This interesting post was part of a round-up from Scifi and Scary, which is a really interesting blog that I recommend (I skip the scary bits).

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The Sci-Fi Zone: Science Fiction to Science Fact

Sometimes truth can be stranger than fiction. Sometimes the fiction of the past can influence technology of the future. So I’ve gathered up some examples of science fiction and fact. I’m sure at the time these new ideas, creations and technology were thought of as science fiction rather than items that would become the technology of today and commonly used. -Gk

1578 – 1605: Submarines in Fiction to Fact

1578: William Bourne designed one of the first prototype submarines. It was designed as a completely enclosed boat to be submerged by hand and rowed under water. There seemed to be little room for crew in the design.

1605: The first actual submersible built was created by Magnus Pegelius.

1726: Computers

The Engine in  Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift was a mechanical information generator. It is generally accepted as the first description of a machine that resembles a computer.

1877: Videophone

An early concept of a videophone and wide-screen television called a ‘telephonoscope’ was conceptualized in popular periodicals of the year.

1881-1888: Time Travel

1881:  The Clock That Went Backward by Edward Page Mitchell features a clock that takes people back in time. It is the first use in a story that features a machine for time travel.

1887: El Anacronopete by Enrique Gaspar y Rimbau predates H.G. Wells’ ‘The Chronic Argonauts’ by 1 year in the use of an actual time machine used to purposely move through time, rather than at random.

1888: The Chronic Argonauts – H.G. Wells – An inventor takes a companion in his time machine. The companion narrates the story of their subsequent adventures. The basis for The Time Machine, written when Wells was a student.

1907: Androids/Humanoid Mechanicals

First introduction of a humanoid mechanical man was Tik-Tok in Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Tik-Tok was powered by a trio of clockwork components that controlled his thinking, movement, and speech. None of which he could wind for himself.

1950: Black Holes

One of the first mentions of black holes in fiction occurs in   The Sword of Rhiannon by Leigh Brackett .

  1955: Laser-weapons

In his story, Earthlight, Arthur C. Clarke mentions a particle-beam weapon. They functioned by energy which would be delivered by high-velocity beams of matter. One of the first uses of a laser-like weapon in fiction.

1967: Hover Board

The first mention of a hover board ( a levitating board used for personal transportation) was first described by author M.K. Joseph in his story “The Hole in the Zero“.


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