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Welcome to the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Fourth Edition. Some sample entries appear below. Click here for the Introduction; here for the masthead; here for Acknowledgments; here for the FAQ; here for advice on citations. Find entries via the search box above (more details here) or browse the menu categories in the grey bar at the top of this page.

Site updated on 17 January 2022
Sponsor of the day: Andy Richards of Cold Tonnage Books

Gutman, Dan

(1955-    ) US author, almost exclusively of fiction for younger children and the Young Adult market. The long My Weird School series of picture books frequently verges on the fantastic [it is not listed below]. He is of some sf interest for the Baseball Card Adventures series, beginning with Honus & Me (1997), whose young protagonist finds that his Baseball cards work as Time Machines to transport him back to when baseball players featured on those cards were active; ...

Esenwein, J Berg

(1867-1946) US author of (chiefly) how-to-write books, and editor of the usually accepted candidate for the first exclusively science-fictional Anthology, which was also sf's first Original Anthology: Adventures to Come (anth 1937). Despite this primacy, its actual impact on the genre was nil. It has been suggested that the eight contributors – none of whom appears to have published anything else – were pseudonyms for Esenwein himself, or perhaps students of his 1902-1928 writing ...


Sf has long suffered from the perception that its authors are characteristically excellent creators of ideas but clunky prose stylists, suggesting that the genre – and by inference the larger body of texts comprising Fantastika into which sf complexly fits – may not be distinguished by an abundance of well-turned phrases. Still, there are any number of statements by Genre SF writers and others, in stories and articles, that are regularly referenced and repeated, so much so that they ...

Cosy Catastrophe

A term coined by Brian W Aldiss in Billion Year Spree (1973) to describe the supposedly comforting ambience shed by the sort of Disaster tale told by UK writers like John Wyndham (see also Holocaust; Post-Holocaust). Though later critical work on Wyndham has emphasized the ambiguities and darknesses of his work, the term remains convenient as a pointer to a period in the UK when certain solaces were sought by readers – or viewers of later episodes of Survivors (1975-1977) created by Terry ...

Charlton Comics

Charlton Comics was the primary Comics imprint of Charlton Publications, founded in 1946 in Derby, Connecticut, by Joe Santangelo Sr and attorney Ed Levy. Charlton Publications published a wide variety of assorted magazines and, briefly, the Monarch paperback imprint which published some sf. Charlton Comics was notoriously the lowest-paying US comics publisher, and would often pick up material and titles from defunct publishers – obtaining, for example, a great many romance and western ...

Nicholls, Peter

(1939-2018) Australian editor and author, primarily a critic and historian of sf through his creation and editing of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction [see below]; resident in the UK 1970-1988, in Australia from 1988; worked as an academic in English literature (1962-1968, 1971-1977), scripted television documentaries, was a Harkness Fellow in Film-making (1968-1970) in the USA, worked as a publisher's editor (1982-1983), often broadcast film and book reviews on BBC Radio from 1974 and ...

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