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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
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Dirty Pair

Japanese animated tv series (1985), original title Dāti Pea. Based on the stories by Haruka Takachiho. Nippon Sunrise. Directed by Norio Kashima and Toshifumi Takizawa. Writers include Toshiki Inoue, Toshimichi Okawa and Michiru Shimada. Voice cast includes Saeko Shimazu and Kyouko Tonguu. 26 25-minute episodes. Colour. / The Lovely Angels are Kei (Tonguu) and Yuri (Shimazu), highly trained Trouble Consultants for the galaxy-wide Worlds Welfare Work Association (3WA): they get the job ...


The usual term for the ESP talent, or Psi Power or Superpower, of seeing into the future. For genuine sf relevance this ability needs to be developed in somewhat more detail than the all too frequent narrative convenience of "some sixth sense warned him ..." Philip K Dick seems to have coined the term "precog" for a thus-gifted person, in "A World of Talent" (October 1954 Galaxy). As in Fantasy, the precogs of Sheri S Tepper's True Game sequence – beginning with King's Blood Four (1983) ...

Play by Mail

Term used to describe a game in which the players communicate by (physical) post. Typically all participants send their moves in at regular intervals to a central moderator, who processes the orders simultaneously and returns the results. The moderator is generally the only individual involved to know the current state of all the pieces belonging to every player. Sf examples include Starweb (1976) and Beyond the Stellar Empire (1981). [NT] see also: Postal Worlds. /

Star Fleet Battles

Board and counter Wargame (1979). Task Force Games (TFG). Designed by Stephen Cole. / Star Fleet Battles was first developed as a game of tactical combat between starships in the Star Trek universe. However, the limitations of the licence under which the game is produced, and the extent to which the various themes found in the original material were differently emphasized by the game developers and later television shows, led to the creation of a separate continuity (the Star Fleet ...

Roberts, Keith

(1935-2000) UK author and illustrator long resident in the south of England, where most of his best fiction was set. After working as an illustrator and cartoon animator, he began publishing sf with "Anita" and "Escapism" in the same issue of Science Fantasy, September/October 1964; several of his early stories were written as by Alistair Bevan. He served as associate editor of Science Fantasy 1965-1966 and edited its successor SF Impulse for the whole of its run (March 1966-February 1967). His ...

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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