Questions tagged [terminology]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
15
votes
4answers
2k views

What word describes organisations like the Federation, Klingon Empire, and Dominion in Star Trek?

There are many territorial areas and governmental bodies in Star Trek: The United Federation of Planets The Klingon Empire The Romulan Empire The Ferengi Alliance The Dominion and probably a host of ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Where did the term “Zombie” originate from? [closed]

As I said above, where did the term "Zombie" originate from? Why can't we just call them the "reanimated"?
23
votes
3answers
4k views

Why do the Borg refer to themselves as “We” and not “I”

In Star Trek:The Next Generation, there was much made of the Borg being a singular entity, such that one Borg couldn't detach itself from another easily, analogous to a person being unable to easily ...
-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 ...
34
votes
7answers
5k views

Why is the Centauri state called a “Republic” when it has an emperor?

A republic is a state that is not a monarchy, while an emperor is clearly a monarch, so how is it that the Centauri Republic in Babylon 5 has an emperor? This isn't a question of accuracy but of ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the “airport” part of a space station called? [closed]

In a huge space station where thousands of people live and work, the section where space ships dock, passengers wait to board, and goods are being unloaded, will very likely be separate from the ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

Origin of word “matrix” used to describe a virtual reality environment?

What's the origin of the word "Matrix" used as either a name or a description of a virtual reality environment? The best known example is of course from the film of the same name, and it's widely ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Was Luke ever a padawan?

By the strictest definitions was Luke Skywalker ever a padawan? If you relax the restrictions, are there any valid canonical reasons for calling him one?
11
votes
3answers
3k views

Where did the term “energy signature” originate?

Lots of sci-fi franchises (Stargate, Eureka, Transformers to name a few) love to throw around the term "energy signature" when they want to indicate that something can be magically identified, ...
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 ...
2
votes
4answers
3k views

How do I address someone with a term that is the opposite of Jedi?

I am writing a wedding ceremony for two folks who are huge Star Wars fans. Most of the ceremony is typical (with the exception of "I do" or do not. There is no try.) but, at the end, before I ...
14
votes
4answers
889 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, ...
11
votes
3answers
719 views

Term for tricks in literature [closed]

In A Clash of Kings, A Song of Ice and Fire - Book 2, Tyrion tells three different stories about Myrcella to three different people in order to discover the fink. That was a great tactic. Is there a ...
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
416 views

Is there a name for the kind of magic involving knotting and untying?

A fantasy book by Dianna Wynne Jones called Charmed Life has a character named Julia, she uses magic by knotting and untying a handkerchief. In the kid's book series called Magic Tree House, the main ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there an in-universe name for the “Vulcan Salute”?

I was about to ask someone about their usage of a particular hand gesture, which is similar to the way Vulcans use their "Salute" alongside the standard greeting of "Live long, and prosper" when I ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

What is a “Plutition Camp”?

Okay, we're deep blue inside baseball here. In the original Blade Runner script, Batty's valedictory speech goes like this: “I’ve known adventures, seen places you people will never see, I’ve ...
23
votes
4answers
8k views

Why so little steam in steampunk?

In the vast majority of discussions of Steampunk work, in art and culture I see more references to clockwork items than steam-powered paraphernalia. It seems as though the term is more or less ...
19
votes
1answer
5k views

What does the term “breeder” mean in The Chronicles of Riddick?

In The Chronicles of Riddick, both Vaako and his wife Dame Vaako refer to Riddick as a "breeder". Is this a race they are presuming he is a member of? I say "presuming" because later on What does the ...
15
votes
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 ...
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 ...
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
votes
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 ...
-2
votes
2answers
254 views

When speaking to (or rather writing about) a Sci Fi/Fantasy World what is a “PERSON” [closed]

Whether it is the original author or fan's engaged in discussion, Does the word "Person" exclusively refer to a "human" or can non-humans be "persons" too? Are Elves "People", was (is) Yoda a person?
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 '...
16
votes
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?
15
votes
3answers
636 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 ...
28
votes
4answers
6k views

When did the terms science fiction and sci-fi enter our vernacular?

I know there's some debate on exactly when "science fiction" itself became a genre, but I'm curious if anyone knows either 1) when the term science fiction was coined and 2) when sci-fi became ...
31
votes
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?
23
votes
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
votes
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, ...

1
2