“Warp speed” may be a term of the moment, thanks to the federal coronavirus vaccine program. But it’s also one with a history — which goes back farther than “Star Trek,” to a forgotten 1952 science fiction story in the pulp magazine Imagination.
Ditto for “transporter,” “moon base” and “deep space,” to name just a few of the more than 400 words whose origins are getting pushed back earlier than their previously first appearance, thanks to the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction, a new free online resource released on Tuesday.
A historical dictionary devoted to the history of something as future-oriented (and imaginary) as science fiction may seem like a contradiction in terms. But then science fiction has always had a curious relationship to the real world, said Jesse Sheidlower, its editor.
“Despite the fact a lot of people look down on science fiction as a genre, it’s everywhere,”