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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 17 August 2022
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Harris, J Henry

(1875-1962) UK author whose uneasily fin-de-siècle sf novel, A Romance in Radium (1906), follows the investigative journey to Earth of a feathered and winged female Alien named Ma-Myliita, a member of the angel-like Murani from 100,000,000 miles away; her people are confused as to why Murani visitors, who arrived 5000 years earlier, remained on our planet and became mortal. The answer is Sex – or, as Harris puts it, marriage. Angels, it seems, cannot get enough of marriage. [JC]

Acker, Kathy

Pseudonym of US author Karen Lehmann (1947-1997), whose year of birth has been given variously but without documentary evidence as both 1944 and 1948; she lived in the UK off and on for many years. Acker's apocalyptic sense of the latter-day world is conveyed in works whose tortured absurdity (see Fabulation) sometimes catches the reader by surprise, or transfixes the spectator of one of her plays, which have been as a whole perhaps more telling than her prose. The Birth of the Poet (performed ...

Birdsong, Keith

(1959-2019) American artist of Native American (Muscogee Creek-Cherokee) descent who entered the field of sf Illustration in the late 1980s after serving in the United States Army and working as a journalist. After initially doing covers for juvenile sf novels published by Ballantine Books, he came to specialize in painting covers for numerous Star Trek novels, with occasional covers for other books. His typical covers, unsurprisingly, foreground realistic portraits of popular Star Trek ...

Mayer, Robert

(1939-2019) US journalist and author best known for his first novel, Superfolks (1977), a gonzo Satire of Superheroes as they featured in Comics before they began to be depicted, from the early 1980s on, in darker and more ambivalent tones – a change that can be partly laid down to the influence of Mayer's novel, whose protagonist, David Brinkley, is unmistakably based on Superman. His powers have waned over the years, and other superheroes have died or abandoned New York; in conjunction ...

Disappearance of Flight 412, The

Made-for-tv film (1974). Cine Films Inc/Cinemobile Productions for NBC-TV. Produced by Gerald L Adler. Directed by Jud Taylor. Written by George E Simpson and Neal R Burger. Cast includes Bradford Dillman, Glenn Ford, Robert F Lyons, Greg Mullavey, Kent Smith, David Soul and Guy Stockwell. Narrator: Herbert Ellis (uncredited). 72 minutes. Black and white/colour. / US Air Force patrol 412, led by Captain Roy Bishop (Soul) and his crew including Lieutenant Tony Podryski (Mullavey) and Captain ...

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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