This week’s video is a selection of odd facts about science fiction. If you’ve watched all my videos in the past you may recognise some of them from different places and if you’re interested by the weird SF history facts then definitely try watching my Science Fiction History series. But along with facts I also take you along to see a random day in my life. So yeah. But if you just want the facts (and no happy fun times – you misery!) then they’re all here underneath the video.
Also huge apologies for basically abandoning my blog this week. I’m trying to adjust to the terrifying course-load that is going on this semester and it’s hardcore. But hopefully I will get the hang of working without a break and never sleeping at some point soon and then it’ll be a-okay. (If you can sense the exhausted manic sarcasm in that sentence then here’s this one telling you that it was sarcastic and I’m dyinnnnnnnnnng.) But whatever.
Also, I’m (very slowly) reading The Female Factory by Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter and it’s SO VERY GOOD.
But, right, it was fact-time. Let’s do that:
1. Works by Isaac Asimov can be found in 9 of the 10 Dewey Decimal sections.
2. The World Science Fiction Conventions (WorldCons) have been held every year since 1939 with a couple of exceptions during World War II.
3. The Hugo Awards have been given out at the WorldCons every year since 1953. With the exception of 1954 because they weren’t expected to become an annual event.
4. The first book to win a Hugo Award was Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man (which is excellent).
5. Connie Willis is the author with the most awards for fiction (11).
6. But Robert Heinlein has the most awards for Best Novel (4 + 1 retro-Hugo).
7. David Langford is probably the person with the most Hugo Awards in total with 28 for various fan categories.
8. L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology was also a science fiction author and some parts of their beliefs are based on his works.
9. Another author who gained a serious following was Edward Bellamy in the 1880s. He wrote a book called Looking Backward 200-1880 which was a fictional history written from the point of view of utopian socialist future. People were so inspired by it that they founded hundreds of ‘Bellamy clubs’ that worked towards the vision he’d outlined.
10. In the 1940s the offices of Astounding Science Fiction were raided by the FBI after one of the published stories came a little to close to reality. (Deadline & The Cleve Cartmill affair.)
11. The word robot was coined in a Czech play called Rossum’s Universal Robots or RUR.
12. The first mentions of space travel in fiction are from the 2nd century AD in Lucian’s True History.
13. Time travel has been a thing in fiction for centuries but time machines didn’t feature in fiction until the mid-19th century.
14. The first mention of anything resembling a computer in fiction is generally given to Gulliver’s Travels by Joanathan Swift from 1726 (but it’s dubious).
15. Babbage’s Difference Engine, one of the forerunners of recognisable modern computing, was mentioned in fiction as early as the 1870s in a story called The Able-est Man in the World. It features a computer ‘better than the Difference engine’ that has been implanted into a man’s brain and turned him into a genius.
16. The term science fiction wasn’t used until the early 20th century.
17. The movie 2001: A Space Odyssey wasn’t based on the book of the same name, they were both written at the same time by Arthur C. Clarke (and are loosely based on his short fiction piece ‘The Sentinel’.
18. Jules Verne is credited as a writer on IMDB 185 times.
19. The highest grossing film ever is a science fiction film – Avatar. Though adjusted for inflation Avatar does drop to number 2 in the list (behind Gone with the Wind) but is joined in the top 10 by E.T. and Star Wars.