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Old January 17 2011, 09:20 PM   #16
Mr. Adventure
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

23skidoo wrote: View Post
Mary Shelley is considered the founder of steampunk, through her novel Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, in 1818. And considering it was about a man of science using science to create life, I think it qualifies as SF!
Wouldn't that be like claiming contemporary movies of the 50's as being the founder of "retro"?
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Old January 17 2011, 09:37 PM   #17
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

HG Wells predicts the use of atomic weapons in his 1914 book The World Set Free (and he lived long enough to hear about the bombing of Hiroshima) although his atomic bombs expel their energy over a period of days rather than all at once.
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Old January 17 2011, 09:42 PM   #18
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Dennis wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
In the science fiction short story "Specialist" by Robert Sheckley, published in 1953 in Galaxy magazine, it is revealed that many galactic races are actually capable of symbiotic cooperation to become bioships, with each race forming a different part. Earth, apparently, is one of the planets inhabited by creatures that are supposed to function as FTL drives (Pushers), and, it is stated that all the conflicts and discontent of humanity are due to the fact that, while they have matured, they have nowhere to apply their true purpose. This story is perhaps the first mention of a bioship in science fiction.[1]


No; as is so often the case Olaf Stapledon got there first - among the many species he describes in Starmaker (1937) are symbiotes that eventually evolve into a starfaring species with one "partner" as pilot/crew and the other bio-engineered to serve as the spacecraft.

Also virtual reality and worldships. But that's a new one to me. Isn't human imagination wonderful?

Edit: If i recall correctly Freeman Dyson borrowed the concept of a Dyson Sphere from Stapledon and worked it out more scientifically. Should have called it a Stapledon sphere!

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Old January 17 2011, 09:44 PM   #19
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Robert Heinlein's Farmer in the Sky mentions microwave ovens and his Red Planet Mars opens with a cell phone call. Both are early Fifties.

But the cell phone thing was anticipated in a way by Chester Ward (if I remember the name correctly) in the Dick Tracy comic strip.
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Old January 17 2011, 09:45 PM   #20
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Mr. Adventure wrote: View Post
23skidoo wrote: View Post
Mary Shelley is considered the founder of steampunk, through her novel Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, in 1818. And considering it was about a man of science using science to create life, I think it qualifies as SF!
Wouldn't that be like claiming contemporary movies of the 50's as being the founder of "retro"?
I think that's more along the lines of primitive genetic engineering rather than Steampunk. Steampunk is alternate history, and that's not really what Shelley was writing about.
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Old January 17 2011, 09:47 PM   #21
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

RAMA wrote: View Post
Dennis wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
In the science fiction short story "Specialist" by Robert Sheckley, published in 1953 in Galaxy magazine, it is revealed that many galactic races are actually capable of symbiotic cooperation to become bioships, with each race forming a different part. Earth, apparently, is one of the planets inhabited by creatures that are supposed to function as FTL drives (Pushers), and, it is stated that all the conflicts and discontent of humanity are due to the fact that, while they have matured, they have nowhere to apply their true purpose. This story is perhaps the first mention of a bioship in science fiction.[1]
No; as is so often the case Olaf Stapledon got there first - among the many species he describes in Starmaker (1937) are symbiotes that eventually evolve into a starfaring species with one "partner" as pilot/crew and the other bio-engineered to serve as the spacecraft.

Also virtual reality and worldships. But that's a new one to me. Isn't human imagination wonderful?

RAMA[/QUOTE]

I deleted my post because on further research I may have misremembered this - until five minutes ago I'd have sworn that the, *ahem," inspiration for Gomtuu in Tin Man came from my reading Starmaker while in college. I'll have to do read further to make sure, but a quick perusal of what's available of the text online indicates that while "A Symbiotic Race" describes the foundation of a galactic community by a joined species, bioengineered ships don't form a part of it.

