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Old December 7 2011, 03:57 PM   #52
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

xortex wrote: View Post
Who invented the transporter and replicator? And computer?
The earliest of all, according to Sam Moskowitz, was "The Man Without a Body" by Edward Page Mitchell [New York Sun, 25 March 1877]. Sam Moskowitz calls this "the first fictional exposition yet discovered of breaking matter down into energy scientifically and transmitting it to a receiver where it may be reformed."

The adverb "scientifically" is used by Moskowitz, one presumes, to eliminate the earlier but more fantasy-oriented "Helionde" by Sidney Whiting (1855) where the protagonist dreams that he is dissolved into vapor and transmitted to an inhabited Sun.

Matter/food synthesizers like the replicator have been a staple of science fiction for many decades, and arguably go as far back as Jules Verne's 1889 book In the Twenty-Ninth Century: The Day of an American Journalist in 2889:

One could argue that the earliest known computer is the Antikythera mechanism built sometime in the second century BCE, and presumably there were others before it. But the type of programmable device we call a computer today was first proposed by Charles Babbage in 1837, and Ada Lovelace was the first computer programmer. Together, they fought crime! Or would have, in a more awesome reality than this one.
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