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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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Matson, Norman

(1892-1965) US author now best known for his completion, after the death of Thorne Smith, of the latter's The Passionate Witch (1941), capturing Smith's melancholy, mildly madcap, sentimentally erotic style very neatly, despite touches of unSmithian sourness. Matson also wrote a sequel, Bats in the Belfry (1943). A film, I Married a Witch (1942), and the television series Bewitched (1964-1972) were loosely based on the books. Earlier Matson wrote a fantasy, Flecker's Magic (1926; vt Enchanted ...

Hader, Berta

(1890-1976) US illustrator and author, born in Mexico of American parents in transit, whose copious work, in collaboration with her husband, includes one Young Adult sf tale, The Skyrocket (1946) with Elmer Hader, though it may be the case that the Rocket in question is fuelled by Magic. [JC]


Traditional item of sf Terminology for various surveillance mechanisms employing some kind of Ray that can penetrate most forms of matter, conferring the power of undetectable eavesdropping upon its operator. E E Smith uses the term throughout his Lensman series and seems to have coined it in the original magazine version of Triplanetary (January-April 1934 Amazing; exp rev 1948). Inevitably this Technology leads to a kind of arms race, with "spy-ray blocks" – as in First Lensman (1950) ...

Towle, George Makepeace

(1841-1893) US translator, editor, man of letters and author, prolific in various fields; served in the United States diplomatic corps as Consul in Nantes, France, and elsewhere. His translations of works by Jules Verne, beginning with The Tour of the World in 80 Days (1873), the first translation of Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (1873), are moderately faithful. [JC]

Hoffmann, Curtis H

(1956-    ) US author of Project: Millennium (1987), a tale told within a Space Opera frame, as it is set on a distant world (Muspell's Planet) run by Computers for the benefit of a jaded populace; but which focuses on another planet which the Muspell AIs have populated with battalions of Heroes out of Earth's past, both mythic and historical, and have set them against each other to entertain their own humans (see Games and Sports). The tale focuses on the Conceptual ...

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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