I probably combined remembered elements of Stapledon's book with something encountered later on - what, you think I'm going to pretend that I made this stuff up?
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Old January 17 2011, 09:53 PM   #22
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Dennis wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
Dennis wrote: View Post
In the science fiction short story "Specialist" by Robert Sheckley, published in 1953 in Galaxy magazine, it is revealed that many galactic races are actually capable of symbiotic cooperation to become bioships, with each race forming a different part. Earth, apparently, is one of the planets inhabited by creatures that are supposed to function as FTL drives (Pushers), and, it is stated that all the conflicts and discontent of humanity are due to the fact that, while they have matured, they have nowhere to apply their true purpose. This story is perhaps the first mention of a bioship in science fiction.[1]
No; as is so often the case Olaf Stapledon got there first - among the many species he describes in Starmaker (1937) are symbiotes that eventually evolve into a starfaring species with one "partner" as pilot/crew and the other bio-engineered to serve as the spacecraft.

Also virtual reality and worldships. But that's a new one to me. Isn't human imagination wonderful?

RAMA

I deleted my post because on further research I may have misremembered this - until five minutes ago I'd have sworn that the, *ahem," inspiration for Gomtuu in Tin Man came from my reading Starmaker while in college. I'll have to do read further to make sure, but a quick perusal of what's available of the text online indicates that while "A Symbiotic Race" describes the foundation of a galactic community by a joined species, bioengineered ships don't form a part of it.

I probably combined remembered elements of Stapledon's book with something encountered later on - what, you think I'm going to pretend that I made this stuff up?
As long a you borrow form the best!
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Old January 17 2011, 10:23 PM   #23
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

As Robert Parker said, "it's always homage."
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Old January 17 2011, 10:59 PM   #24
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

stj wrote: View Post
Robert Heinlein's Farmer in the Sky mentions microwave ovens and his Red Planet Mars opens with a cell phone call. Both are early Fifties.
IIRC, Heinlein also pegged the waterbed in Stranger in a Strange Land.
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Old January 18 2011, 01:26 AM   #25
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

stj wrote: View Post
Robert Heinlein's Farmer in the Sky mentions microwave ovens and his Red Planet Mars opens with a cell phone call. Both are early Fifties.
Well, those are both technologies whose seeds were planted in WWII. It was WWII radar operators who first noticed that things got hot when placed in the path of a strong radar (microwave) beam. And mobile telephones have actually been around in nascent form since the late '40s, though the early models were car-mounted. (And let's keep in mind that there's a difference between a mobile phone and a cellular phone. "Cell/cellular" refers to the particular type of network that modern mobile phones use. If there was a mobile phone in Red Planet -- presumably the book you meant to refer to -- I doubt RAH specified it was cellular.)


But the cell phone thing was anticipated in a way by Chester Ward (if I remember the name correctly) in the Dick Tracy comic strip.
Chester Gould. Dick Tracy wore a "2-way wrist radio," which could be considered more of a compact walkie-talkie or portable equivalent of a squad car radio than a telephone per se, but it was ahead of its time. And by the '60s it had been upgraded to a 2-way wrist television (though "wrist" was something of a misnomer, since it had an antenna wire that ran all the way along Tracy's sleeve under his jacket, as seen in the first panel here).
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Old January 18 2011, 07:01 AM   #26
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Christopher wrote: View Post
stj wrote: View Post
Robert Heinlein's Farmer in the Sky mentions microwave ovens and his Red Planet Mars opens with a cell phone call. Both are early Fifties.
Well, those are both technologies whose seeds were planted in WWII. It was WWII radar operators who first noticed that things got hot when placed in the path of a strong radar (microwave) beam. And mobile telephones have actually been around in nascent form since the late '40s, though the early models were car-mounted. (And let's keep in mind that there's a difference between a mobile phone and a cellular phone. "Cell/cellular" refers to the particular type of network that modern mobile phones use. If there was a mobile phone in Red Planet -- presumably the book you meant to refer to -- I doubt RAH specified it was cellular.)


