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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 8 August 2022
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Okojie, Irenosen

(?   -    ) Nigerian-born author, in UK from the age of eight, much of whose work complexly and radically narrates the immense land of her birth in terms that evoke Fantastika in general, though always on the understanding that stories told in those terms should be understood as uttered literally (stories like hers, often described in terms of Magic Realism, suffer misprision when understood as metaphorical). The bottle of palm wine found on a London street in ...


A House Name of the UK newspaper The Daily Express for its By the Way column (formerly a venue for unsigned humorous pieces in The Globe 1903-1909, with P G Wodehouse as the department's assistant editor and, from August 1904, chief editor). Its first Express incarnation, from 1917 to 1919, was a society-doings column written by Major John Arbuthnot (1875-1950), who inaugurated the Beachcomber byline. D B Wyndham Lewis reinvented By the Way as an outlet for whimsical Humour in 1919, continuing ...

Dirac Communicator

A Imaginary-Science device invented by James Blish for the story "Beep" (February 1954 Galaxy; exp vt The Quincunx of Time 1973), and used by him also in other stories. It is an instantaneous communicator, named after the great theoretical physicist Paul Dirac (1902-1984); the Blish story contrasts it with Faster Than Light but non-instantaneous Ultrawave communications. Others have since borrowed the device, but more recently Ursula K Le Guin's Ansible has been the communicator of preference ...

Hay, L F

(1891-1946) UK government intelligence agent and author of some thrillers, one of which, It Wasn't a Nightmare (1937), edges into the very Near Future in its description of mysterious and cruel experiments conducted in the Pyrenees and Macedonia by an arms manufacturer eager to start World War Two. [JC]

Sentinel, The

Videogame (1986; vt The Sentry in the US). Designed by Geoff Crammond. Platforms: C64 (1986); Amstrad, AtariST, BBCMicro, Spectrum (1987); Amiga (1988), DOS (1989). / In The Sentinel, topography is everything. The player adopts the role of a "synthoid", a Robot in a three-dimensional chequerboard landscape overlooked by its eponymous guardian. The Sentinel's gaze slowly scans across the game's small world; if it catches sight of the player, it will begin to absorb the synthoid's energy ...

Langford, David

(1953-    ) UK author, critic, editor, publisher and sf fan, in the latter capacity recipient of 21 Hugo awards for fan writing – some of the best of his several hundred pieces are assembled as Let's Hear It for the Deaf Man (coll 1992 chap US; much exp vt The Silence of the Langford 1996; exp 2015 ebook) as Dave Langford, edited by Ben Yalow – plus five Best Fanzine Hugos and one Semiprozine Hugo for his self-produced news magazine, Ansible (which see). His one ...

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