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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
Sponsor of the day: Andy Richards of Cold Tonnage Books

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 ...

Huggins, James Byron

(1949-    ) US author whose Cain (1997) edges beyond sf through the fact that the assassin resurrected by scientists is inhabited by a demon, though in the case of Hunter (1999) the Monster created by experiments in Genetic Engineering lacks this provenance. [JC]

Hampson, Frank

(1918-1985) UK artist who almost singlehandedly brought the UK Comic strip into the scientific age. When the Reverend Marcus Morris and Frank Hampson originated the Eagle comic in 1949-1950, Hampson created the sf strip Dan Dare – Pilot of the Future for its full-colour front pages. While ostensibly designed to foster Christian values, what made the strip so revolutionary was Hampson's genius for colour, ...


The concept of a utopia or "Ideal State" is linked to religious ideas of Heaven or the Promised Land and to folkloristic ideas like the Isles of the Blessed, but it is essentially a future-historical goal, to be achieved by the active efforts of human beings, not a transcendental goal reserved as a reward for those who follow a particularly virtuous path in life. The term was coined by Thomas More in Utopia (Latin edition 1516; trans ...

Acton, Harold

(1904-1994) Italian-born UK editor, translator and author, much of his life spent in the land of his birth; best known for highly civilized reflections, in books like Memoirs of an Aesthete (1948), on his own style of life. A period in China during the 1930s inspired some translation work, including Glue and Lacquer: Four Cautionary Tales (coll 1941), adapted from Hsing Shih Hêng Yen ["Common Tales to Rouse the World"] (coll ...

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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