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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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McDowell, Emmett

(1914-1975) US author who also wrote as Robert E McDowell, beginning his career after service in World War Two with The Happy Castaway (Spring 1945 Planet Stories; 2020 ebook). His work as author in other genres is various; he published several mystery novels, beginning with Switcheroo (1954 dos), none listed here, and as an historian specialized in regional studies of Kentucky. In his sf – mostly Space Operas and Planetary Romance adventures – he was associated with Planet Stories ...

Douglas, Carole Nelson

(1944-2021) US author who began her career as a feature writer 1967-1984 for the St Paul Pioneer Press, and whose first books, like Amberleigh (1980), were historical romances. She is best known for energetic, layered high-fantasy tales like Six of Swords (1982), the first volume in her Kendric and Irissa sequence, which continues with Exiles of the Rynth (1984) and segues into the Sword & Circlet sequence with Keepers of Edanvant (1987) and its sequels. Her long Midnight Louie detective ...

Van Gennep, Arnold

(1873-1957) Dutch-German anthropologist, sociologist and author, in France from early manhood; he is best known for Les Rites de Passage [for subtitle see Checklist below] (1909; trans Gabrielle L Caffe and Monika B Vizedom as The Rites of Passage 1960), whose breakdown of ceremonies of transition into three phases – separation, liminality and incorporation – has influenced authors of fiction for over a century. Van Gennep is some direct sf interest for Les Demi-Savants (coll 1911; ...

Brain from Planet Arous, The

Film (1957). Marquette Productions Ltd/Howco International. Produced by Jacques R Marquette. Directed by Nathan H Juran (credited as Nathan Hertz). Written by Ray Buffum. Cast includes John Agar, Joyce Meadows and Dale Tate. 71 minutes. Black and white. / Young Scientist Steve March (Agar) is about to marry Sally (Meadows) when the criminal Alien brain Gor (voiced by Tate) arrives on Earth, and takes possession of Steve's body. Gor/March begins his quest to take over the world by destroying ...


In sf Terminology, one of the commonest of hand-held Weapons (see Rays), especially in Space Opera of the 1930s and 1940s. The device may have been a product of squeamishness – or perhaps just neatness – since it creates a maximum of destruction with a minimum of bleeding pieces left to sweep up afterwards. The term seems to have been introduced by Nictzin Dyalhis in "When the Green Star Waned" (April 1925 Weird Tales), as a synonym for Blaster (here spelt "Blastor"). The ...

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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