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433 comments

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27481659)

First Post! ...err... ok, not sci-fi, but slashdot.

other potential things (4, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 years ago | (#27481663)

Grey goo, space elevator, portal, warpspeed, hyperspace. Scyance. Oh sorry, that last one's not from science fiction, it's from that channel (what's it called?) that shows wrestling.

Re:other potential things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27481715)

Isn't hyperspace from video games?

Re:other potential things (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27481797)

And I'm pretty sure portals existed before sci-fi.

Re:other potential things (4, Informative)

onkelonkel (560274) | about 5 years ago | (#27481897)

Dear sweet child. (/pats head).

Doc Smith was writing about hyperspace and hyperspatial tubes about 70 years ago.

Re:other potential things (4, Funny)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 5 years ago | (#27482209)

I thought Doctor Smith was only known for the terms like "Bumbling bucket of bolts" and "Oh no! We're all going to die!!"

Re:other potential things (1)

bowlingfreak (895426) | about 5 years ago | (#27481901)

Isn't hyperspace from video games?

I thought hyperspace was from StarWars

Re:other potential things (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27482087)

I thought your mum was from StarWars

Re:other potential things (4, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | about 5 years ago | (#27481801)

Warpspeed and hyperspace aren't really used outside of science fiction though. Space elevator and grey goo I'll grant you. A portal is just an opening or a doorway.

Re:other potential things (4, Informative)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 5 years ago | (#27481863)

A portal is just an opening or a doorway. A portal as a connection between to two points that are not contiguous in normal space is a concept exclusive to science fiction.

Re:other potential things (2, Interesting)

someone1234 (830754) | about 5 years ago | (#27481957)

Nah, portals exist in fantasy too.

Re:other potential things (0, Flamebait)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | about 5 years ago | (#27482029)

Science Fiction is just a subset of Fantasy.

Re:other potential things (5, Insightful)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 5 years ago | (#27482095)

Science Fiction is just a subset of Fantasy.

Is it? I remember Arthur C Clarke saying that Sci Fi is something that could happen, while fantasy is something that could never happen.

It always baffled me how the two genres (at least in my mind they're quite different) were always lumped together in bookstores. I was always a sci fi fan but wasn't much into the dungeons, dragons, wizards and trolls thing.

Re:other potential things (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | about 5 years ago | (#27482255)

I too was always pretty baffled at that. Me though, I'm more the opposite. I've always been a huge fan of fantasy, but not nearly as much of sci fi. I've enjoyed some sci fi, like Star Wars and Stargate, but most of it was more boring for me.

Re:other potential things (4, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 5 years ago | (#27482263)

I remember Arthur C Clarke saying that Sci Fi is something that could happen, while fantasy is something that could never happen.

Only if you use the word "could" to means "sometime in the future, but not with what we currently know." By that reasoning, fantasy could happen as well, assuming that we find some source of power that would grant people abilities indistinguishable from magic. Is that any crazier than assuming that at some point we'll be able to travel faster than the speed of light?

Re:other potential things (4, Funny)

Abreu (173023) | about 5 years ago | (#27482275)

I remember Arthur C Clarke saying that Sci Fi is something that could happen, while fantasy is something that could never happen.

...said the man who wrote about space elevators...
[ducks!]

Re:other potential things (3, Informative)

Matheus (586080) | about 5 years ago | (#27482105)

I strongly disagree. As with any pair of genres there is overlap between the two BUT I would say that Science Fiction and Fantasy are both sibling subsets of Fiction.

Re:other potential things (2, Interesting)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | about 5 years ago | (#27482219)

Oh you DID NOT.

(Removes jacket, cracks knuckles) Now there's gonna be some. Hope you're wearing your Nikes.

Re:other potential things (5, Informative)

techdavis (939834) | about 5 years ago | (#27482089)

Portal - n. Origin: 1300-1350

1. a door, gate, or entrance, esp. one of imposing appearance, as to a palace.
2. an iron or steel bent for bracing a framed structure, having curved braces between the vertical members and a horizontal member at the top.
3. an entrance to a tunnel or mine.
4. Computers. a Web site that functions as an entry point to the Internet, as by providing useful content and linking to various sites and features on the World Wide Web.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/portal [reference.com]

Re:other potential things (2, Informative)

richardellisjr (584919) | about 5 years ago | (#27482043)

According to Webster's portal dates back to 14th century. While there may have been some sort of science fiction back then I don't think it's anything close to what we consider science fiction.

