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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 23 May 2022
Sponsor of the day: The Telluride Institute

Fireball XL5

UK tv series (1962-1963). AP Films for ATV/ITC. Created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. Produced by Gerry Anderson. Directors included Alan Pattillo, John Kelly, Bill Harris. Writers included the Andersons, Alan Fennell, Anthony Marriott, Dennis Spooner. Cast includes Sylvia Anderson, John Bluthal, David Graham and Paul Maxwell. One full season and one part-season. 39 25-minute episodes. Black and white. / This was the second of the Andersons' SuperMarionation animated-puppet sf series for ...

Butler, William Francis

(1838-1910) Irish soldier and author whose military involvement in the Riel Rebellion in western Canada resulted in his recommending the creation of what would eventually become the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He was in active service, with the rank of colonel, when he published anonymously a Battle of Dorking tale, The Invasion of England: Told Twenty Years After (1882) as By an Old Soldier, in which Germany mounts an Invasion of Britain. He was knighted in 1886, and retired with the rank ...

Sympson, Revd Joseph

(1715-1807) UK minister – Vicar of Wythburn – and author, a friend of William Wordsworth (1770-1850), whose son, Joseph Sympson (?   -?   ) was also a poet. The elder Sympson's book-length poem, Science Revived; Or, the Vision of Alfred: A Poem in Eight Books (1802), though essentially a fantasy of history, has some Proto SF interest when the spirit of Alfred the Great is transported to another Star by the Goddess of Science, from which vantage he is ...

Riley, Frank

Working name of Frank Rhylick (1915-1996), US author who is mainly known for collaborating with Mark Clifton on They'd Rather be Right (August-November 1954 Astounding; edited version 1957; vt The Forever Machine 1958; text restored under original title 1981), the Hugo-winning conclusion to Clifton's Bossy series about an advanced Computer rendered almost useless by men's fear of "her". Riley's few solo stories began with "The Cyber and Justice Holmes" (March 1955 If). [JC] see also: ...

Darvill, Michael

(1937-    ) UK painter, architect and author whose book-length narrative poem, Blessings from a Nuclear War (1987), carries with some metaphysical flourishing a figure named Adam (see Adam and Eve; Clichés) through the history of Homo sapiens on the planet, into the Near Future and an indistinctly described World War Three, which he survives. A new day dawns. [JC]

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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