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.


Tagged: Award

Sf Award given since 1966 by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (prior to 1992, Science Fiction Writers of America). The idea of funding such an award from the royalties of an annual Nebula Anthology of award-winning short fiction was proposed in 1965 by SFWA's then secretary-treasurer, Lloyd Biggle Jr. The awards are made in the spring and, unlike the Hugos, were originally dated by the year of publication of the award-winning stories; thus the 1965 awards, the first, were made in 1966. The award takes the form of a metallic-glitter spiral nebula suspended over a rock crystal, both embedded in clear lucite; the original design by J A Lawrence was based on a drawing by Kate Wilhe...

Shadow, The

Tagged: Film | Publication | Comics | Character | Radio

This crime-fighting character made his debut in 1930 as narrator of the US Radio programme Detective Story. The opening lines soon became famous: "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!" In 1937 the very popular programme became The Shadow and continued through well over 600 episodes until 1954, with Orson Welles in the star role 1937-1938; among its many scriptwriters were Alfred Bester and Max Ehrlich. Earlier in 1931, the programme's sponsors Street & Smith had launched the spinoff mystery/thriller Pulp magazine The Shadow, of which 325 issues appeared over 18 years (April 1931-Summer 1949); John L Nanovic was the editor from 1932 to 1943. Each contained a "comp...

Sanders, Joseph L

Tagged: Author | Critic

(1940-    ) US academic, who often writes as Joe Sanders; his E E "Doc" Smith (1986) is a competent study of E E Smith, and Roger Zelazny: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography (1980) was a useful early tool in Roger Zelazny studies; it has not, however, been updated to cover the last fifteen years of his career. Science Fiction Fandom (anth 1994) assembles a wide-ranging set of essays about sf Fandom; Functions of the Fantastic: Selected Essays from the Thirteenth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (anth 1995), assembles papers, as designated in the subtitle, primarily for academic readers; and The Sandman Papers (anth 2006) assembles critical essays on Neil Gaiman's Sandm...


Tagged: Theme

One of the wittier items of sf Terminology, coined by Frederik Pohl as "corpse-sicle" in his contribution to the Cryonics symposium – also including Robert C W Ettinger – "Immortality Through Freezing" (August 1966 Worlds of Tomorrow), and contracted to "corpsicle" in Pohl's novel The Age of the Pussyfoot (1969). Formed on the analogy of "popsicle", a US ice-lollipop, the word refers to a frozen dead person, preserved in the hope of resuscitation in some hypothetical, medically advanced future (see Suspended Animation). Larry Niven adopted the term in "Rammer" (November 1971 Galaxy) and "The Defenseless Dead" (in Ten Tomorrows, anth 1973, ed Roger Elwood), but took care to credit the coinage...

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