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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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Wager, Walter

(1924-2004) US crime and spy-thriller author who also wrote as John Tiger and (his first and second names) Walter Herman. His borderline-sf political suspense thriller Viper Three (1971), in which escaped prisoners take over a US nuclear missile silo and blackmail the government with threats of a launch that will trigger World War Three, was adapted for Cinema with a somewhat different slant and ending as Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977; vt Nuclear Countdown). Also of sf interest is the Satire ...

Martian Chronicles, The

US tv miniseries (1980). NBC TV. Directed by Michael Anderson. Teleplay Richard Matheson, based on The Martian Chronicles (coll of linked stories 1950; rev vt The Silver Locusts 1951) by Ray Bradbury. Cast includes Rock Hudson, Gayle Hunnicutt, Roddy McDowall, Darren McGavin, Bernadette Peters, Nyree Dawn Porter, Joyce van Patten and Fritz Weaver. Three 110-minute episodes. Colour. / The problems with this disappointing, expensive ($8 million) adaptation cannot be blamed entirely on ...


Daedalus was the first inventor hero, but he was also a bureaucrat; and when he built the Labyrinth he did so as a wage-slave or sharecropper, on hire to the king. For that reason the headword for this entry, which is about the creation of an American dream of freelance heroism, has not been formed from his name. As used here the term "edisonade" or "Edisonade" – which is derived from Thomas Alva Edison in the same way that "Robinsonade" is derived from the hero of Daniel Defoe's Robinson ...


By virtue of its nature, sf has one foot firmly set in each of C P Snow's "two cultures", and sf stories occasionally exhibit an exaggerated awareness of that divide. Charles L Harness's notable novella "The Rose" (March 1953 Authentic) takes the reconciliation of an assumed antagonism between art and science as its theme, the author adopting the view that the emotional richness of art is necessary to temper and redeem the cold objectivity of science: at its climax, the harsh equations of ...

Anderson, A J

(1863-1927) UK author on various subjects; his sf novel, Professor Aylmer's Experiment (1922), uneasily marries occultism and experimental science as its eponymous protagonist attempts to create artificial life (see Invention; Mad Scientist). The Soul-Sifters: A Novel of Psycho-Analysis (1923), about a case of Amnesia caused by experiences in World War One, is not fantastic. [JC]

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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