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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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Prime Directive

Item of Terminology popularized through the original television Star Trek, in which the Prime Directive – also known as Starfleet General Order #1 – prohibits interference with the "normal" development of a planetary or other culture; inevitably this is violated several times in the series and its sequels. Jack Williamson first introduced the term to sf in "With Folded Hands ..." (July 1947 Astounding), but with a meaning far removed from noninterference: his Robots insistently give ...

Mollmann, Steve

(1985-    ) US author to date exclusively associated with the Star Trek universe as an author of Ties, beginning with "The Future Begins" with Michael Schuster in What's Past (anth 2006) edited by its various contributors; his first full novel, Star Trek: A Choice of Catastrophes (2010) with Michael Schuster, edges into Dystopian sf. [JC]

Alter, Robert Edmond

(1925-1965) US author who began to publish work of genre interest with "Coup de Grace" for Bizarre! Mystery Magazine in October 1965, and who wrote some stories as by Robert Retla; his only sf novel, the posthumous Path to Savagery (1969), depicts a devastating Future War on American territory. [JC]

Roberts, Willo Davis

(1928-2004) US author of books for adults, many of them nonsupernatural horror and gothics, and for children, including one Young Adult tale of sf interest, The Girl with the Silver Eyes (1980), in which a group of mothers, having been given experimental drugs, give birth to Mutant children. The young protagonist must choose whether or not to expose her ESP powers to an unfriendly world. The Magic Book (1986) is fantasy. [JC]

Metcalfe, Hope Cranstoun

(1866-1939) Malaysian-born translator and author, in UK from childhood, who translated three Jules Verne titles, one translation being published in two volumes [see Checklist below]. [JC]

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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