Re:other potential things (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 5 years ago | (#27482253)

A portal is just an opening or a doorway. A portal as a connection between to two points that are not contiguous in normal space is a concept exclusive to science fiction.

Portal = Door or Window. The science fiction pseudo-wormhole you describe is called a portal because it resembles a doorway or window. Etymology is fun!

Re:other potential things (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 years ago | (#27481983)

Warpspeed and hyperspace aren't really used outside of science fiction though.

Yep, but the question was, "What other terms are sure to follow in the future?" and if we ever do invent faster than light travel, you can bet that we'll be using the word 'warp' to describe how fast we're going compared to the speed of light. It's just too convenient. Currently there is no reason to use it in science because, well.......we don't actually have anything that goes faster than warp 1, and that only in vacuums.

Text from Google cache (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27481839)

We were pretty excited around here when Brave New Words won the Hugo Award. Now that Brave New Words is available in paperback we asked Jeff Prucher, freelance lexicographer and editor for the Oxford English Dictionaryâ(TM)s science fiction project, to revisit the blog. Below are Prucherâ(TM)s picks of words that may seem to come from science, but really originate in science fiction.

In no particular order:

1. Robotics. This is probably the most well-known of these, since Isaac Asimov is famous for (among many other things) his three laws of robotics. Even so, I include it because it is one of the only actual sciences to have been first named in a science fiction story (âLiar!â, 1951). Asimov also named the related occupation (roboticist) and the adjective robotic.

2. Genetic engineering. The other science that received its name from a science fiction story, in this case Jack Williamsonâ(TM)s novel Dragonâ(TM)s Island, which was coincidentally published in the same year as âoeLiar!â The occupation of genetic engineer took a few more years to be named, this time by Poul Anderson.

3. Zero-gravity/zero-g. A defining feature of life in outer space (sans artificial gravity, of course). The first known use of âoezero-gravityâ is from Jack Binder (better known for his work as an artist) in 1938, and actually refers to the gravityless state of the center of the Earthâ(TM)s core. Arthur C. Clarke gave us âoezero-gâ in his 1952 novel Islands in the Sky.

4. Deep space. One of the other defining features of outer space is its essential emptiness. In science fiction, this phrase most commonly refers to a region of empty space between stars or that is remote from the home world. E. E. âoeDocâ Smith seems to have coined this phrase in 1934. The more common use in the sciences refers to the region of space outside of the Earthâ(TM)s atmosphere.

5. Ion drive. An ion drive is a type of spaceship engine that creates propulsion by emitting charged particles in the direction opposite of the one you want to travel. The earliest citation in Brave New Words is again from Jack Williamson (âThe Equilizerâ, 1947). A number of spacecraft have used this technology, beginning in the 1970s.

6. Pressure suit. A suit that maintains a stable pressure around its occupant; useful in both space exploration and high-altitude flights. This is another one from the fertile mind of E. E. Smith. Curiously, his pressure suits were furred, an innovation not, alas, replicated by NASA.

7. Virus. Computer virus, that is. Dave Gerrold (of âoeThe Trouble With Tribblesâ fame) was apparently the first to make the verbal analogy between biological viruses and self-replicating computer programs, in his 1972 story âoeWhen Harlie Was One.â

8. Worm. Another type of self-replicating computer program. So named by John Brunner in his 1975 novel Shockwave Rider.

9. Gas giant. A large planet, like Jupiter or Neptune, that is composed largely of gaseous material. The first known use of this term is from a story (âSolar Plexusâ) by James Blish; the odd thing about it is that it was first used in a reprint of the story, eleven years after the story was first published. Whether this is because Blish conceived of the term in the intervening years or read it somewhere else, or whether it was in the original manuscript and got edited out is impossible to say at this point.

