43 votes

Are there any real-life parallels to the Night's Watch and their fall from prestige?

The French Foreign Legion A.K.A. "Légion étrangère" or FFL have some similarities: it is a military branch of french army established in 1831 based on volunteering of foreign people. Similarities: ...
Kepotx's user avatar
  • 8,211
42 votes

What's the most recent specific historical element that is common between Star Trek and the real world?

The International Space Station...in the opening credits of Enterprise. Construction started 1998 and completed 2011. Certainly latest 2009 as, per Wikipedia The truss and solar panels are also a ...
Paulie_D's user avatar
  • 23k
39 votes

Why were Hobbits not included in the old lists?

Because they didn't know about them at the time Hobbits are generally left out of history because they're a fairly secretive people and, for much of their early history, weren't overly concerned with ...
Jason Baker's user avatar
39 votes
Accepted

Short story about invading another world, twist is the 'futuristic' invaders are actually conquistadores?

This is Randall Garrett's Despoilers of the Golden Empire (published in the March 1959 Astounding Science Fiction as by "David Gordon"). It's a perfect match to your question and tells the ...
Mark Olson's user avatar
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31 votes
Accepted

Looking for a story about ancient sound recordings in stone

Gregory Benford's 1979 short story "Time Shards" concerns a researcher who recovers thousand-year-old sound from a piece of pottery thrown on a wheel and inscribed with a fine wire as it ...
Emsley Wyatt's user avatar
  • 9,285
29 votes

Are there any real-life parallels to the Night's Watch and their fall from prestige?

Roman Legions One of George R. R. Martin's main inspirations for the Night's Watch are the Roman Legions who manned Hadrian's Wall, as that is the inspiration for the Wall. Hadrian's Wall, of ...
TheLethalCarrot's user avatar
  • 143k
28 votes
Accepted

Explanation of this quote "it took man six thousand years really to discover science"?

Assuming the nature of science fiction story telling of the period, Theodore Sturgeon's point was that humanity's flirtations with science began occurring with our capacity to write and transfer ...
Thaddeus Howze's user avatar
26 votes
Accepted

Why were Hobbits not included in the old lists?

Hobbits originated as a subgroup of men, but no one knows exactly when/how/where the original split occurred. The elves did not tell the ents because either it had not happened yet or those elves ...
suchiuomizu's user avatar
  • 8,293
21 votes

What's the most recent specific historical element that is common between Star Trek and the real world?

The latest people referenced that match our reality were George W. Bush and Tony Blair, shown in the ENT episode Future Tense: This was part of a historical database that included Bush's 2003 State ...
nmclean's user avatar
  • 359
21 votes

Tolkien's history of Elves singing and Ents walking and talking

Ents are likely older than Elves On at least two occasions, Tolkien notes that the Ents are the oldest sentient race in Middle-earth (bold is my emphasis, italic is Tolkien's): That is a long and yet ...
Jason Baker's user avatar
20 votes

A (probably) short fiction where a Babylonian potter’s wheel turned out to be the earliest cylinder phonograph

This could be "Time Shards" by Gregory Benford, originally published in 1979, and since then reprinted in a number of anthologies. As you recall, a researcher finds that sounds are recorded ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
19 votes
Accepted

Under which kingdom are the Iron Islands?

The Iron Islands were a part of the Kingdom of Isles and Rivers. Before the Targeryen invasion, House Hoare ruled over the Iron Islands and the Riverlands. House Hoare was the Royal House of the ...
kuhl's user avatar
  • 2,381
19 votes

What's the most recent specific historical element that is common between Star Trek and the real world?

Films I'm not sure you could strictly describe the creation of a music track as an historical event, but nuKirk playing the 1994 song Sabotage (by the Beastie Boys) on his Nokia phone would have to ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 691k
18 votes

Were these titles ever really used?

This is most likely based on real life Regnal Names. The regnal name is usually followed by a regnal number, written as a Roman numeral, to differentiate that monarch from others who have used the ...
Skooba's user avatar
  • 60.4k
17 votes

A (probably) short fiction where a Babylonian potter’s wheel turned out to be the earliest cylinder phonograph

Were you in the habit of browsing the New Scientist? David Jones had a weekly column there in which he introduced various plausible and implausible inventions invariably wrapped in a story told to ...
Ethan's user avatar
  • 5,909
14 votes

Under which kingdom are the Iron Islands?

