62 votes
Accepted

Old story where computer expert digitally animates The Lord of the Rings

"The Accomplice" (April 1967), by Vernor Vinge "The Accomplice" Originally published in Worlds of If Science Fiction, 1967. Bob Royce, CEO of Royce Technology, Inc., and his ...
Gaultheria's user avatar
  • 17.4k
54 votes
Accepted

Tony sent Pepper to get some files off his work computer. Why couldn't he do that himself?

Tony did not want to tip his hand to Obadiah Stane that he was suspicious of him. Obadiah had been cordial up to that point (and given that Obadiah tries to kill him afterward, Tony's fears would have ...
Machavity's user avatar
  • 51.7k
38 votes

First fictional programming language in sci-fi or fantasy?

What about Gateway from 1977? Interspersed throughout the book are excerpts from the main character's sessions with an artificially intelligent psychiatrist program (which he calls Sigfrid von Shrink),...
Kryten's user avatar
  • 793
38 votes
Accepted

Early 1980s short story (in Asimov's, probably) - Young woman consults with "Eliza" program, and gives it anxiety

Found it! Transference by Sharon Webb, and available here Anxious woman: While she was waiting for the elevator, Marilyn Taylor decided she had eaten too much lunch. She always ate too much when she ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 41.2k
37 votes
Accepted

Identify this 80's movie about a force-field shaped like a bubble

Probably Explorers: Ben Crandall is a young teen living in the suburbs of Washington DC who experiences vivid dreams about flying through clouds and over a vast, city-like circuit board...usually ...
starpilotsix's user avatar
  • 31.4k
37 votes

First fictional programming language in sci-fi or fantasy?

The earliest I can find of what I believe is a fictional programming language is in Jurassic Park (1990). We see Dennis Nedry's code and then Ray Arnold digging into it to find the problem. As far as ...
TheLethalCarrot's user avatar
  • 143k
35 votes
Accepted

Robotic Spaceships have a human prisoner to maintain them

Outer Limits, new series, season 5, episode 7, The Human Operator. Based on a short story, so you might have remembered that.
o.m.'s user avatar
  • 5,231
35 votes

First fictional programming language in sci-fi or fantasy?

Valentina: Soul in Sapphire (Joseph H. Delaney and Marc Stiegler, Baen Books, 1984) talks about MODULISP. Here are a few lines quoting that: She could write new machine language routines, of course, ...
Ross Presser's user avatar
  • 5,535
33 votes

How could Mr. Fantastic’s computer see distant planets in real-time in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer?

Is the scene in the video clip below the one you're thinking of? REED RICHARDS: I've been cross-referencing the Surfer's radiation through every astronomical database. Altair Seven... Rigel Three... ...
LogicDictates's user avatar
32 votes

What is the earliest portrayal of cell phones as we know them now?

The Joymaker from Pohl's 1966 "Age of the Pussyfoot" comes remarkably close. This article elaborates: The principle of it was clear enough. It was a remote input-output station for a shared-...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 41.2k
30 votes
Accepted

What programming language is used in The Martian?

It seems like this is PVS, a Lisp variant language, also related to Prolog. See also the PVS specification page. This particular piece of code is from the NASA PVS library, and you can find it in ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
29 votes
Accepted

1950s short story where the universe is running out of space to store data

MS Fnd in a Lbry by Hal Draper? It was published in 1961 so near about the time-frame you recall. There are no "nudged atoms", but there is mention of "nudged quanta": Out of his ...
fez's user avatar
  • 16.5k
28 votes

First fictional programming language in sci-fi or fantasy?

"The Black Cloud", Fred Hoyle, 1957. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Cloud The hero (or at least the chap who consistently made the right decision) pulled an all-nighter writing an ...
Mark Morgan Lloyd's user avatar
27 votes
Accepted

Which programming languages are used in the Star Trek universe?

C++ No, seriously, they still use C++. Heck, they're even still doing their own memory management! In Star Trek: Discovery 1x03 "Context is for Kings", Stamets asks Burnham to "...
Thunderforge's user avatar
  • 51.5k
25 votes

Story about two men and a supercomputer with all answers

I am looking for a short story "Ask a Foolish Question" by Robert Sheckley. You can read it at Project Gutenberg or listen to a reading at Librivox. where 2 men (very old and young) looking ...
user14111's user avatar
  • 161k
25 votes
Accepted

Which story involved computers that used humans to avoid being frozen?

