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.

Doc Weir Award

Tagged: Fan | Award

Award for services to Fandom presented annually at the UK Eastercon since 1963 in memory of the then recently deceased fan Arthur Rose "Doc" Weir (?   -1961) and his activities. The award takes the form of a silver cup engraved with the names of past winners; all available space on the cup itself having been used, winners are now commemorated on silver plates attached to its storage box. The cup is held by the current winner for a year and then passed to the next. Traditionally the Doc Weir Award goes to "unsung heroes" whose services to fandom may not be easily defined but usually – especially in more recent years – consists of unpaid behind-the-scenes work for fan-run Conventions. [DRL]Win...

Calkins, Dick

Tagged: Comics | Art

Working name of US Comic-strip illustrator Richard T Calkins (1894-1962), who was born in Grand Rapids and studied at the Art Institute in Chicago. Beginning in 1929, Philip Francis Nowlan scripted and Calkins illustrated Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, a comic strip based on Nowlan's "Armageddon – 2419 A.D." (August 1928 Amazing) and "The Airlords of Han" (March 1929 Amazing), later published together as Armageddon – 2419 AD (1962). Some sources describe Calkins as an uncredited co-author of the strips, and he also wrote scripts for the Buck Rogers Radio series (1932-1946). Though Calkins's artistic style was stiff and amateurish by today's standards, the strip was extremely popular in the...

Ultravox

Tagged: Music

UK synth-pop band, who as "Ultravox!" (with exclamation mark) released a first eponymous album Ultravox! (1977). A modishly alienated work that uses synthesizers in a doomy and rather melodramatic manner, it nevertheless achieves some atmospheric moments, as in the urban noir of "Saturday Night In The City of the Dead", or the Robot-themed "I Want To Be A Machine". This last song, one of the band's early successes, situates itself in a subordinate relationship to Kraftwerk's cyborg electronica ("die mensch-maschine kissed me on my eyes"). The follow-up album Ha!-Ha!-Ha! (1977) (this and all subsequent releases were as by Ultravox with no exclamation mark) contains some effective post-apocaly...

Sladek, John T

Tagged: Author | Editor

(1937-2000) US author who spent two decades in the UK from 1966, becoming involved in the UK New-Wave movement centred on Michael Moorcock's New Worlds, and co-editing with Pamela Zoline Ronald Reagan: The Magazine of Poetry (two issues 1968), where work by both editors, J G Ballard, Thomas M Disch and others appeared. In the mid-1980s he returned to Minneapolis, a town which had long supplied local colour to many of his more severely satirical stories, whose protagonists ricochet through their preordained and absurd lives within the vast, hyperbolic flatlands of middle America. This mise en scène, when illuminated by his adept control of the language and pretensions of the modern bureaucrat...

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