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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 4 July 2022
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MacDonald, John D

(1916-1986) US author and ex-lieutenant colonel in the US Army, known mainly for such well-written thrillers as The Brass Cupcake (1950) and the twenty-one Travis McGee novels (1964-1985), which evolved from seemingly escapist tales of derring-do into impassioned and explicit laments for Florida, for the planet, and for the human race; the nonfiction Reading for Survival (1987) is couched as a conversation about the past and the Near Future between Travis McGee and his intellectual guru Meyer, ...

Sinclair, Upton

(1878-1968) US author known primarily for his work outside the sf field, particularly for his "muckraker" novels of social criticism, including The Jungle (25 February-4 November 1905 Appeal to Reason; rev 1906) and Oil! (1927), the latter filmed as There Will be Blood (2007); and for The Gnomobile: A Gnice Gnew Gnarrative with Gnonsense, but Gnothing Gnaughty (1936), a juvenile fantasy which was filmed by Disney as The Gnome-Mobile (1967). Sinclair was active as a writer from 1895, producing ...

MacVicar, Angus

(1908-2001) Scottish author known from 1933 for crime thrillers; his autobiographies and Children's SF came later in his career. The first three volumes of his Lost Planet sequence – The Lost Planet (1953), Return to the Lost Planet (1954) and Secret of the Lost Planet (1955) – engagingly described space journeys to reach, explore and ultimately defend the minor planet Hesikos. MacVicar portrayed Hesikos as a "peaceful planet" once mentioned by Plato, and his gentle philosophy ...

Williams-Ellis, Amabel

Nickname and working name of Mary Annabel Nassau Williams-Ellis (1894-1984), UK editor and author born Mary Annabel Strachey and under that surname an early member of the Bloomsbury Group to which her cousin Lytton Strachey (1880-1932) also belonged. After her marriage in 1915 to Clough Williams-Ellis (1883-1978) she used his surname, collaborating with him on some nonfiction works, most interestingly on Ecological threats to the environment; and participating with him in the creation and ...

Optimism and Pessimism

In the most simplistic version of the History of SF, sf was always (and rightly) an optimistic literature until the New Wave came along in the 1960s and spoiled everything. This was at best a very partial truth, being only remotely applicable to Genre SF and not at all to Mainstream sf. / In the mainstream, not even the work of individual authors could be categorized as simply either optimistic or pessimistic. Both Jules Verne and H G Wells took a darker view of the future as they became ...

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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