Science and SF Glossary
Developed by Kae Cheatham,
author of Child of the Mist and other speculative fiction titles
Technical and descriptive words found in Speculative (Science) Fiction are often real-world scientific terms. They mostly get used as the common definition allows, but sometimes fiction gives them slightly different meanings. In a few cases, made-up words have become SF standards, such as replicator.
These definitions have been compiled from Webster's Collegiate 11th edition, Chambers 20th Century Dictonary, Megweb, and popular SF fiction. This is a perpetual Work In Progress. SF-only words are marked with SF (duh).
~ Information about technology from all the Star Trek Series can be found in the Star Trek Library
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- a mobile robot, usually with human form
- ansibles SF originally from LeGuin, also used by Moon and other authors devices that use unique physics to communicate across galaxies; a hypothetical faster-than-light communication device.
- of or relating (similar to) to human beings
- artificial intelligence (AI)
- 1. a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers;
- 2. the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior.
- SF - An intelligent consciousness capable of self-awareness, development and creation.
- astronomical unit (AU)
- a unit length equal to the distance from Earth to our sun--approximately 150 million kilometers (93 million miles).
- an electronic image that represents and is manipulated by a computer user (as in a computer game)
- the arc of the horizon between the meridian of a place and the vertical circle passing through any celestial body.
- having normal biological qualities enhanced by electronics.
- black hole
- a celestial object that has a gravitational field so strong that light cannot escape it; believed to be created especially in the collapse of a very large star.
- the science of communication and control theory that is concerned esp. with the comparative study of automatic control systems (as in nervous system and brain and mechanical-electrical communication systems)
- the online world of computer networks, e.g. the Internet
- [from cybernetic + organism] a bionic human.
- SF - a robot with human or biological elements.
- the aggregate of genetically identical cells or organisms asexually produced by a single progenitor cell or organism;
- SF - an human individual grown from a single somatic cell or cell nucleus and genetically identical to the donor.
- the practice of freezing a person who has died of a disease in hopes if restoring life at some future time when a cure for the disease has been developed.