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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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Near Future

Images of the near future in sf differ markedly from those of the Far Future in both content and attitude. The far future tends to be associated with notions of ultimate destiny, and is dominated by metaphors of senescence; its images display a world irrevocably transfigured. It is viewed from a detached viewpoint; the dominant mood is – paradoxically – one of nostalgia, because the far future, like the dead past, can be entered only imaginatively, and has meaning only in terms of ...

Wallace, Sean

(1976-    ) US anthologist, editor, and publisher, associated with {Wildside Press} and its imprint Cosmos Books as editor from 2001 to 2009; associated with Prime Books as publisher from 2001; associated with Clarkesworld as editor since 2006; associated with Fantasy Magazine as publisher from 2005 to 2011; and associated with Lightspeed as publisher from June 2010 until its takeover by John Joseph Adams in January 2012. Wallace has published many authors' first novels ...

Forester, C S

Pseudonym – which he sometimes wrote out in full as Cecil Scott Forester – of Egyptian-born UK author Cecil Lewis Troughton Smith (1899-1966), mostly in the USA from the mid-1940s. He is very much better known for his work outside the sf field, which includes The African Queen (1935) and the twelve Horatio Hornblower naval-adventure books, mostly set during the Napoleonic Wars with the total period covered being 1794-1823: the first published though not the first by internal ...

Play by Mail

Term used to describe a game in which the players communicate by (physical) post. Typically all participants send their moves in at regular intervals to a central moderator, who processes the orders simultaneously and returns the results. The moderator is generally the only individual involved to know the current state of all the pieces belonging to every player. Sf examples include Starweb (1976) and Beyond the Stellar Empire (1981). [NT] see also: Postal Worlds. /


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 ...

Langford, David

(1953-    ) UK author, critic, editor, publisher and sf fan, in the latter capacity recipient of 21 Hugo awards for fan writing – some of the best of his several hundred pieces are assembled as Let's Hear It for the Deaf Man (coll 1992 chap US; much exp vt The Silence of the Langford 1996; exp 2015 ebook) as Dave Langford, edited by Ben Yalow – plus five Best Fanzine Hugos and one Semiprozine Hugo for his self-produced news magazine, Ansible (which see). His one ...

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