But the cell phone thing was anticipated in a way by Chester Ward (if I remember the name correctly) in the Dick Tracy comic strip.
Chester Gould. Dick Tracy wore a "2-way wrist radio," which could be considered more of a compact walkie-talkie or portable equivalent of a squad car radio than a telephone per se, but it was ahead of its time. And by the '60s it had been upgraded to a 2-way wrist television (though "wrist" was something of a misnomer, since it had an antenna wire that ran all the way along Tracy's sleeve under his jacket, as seen in the first panel here).
I've never found the cellular phone phenomenon to be as dramatic a technological revelation as some other technologies, since after all, mobile communications have been available for a long time, its just the sophistication that has changed. Smartphones are a little different, by adding a lot of features (gps, im, txt, ereaders, weather, www) they have made the information age more mobile.

Star Trek communicators are also different, while ostensibly the precursors to modern flip phones, they actually would have to be a lot more sophisticated, since they work over subspace.

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Old January 18 2011, 08:18 AM   #27
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

First appearance of holograms in SF...Things to Come had the same displays as in Avatar, back in 1936. Rarely were they used in visual fiction after...but when were they first used in literature? Its one I can't seem to find.

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Old January 18 2011, 03:50 PM   #28
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

RAMA wrote: View Post
I've never found the cellular phone phenomenon to be as dramatic a technological revelation as some other technologies, since after all, mobile communications have been available for a long time, its just the sophistication that has changed. Smartphones are a little different, by adding a lot of features (gps, im, txt, ereaders, weather, www) they have made the information age more mobile.
On the other hand, there have been a number of sci-fi films and shows that didn't anticipate ubiquitous mobile phones. Back to the Future Part II, for instance, depicted a big, ultracomplicated high-tech wall phone in 2015, but no mobile phones.

Of course, a lot of SF did anticipate mobile communication devices to some extent, but very few writers anticipated anything like the Internet.



RAMA wrote: View Post
First appearance of holograms in SF...Things to Come had the same displays as in Avatar, back in 1936. Rarely were they used in visual fiction after...but when were they first used in literature? Its one I can't seem to find.
Well, if you're talking about translucent images projected in midair, those aren't actually holograms by any technically valid definition; a hologram is a 2-dimensional substrate storing 3-dimensional data. They're more properly called volumetric projections.

And there's plenty of precedent for 3-dimensional video in prose SF of the '50s and '60s, under names like 3D, 3-D, threedee, threedy, three vee, 3-di, tri-D, tridee, trideo, tri-di, tri-dim, tri-v, trivee, trivid, and trivvy (names taken from the OED science fiction citations site, pages 1, 13, and 14). After all, 3-D movies first became a fad in the '50s, so it was a simple enough extrapolation. Holography as a real technology developed in the '60s after the laser was invented, so by the '70s, there were abundant references to "holovision" and "holos" in SF (see citations list p. 5). I'm not sure how many of these might've been described as midair volumetric projections of the type familiar from Star Wars and Avatar, but I'm sure there were some.
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Old January 18 2011, 04:18 PM   #29
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Well, about Mary Shelley, Frankenstein is now widely considered the first true science fiction novel, period (Brian Aldiss first made the claim in his Billion-Year Spree, and it caught on. I happen to agree with his reasoning.)

Oh, and Heinlein also invented tribbles, in his very mediocre juvenile The Rolling Stones (the Star Trek writers actually had to get permission from him to use them, even though he called them by a different name.)

War of the Worlds is the very first alien invasion book, while The Time Machine is the very first time machine in literature.
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Old January 18 2011, 05:32 PM   #30
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Heinlein had a knack for anticipating logical developments. His "Door Into Summer" describes ATMs, robotic household cleaners (albeit a bit more sophisticated than the auto-vacuums out now), and government subsidies to the auto industry. "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" talks about sophisticated bionic replacement limbs, surrogate motherhood as a practical business and ice on the moon being tapped for water.There's also the citations noted above. He may not have been the first-but he could describe them in a simple manner that is clearly recognizable to readers today.
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