Welcome to the Third Edition of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edited by John Clute, David Langford, Peter Nicholls (emeritus) and Graham Sleight (managing). All the 17,000+ entries are free online. A few samples appear below. Click here for the Introduction and more on the text; here for Frequently Asked Questions; here for Advice to Students on citations. Find entries via the search box above (more on searching here) or browse the menu categories to the right of the SFE logo. To find what links to the current entry and to identify contributors' initials, click the Incoming/Citation button.

Ditmar Award

Tagged: Award

The Australian SF Awards, familiarly known as the Ditmars, were first given in 1969 and are presented in various categories for sf, fantasy and horror-related work by Australians. Voting resembles the system used for the Hugos but is associated with membership of the annual Australian National Convention ("Natcon") rather than the Worldcon. There have been many category changes over the years, some controversial (like the discontinuing of the International Fiction award since 1989, making the Ditmars purely local to Australia) and some joky (there was a 1991 category for Best Fannish Cat). The trophy normally takes the form of a monolith with sides in 1:4:9 proportions – as made famous in 20...

Tom Swift

Tagged: Publication | Character

Hero of a Juvenile Series of scientific-invention novels produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate, constituting a central example of the importance and persistence of the Edisonade in boys' fiction, and written under the House Name Victor Appleton, most being the work of Howard R Garis. Tom Swift was the most commercially successful and is still the best remembered of all the boys' sf Series of the period. During 1910-1938, beginning with Tom Swift and His Motor-Cycle (1910), 38 titles appeared, all but the last three by Garis, and featuring such Inventions as the "photo telephone" and the "ocean airport", the technical difficulties of utilizing which were emphasized. These stories created a po...

Jameson, Fredric

Tagged: Author | Critic

(1934-    ) US academic, political philosopher, literary theorist, and literary and cultural critic, born in Cleveland, Ohio; he was educated as an undergraduate at Haverford College, Pennsylvania, and as a graduate at Yale University, where he studied under Erich Auerbach; his PhD thesis was later published as Sartre: The Origins of a Style (1961; exp 1984); as a graduate student he also travelled to Germany on a Fulbright Fellowship. Jameson was Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Harvard University 1959-1967, the University of California, San Diego, 1967-1976, Yale University 1976-1983 and the University of California, Santa Cruz, 1983-1985. He supervised Kim Stanley Robinso...


Tagged: Theme

In the world of Computers, Cyberspace and Virtual Reality as these concepts already exist, avatars are familiar as the visible icons or points of presence in virtual space of either human beings or software routines. Well-known examples include the representations of player and non-player characters in Videogames, Computer Role Playing Games, and such online VR environments as Second Life. Vernor Vinge's True Names (1981 dos) prophetically illustrated what is now a commonplace: that one can never be certain what is behind an avatar mask, and that humans and software bots are not easily distinguishable. Also preceding the concept's widespread familiarity, computer programs are represented by...

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