Re:Text from Google cache (5, Funny)

Stele (9443) | about 5 years ago | (#27482117)

Interesting that "Belgium" wasn't in the list.

Re:Text from Google cache (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27482277)

No civilised society in the galaxy would put that word on such a list . . .

But what about Karel Chapek? (4, Informative)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | about 5 years ago | (#27482267)

What's interesting is that they don't note the origin of the word "robot," itself, which is most likely the Karel Chapek play "R.U.R" [wikipedia.org]. Robota means drudgery in Czech.

Re:other potential things (5, Informative)

Zocalo (252965) | about 5 years ago | (#27481989)

Actually, I think we're going to struggle to come up with with the lengthy list we that might imagine here. Most "Sci Fi" terms actually come from blue sky mathematics and science texts:
  • "Grey Goo" was coined by Eric Drexler in the book "Engines of Creation" (1986).
  • "Space Elevator" was coined by Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovskii in an 1895 (not a typo!) astronomy paper.
  • "Portal" was in common use long before it because associated with science fiction, SciFi just repurposed it - half a point at best.
  • "Hyperspace" originated in 19th century English mathematical and science texts to describe Euclidean geometries with greater than 3 dimensions.
  • "Warp speed" though, I'm not sure on. I'm pretty sure it predates Roddenberry though... Any takers?

Re:other potential things (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 5 years ago | (#27482249)

I was hoping Cybernetics would have caught on better than it seems to have. That's an exciting field but it only seems to be referred to in terms of 'body part prosthetics' and other dull and uninspiring labels.

Although the wikipedia entry seems to wander off into more generalized talk about control and systems - maybe I'm misunderstanding the word.

Re:other potential things (1)

khallow (566160) | about 5 years ago | (#27482147)

Wikipedia says "grey goo" was coined by Eric Drexler in "Engines of Creation" which is a non-fiction book.

The currency of the future is ... (5, Interesting)

soporific16 (1166495) | about 5 years ago | (#27481673)

... Kudos (Iain M Banks, The Algebraist). He also said that money was a sign of poverty (The State of the Art). And yes, this was WAY before the current economic crisis.

Re:The currency of the future is ... (4, Interesting)

Culture20 (968837) | about 5 years ago | (#27481971)

He also said that money was a sign of poverty (The State of the Art).

Nope, it's a sign of TERRORISM! [boingboing.net]

Man detained, threatened and abused by TSA for flying with $4700 in cash
Here's a recording of Steve Bierfeldt, a US citizen who tried to board a domestic airplane while carrying $4700 in cash, and was detained by the TSA and subjected to abusive language and threats [...] The TSA agents threatened to turn him over to the DEA. He was returning from a Ron Paul event in St Louis, MO, and worked for the campaign. The cash on his person arose from sales of t-shirts and stickers at the event.

Re:The currency of the future is ... (4, Interesting)

sayfawa (1099071) | about 5 years ago | (#27482187)

Oh, how I wish I lived in the Culture. Damn you fuckers, make contact already! Sigh.

Anyway, if you haven't heard of it, Cory Doctorow's Down and Out In the Magic Kingdom [craphound.com] goes into much more detail about a possible post-scarcity society, where the currency is kind of like /.'s Karma, only it works.

Re:The currency of the future is ... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27482251)

You suggest communism and haven't yet been modded to negatives? This boggles me...

If it's anything, (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27481679)

Let's just hope klingon isn't added to a future revision of this list.

Re:If it's anything, (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 5 years ago | (#27481689)

Let's just hope klingon isn't added to a future revision of this list.

Not likely unless dingleberry is no longer considered a 'rad' word.

Contra Terrene (1)

Joehonkie (665142) | about 5 years ago | (#27481693)

Contra Terrene (or CT/seetee) is such a great word, and is technically more correct than "antimatter" (since positrons and such aren't the "opposite" of matter, but rather another state of it). For some reason I just love that one. Also "Tellurian" as a word for people from the planet Earth (Tellus). Earthling is weaksauce.

