Some science fiction "firsts"

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

  1. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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? :lol:
     
  2. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    As long a you borrow form the best!:techman:
     
  3. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    As Robert Parker said, "it's always homage." ;)
     
  4. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    IIRC, Heinlein also pegged the waterbed in Stranger in a Strange Land.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.)


    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).
     
  6. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    RAMA
     
  7. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    RAMA
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.



    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.
     
  9. Ubik

    Ubik Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  10. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  11. saturn5

    saturn5 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If you ever watch Future Weapons (with Mack!) on Discovery we really are getting the Starship Troopers phase. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing:confused:
     
  12. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    Hammered home by the 1997 concept art for Starship troopers that is now science fact:

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

    Powered armor first appeared in 1937 in the Lensman series, and was re-popularized in 1959's "Starship Troopers".

    RAMA
     
  13. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    You're right I should have made that distinction...holograms have been in existence for 50 years...but volumetric displays have not. Modern HUDs have projected information now since 1960.

    Things to Come volumetric/projection displays:

    http://www.pantopicon.be/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/things-to-come-1936-1-72dpi2.jpg

    http://www.technovelgy.com/graphics/content06/aurora-vision-wells.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2011
  14. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    Do those have jump jets and tactical nukes? :cool:
     
  15. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    Oh give them a decade or 2...:lol:

    Smallest launchable nuke I've seen is a two-man 102mm recoilless rifle version.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2011
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Not exactly. David Gerrold based the tribbles on the rabbit overpopulation problem in Australia, and though he's a huge Heinlein fan/emulator, any influence from The Rolling Stones was unconscious at most. The studio's researchers did notice the similarity, and either Roddenberry or Gene Coon called up Heinlein to let him know about it, and he said he didn't see a problem. He later sent a note to Gerrold, which is quoted in Gerrold's nonfiction book about the making of the episode, also entitled The Trouble With Tribbles (on p. 253 of the 1973 Ballantine paperback edition): "Let me add that I felt that the analogy to my flat cats was mild enough to be of no importance -- and we both owe something to Ellis Parker Butler... and possibly to Noah." (Butler wrote a story involving guinea-pig proliferation.)
     
  17. saturn5

    saturn5 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Only a matter of time really. I remember in Starship Troopers Heinlein describes a 'gizmo as large as a stick of gum that replicates an entire orchestra'. The I-pod anyone?
     
  18. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Presumably the Davy Crockett from the 60's.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davy_Crockett_(nuclear_device)

    I guess if you had powered armour, you'd be strong enough to tote it under your arm.

    The 60's also gave us the Aeropack.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_pack

    The trouble is that the more technology you have, the more likely it is to break down at a critical moment, or to screw up and kill the operator.
     
  19. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    Now can u imagine a trooper toting a 102mm (they also made a 155mm version) recoilless rifle around? :wtf:
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  20. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What, no love for Jules Verne?

    And Forbidden Planet is a version of The Tempest, which makes Shakespeare one of the earliest science fiction authors. ;)