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Out of this World: Science Fiction but not as you know it (Read 739 times)
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Out of this World: Science Fiction but not as you know it
May 25th, 2011, 5:05am
Exhibit at The British Library
Opens Friday 20 May 2011
* Free *
Seven days a week

In association with

Supported by British Library Patrons

Explore a range of imaginings that have provoked hopes and dreams, exhilaration and fear - and see how science fiction has influenced scientific discovery. Download exhibition Guide (PDF) http://www.bl.uk/whatson/exhibitions/outof/Out%20of%20this%20World%20Guide%20v10...

Science Fiction getting some notice. At the British Library no less!


c.850BC Homer, in the Iliad, describes the god
Hephaestus as creating female robots
and mechanical ‘tripods’ which move
back and forth to the feasting-hall
in Olympus.
c.160AD Lucian of Samos describes a voyage
to the moon in his True History.
1492 Columbus lands in the West Indies and
finds new lands and peoples.
1492 Leonardo da Vinci draws a flying machine
1516 Thomas More’s Utopia.
1543 Copernicus publishes theory that the
Earth revolves around the sun.
1609 Galilleo builds the first telescope.
1610 Galileo writes Sidereus Nuncius
(The Starry Messenger) suggesting
that the Moon was a world.
1638 Francis Godwin writes
The Man in the Moone.
1660 The Royal Society founded
in England as an ‘Invisible College’
to promote knowledge.
1687 Isaac Newton’s Principia sets out
his three laws of motion and his law
of universal gravitation.
1726 Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.
1751 Benjamin Frankin’s Experiments and
Observations on Electricity.
1752 Voltaire’s short story Micromegas
in which an alien from a planet
orbiting the star Sirius visits Earth.
1763 The Reign of George VI published,
the earliest future-war story.
1771 Louis-Sebastien Mercier writes L’an
2440, a story about the future.
1785 First balloon crossing of the English
1791 Luigi Galvini publishes his discovery of
the action of electricity on the muscle
tissue of frogs.
1818 Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
1827 Jane Webb Loudon’s writes her
futuristic novel The Mummy! A Tale
of the 22nd Century.
1832 Charles Babbage’s proto-computer
‘Analytical Engine’ (never fully built).
1851 First use of the term ‘science fiction’
by William Wilson: “...Science-Fiction,
in which the revealed truths of Science
may be given, interwoven with a
pleasing story which may itself be
poetical and true”.
1864 Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre
of the Earth.
1869 Edward Everett Hale’s The Brick Moon,
possibly the first fiction about an
artificial satellite.
1876 Alexander Graham Bell invents
the telephone.
1887 Enrique Gaspar publishes
El Anacrónopete.
1877 Giovanni Schiaparelli sees ‘channels’
on the Martian surface. The Italian word
‘canali’ is translated into English as ‘canals’
leading to speculation of life on Mars.
1889 Thomas Eddison’s electric generation
station opened in London.
1894 Marconi’s first radio device.
1895 H G Wells’s The Time Machine.
1895 X-rays discovered by Wilhelm Roentgen.
1895 Konstantin Tsiolkovsky proposes that
liquid-fuelled rockets can be used
to propel space vehicles.
1898 Marie and Peter Curie discover
1898 H G Wells’s The War of the Worlds.
1905 Einstein publishes his papers on
Relativity, devising the equation E=mc2
1921 Karel Čapek’s R.U.R. (Rossum’s
Universal Robots).
1926 First issue of Amazing Stories (April).
1924 J B S Haldane’s Daedelus: or, Science
and the Future.
1924 Vladimir Zworykin develops
‘iconoscope’, a form of television.
1924 Aelita, directed by Yakov Protazanov
from the 1923 novel by Alexei Tolstoy.
1927 Fritz Lang’s Metropolis released,
scripted and novelised by Thea
von Harbou.
1927 ‘Society for Space Travel’ founded in
Germany including Werner von Braun
and Willy Ley.
1927 J B S Haldane’s essay in Possible Worlds
suggests ideas of human evolution later
taken up by Olaf Stapledon in Last and
First Men.
1927 The term ‘science fiction’ is used in the
letter column of the January Amazing.
1929 Fritz Lang’s Frau im Mond (Woman in
the Moon). Romanian/German rocket
scientist Hermann Oberth advised
on the rocket used in the film.
1929 First Buck Rogers comic strip based
upon the hero of Philip Francis
Nowlan’s Armageddon 2419 AD.
1932 Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
1933 British Interplanetary Society founded
in Liverpool.
1934 Flash Gordon comic strip issued later
resulting in a film serial.
1934 Hugo Gernsback launches the Science
Fiction League through Wonder Stories.
1934 Joseph Banks Rhine’s book Extra-
Sensory Perception details his
experiments at Duke University and
