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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.

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Crime and Punishment

Genre fiction concerned with crime may be roughly divided into detections and thrillers. The former are problem stories; the latter exploit the melodramatic potential of the conflicts inherent in criminal deviation. For further discussion of the many forms of punishment found in sf, see the entries for Prisons and Torture. / Detective stories depend very heavily on ingenuity and generally require very fine distinctions between what is possible and what is not. It is not easy to combine sf ...

Westheimer, David

(1917-2005) US journalist and author, best known for the nonfantastic Von Ryan's Express (1964). He is of sf interest for Lighter Than a Feather (1971; vt Downfall 1972; rev vt Death Is Lighter Than a Feather 2000), an Alternate History tale set near the end of World War Two, the Jonbar Point being the decision not to drop the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, the consequence being a painful invasion of Japan, ending in a Japanese surrender in January 1946. [JC]

Palmer, Jane

(1946-    ) UK author and illustrator who began writing sf with the Moosevan sequence – comprising The Planet Dweller (1985), Moving Moosevan (1990), Duckbill Soup (2011) and Brassica Park (2018) – which presents a comic set of Parodies of sf Clichés as the giant Shapeshifting Alien known as Moosevan generates wide apprehension that an Invasion has been mounted; in the third volume, the exiled human race has been moved to Titan (see Outer Planets), which ...

Return of Sherlock Holmes, The

Made-for-tv film (1987). CBS Entertainment Productions for CBS-TV. Produced by Nick Gillott. Directed by Kevin Connor. Written by Bob Shayne. Based on characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle. Cast includes Margaret Colin, Barry Morse and Michael Pennington. 100 minutes. Colour. / Modern-day private detective Jane Watson (Colin) must sell the UK estate that belonged to her ancestor Dr Watson. On her final visit, a lawyer gives her an old letter with instructions leading to a hidden basement ...

Stintzi, John Elizabeth

Canadian poet and author whose first novel Vanishing Monuments (2020) evokes images out of the Fantastika toolkit to dramatize the growing dementia of its protagonist's mother. They are of sf interest (see in particular Absurdist SF) for their second novel, My Volcano (2022), which multiply Equipoises topoi out of various genres to depict a kind of Alternate World whose Jonbar Point seems to be the realization that everything terrifying about the year 2016 should be taken literally: it is a ...

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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