Questions tagged [terminology]

This tag is for questions about words, terms, or phrases in Sci-Fi or Fantasy.

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14
votes
4answers
887 views

Earliest science-fiction mention of space stations?

Heinlein's The Puppet Masters, published in 1951, involved three space-stations orbiting Earth. I am curious to know which was the earliest science-fiction which involves space-stations. Furthermore, ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Why are downloads destructive in the Star Trek universe?

There are numerous places in various Star Trek episodes where references are made to the fact that "downloads" are a destructive operation: you download something from one place, and unless you ...
15
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3answers
4k views

Is there a single word that describes both Witches and Wizards?

In the Harry Potter world, there's the term "muggle" for people with no magical abilities, "muggle-born" for those with magical abilities who's parents are muggles and "squib" for those with no ...
31
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3answers
2k views

What is a retcon, or retroactive continuity?

I understand that it is short for retroactive continuity, but could someone explain the concept and provide some examples to illustrate?
15
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3answers
634 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 ...
-3
votes
1answer
4k views

What are the different Star Wars Canons? [duplicate]

I've seen many many references across this site to C-Canon, G-Canon and a couple of N-Canons when answering Star Wars questions. I assume G-Canon has something to do with George Lucas but what are ...
100
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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 ...
38
votes
10answers
33k views

What is the difference between “Warp” and “Transwarp”?

In Star Trek III, Kirk takes the Enterprise out on a little "joyride", with the U.S.S. Excelsior in hot pursuit (initially). The audience learns that the Excelsior is equipped with "trans-warp drive". ...
20
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5answers
75k views

What is the difference between Alchemy, Sorcery and Witchcraft? [closed]

From a science fiction/fantasy point of view (I don't want to start a religious debate). From what I understand from the stories I've read, Alchemy combines magic and science. But then what is ...
30
votes
4answers
10k views

What does punk in steampunk mean?

There's an earlier question about the definition of steampunk, but the answers gloss over the 'punk' part of it, except for vaguely connecting it to cyberpunk. So is there any significance to the '...
12
votes
2answers
811 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Are 'robot' and 'droid' used interchangeably?

In Episode IV, after Luke is rescued from the Sand People by Ben Kenobi, he refers to C-3PO and R2-D2 as robots rather than droids. This struck me as odd as the latter seems to be the preferred term ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Was “Sanctuary Moon” a proper name specifically limited to the forest moon of Endor, or a category representing a general type of moon?

The forest moon of Endor is sometimes referred to as "the Sanctuary Moon". Is the term "Sanctuary Moon" a proper name, unique to the Ewok's homeworld, or is the forest moon of Endor merely one of ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

What do the terms 'Doylist/Doylian' and 'Watsonian' mean? [closed]

Having been a bit of a lurker recently I've noticed a rise in the terms, 'Doylist', and 'Watsonian' when referring to opinion based replies or to describe character thoughts, feelings and reasoning ...
-6
votes
1answer
215 views

Futuristic visual style - Thor: Ragnarok, Transistor video game [closed]

What is this colorful and futuristic visual style you can see in Thor: Ragnarok the Transistor video game? Thor: Ragnarok - end credits - YouTube.
33
votes
1answer
7k views

What is a nerf?

In the classic scene, Princess Leia slams Han Solo by calling him a stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder While clearly this cuts Han to the bone, I'...
20
votes
3answers
11k views

What is a quad?

Quads are mentioned often in the Star Trek universe, in varying orders of magnitude (kiloquad, megaquad, gigaquad, etc.). What exactly is a quad, as it relates to modern technology? (The Memory ...
19
votes
3answers
5k views

Is the term “muggle” pejorative?

I am curious as to what the origin of the term "muggle" is, and whether there is any reason why non-magic folk should not be offended by it. In other words, if there is a reasonable origin that ...
18
votes
6answers
5k views

The origin and use of the term TARDIS

In the first serial, "An Unearthly Child", Susan Foreman claims, "I made up the name TARDIS from the initials, Time And Relative Dimension In Space." In "The Name of the Doctor", the guard watching ...
16
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5answers
5k views

What is headology in Discworld?

In Discworld, Granny Weatherwax discusses "headology" fairly often as one of the keys to her power. What exactly does she mean by the term?
7
votes
1answer
228 views

What is an “Otik Style” nymph?

Under "Unanswered" questions, in July, Tark described a wonderful story I'd like to see too. Tark describes it as "Wood nymph (otik style) who becomes a scientist" What does "otik style" mean? (I'm ...
-1
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3answers
1k views

Meaning of “Point Blank Range” in the final battle of RoTJ?

While commanding the rebel forces against the Empire at the climax of Return of the Jedi, Lando responds to to the Death Star's activation by order the rebels to engage the fleet of Imperial Star ...