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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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The darker side of sf and fantasy has produced many inventive torture devices, such as the fantasticated apparatus in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum" (in The Gift, anth dated 1843 but 1842) and Franz Kafka's The Penal Colony (1919 chap; trans 1933). The torments of the Spanish Inquisition, as luridly imagined in Poe's story, are revisited in Patricia Anthony's God's Fire (1997). George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) knowingly tailors the means of torture to the individual ...

Schuster, Michael

(?   -    ) Austrian author to date exclusively associated with the Star Trek universe as an author of Ties, beginning with "The Future Begins" with Steve Mollmann in What's Past (anth 2006) edited by its various contributors; his first full novel, Star Trek: A Choice of Catastrophes (2010) with Steve Mollmann, edges into Dystopian sf. He should not be confused with the Michael Schuster who publishes nonfiction books on wine. [JC]

Cobb, Weldon J

(1849-1922) US businessman and author who specialized in dime novels (see Dime-Novel SF), working mainly in the latter decades of the nineteenth century, though he did collaborate later with Edward Stratemeyer for the Stratemeyer Syndicate on some non-fantastic tales, and the borderline The Boys of the Wireless (1912) as by Frank V Webster (see Radio Boys). Tales of sf interest include A Wonder Worker, or The Search for the Splendid City (23 June-25 August 1894 Golden Hours; 1907), which ...

Tianxia Bachang

Writing name of Zhang Muye (1978-    ), a Chinese author working in the finance sector after graduating with a diploma in painting from the Nanjing Academy of Fine Arts. He is known largely for the Gui Chui Deng ["Ghosts Blow Out the Light"] series, which takes its name from a Chinese proverb, appropriated by the author as a grave-robbers' maxim (see Crime and Punishment). By 2010, the franchise had made him China's tenth wealthiest writer. / In Tianxia's stories, ...

Bell, M Shayne

(1957-    ) US author who began publishing work of genre interest with "Earthlonging" for The Leading Edge in Winter 1981, and who was a 1987 winner of the Writers of the Future Contest for "Jacob's Ladder" (Fall 1985 Leading Edge); he has since published nearly 50 stories. His first novel, Nicoji (1991), effectively parlays a number of clear influences – from Orson Scott Card for narrative impulsion, to H Beam Piper for photogenic Aliens – into an unchallenging ...

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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