This place matters

This place matters

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Nerds putting words in your mouth

From Jules Vern's moon landing in From Earth to the Moon to the water beds that Robert Heinlein predicted in Beyond This Horizon, sci-fi writers have predicted the future in some eerily accurate ways. So when our tech caught up with their imaginations, many sci fi authors had conveniently already come up with the words for our devices. Here are a few, from Vivian Cook's In a Word as well as Whizzpast and my brain:

  • Blast off: Doc Smith (1937)
  • Cyberspace: William Gibson (1982)
  • Robot:  Karel Čapek (1920) - it's interesting to note that this comes from a Czech term for slave and was once pronounced more like robit
  • Terraform: Jack Williamson (1942)
  • Atomic Bomb: HG Wells (1914)
  • Android: Ephraim Chambers (freaking 1728)
  • Spaceship: Pall Mall Gazette (from an 1880 review of Percy Greg's novel Across the Zodiac)
  • Virus (as in a computer virus): Gregory Benford 1970
Kinetic sculpture somewhere in western Ohio.
I'm not sure where - I was really lost.



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