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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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Space Quest

Videogame series (from 1986). Sierra On-Line (SOL). / Space Quest is a series of linearly plotted graphical Adventures in which the player adopts the role of Roger Wilco, a janitor in a Space Opera universe who strongly resembles the protagonist of the text-based Planetfall (1983). The games' parodic style of humour and comic puzzles are alternately amusing and juvenile, similar in tone to a less frenetic version of Mel Brooks's film Spaceballs (1987). As in the animated series Futurama ...

Jones, Terry

(1942-2020) Welsh actor, comedian, screenwriter, film director and author (of historical as well as comic work) who after appearing in several earlier UK Television comedy series came to considerable prominence as a key member of Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969-1974) and was associated with many subsequent Python-team enterprises and performances. In Cinema, he was co-director with Terry Gilliam of Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) and solo director of Monty Python's Life of Brian ...

Lanza, Clara

(1859-1939) US author, a marquise by marriage into the Italian nobility in 1878, whose Mr Perkins' Daughter (1881) flirts with Amnesia on the skirts of the fantastic; her sf novel, Scarabaeus: The Story of an African Beetle (1892) with James Clarence Harvey (1865-1945), features a camera capable of photographing the past (see Time Viewer), a scene in which retinal images identify a murderer (a commonplace of speculative forensics at this time; see Scientific Errors), while carrying its cast to ...

Butcher, William

(1951-    ) US academic and translator, in Hong Kong from 2005; through his career he has focused very heavily on the work of Jules Verne, both as critic and translator. He is a strong and knowledgeable student of that author, and as his Jules Verne inédit: les manuscrits déchiffrés ["The Unpublished Jules Verne: The Manuscripts Deciphered"] (2015) demonstrates, is deeply familiar with the tangled manuscript evidence; here and elsewhere he vividly ...

World War Three

Following the 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs which ended World War Two, a third world War involving nuclear Holocaust became the recurring nightmare of twentieth-century sf throughout the Cold War decades and even beyond. Often it was tacitly assumed that a third world war would constitute the final instalment of a worldwide state of conflict that began in 1914 and whose Near Future culmination would bring the end of civilization, a conviction that led in sf to numerous Post-Holocaust ...

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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