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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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Marshall, Helen

(1983-    ) Canadian academic and author, in UK from 2014, partner of Vince Haig (who writes as Malcolm Devlin) since 2015. She began to publish poetry around 2004, and published her first work of genre interest with "Skin" in Future Lovecraft (anth 2011) edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R Stiles. Most of her work – much of which has been assembled as Hair Side, Flesh Side (coll 2012) and Gifts for the One Who Comes After (coll 2014), which won the 2015 World ...

Casteret, Norbert

(1897-1987) French speleologist and author, who began caving in 1912 and discovered a number of important sites, including at least one containing prehistoric paintings; most of his writings are devoted to his profession. His sf novel, Mission centre terre (1964; trans Antonia Ridge and rev as Mission Underground 1968), sends explorers several miles Underground in a specially designed craft. Caves are found. [JC]


Common item of sf Terminology. In sf the Latin form is that conventionally given to the name of our planet, since Earth is ambiguous, meaning both the planet itself and soil – a point frequently made when Earth is sought in E C Tubb's Dumarest sequence: "As well call a planet Dirt, or Soil!" (The irony here is that the same ambiguity exists in Latin, where terra can mean anything from soil or the ground, as in terra firma, to the whole world.) Similarly, our Sun is often, in sf, called ...

Long Night

Term used by Poul Anderson in his Technic History sequence to denote the galactic Dark Ages expected after the fall of a Terran Galactic Empire already mired in Decadence, a narrative of Decline and Fall and the Darkness to come that comprises a central thread in the megatext (see SF Megatext) of the West, as exemplified in the twentieth century by Arnold J Toynbee (1889-1975) in A Study of History (1933-1961 11vols), especially Volumes V and VI (both 1939) where his depiction of "The ...

Powered Armour

A now familiar device in (especially) Military SF, the most famous example being the Mobile Infantry armour described in great and plausible detail by Robert A Heinlein in Starship Troopers (October-November 1959 F&SF as "Starship Soldier"; 1959); this includes a jet pack for Flying. Heinlein's influence helped shape the Japanese sf trope of Mecha (which see), which often expands the machinery to gigantic scale in the form of piloted Robots. The sensors, servo-mechanisms and feedback loops ...

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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