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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 January 2022
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Patchin Review, The

US Amateur Magazine of science-fiction criticism and controversy, edited by Charles Platt from Patchin Place, New York (hence the title). Seven saddle-stitched Digest-sized issues, typically 56pp plus card covers, dated July 1981 to March 1985. / The Patchin Review was intended to address what its editor saw as worrying trends in 1980s sf publishing, in particular the growing ascendancy of pure commercialism over literary values. Many articles did indeed discuss such topics, but the ...

Anson, August

Pseudonym of UK author Reginald William Malyon Gibbs (1878-1942), who under his own name published numerous mathematics references and textbooks. His sf novel as by Anson, When Woman Reigns (1938), transports its protagonist to first the twenty-sixth and then the thirty-sixth century. Author and hero take a rather dim view of these two periods, because in both men are subservient to women (see Feminism). [JC]


Love of money, being the root of all evil, has always played a leading part in literature, and sf is no exception: few plots could move without it. Precisely because it is so basic, however, speculative thought has rarely focused on it; it is one of those things that is habitually taken for granted. Money may change its form, and the dollar may be replaced by the Credit, but its centrality in human affairs is inviolable. / The commonest of all wish-fulfilment fantasies is the sudden ...

Maison en Petits Cubes, La

Japanese short animated film (2008; vt The House of Small Cubes); original title Tsumiki no Ie. Robot Communications. Created and directed by Kunio Katō. Written by Kenya Hirata. 12 minutes. Colour. / An old man lives on the top floor of an otherwise submerged building; over the decades he has added several new floors as the waters continue to very slowly rise – though the floodwaters stretch to the horizon, an infrastructure exists that enables him to purchase materials. Wishing ...


Term coined by the biologist Richard Dawkins (1941-    ) in The Selfish Gene (1976), denoting "a unit of cultural transmission", a pattern of information which – analogous to the gene in Biology – tends to propagate itself. The general concept had previously been discussed by the biologist Jacques Monod (1910-1976) in Chance and Necessity: An Essay on the Natural Philosophy of Modern Biology (1971), and may in fact be traced indirectly back to Die Mneme (1908; ...

Clute, John

(1940-    ) Canadian critic, editor and author, in the UK from 1969; married to Judith Clute from 1964, partner of Elizabeth Hand since 1996. His first professional publication was the long sf-tinged poem "Carcajou Lament" (Winter 1960 [ie Autumn 1959] Triquarterly), though he only began publishing sf reviews in 1964 and sf proper with "A Man Must Die" in New Worlds for November 1966, where much of his earlier criticism also appeared. This criticism, despite some studiously ...

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