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 more than 17,600 entries are free to read 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 see what links to the current entry and to identify contributors' initials, click the Incoming/Citation button at the top of the entry.

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...

Hersey, Harold

Tagged: Author | Editor

(1893-1956) US editor, publisher, short-story author and poet. A man of great energy and relatively little talent, Hersey edited such sf Pulp magazines as Thrill Book, Miracle Science and Fantasy Stories and Mystery Adventures, though most of his editorial work was not sf-related. His early writing, all negligible, appeared under various pseudonyms; but Night (coll 1923), a Poetry collection, has superb artwork by Elliott Dold, and Pulpwood Editor (1937) is an informative (albeit anecdotal) look at the Pulp-magazine world. [RB]see also: Alternate History; Intelligence; Overpopulation; Theatre.Harold Brainerd Herseyborn Bozeman, Montana: 29 March 1893died New York: 17 March 1956works (selecte...

Benford, Gregory

Tagged: Author | Editor | Fan

(1941-    ) US astrophysicist and author; in 1971 he was appointed an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of California, Irvine, rising to Professor of Plasma Physics and Astrophysics in 1979, a position he held until 2006, when he formally resigned in order to participate in a new bio-tech corporation dedicated to unplumbing the genetic governors of ageing in humans. His first involvement in sf was with Fandom: he edited a notable Fanzine, Void, with various co-editors including Ted White and Terry Carr. He began to publish fiction of interest with "Stand-In" for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in June 1965, which won second place in a contest organized by the magaz...


Tagged: Theme

In discussing the scientific content of sf it is customary to regard the sciences as ranging from "hard" to "soft", with physics lying at the hard end of the spectrum (see Hard SF). A concern with the hard sciences is generally held to have characterized sf of the period 1940-1960, or a type of sf whose locus classicus is to be found in that period, and so we may expect this type of sf, in its scientific aspect, to be dominated by physics. In fact a large part of the importance in sf of physics can be attributed to its association with Technology; among the pure sciences, Astronomy and Biology have probably provided more motive force for hard sf than has physics. Nevertheless, physics is pro...

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