Re:Contra Terrene (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 5 years ago | (#27481771)

Also "Tellurian" as a word for people from the planet Earth (Tellus). Earthling is weaksauce.

I prefer Terran.

But if we did want a name for people from Tellus, wouldn't Tellosian be better? It at least fits grammatically.

Re:Contra Terrene (1)

hazem (472289) | about 5 years ago | (#27482015)

Also "Tellurian" as a word for people from the planet Earth (Tellus).

Thanks for that! I have wondered what "Encyclopedia Tellurica" from the beginning of I-Robot could mean.

Re:Contra Terrene (1)

david.given (6740) | about 5 years ago | (#27482085)

Earthling is weaksauce.

One of Piers Anthony's books --- written back before he discovered that writing crap was more profitable than writing good stuff --- had all the aliens referring to humans as 'Earthian'. Admittedly, that book (The ESP Worm) is largely a spoof...

Re:Contra Terrene (1)

Valdrax (32670) | about 5 years ago | (#27482149)

Given what kind of social pressures are mostly likely to result in some cultures never leaving Earth, I'd say that the phrase "first world citizen" will take on completely the opposite meaning in the future.

Not a word, but a phrase (4, Funny)

chill (34294) | about 5 years ago | (#27481713)

Slashdot effect

As exemplified by that poor website everyone is now clicking on.

Re:Not a word, but a phrase (3, Informative)

Eythian (552130) | about 5 years ago | (#27481835)

It's probably for the best. If you open the link in Firefox on Ubuntu 8.10 (32- or 64-bit), gnome-panel will segfault, restart, segfault, restart... until you change the tab that firefox is showing.

Bug report [launchpad.net], and here [launchpad.net]

Futurists (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 5 years ago | (#27481743)

Sure, SF writers named things that had no name, but that were theorized (by themselves or others).

Some of those names stuck.

But what about all the names that sucked and never stuck? In other words, throw a million darts and surely some will hit the bullseye.

I'm coming up empty right now, but there have to be some obvious ones... like pretty much any scifi term that begins with "med-" or "medi-".

And, of course, as we all know from xkcd, the quality of the fantasy [sci-fi?] novel is inversely proportional to the number of made-up words.

Re:Futurists (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 5 years ago | (#27482183)

I'm drawing a blank too...

Well there's the Space Gun from Brave New World that was going to shoot people into space, that never caught on because the physics weren't understood by the writer at the time.

What is the Klingon word for loneliness? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27481753)

Oh yes...maaaarrrrdoc

Forgot to mention (4, Informative)

PriceIke (751512) | about 5 years ago | (#27481755)

Cyberspace. William Gibson, Neuromancer

Re:Forgot to mention (4, Funny)

glwtta (532858) | about 5 years ago | (#27481777)

Cyberspace. William Gibson, Neuromancer

They said "science", not "online wankery".

Re:Forgot to mention (3, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | about 5 years ago | (#27482231)

This may surprise you, but "Neuromancer" was blogged on dead trees as was the tradition for many such ancient works. It is such an old story that it predates even the use of the term "blog". And it comes at a time when online wankery was reserved only for the academic and military elite of some of the most powerful countries in the world.

Re:Forgot to mention (1)

bwcbwc (601780) | about 5 years ago | (#27481867)

Wasn't Rudy Rucker the one who came up with "wetware"?

You can always tell the snobbish, stuck-up zombies from the low-class, plebian ones. They're the ones moan "weeeeetwaaaarrre" instead of "braaaainnnnzzzz".

Re:Forgot to mention (1)

beowulf (12899) | about 5 years ago | (#27482119)

Cyberspace. William Gibson, Neuromancer 1984

Or perhaps you're referring to the term cyberspace. First used in published form by Vernor Vinge, True Names 1981

Bushed: +1, PatRIOTic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27481783)

Verb.

1. To alter the meaning of a word from its original.

ie. The scientific evidence on global warming was bushed by the adminisration of U.S.A. President George W. Bush.

2. To have one's civil rights violated without any U.S. Federal Court intervention.

ie. The ATT whistleblower who revealed the U.S. Federal Governments unauthorized access to ALL of the
Internet traffice flowing throught their San Francisco pipe
was bushed by his employer.

