131 votes
Accepted

Is there a term for the science fiction trope where a character lists two historical things and a future thing?

TV Tropes calls it "Famous, Famous, Fictional." The trope description does not cite any other name, which means there almost certainly is not another commonly used term for it. (The trope ...
Buzz's user avatar
  • 97.4k
102 votes
Accepted

Were there science fiction stories written during the Middle Ages?

I would say a good case can be made to answer 'yes' on this. Per Wikipedia, "During the Middle Ages in the Middle East, foundations for the scientific method were laid by Alhazen in his Book of ...
beichst's user avatar
  • 25.6k
83 votes
Accepted

Why is the name "Rigel", and especially "Rigel VII", used in multiple universes?

Because it's a bright "star" (it's actually a group of stars, and the 7th brightest in the night sky) and its name is familiar with budding star gazers. It's also enormous and placed in the obvious ...
Binary Worrier's user avatar
77 votes
Accepted

Why are energy weapons seen as more acceptable in children's shows than guns that fire bullets?

The Comics Code Authority restricted the amount of blood and gore that could be depicted, starting in the mid-1950s: (7) Scenes of excessive violence shall be prohibited. Scenes of brutal torture, ...
RoboKaren's user avatar
  • 3,969
70 votes
Accepted

Which Sci-Fi work first showed hostile Artificial Intelligence?

1899: "Moxon's Master", a short story by Ambrose Bierce; first published in the San Francisco Examiner, April 16, 1899; reprinted in the collection Can Such Things Be?, which is available at ...
user14111's user avatar
  • 163k
66 votes
Accepted

What's the 'earliest future' mentioned in a work of science fiction?

The Partisan Leader: A Tale of the Future by "Edward William Sidney", pseudonym of Nathaniel Beverley Tucker; available at the Internet Archive. Published in 1836, set in 1849. A work of ...
user14111's user avatar
  • 163k
60 votes

Why are energy weapons seen as more acceptable in children's shows than guns that fire bullets?

There are several partial answers rather than one simple one. In the United States, the convention of guns firing Sci-Fi laser bolts instead of bullets was a mixture of self-censorship by the studios,...
Davislor's user avatar
  • 3,460
56 votes
Accepted

Who was the earliest female science fiction writer?

It depends on which works you consider to be science fiction. The most obvious candidate would be Mary Shelley, who, as you mentioned, wrote Frankenstein in 1818. She also wrote The Last Man in 1826, ...
Molag Bal's user avatar
  • 4,773
56 votes

What's the 'earliest future' mentioned in a work of science fiction?

"Solution Unsatisfactory" by Robert A Heinlein was published in 1941 and set between 1944 and 1951, as the US tries to develop a nuclear weapon to end WWII.
Mike Scott's user avatar
  • 62.3k
54 votes
Accepted

What was the first sci-fi themed hit song?

Billy Murray - Come Take a Trip in my Airship (1905) The Billboard 100 didn't exist at the time of its release, but from the small amount of information I can find ...
N. Virgo's user avatar
  • 5,822
52 votes

When was the first time that a science fiction story mentioned the concept of a "prison planet"?

1946: "The Disciplinary Circuit", a novelette by Murray Leinster, first story in his Kim Rendell series; published in Thrilling Wonder Stories, Winter 1946, available at the Internet Archive....
user14111's user avatar
  • 163k
44 votes

Why is the name "Rigel", and especially "Rigel VII", used in multiple universes?

SciFi authors select stars that can be seen in their backyard, are close by, or both. Rigel is featured because it is bright and therefore well known. But it is not close, compared to other bright ...
Abulafia's user avatar
  • 8,932
44 votes

In terms of word count, what is the longest published SFF universe?

Perry Rhodan - 93 million (approximately) Here is a press release regarding the 60 year anniversary of the German weekly pulp series Perry Rhodan: https://perry-rhodan.net/presse/zahlen-zum-gr%C3%B6%...
Eike Pierstorff's user avatar
43 votes

What was the first story to feature the plot "the monsters were human all along"?

I Am Legend (1954), by Richard Matheson. At the end of the novel:
Raj's user avatar
  • 6,541
39 votes
Accepted

What is the earliest story to present man made machines as a threat to humans?

