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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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Ralston, Gilbert

(1912-1999) Northern Ireland-born screenwriter and author, in America for many years, who may have sometimes written as by Stephen Gilbert (see Stephen Gilbert for discussion of the resulting confusion). It was, however, under his own name that Ralston wrote the screenplay for Willard (1971), the film of the 1968 novel by the "real" Stephen Gilbert, and for the sequel, Ben (script 1971; novelization 1972); in the 1970s he wrote several Westerns, also under his own name. [JC]

Fagan, Jenni

(1977-    ) Scottish poet and author whose second novel, The Sunlight Pilgrims (2016), perhaps rather eccentrically applies the topos of Climate Change to explain a very Near-Future planet-wide onslaught of savage cold (see Scientific Errors), though this oddness might be alleviated, given that the tale is set in an isolated community in the north of Scotland, as the probable failure of the Gulf Stream might well cause the temperature to drop (if not to plummet). The core of ...


Term introduced by F Orlin Tremaine in the December 1933 issue of Astounding, describing an idea-centred type of story he aimed to include in each issue henceforth. These "thought-variant" stories, as distinct from the action-adventure sf tradition of the Pulp magazine, should each develop an idea that "has been slurred over or passed by in many, many stories". The same issue carried Tremaine's first example, Nat Schachner's "Ancestral Voices" (December 1933 Astounding) (see Time Paradoxes); ...

Forrest, Katherine V

(1939-    ) Canadian-born author, in the USA for many years, who began to publish works of genre interest with "Xessex" in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction for February 1983 as by M Catherine McKinley; with other early work it was assembled as Dreams and Swords (coll 1987). She is the author of the Kate Delafield thriller series (not listed below), but is of sf interest primarily for the Daughters of a Coral Dawn sequence beginning with Daughters of a Coral Dawn ...


1. Russian film (1971). Mosfilm. Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. Written by Tarkovsky, Friedrich Gorenstein, based on Solaris (1961; trans 1970) by Stanisław Lem. Cast includes Donatas Banionis, Natalia Bondarchuk, Youri Jarvet and Anatoli Solinitsin. 165 minutes; first US version 132 minutes. Colour. / This long, ambitious rendering of Lem's metaphysical novel is regarded by some as one of the finest sf films made; a minority sees it as tediously slow-moving. Solaris changes the ...

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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