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6 Science Fiction Authors Turned Inventors

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Duane Benson
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Jerry Pournelle
Duane Benson   3/24/2014 4:33:43 PM
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Jerry Pournelle: "By the turn of the century, you will be able to use your computer to get any piece of information that exists." Probably not the exact quote, but he wrote it in the early 1980's or late 1970's, in his column in Byte Magazine.

betajet
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Jules Verne
betajet   3/24/2014 6:55:39 PM
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Jules Verne also invented (unless someone can point me to prior art) full-motion holograms in The Carpathian Castle (1892) and IMO steampunk in The Steam House (1880), which features a giant steam-powered mechanical elephant :-)

betajet
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E. M. Forster: "The Machine Stops" (1909)
betajet   3/24/2014 6:59:44 PM
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While he's better known for A Room with a View and A Passage to India, my favorite E. M. Forster work is "The Machine Stops" (1909), which IMO quite accurately describes the Internet, especially social networking.

zeeglen
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A.C. Clarke and the tablet
zeeglen   3/24/2014 11:54:36 PM
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Nice article.

My print copy of 2001: A Space Odyssey (A.C. Clarke) has disappeared, but I seem to recall that in an early chapter when Floyd was the sole passenger on a shuttle to the moon he read the latest news on a portable device that strongly resembled today's internet-connected tablets.

Robert A. Heinlein described a CAD system called "Drafting Dan" in his novel "The Door into Summer".  But he was a little off-target in "Have Space Suit: Will Travel" where space flight to the moon happens (first prize in a soap contest), but slide-rules are still in use.  Can't predict everything, but still good calls...

 Of course it is possible that RAH stuck with the slipstick concept because this was one of his "juvenile novels" written to encourage youngsters to get into what we now refer to as "STEM"; and slide rules were the only computational resource available at the time.

zeeglen
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Other Authors
zeeglen   3/25/2014 12:32:46 AM
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Who remembers

"Carl and Jerry" by John T. Frye? (Popular Electronics)

Walker Tompkins K6ATX books?

These are some of the fiction stories that encouraged many kids to take up engineering careers.

Duane Benson
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Re: A.C. Clarke and the tablet
Duane Benson   3/27/2014 7:23:39 PM
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Zeeglen "a portable device that strongly resembled today's internet-connected tablets"

This is one of the things that, in my opinion, made the "who invented the tablet form factor" disputes between Apple and Samsung so absurd.

Susan Rambo
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creative writing
Susan Rambo   3/25/2014 1:42:49 AM
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It's interesting how fiction helps us imagine the future.

Jack Peacock
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Drafting Dan
Jack Peacock   3/25/2014 10:02:33 AM
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No mention of CAD programs for Robert Heinlein?  His book The Door Into Summer describes one of the first uses of CAD/CAM.

Jack Peacock

DougInRB
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Where is Ray Bradbury???
DougInRB   3/25/2014 12:24:09 PM
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How can this list not include Ray Bradbury?

Fahrenheit 451: Seashell Radios, Wall TV, Robot Teller...

 

molear
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Heinlein - Cellphones
molear   3/27/2014 7:06:46 AM
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Heinlein also "invented" the cell phone as far back as 1948.  It was pretty much a throw away scene involving two young cadets who had just met while traveling to be inprocessed at the Space Patrol Academy.  One's parents call him while the two are talking, and the other says he fooled his parents by packing his phone in his suitcase so that they wouldn't be able to bug him.

Bill_Higdon
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2 more Engineer/Authors
Bill_Higdon   3/27/2014 8:21:42 PM
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2 Engineer/Authors who haven't been mentioned so far are G Harry Stine who's Pen name was Lee Correy, and Dean ing. Both of them have predicted some interesting things in their writting.

Bill

Shallowford
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Robert L. Forward
Shallowford   3/31/2014 9:50:47 AM
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 From Dr. Forward's website:

  I am an aerospace engineer, with 134 publications to date.

  I am  a physicist, with 35 publications to date.

  I am an inventor, with 28 patents to date.

  I am a popular science writer, with 61 articles to date.

  I am a science fiction writer, with 11 novels and 21 short stories published to date.

  I have been a research department manager directing more than 50 scientists and engineers at one time.

 

   I pioneered the field of gravitational  engineering, and invented the gravitational mass detector. 

   I pioneered the fields of smart structures, of ultra-cold neutrons, of antimatter propulsion, of space tethers, of rocketless propulsion.

  I was the first to figure out a way to go to the stars using laser-pushed light sails.

  I was the first to invent a method for levitating spacecraft without its being in orbit.

  The space tethers, which I invented and pioneered, will revolutionize space travel within the solar system.

 

    Many of the fields in which I have done pioneering work are now being advanced by other people and other technologies.  My philosophy as a scientist has been to work on problems that other people consider impossible. I chose that philosophy as a very young man, because if you make any progress at all on that problem, it is still an advance.  When I felt I had launched a new technology, I wanted to move on to something new, different, and more difficult.

Bill_Higdon
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Re: 2 more Engineer/Authors
Bill_Higdon   3/31/2014 8:07:56 PM
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I appologize for not captializing the first letter in Professer Dean Ing's last name.

Bill

And yes Robert Forward is close to the head of the list

NoNIckName_#2
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Vernor Vinge
NoNIckName_#2   5/5/2014 4:25:46 PM
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Vernor Vinge in "Marooned in Realtime" (mid 1980s, and a terrrific read) described drones used for personal protection.

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