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 16,700+ entries are free online. A few sample entries 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 identify contributors, whose initials appear at the end of each entry, click the Incoming button.

Kidd, Chip

Tagged: Art

(1964-    ) American book designer, artist, editor, and author. After receiving artistic training at Penn State University, he began doing book design for Alfred A Knopf in 1986 and has since done freelance work for other publishers. While others in his profession, like Carol Russo and Ray Lundgren, make little effort to draw attention to themselves, Kidd has innovatively transformed himself into a celebrity, in part by means of his involvement in numerous collections of Comic book art; in some cases he writes their text, and in some cases he selects the art and thus functions as an editor, but he is always the book's designer, and he always receives credit as a co-author on the cover or tit...

Game Design

Tagged: Game | Theme

While the practice of game design has no direct relationship to sf, a brief section on the subject has been included here to define and clarify concepts used elsewhere. Although new Games have been created throughout recorded history, the first attempts at a theory of game design do not seem to have emerged until the early 1970s, among board and counter Wargame developers. The term "game designer" itself, referring to the profession of making games, was coined at this time (see Redmond Simonsen). Analyses of existing forms appeared considerably earlier, as in Harold Murray's A History of Board Games Other Than Chess (1952), but these were not intended as guidelines for the creation of origi...


Tagged: Publication | Fan

US Semiprozine, originally a Fanzine, advertised as quarterly but in its earlier years often irregular; edited by D Douglas Fratz, #1 January 1973 as magazine of the University of Maryland Science Fiction Society, with the first two issues carrying covers by Maurice Scott Dollens; it became independent in 1977, at which time Fratz stopped publishing fiction and established the blend of interviews, articles and reviews, emphasizing controversy and argument, which continued through its final issue in 1993. Always one of the solider journals of commentary on sf and fantasy, and one of the longest-lasting, Thrust/Quantum was five times nominated for a Hugo (1980, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991). Beginni...

Force Field

Tagged: Theme

In sf Terminology – unlike Physics, where it has a different meaning – a force field (sometimes a force shield or energy screen) is usually an invisible protective sphere or wall of force. The term "force field" first seems to have been used in this sf sense in E E "Doc" Smith's Spacehounds of IPC (July-September 1931 Amazing; 1947). Throughout the 1930s and 1940s the force field performed sterling service, notably in Smith's Skylark and Lensman series, where force fields under attack routinely glow red and orange and then all the way up through the spectrum until they reach violet and black and break down. Isaac Asimov's "Not Final!" (October 1941 Astounding) uses force-field research as a...

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