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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 21 January 2022
Sponsor of the day: Martin Dorfer


Role Playing Game (1986). Steve Jackson Games (SJG). Designed by Steve Jackson. / Although it was preceded by such earlier attempts as Worlds of Wonder (1982 Chaosium) designed by Steve Henderson, Gordon Monson, Steve Perrin, Greg Stafford, Lynn Willis, GURPS (the Generic Universal Role Playing System) was the first widely popular attempt to produce a set of mechanics for RPGs that could be used in any type of setting. While a generic system cannot be tailored to reinforce the designers' ...

May, Karl

(1842-1912) German author, much of whose output consisted of Westerns conceived under the clear influence of James Fenimore Cooper; the most famous of these is the Winnetou sequence, featuring the eponymous Native American (as noble as many Germans) and the white man, Old Shatterhand (a projection of the author), the central story being told in Winnetou, der rote Gentleman (1893 3 vols; trans Michael Shaw as Winnetou 1977). Effortlessly surpassing Native Americans and Blacks in every skill ...

Hartman, Emerson B

(?1888/1889-1969) US author whose Lunarchia: That Strange World Beneath the Moon's Crust (1937) began a projected six-volume interplanetary sequence in the Edgar Rice Burroughs vein with the discovery of a colourful civilization within the Moon. No further volumes appeared. In The Giant of the Sierras (1945) a Lost World is discovered in California inhabited by giants, Dinosaurs, and other creatures. [JC]

Jack the Ripper

This notorious nineteenth-century UK serial killer and mutilator – usually of female prostitutes – operated in the Whitechapel region of London, committing five murders in 1888 and perhaps others before and after, to a possible total of eleven. Never identified, the Ripper became and still remains gaslight-era London's major Icon of fear. The related literature of analysis and speculation ("Ripperology") is immense; we record only selected appearances of Jack the Ripper in works by ...

Hurd, Douglas

(1930-    ) UK Conservative politician and author, in the former capacity serving his government between 1984 and 1995 at Cabinet level. His sf novels are, perhaps understandably, Near-Future thrillers in which the UK must survive threats from within and without (see Politics). Send Him Victorious (1968) with Andrew Osmond (1938-1999) is the first of the Harvey sequence tracing the consequences of political upheaval: initially from internal threats, then in The Smile on the ...

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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