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Science Fiction & Fantasy Farscape, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Firefly, vampires, genre books and film.

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Old January 17 2011, 06:43 AM   #1
RAMA
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Some science fiction "firsts"

From this site: http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/pre...php#handwavium

And all you young whipper-snappers who think that science fiction was invented in 1977 with the first Star Wars movie, I have to inform you that you are sadly mistaken. SF was old when your great-grandfather was born.
  • "Blaster" dates back to 1925 in Nictzin Dyalhis' When the Green Star Waned.
  • "Disintegrator ray" dates back to 1898 in Garrett Serviss' Edison's Conquest of Mars.
  • "Needler" dates back to 1934 in E.E."Doc" Smith's The Skylark of Valeron.
  • "Stunner" dates back to 1944 in C. M. Kornbluth's Fire-Power.
  • Isaac Asimov invented "force-field blades" in his 1952 novel David Starr, Space Ranger, which was the father of the light-saber.
  • There was a form of "virtual reality" in Sir Arthur C. Clarke's 1956 novel The City and the Stars, and a more limited form in E.E."Doc" Smith's 1930 story Skylark Three.
  • Zero population growth is discussed in Walter Kately's 1930 story "The World of a Hundred Men."
  • Power from nuclear fusion appears in Gawain Edwards' 1930 story "A Rescue from Jupiter."
  • Atomic bombs are found in Sewell Wright's 1931 story "The Dark Side of Antri."
  • A "tiny computing machine about as large as the palm of a man's hand" (Palm PDA?) is featured in R. F. Starzl's 1931 story "If the Sun Died."
  • And an unprotected man exposed to the vacuum of space but did not explode appeared in Nathan Schachner and Arthur Zagat's 1932 story "Exiles of the Moon."
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]

http://www.philsp.com/data/images/g/galaxy_195305.jpg
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Old January 17 2011, 06:46 AM   #2
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

And Lucien of Samos wrote about flying to the Moon in 190 AD...
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Old January 17 2011, 05:31 PM   #3
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift (1726)-- flying cities, projected ghosts of historical characters (sort of like a holodeck), aerial bombardment, the blind pursuit of science without regard to consequences, and unfortunate consequences of using anti-agathics.
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Last edited by Asbo Zaprudder; January 17 2011 at 05:35 PM. Reason: ETC: anti-agathic is more correct than anti-agapic.
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Old January 17 2011, 05:32 PM   #4
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Possible origins for Avatar(2009) story origins in SF. Going above and beyond Ferngully and Dances with Wolves.

http://www.scifi.darkroastedblend.co...avatar-in.html
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Old January 17 2011, 05:39 PM   #5
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Nobody thinks science fiction started in 1977 with Star Wars. It started in the 60's with Star Trek, sheesh.
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Old January 17 2011, 06:12 PM   #6
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

^No, it was the 1950s with all those flying saucer movies!
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Old January 17 2011, 06:14 PM   #7
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

No it started in the 50s with Forbidden Planet...
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Old January 17 2011, 06:30 PM   #8
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

RAMA wrote: View Post
bioships
A Babylon 5 ripoff in the 50s? Unoriginality knows no bounds.
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Old January 17 2011, 06:38 PM   #9
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

And as I've mentioned in these parts before, John W. Campbell's 1930 Islands of Space describes a faster-than-light drive that operates by "warping" spacetime and is powered by contraterrene matter (aka antimatter).
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Old January 17 2011, 06:44 PM   #10
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Agent Richard07 wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
bioships
A Babylon 5 ripoff in the 50s? Unoriginality knows no bounds.


Science fiction above all other genres seems to enjoy mining its own themes and tropes. I have no problem with this as long as it continually tries push the boundaries as well.

...and B5 "rips off" STNG (Tin Man), and STNG "rips off" Buckaroo Banzai, and that "ripped off" Alien, and so it goes.

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Old January 17 2011, 07:57 PM   #11
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

^TNG's "Tin Man" isn't really the best example there, since it's an adaptation of a 1979 novel which is in turn an expansion of a 1976 story. So its living ship predates any of the other examples you list.

And how can you guys be citing TNG and B5 as examples of "bioships" and ignore Moya from Farscape?
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Old January 17 2011, 08:29 PM   #12
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

^ maybe they forgot
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Old January 17 2011, 08:38 PM   #13
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Christopher wrote: View Post
^TNG's "Tin Man" isn't really the best example there, since it's an adaptation of a 1979 novel which is in turn an expansion of a 1976 story. So its living ship predates any of the other examples you list.

And how can you guys be citing TNG and B5 as examples of "bioships" and ignore Moya from Farscape?
Well I don't think any of us were trying to be comprehensive...as I mentioned the first story with a biosip was likely in 1953, there was at least another in 1967, and Doctor Who had the Axos and Zygons in the early 1970s.

I can't stand Farscape so I try not to mention it as much as possible, but Moya was pretty cool.

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Old January 17 2011, 08:41 PM   #14
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Murray Leinster's 1945 novelette "First Contact" established the term "first contact" in science fiction, although the theme had previously appeared in e.g. H. G. Wells' The Time Machine (1895), The War of the Worlds (1898) and The First Men in the Moon (1901).

Edit: Just to show how long ago conceptually this was:

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Old January 17 2011, 09:15 PM   #15
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Re: Some science fiction "firsts"

Much as I love Doctor Who, the concept of an eccentric scientist taking companions on adventures was hardly invented in 1963 either. You can look back at least to Verne for that, I believe.

You missed three important ones:

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!

Shelley also wrote a second novel called The Last Man, released in 1826, which is about a post-apocalyptic, plague-ravaged Earth of the 21st century, and was possibly the very first novel of that genre ever written. There's even mention of a "black sun". In addition, Shelley's introduction to the novel suggests that it was based upon some prophecies she discovered in a cave - predating by many years the "Blair Witch"-style genre of "this is based upon so-and-so's journal that we discovered".

Karel Capek's 1921 play R.U.R. coined the term "robot", and featured robots rebelling against their masters and destroying humanity - a theme that anyone who has seen The Matrix trilogy and The Animatrix will immediately recognize. According to the Wikipedia article about the play, a BBC adaptation of the play was broadcast on TV in 1938, and is considered the first SF ever shown on TV.

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