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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 20 June 2022
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There is, inevitably, an intimate connection between the development of evolutionary philosophy and the history of sf. In a culture without an evolutionary philosophy most of the kinds of fiction we categorize as sf could not develop. Like the idea of progress, evolutionary philosophy flourished in late eighteenth-century France, and it was first significantly represented in literature by Restif de la Bretonne's evolutionary fantasy La découverte Australe par un homme volant ["The ...

Croft, Herbert

(1751-1816) UK barrister, lexicographer and author, best known for a nonfantastic roman à clef, Love and Madness (1780). He is of sf interest for the Kilkhampton series of Satirical sketches beginning with The Abbey of Kilkhampton; Or, Monumental Records for the Year 1980 (1780) [for further details see Checklist below]. Not specifically tied to this sequence, The Wreck of Westminster Abbey, Alias the Year 2000 (1788 chap) [for subtitle see Checklist below] continues in the same vein. ...

Definitions of SF

The term "science fiction" came into general use in the 1930s, an early appearance being in Hugo Gernsback's editorial to #1 of Wonder Stories (June 1929). Rather later in the UK, the term was used in Scoops (Summer 1934 and later) to describe individual stories, and Walter Gillings used the term on the cover of the first issue of Tales of Wonder (Summer 1937) to designate the issue as a whole as containing sf. Long before, however, several writers (see Edgar Fawcett; Edgar Allan Poe; William ...

Fischer, P J

(?   -    ) US author whose first novel Julia and the Dream Maker (2003) – first of a projected series – follows three young experimenters whose discoveries lead to AI and portals into other worlds. [JC]

Mahr, Kurt

Pseudonym of German physicist and author Klaus Mahn (1934-1993), mostly resident in the US from 1962; he began to publish (yet untranslated) sf tales as early as 1959, but remains best known as a principal writer from 1961 until his death for the vast Space Opera series and subseries published under the Perry Rhodan rubric, his contributions showing a bent toward Hard SF, specifically Physics, though he died (a pedestrian fatality in a car crash) before Perry Rhodan story-arcs began fully to ...

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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