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.

Doc Savage

Tagged: Character

Hero of many pulp-action sf novels first published – usually as by Kenneth Robeson (a House Name for, most often, Lester Dent) – in Doc Savage magazine. A master Scientist, almost superhuman in intelligence and strength, Doc Savage was actually Clark Savage, the "Man of Bronze" – the surname is a Street and Smith homage to Colonel Richard Henry Savage, an early contributor to the firm's journals; the given name is from Clark Gable. The success of the series led to imitations, most notably Superman, whose debt to Doc Savage is evident in his soubriquet – Clark Kent, the "Man of Steel". One early Doc Savage adventure was filmed as Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze (1975). Bob Larkin's covers for t...

Sterling, Brett

Tagged: Author | House name

A House Name of Better Publications, used originally in the magazines Startling Stories and Captain Future for five short Captain Future novels, three of which – "The Star of Dread" (Captain Future 1943), "Magic Moon" (Captain Future 1944) and "Red Sun of Danger" (Startling Stories 1945; vt Danger Planet 1968) – were by Edmond Hamilton. Two Sterling Captain Future stories by Joseph Samachson are "Days of Creation" (Captain Future 1944; vt The Tenth Planet 1969) and "Worlds to Come" (Captain Future 1943). The Sterling pseudonym was used once more by Hamilton for "Never the Twain Shall Meet" (Fall 1946 Thrilling Wonder) and once by Ray Bradbury for "Referent" (October 1948 Thrilling Wonder). [...


Tagged: International

Inspired by literary trends of the period, Portuguese Proto-Sf novels in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries depicted future or remote Utopian societies that are visited and discussed at length by travelers from the present world and time. Great care is given to the shifts in world order and morality and less to scientific achievements, including the modes of Transportation to those far-away lands. Protagonists travel in time through the simple method of deep-sleep (see Sleeper Awakes), as in O Que Há-de Ser o Mundo No Ano 3000 ["What the World Will Be in the Year 3000"] (1859-1860), a loosely-translated version of Émile Souvestre's Le Monde Tel Qu'il Sera to which the translat...


Tagged: Theme

In sf Terminology, one of the commonest of hand-held Weapons (see Rays), especially in Space Opera of the 1930s and 1940s. The device may have been a product of squeamishness – or perhaps just neatness – since it creates a maximum of destruction with a minimum of bleeding pieces left to sweep up afterwards. The term seems to have been introduced by Nictzin Dyalhis in "When the Green Star Waned" (April 1925 Weird Tales), as a synonym for Blaster (here spelt "Blastor"). The disintegrator first reached a wide audience with the Comic strip Buck Rogers in the 25th Century in 1935, as a result of which disintegrator Toys were very popular with kids in the late 1930s. A notable predecessor of the u...

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