Yours In Communism,
Kilgore Trout [youtube.com]

How about Waldo? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27481787)

It's an engineering term for a remote controlled robotic arm, derived from a Heinlein story.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldo_(device)

Re:How about Waldo? (1)

Ceiynt (993620) | about 5 years ago | (#27481909)

It's also this guy in a red and white stripped shirt everyone is looking for. Last I heard, he shacked up with this lady named Carmen from San Diego. Rumors of a child have yet to be confirmed, as even Carmen has said she thought she had a child, but has no idea where in the world it went.

I'm hoping for... (2, Interesting)

greg_barton (5551) | about 5 years ago | (#27481793)

"My God, it's full of stars!"

Re:I'm hoping for... (2, Interesting)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | about 5 years ago | (#27481851)

"My God, it's full of stars!"

As others have noted when looking at pictures like the Hubble Deep Fields, Sir Arthur got it wrong. What Dave Bowman should have said was "My God, it's full of galaxies!"

I have the same reaction whenever I wander around the Virgo Cluster with my big Dob.

...laura

Well the way things are going (3, Funny)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 5 years ago | (#27481823)

I predict Frack, Frell and Frag are coming soon...

Re:Well the way things are going (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27482053)

someone mod this guy up

Grok? (1)

holden caufield (111364) | about 5 years ago | (#27481875)

That one seems to have entered the popular lexicon.

Great Scott! (2, Funny)

brian0918 (638904) | about 5 years ago | (#27481895)

"Doc, Doc... what the hell is a jiggawatt?!"

I don't know about you, but I tend toward this word whenever the possibility arises.

Re:Great Scott! (1)

david.given (6740) | about 5 years ago | (#27482237)

"Doc, Doc... what the hell is a jiggawatt?!"

Approximately 0.00004 kg m^5 s^-3 (that'll be 5 ton inch^5 s^-3 to Americans).

Oh, wait, you said jigga, not jigger...

This one is certain (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27481939)

"Shai-Hulud."

I have foreseen it.

time to server-meltdown (1)

wolf12886 (1206182) | about 5 years ago | (#27481993)

/. should start keeping track of times to server-meltdown for these linked stories.

Improving /.'s uptime would be good, but I guess knocking down other sights until the bar is lowered to our level works too

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27482007)

It seems unlikely to me that the first time anyone put the words zero and gravity together in a sentence was in a work of fiction. Even if that were true, I doubt that was the inspiration for the term as it has come to be used, since it is an obvious/accurate description of a physical condition. Not a lot of sourcing to show that any of these were the first usages...

Some words were just waiting to be discovered. (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 5 years ago | (#27482009)

I guess a couple of these probably always existed, just took a long time before the need was there. Asimov didn't realise he invented the term Robotics until he was credited with in in a dictionary. He just assumed that was the correct term.

It makes me wonder whether we'd still have these terms if these particular writers hadn't used them.

Re:Some words were just waiting to be discovered. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27482121)

Asimov may have expanded on it, but the term "robot" was actually coined by Karel Capec circa 1921

its bound to happen.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27482153)

Hello? Robopocalypse?

Holodeck (1)

debus (751449) | about 5 years ago | (#27482201)

It may be invented so far in the future that everyone has forgotten the term, but I think it is a great name for a VR room.

ARNist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27482225)

I'm hoping for ARNist from Dan Simmons (RNA Artist, play fast-and-loose with genetic manipulation). In fact, Dan Simmons has a bunch of nice new words.

Quark - James Joyce, Finnegan's Wake (4, Informative)

kris_lang (466170) | about 5 years ago | (#27482265)

Quark is partially based on James Joyce's work, Finnegan's Wake, though it seems to be a retro-explanation by Gell Mann.

Quark (5, Interesting)

jefu (53450) | about 5 years ago | (#27482271)

Not from science fiction, from "Finnegans Wake" which is certainly not your usual brand of fiction.

Three quarks for Muster Mark!
Sure he hasn't got much of a bark
And sure any he has it's all beside the mark.

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