Monday, February 11, 2008

Science Fiction Timeline

From Technovelgy, we have this spiffy Science Fiction Timeline, which charts the first mention of SF ideas.

Here's the list to 1869, just to get you started.

1638 Weightlessness (Godwin) - first discovery of concept (from The Man in the Moone by Francis Godwin)
1726 Geometric Modeling - eighteenth century NURBS (from Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift)
1726 Knowledge Engine - machine-made expertise (from Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift)
1726 Bio-Energy - produce electricity from organic material (from Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift)
1867 Launching Facility - in Florida (from From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne)
1867 Water-Springs (from From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne)
1867 Light Pressure Propulsion - first use of this idea (from From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne)
'1867 Communicate with Extraterrestrials - first use of concept (from From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne)
1867 Retro-Rockets - Verne invented them! (from From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne)
1867 Weightlessness - true science fiction discovery (from From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne)
1867 Projectile-Vehicle - Verne's spacecraft (from From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne)
1867 Free Return Trajectory - first mention (from From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne)
1867 Spashdown - the original idea (from From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne)
1867 Columbiad - 900 foot cannon (from From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne)
1869 Flywheel Launcher (from The Brick Moon by Edward Everett Hale)

5 Comments:

Blogger Michael Grosberg said...

The timeline is interesting but strangely lacking: I tried finding the first mention of a rocket propelled spaceship and couldn't find it. No "spaceship", no "rocketship", or "rocket" or "missile" or anything.
Plus they seem hung up on the specific terminology used in a story, so the first mention of virtual reality is from 1982, although the same idea in other names existed long before that.

4:20 AM  
Blogger halojones-fan said...

I dunno...it's a cool idea, but some of those things are REALLY stretching it. Gulliver was not describing NURBS; he was describing a people with the mistaken belief that there was a closed-form mathematical solution for everything in the world. You could easily have cited that as "early conceptualization of quantum physics".

Same thing with the "automated surface measurement" mentioned a bit later. Actually, the story is describing something similar to a pantograph, which has existed since the 17th century.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Synova said...

Did anyone notice the first mention of cloning? I tried to look through the lists.

My daughter is doing a school report and it would be great to have a reference for when the idea first came up, though I suppose it existed in folklore as changelings at least. (The copy the elves left in place of children, whatever they were called.)

1:17 AM  
Blogger dubjay said...

First mention of cloning, in its current science fictional sense, was in a Robert Silverberg story from 1957 called "There Was an Old Woman."

Nifty, no?

8:44 PM  
Blogger Synova said...

Oh, very nifty!

11:36 PM  

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