This is almost certainly The Beast Adjoins, by Ted Kosmatka. First published in Asimov's Science Fiction, July-August 2020. No synopsis yet on isfdb, but the full story is available directly from ...
CrownEther's user avatar
25 votes

What is the earliest portrayal of cell phones as we know them now?

This answer is based on my answer to the old question What sci-fi work introduced handheld wireless communicators?. A pocket telephone from 1915 and a pocket videophone from 1930, no mention of ...
user14111's user avatar
  • 161k
22 votes
Accepted

Short story about elections being determined by one vote

"Franchise" by Isaac Asimov, previously identified as the answer to this old question. (It was also posted as an answer, though not the accepted answer, to this other question.) From ...
user14111's user avatar
  • 161k
21 votes

Two computers buried under the earth

Could this be Colossus by D.F Jones? There are two computers, one in the West (the titular Colossus) and one in the East (Guardian) tasked with managing their bloc's nuclear deterrent from inside ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 685k
21 votes

Is "Miss Clarke and the Computer" (1973) the first published song written from an intelligent machine's point of view?

Earlier came OZ and its strange inhabitants: From the musical “The Tik-Tok Man of Oz”, 1913. Words by L. Frank Baum. Music by Louis F. Gottschalk. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 ...
Jiminy Cricket.'s user avatar
21 votes
Accepted

Short story about a programmer fired by mistake who can't be rehired

Job Inaction by Timothy Zahn. I read it in his anthology Cascade Point and Other Stories. The programmer is Charley Addison and he works at Key Data Services. He comes into work on a Monday morning ...
John Rennie's user avatar
20 votes
Accepted

Film where a damaged ship can't count down sequentially during a self destruct

I think the movie you are looking for is Battle Beyond the Stars The ship you are referencing was the one flown by Richard Thomas' character Shad. That ship had an AI/Computer called Nell. At the end,...
Alith's user avatar
  • 9,204
20 votes

Short story about a man who pretends to be a supercomputer

Appointment in Tomorrow by Fritz Leiber. It can be found on gutenberg.org. Two factions compete for power in a post nuclear world: Thinkers (scientist) have had a lot of power and popularity due to ...
Ayshe's user avatar
  • 13.1k
20 votes
Accepted

In-universe, who provided the voice of Starfleet's computer interfaces?

In Star Trek Legacies: Captain to Captain, it's noted that the computer voice is modeled after Commander Una Chin-Riley as per the Memory Alpha entry for computer voice. Captain Una Chin-Riley is ...
FuzzyBoots's user avatar
  • 221k
19 votes

What is the earliest portrayal of cell phones as we know them now?

I offer this from 1897: There is no doubt that the day will come, maybe when you and I are forgotten, when copper wires, gutta-percha coverings, and iron sheathings will be relegated to the Museum of ...
Mark Morgan Lloyd's user avatar
18 votes
Accepted

Does the Flash have use for a computer/programming and if so how does he deal with their slowness?

In most incarnations of the character, Barry Allen, is a forensic scientist. He uses a computer for the same reason most forensic scientists would. To collect and organize data for the later use of ...
Thaddeus Howze's user avatar
18 votes

First fictional programming language in sci-fi or fantasy?

Programming a computer is often mentioned in (Science) Fiction but rarely any details are given. It usually isn’t needed for the story itself. And many authors themselves had only a vague idea how ‘...
Tonny's user avatar
  • 3,344
17 votes

What can we infer about the programming language used in "Jurassic Park" (the book, not the movie)?

From a purely out-of-universe perspective, these snippets seem to be a perfect example of the Hollywood Hacking trope, with each code block containing a chunk of human-readable text on whte_rbt....
Valorum's user avatar
  • 685k
16 votes
Accepted

Are the dot pattern printouts in "I Have No Mouth, and I must Scream" meaningful?

According to Wikipedia they are in International Telegraph Alphabet No 2; the first one reads "I THINK, THEREFORE I AM" and the second "COGITO ERGO SUM". (Read each character vertically; there are ...
DavidW's user avatar
  • 127k
16 votes

How many computers has James Kirk defeated?

I'm counting androids/robots in with this. Some minor spoilers if you've not watched TOS The Return of the Archons A Taste of Armageddon The Doomsday Machine The Apple (Vaal) The Ultimate Computer (M-...
Machavity's user avatar
  • 51.7k

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