The Seven Kingdoms confusion Seven Kingdoms were the political entities which existed at time of Aegon's landing on shores of Blackwater Bay. Number of these political entities has always varied from ...
Aegon's user avatar
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13 votes
Accepted

Tolkien's history of Elves singing and Ents walking and talking

Ents were likely born at the same time as Elves Elvish speech and song The Elves awoke without speech or song: By the starlit mere of Cuiviénen, Water of Awakening, they rose from the sleep of ...
isanae's user avatar
  • 11k
13 votes
Accepted

Why was Bucky Barnes named after such a disastrous figure in American history?

The evidence suggests Bucky wasn't named after President Buchanan, at least not originally. When Bucky first appeared in Captain America Comics #1, he was introduced simply as "Bucky Barnes"....
LogicDictates's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

What did Coruscant's nature look like before it was urbanized?

In both Legends and canon, information on the original state of Coruscant is pretty thin. Protagonists don’t tend to be professional historians, and so the focus is far more often on the urbanized ...
Adamant's user avatar
  • 116k
12 votes

Explanation of this quote "it took man six thousand years really to discover science"?

He is most likely referring to the time since the beginnings of civilisation. Today, with more recent discoveries of proto-cities and neolithic settlements we'd say that civilisation started around 7,...
Werrf's user avatar
  • 15.9k
12 votes

A (probably) short fiction where a Babylonian potter’s wheel turned out to be the earliest cylinder phonograph

Rudy Rucker's "Buzz" perhaps? It's available for free on the author's website. It was originally published in 1983 in Rucker's collection "The 57th Franz Kafka". It has a brief ...
Ziggy's user avatar
  • 1,157
11 votes
Accepted

Are there any real-life parallels to the Night's Watch and their fall from prestige?

And I will add to the pot the various orders of knights during the crusades, most notably the Knights Hospitaller. They were a well regarded bunch when they formed in 1099, and were repeatedly given ...
Maury Markowitz's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Is there a timeline for the urbanization of Coruscant?

A loose one In canon, no. There’s not much in canon to suggest when Coruscant was urbanized. We know, certainly, that it’s had large skyscrapers on it for no less than millenia: Some of the ...
Adamant's user avatar
  • 116k
9 votes
Accepted

A story about Earth warriors who think they are fighting aliens, but discover they're fighting other humans

This idea is used in Empire of the Sun by Andrew Weiner, which as far as I can see has only been published in Harlan Ellison's anthology Again, Dangerous Visions and Weiner's own anthology Distant ...
John Rennie's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Pre-70s history of the future citing science-fiction authors as historical sources

This is my best guess, though it's not the only book of its kind: Tomorrow Revealed, a novel by John Atkins; originally published 1955 in Britain, reprinted 1956 in the U.S. and Canada, all editions ...
user14111's user avatar
  • 163k
8 votes

What is the first appearance of a dark alternate world in fiction?

As is often the case for general trope questions, a great starting resource is TVTropes. Other than the fact that it will suck you in for hours into its endless depths, it also features a pageful of ...
Avner Shahar-Kashtan's user avatar
8 votes

Looking for a story about ancient sound recordings in stone

Could you have encountered an early adaptation of Gramophone of the Ages by Yefim Zozulya, published 1919? Vandermeer's 2019 compendium, Big Book of Classic Fantasy claims to publish the first English ...
skytreader's user avatar
  • 1,787
8 votes
Accepted

How much did the average citizen know about the Force and Force-Using Organizations? (Canon or Legends)

The average citizen knows nearly nothing about the Force. The Force and especially the organizations connected to it were few and relatively small. As discussed in this other question at the time of ...
Rick Starrunner's user avatar
8 votes

story identification - the history (and future?) of the human race

I wonder if this could be Evolution by Stephen Baxter. It's a collection of short stories and novelettes that go from the time of the dinosaurs to the distant future. The timing is about right, from ...
nebogipfel's user avatar
  • 6,301
7 votes

Don't the Light's problems in the current age of WoT just boil down to poor record-keeping?

Main problem of the forces/defenders of the Light actually boils down to Dunning–Kruger effect which was endemic in the most powerful long-lived political organization of the 3rd Age: The Aes Sedai. ...
davidbak's user avatar
  • 1,777

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