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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 9 July 2024
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Irwin, Robert

(1946-2024) UK academic, mediaevalist, professional juggler (briefly) and author whose work in Arabian studies, of importance in itself, underpins the world envisioned in his first and most famous novel, The Arabian Nightmare (1983; rev 1987), which may be the definitive rendering of its central conceit: a mise en abyme-like dream narrative whose protagonist, upon seeming to awaken, only finds himself passing out of one story through a Portal into a deeper dream [for ...

Barfield, Owen

(1898-1997) UK author and philologist who served in World War One; his first book, The Silver Trumpet (1925), is Fantasy. He was long involved with the Anthroposophical philosophy of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). A member of the Inklings group and a long-time associate of C S Lewis, Barfield contributed to Essays Presented to Charles Williams (anth ...

Gratacap, Louis Pope

(1851-1917) US naturalist, museum curator and author whose first writings were nonfiction essays like "The Ice Age" for the Popular Science Monthly in 1878. His first sf novel, The Certainty of a Future Life in Mars: Being the Posthumous Papers of Bradford Torrey Dodd (1903), remains his best known. Dying in the conviction that dead humans transcendentally ascend to a Martian Reincarnation as embodied spirits, the narrator's father is soon ...

Heroic Fantasy

In the Terminology of sf/fantasy readers, this term began in the late 1970s to overtake Sword and Sorcery as the name of the subgenre which we choose – perhaps arbitrarily – to discuss under the latter head. The two terms (which both continue in common but diminished usage) are close but not identical in meaning. However, the nuances that distinguish them differ according to the writer (or blurb-writer) who uses ...

Smith, Gus

Working name of UK teacher and author John Grenfell Smith (?   -    ), who also writes, for children, as Gus Grenfell. He began to publish work of genre interest with "The Incorporeal Crapshooters from the Ghost Planet Kring" in Odyssey for September 1997. In Feather & Bone (2001), which is set in rural Northumberland, a spirit emanating from within the earth, and BSE (mad cow disease), are seen to be – in a ...

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. He began to publish work of genre interest with an sf-tinged poem "Carcajou Lament" in Triquarterly for Winter 1960 [ie Autumn 1959]; he began consistently publishing sf reviews in his "New Fiction" column for the Toronto Star (1966-1967), and later in ...

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