Some science fiction "firsts"

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by RAMA, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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

    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
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  2. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And Lucien of Samos wrote about flying to the Moon in 190 AD... :D
     
  3. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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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  4. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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  5. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    Nobody thinks science fiction started in 1977 with Star Wars. :rolleyes: It started in the 60's with Star Trek, sheesh.
     
  6. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^No, it was the 1950s with all those flying saucer movies!
     
  7. Crom!

    Crom! Admiral Admiral

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    No it started in the 50s with Forbidden Planet...
     
  8. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

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    A Babylon 5 ripoff in the 50s? Unoriginality knows no bounds.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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).
     
  10. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    :lol:

    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.

    RAMA
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^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?
     
  12. Capt_Pickirk

    Capt_Pickirk Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^ maybe they forgot :)
     
  13. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    RAMA
     
  14. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    Last edited: Jan 18, 2011
  15. 23skidoo

    23skidoo Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    Alex
     
  16. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    Wouldn't that be like claiming contemporary movies of the 50's as being the founder of "retro"?
     
  17. saturn5

    saturn5 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  18. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    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!

    RAMA
     
  19. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  20. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    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.