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.

Skylark Award

Tagged: Award

The familiar name for the E E Smith or Edward E Smith Memorial Award, an Award presented in memory of E E Smith by the New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA) at Boskone, its annual Convention. Winners, who are chosen by vote of NESFA members, are honoured for having "contributed significantly to science fiction, both through work in the field and by exemplifying the personal qualities which made the late 'Doc' Smith well-loved by those who knew him." The trophy incorporates a large and functional magnifying glass, alluding to Smith's Lensman sequence. [DRL] 1966: Frederik Pohl 1967: Isaac Asimov 1968: John W Campbell Jr 1969: Hal Clement 1970: Judy-Lynn del Rey 1971: no award...

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...

Sargent, Lyman Tower

Tagged: Author | Critic

(1940-    ) US academic, bibliographer and author, in the Department of Political Science at the University of Missouri-St Louis, Professor Emeritus since 2005; he founded and edited until 2004 the journal Utopian Studies. Since his own first essay of interest, "Utopia and Dystopia in Contemporary Science Fiction" for The Futurist in 1972, his sf work has been exclusively focused on the study of Utopias and Dystopias, the most important result of which has been British and American Utopian Literature 1516-1975: An Annotated Bibliography (1979; much exp, vt British and American Utopian Literature, 1516-1985: An Annotated, Chronological Bibliography 1988). The revised edition, which lists seve...

Flat Earth

Tagged: Theme

The Pseudoscientific belief that the Earth is flat has lingered with a strange persistence, supported mainly by Biblical literalism despite increasingly overwhelming scientific evidence. An important nineteenth-century proponent was the eccentric UK inventor and controversialist Samuel Birley Rowbotham (1816-1884), whose arguments led to the founding in 1884 of the Universal Zetetic Society (publishers of The Earth Not a Globe Review), revived in 1956 as The Flat Earth Society and remaining active under that name even today, with an online presence [see under links below]. Rudyard Kipling's borderline-fantastic "The Village That Voted the Earth Was Flat" (in A Diversity of Creatures, coll 19...

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