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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
Sponsor of the day: Andy Richards of Cold Tonnage Books


The concept of a utopia or "Ideal State" is linked to religious ideas of Heaven or the Promised Land and to folkloristic ideas like the Isles of the Blessed, but it is essentially a future-historical goal, to be achieved by the active efforts of human beings, not a transcendental goal reserved as a reward for those who follow a particularly virtuous path in life. The term was coined by Thomas More in Utopia (Latin edition 1516; trans 1551; many editions since), although More's work has far more ...

Powers, Richard

(1957-    ) US author of novels whose novels subject the contemporary world to scathing but abstract scrutiny; he is rarely misdescribed as a mimetic realist, though just as rarely is he called an sf writer. His first novel, Three Farmers on their Way to a Dance (1985), focuses a meditation on the apocalyptic nature of World War One through its protagonist's obsession with the famous photograph (the book is titled after it) by August Sander (1876-1964); his second, ...

O'Keefe, Megan E

(1985-    ) US author who began publishing work of genre interest with "Another Range of Mountains" in L Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future: Volume 30 (anth 2014) edited by Dave Wolverton, and who initially focused on fantasy, in particular the Scorched Continent sequence beginning with Steal the Sky (2016), set in a Steampunk-inflected world with Airships and Doppelgangers and much usable gear. O'Keefe is of sf interest for her second series, the Protectorate ...

Painter, Thomas

(1885-1970) US author who collaborated with Alexander Laing (whom see for details) on The Motives of Nicholas Holtz, being the Weird Tale of the Ironville Virus (1936; vt The Glass Centipede, Retold from the Original Sources 1936). [PN]

Underwood, Edna W

(1873-1961) US translator, poet and author, of sf interest primarily for some of the tales assembled as A Book of Dear Dead Women (coll 1911; exp vt Dear Dead Woman: The Weird Stories of Edna W Underwood 2010). In "The Painter of Dead Women" (January 1910 The Hot Set), a painter uses mesmerism (see Hypnosis) to put beautiful women who fit the needs of his Art into Suspended Animation, from which he declines to awaken them; and in "The Mirror of La Granja", similarly, an alchemist's device is ...

Robinson, Roger

(1943-    ) UK computer programmer, bibliographer and publisher, active in UK Fandom for many years. The Writings of Henry Kenneth Bulmer (1983 chap; rev 1984 chap) is an exhaustive Bibliography of one of the most prolific sf writers, and Who's Hugh?: An SF Reader's Guide to Pseudonyms (1987) is similarly exhaustive in its listing of Pseudonyms. Criticized at first for its failure to annotate its findings – so that, for instance, pseudonyms used for sf could not be ...

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