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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 24 January 2022
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Miller, Eugenia

(1916-2012) US journalist and author of Young Adult novels; the young protagonist of The Sign of the Salamander (1967) enters a portal in France and Timeslips to sixteenth-century France, where he meets Leonardo da Vinci. [JC]

Comic Inferno

A more or less self-explanatory item of Terminology coined by Kingsley Amis in New Maps of Hell: A Survey of Science Fiction (1960), describing sf which cheerfully extracts Satire or outright black Humour from a scenario rooted in Dystopia. Examples cited by Amis include Anthony Boucher's "Barrier" (September 1942 Astounding as "The Barrier"), Frederik Pohl's "The Midas Plague" (April 1954 Galaxy), Robert Sheckley's "A Ticket to Tranai" (October 1955 Galaxy) and William Tenn's "Null-P" (January ...

Sherwood, Martin

(1942-2011) UK author with a PhD in organic chemistry; editor of Chemistry & Industry. His sf novels are Survival (1975) and Maxwell's Demon (1976); in the latter, Aliens invade humans, thus putting them to sleep. [JC]


Our cultural fascination with the great lizards of prehuman Earth has inevitably led to much sf in which – as never in history – humans encounter living dinosaurs. This may take place in Prehistoric SF set in an anachronistic deep past, as in In the Morning of Time (coll of linked stories 1919) by Charles G D Roberts. A modern enclave of surviving dinosaurs is somewhat less risible. This notion is best known from the novel that gave the Lost World subgenre its name, Arthur Conan ...

Ripley, Karen

Pseudonym of US author Mary K Urhausen (1948-    ) who began publishing work of genre interest with "In Another Land" for If in 1968 as Mary Urhausen, but whose later work is always signed Karen Ripley. It includes the Prisoner of Dreams sequence comprising Prisoner of Dreams (1989) and The Tenth Class (1991), which features the adventures of a female starship-pilot who must cope with repressive authorities and with planets named, for instance, Heinlein (see Recursive SF); ...

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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