Nerds Putting Words in Our Mouths

nerdsFrom Jules Verne’s moon landing in From Earth to the Moon, to the water beds that Robert Heinlein predicted in Beyond This Horizon, sci-fi writers have predicted the future in some eerily accurate ways. So when our tech caught up with their imaginations, many sci-fi authors had conveniently already come up with the words for our devices.

Here are a few, from Vivian Cook’s In a Word as well as this article on

Photo credit: Brigid Brockway
Photo credit: Brigid Brockway
  • Android: Ephraim Chambers (1728)
  • Atomic Bomb: HG Wells first used this word in The World Set Free (1914)
  • Blast off: Doc Smith (1937)
  • Computer virus: Gregory Benford 1970
  • Cyberspace: William Gibson (1982)
  • Robot: Karel Čapek (1920) – it’s interesting to note that this comes from a Czech term for slave and was once pronounced more like robit.
  • Spaceship: Pall Mall Gazette (from an 1880 review of Percy Greg’s novel Across the Zodiac)
  • Terraform: Jack Williamson (1942)

By Brigid Brockway
DRB SYstems
Adapted from