From the Liezi text, of the 4th century AD: The king stared at the figure in astonishment. It walked with rapid strides, moving its head up and down, so that anyone would have taken it for a live ...
Rogue Jedi's user avatar
38 votes
Accepted

What was the earliest story about an AI takeover before the book "Colossus"?

1909: E.M. Forster: "The Machine Stops". The story is set in a world where humanity lives underground and relies on a giant machine to provide its needs. Most of the human population has ...
Klaus Æ. Mogensen's user avatar
37 votes
Accepted

First pre-1940s SF story that mentions the use of an atomic bomb

H.G. Wells' 1914 publication of "The World Set Free". Uranium is mentioned as an energy source, the possibility of all its energy and radium being released in an instant, but the bomb itself ...
Jiminy Cricket.'s user avatar
34 votes

What was the first story to be set in the future?

I like Hypnosifi's answer, but there's a tiny little funny situation that technically counts even if it probably wasn't intended by the OP. The classic book series Gargantua and Pantagruel, written ...
January First-of-May's user avatar
32 votes
Accepted

What was the first story to be set in the future?

FuzzyBoots' answer seems like a good one, but it might count as a "religious prophecy"--the description of humanity becoming enfeebled was likely connected to the idea of history going ...
Hypnosifl's user avatar
  • 56.8k
32 votes

What's the 'earliest future' mentioned in a work of science fiction?

My first thought was also Nineteen Eighty-Four, but a cursory browse of TV Tropes' I Want My Jetpack article (obligatory warning) led me to the Jules Verne novel Paris in the Twentieth Century, which ...
F1Krazy's user avatar
  • 15.2k
31 votes

What was the first sci-fi themed hit song?

TL;DR: I can think of two early Science Fiction songs - one made the Hot 100 charts; the other predates the Hot 100 charts, but was recorded by one of the most successful musicians of the early 20th ...
Wad Cheber's user avatar
  • 69.8k
31 votes

Which Sci-Fi work first showed hostile Artificial Intelligence?

1818: Frankenstein. Despite Hollywood's changing of the story, in the novel, Victor Frankenstein creates the body from some ambiguous and previously undiscovered new life force. The brain and body ...
APrough's user avatar
  • 568
31 votes

What was the first science fiction story set to the future without bothering about the present?

1826: The Last Man, a novel by Mary Shelley, available at Project Gutenberg. From the Wikipedia page: The Last Man is a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by Mary Shelley, which was first ...
user14111's user avatar
  • 163k
29 votes

Which Sci-Fi work first showed hostile Artificial Intelligence?

Talus, the Greek's man of brass, is probably the most famous example of an AI. He's an automaton made of Brass although his lineage is unclear. In Appolodorus Atheniensis, it says that "Medea ran him ...
decuser's user avatar
  • 1,392
29 votes

What was the first science fiction story set to the future without bothering about the present?

Micromégas (Voltaire, 1752) This comes from the "starts on another planet" angle in your question rather than the "starts in the future" angle. I'm not sure if it fits that exactly anyway, since they ...
Shmeeku's user avatar
  • 506
28 votes
Accepted

Why is green considered a toxic color in movies?

Because it was forever linked to poison by Radium and Green pigments in the 1800's. Paris Green and Scheeles Green in particular helped cement this association early on. Radium Poisoning It was ...
Tom J Nowell's user avatar
26 votes
Accepted

Where did the idea of the ornithopter originate?

As Valorum pointed out, experimental ornithopters date back at least to Leonardo da Vinci and probably earlier. Working ornithopters have been built in the real world; I used to have a toy that flew ...
Invisible Trihedron's user avatar
25 votes

Which Sci-Fi or Fantasy work introduced the idea of "Infinite Time Loop"?

Being stuck in an infinite time loop is the original normal. Indigenous cosmologies tend to have time itself as a regenerating cycle, and indigenous people often relate to their current existence as ...
Dronz's user avatar
  • 4,316
24 votes
Accepted

What was the first sci-fi TV series to have titles for each episode?

Short answer: There is evidence that the use of episode titles was normal in science fiction television programs made in the USA as early as 1949. But I note four problems that make assuming that is ...
M. A. Golding's user avatar

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