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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 23 May 2022
Sponsor of the day: Andy Richards of Cold Tonnage Books


The commonly used acronym for the Fantasy Amateur Press Association, formed in 1937 in the USA by Donald A Wollheim to facilitate distribution on an APA basis of Fanzines published by and for members; it was the first of many such groups, and still continues. Early contributors included E J Carnell, Francis T Laney, Robert A W Lowndes, Sam Moskowitz, Frederik Pohl, Wilson Tucker, Harry Warner Jr (from 1939 to his death in 2003) and Richard Wilson. F M Busby also participated. Current members ...

Arrested Development

Term used in this encyclopedia for the not uncommon scenario whereby humanity's perceived failure to realize its potential – assumed by John W Campbell Jr and others to be boundless – results from externally imposed shackles whose recognition can amply justify Paranoia. Removal of these constraints is likely to trigger a more or less traumatic Conceptual Breakthrough. Though Alice Roosevelt Longworth (1884-1980) wrote that "the secret of eternal youth is arrested development", this ...

Legendary Stardust Cowboy, The

US singer-songwriter, born Norman Carl Odam (1947-    ). Known to fans as "the Ledge", the Legendary Stardust Cowboy divides listeners into those who find his idiosyncratic and sporadic recordings to be nothing more than novelty records, and those who think very highly of his left-field, peculiar and space-travel-obsessed imagination. In the latter category is David Bowie, who has covered Legendary Stardust Cowboy songs on his own recordings. Tracks such as "I Took a Trip ...

Bryant, Edward

(1945-2017) US author, almost exclusively of short stories, who was born in New York State but raised in Wyoming, whose geography and culture consistently informed his work, a circumstance to which he paid his respects in Wyoming Sun (coll 1980), which assembles fictions affected by that visually superb region. Bryant began to publish work of genre interest with "They Come Only in Dreams" for Adam and "Sending the Very Best" for New Worlds, both stories published in January 1970, and remained ...

Fermi Paradox

The Fermi Paradox – not a true logical Paradox – denotes the apparent contradiction between plausibility arguments for the existence of numerous Alien civilizations (based on the age of the universe, estimated numbers of potentially life-supporting planets in the habitable zones of suitable stars, and so on, encapsulated in a formula known as the Drake equation) and the lack of hard evidence for any such extraterrestrial culture, past or present. "Where are they?" asked pioneer ...

Clute, John

(1940-    ) Canadian critic, editor and author, in the UK from 1969; married to Judith Clute from 1964, partner of Elizabeth Hand since 1996. His first professional publication was the long sf-tinged poem "Carcajou Lament" (Winter 1960 [ie Autumn 1959] Triquarterly), though he only began publishing sf reviews in 1964 and sf proper with "A Man Must Die" in New Worlds for November 1966, where much of his earlier criticism also appeared. This criticism, despite some studiously ...

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