claims evidence for precognition.
1935 Erwin Schrödinger devises what is now
known as the ‘Schrödinger’s cat paradox’.
1936 The British fanzine Novae Terrae edited
by Maurice Hanson with involvement
from John Carnell, Arthur C Clarke
and William Temple. Carnell takes
over as editor for the last four issues
as New Worlds.
1937 First science fiction convention held
in Leeds.
1937 Prototype of the first electronic
computer is completed.
1937 Rocket tests at the Peenemunde
research station in Germany. Leaders
include Verner von Braun.
1937 Frank Whittle builds first jet engine.
1938 Orson Welles’s radio dramatisation
of The War of the Worlds causes panic
in the USA.
1938 Superman, created by Joe Shuster and
Jerry Siegel, first appears in Action Comics
1939 Buck Rogers film serial.
1939 First World Science Fiction convention,
New York World Fair.
1939 Isaac Asimov’s first story ‘Marooned
off Vesta’ in Amazing.
1940 First colour television broadcast.
1943 Britain develops ‘Colossus’, the first
programmable electronic computer used
to decipher encrypted German messages.
1945 Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
1946 Murrey Leinster’s A Logic named Joe
One of the few science fiction stories
to imagine something like a desktop
1946 New Worlds begins publication as
a professional fiction magazine.
1947 The term ‘flying saucer’ coined after
Kenneth Arnold sees nine disc-like
1949 George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four
1949 New Worlds revived as a digest
magazine by Nova Publications, a
group of fans including John Beynon
Harris (John Wyndham).
1950 First issue of Eagle, featuring Dan Dare.
1950 Alan Turing publishes a paper in
Computing Machinery and Intelligence,
addressing the question ‘Can machines
1953 Charles Chilton’s radio serial Journey
into Space begins serialisation on BBC.
1956 J G Ballard’s first story, ‘Escapement’
published in New Worlds.
1956 Hugh Everett III devises ‘many worlds
interpretation’ of quantum physics.
1956 Arthur C Clarke’s The City and the Stars.
1957 First artificial satellite, Sputnik 1
launched by Soviet Union.
1959 C P Snow’s The Two Cultures analyses
the intellectual divide between the arts
and sciences.
1961 Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris (translated
into English in 1970).
1962 Rachel Carson writes Silent Spring.
1963 First series of Dr Who broadcast
on BBC television.
1966 First series of Star Trek begins.
1968 Kubrick’s 2001: a Space Odyssey.
1969 Neil Armstrong takes first step on moon.
1971 Science Fiction Foundation established
at the then Polytechnic of East London.
1972 First public demonstration of ARPANET,
the precursor of the Internet.
1972 John Brunner’s The Sheep Look Up
attacks complacency about
environmental pollution.
1975 Altair 8800 home computer kit introduced
in USA. It has 256 bytes of memory.
1977 George Lucas releases Star Wars.
1978 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
first broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
1978 Omni magazine features much
influential fiction, including early
stories by William Gibson.
1979 First edition of The Encyclopedia of
Science Fiction, edited by Peter Nichols.
1980 Clive Sinclair’s ZX 80 microcomputer
opened up the possibility of mass home
computers in the UK, at under £100.
1980 Chinese scientists clone a fish.
1982 First issue of Interzone.
1982 Ridley Scott directs Blade Runner.
1982 William Gibson’s ‘Burning Chrome’
in Omni uses the word ‘cyberspace’.
1984 William Gibson’s Neuromancer, sparking
the cyberpunk movement.
1987 Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s
Tale is the first winner of the Arthur
C Clarke Award.
1990 Tim Berners Lee of CERN creates a
global hypertext system, the World
Wide Web.
1993 Second edition of The Encyclopedia of
Science Fiction, edited by John Clute
and Peter Nichols.
1995 Omni becomes a webzine with fiction
edited by Ellen Datlow, at that time
fiction editor of print version.
1997 ‘Dolly the sheep’ cloned at the
Roslin Institute.
1997 First edition of The Encyclopedia of
Fantasy edited by John Clute and
John Grant.
1999 The Matrix released.
2000 China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station.
2000 Sheree R Thomas (ed.) Dark Matters:
A Century of Speculative Fiction from
the African Diaspora.
2001 The first draft of the human genome
is completed.
2005 Dr Who relaunched by BBC with Russell
T Davies as producer.
2007 Doris Lessing wins the Nobel Prize
for Literature.
2010 Avatar becomes highest-grossing movie
2011 Lauren Beukes wins the Arthur C Clarke
Award for Zoo City.
2011 Ray Kurzweil champions the emergence
of posthumanism via ‘technological
singularity’ in his film Trancendent Man.
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