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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 23 May 2022
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Clock, Herbert

(1890-1979) US businessman and author, in active service during World War One, apparently senior collaborator with the lawyer Eric Boetzel (1884-1958), whose role was to cut the manuscript in half, on The Light in the Sky (1929), an sf tale set in the Underground Lost World of Atzlan, extending from Mexico into the Gulf of Mexico. Aztecs had retreated here after the genocidal onslaught of the Spanish and have constructed, over the centuries, a culture dominated by the possession of Immortality, ...

Whitehead, Colson

(1970-    ) US author, much of whose work is nonfantastic, though his first novel, The Intuitionist (1999), hovers Equipoisally between Alternate History and Fabulation in its depiction of two groups of elevator operators in conflict as to the metaphysical nature of the elevator as such; one faction plans to build an elevator unfettered to the empirical past, which will take its people – in this case Black Americans – into the future. Zone One (2011) is a Near ...

Downing, Charles

(?   -?   ) US author in whose Near Future tale, The Reckoning (1927), the Japanese Invasion by air of California (see Yellow Peril) causes the destruction of Los Angeles. Full-scale War then begins. [JC]

Messac, Régis

(1893-1945) French academic, translator and author who published widely under a number of pseudonyms, none of them used for stories of the fantastic. He was in active service throughout World War One, where his pacifism was confirmed; his later Communist affiliations (presumably) occasioned his deportation in 1943 by the German government and incarceration in various camps until his death, probably in January 1945, in the Gross-Rosen complex, or Dora, or Bergen-Belsen. / Messac is of sf ...


In the catalogue of possible technological wonders offered in the New Atlantis (bound in with Sylva Sylvarum 1626; 1627 chap), Francis Bacon included more powerful cannon, better explosives and "wildfires burning in water, unquenchable". Such promises could not be left out if his prospectus were to appeal to the political establishment – his most important predecessor as a designer of hypothetical machines, Leonardo da Vinci, had likewise sought sponsorship on the basis of his ingenuity ...

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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