diamond Age. Are you aware of any earlier occurrences of such devices in literature or cinema?
6
votes
3answers
209 views

Is there a web site (and/or) the book(s)in which are accumulated theories/ideas from science fiction & fantasy books/movies? [closed]

I'm searching for sites and/or books which have the most interesting theories (pseudo-theories), philosophical/religious ideas, and hypotheses gathered from speculative fiction, primarily, in science ...
18
votes
1answer
418 views

Is JMS's 4-Point System still in use?

At a Baltimore-area convention back in 1997 (I think), I recall that J. Michael Straczynski spoke of a Four Point System that he had developed for rating the overall quality (hardness?) of a piece of ...
14
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3answers
3k views

What is the relationship between fantasy and science fiction? [closed]

While reading another questions, I had to think about what is the relationship between fantasy and science fiction? Is science fiction just a sub-genre of fantasy? If they are considered different ...
10
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4answers
3k views

Science Fiction plot resource (website)

At least five years ago, I had an idea for a website that was a database of plot elements used in science fiction books and movies, creating lists of the works that use each element. So one entry ...
15
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7answers
1k views

First novel to meld science fiction and western genres?

A commercial for an upcoming movie got me thinking about works in which the genres of science fiction and western are combined. I've done some preliminary searching online, and it appears that while ...
19
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5answers
649 views

Why do anthologies have such a prominent place in the history of written SF?

My obsession with science-fiction first came to me through short stories, read in anthologies and single-writer collections. Dangerous Visions and The Science-Fiction Hall of Fame are more or less ...
26
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12answers
1k views

Why are “reboots” not done for novels? [closed]

It's pretty common for science fiction TV shows to be "rebooted" (I would guess more common than other genre because of the way that the science elements date). For example, Battlestar Galactica, ...
16
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3answers
604 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 ...
23
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2answers
2k views

What is Slipstream?

I know it's a subgenre of scifi and fantasy, but what are the defining characteristics? What makes a story slipstream?
13
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4answers
2k views

SF, Sci-fi, Science fiction and Speculative fiction

In communities discussing written s*f*, I've often found the following terminology: Speculative fiction, or sf, is anything that asks “what if?”: stories about the future, fantasy, alternate history, ...
16
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3answers
693 views

Fictional languages: How prevalent is it in SF stories compared to fantasy stories? [closed]

I've come across numerous instances of the development of well-developed fictional language in fantasy stories. How common is it for well-developed fictional languages to be developed in science ...
15
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2answers
305 views

What Sci-fi film scores and soundtracks have won an Oscar? [closed]

Are there any sci-fi films whose musical score or soundtrack went on to win an Academy Award for best musical score? The Fountain comes to mind as having been nominated for a Golden Globe.
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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. ...
53
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9answers
9k views

What is “the prop” used in many Sci-Fi movies?

While watching the Crew Commentary on the Babylon 5 Pilot Movie "The Gathering", I heard JMS and John Navarro talk about "the mystery object", a prop which has supposedly been passed around and ...