Forgotten firsts in science fiction

1922 — Claude Pfaff’s “The Revenge of the Thin One” features Jean, a physically inept boy skilled in the manipulation of a toy called a Silver Ball; the much bullied Jean triumphs over his tormentors and becomes fabulously wealthy as the entire world suddenly becomes addicted to the Silver Ball game. And Jean’s full name? Jean Nerd (that’s the origin of that four-letter word); and his story an eerie prediction of the life of the first-generation IT professional.

1937 — Piker Halberd’s “Bang Williamson and the Sedu-Seireens of Titan!” first predicts artificial breast augmentation. Also, ubiquitous free love and nudism, which are a tad delayed still.

1945 — Arry C. Clark’s “The Phone Phobia” sort of predicts Chat Roulette — with telephones! 15 000 words lead to a brilliant mathematical method of catching an unpleasant heavy breather that’s terrorizing the Autotelesphere. The story’s reworked as a far future one about tangible-hologram-phones in 1951 as “The Long Distance Molester of Venus!”, but fails to find a publisher.

1956 — Jacob Azymov writes “The Terror of the Electric Parasites”, which accurately predicts the ubiquity of mobile smartphones; whether the sequels, “The Bonfire of the Electric Parasites” , “The Flesh-Bonding of the Electric Parasites”, “An Electric Parasite Ate Cleveland” and “The Man With An Electric Parasite Head” are predictive remains to be seen.

1961 — Helmut Prick’s “The Endless Wars of the Reality-Warping Idiot King in the Land of Sand”… well, very accurate as far as the main character, the “Great White Beast”, is concerned, if you ask a liberal.

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