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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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Tanner, Charles R

(1896-1974) US clerk, salesman and author best known for his series featuring Tumithak, which began with "Tumithak of the Corridors" (January 1932 Amazing). Set in the fifty-third century, two millennia after Earth has been invaded by the shelks from Venus and mankind has been driven underground into a maze of deep tunnels. In that period humans have forgotten most of their previous advanced science. Tumithak, a young man, determines to venture to the surface and kill a shelk, and en route ...


Mercury is the planet nearest the Sun, and hence is difficult to observe. Until the late nineteenth century it was believed to rotate on its axis every 24 hours or so, but this opinion was displaced by that of Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835-1910) and Percival Lowell, who contended that it kept the same face permanently towards the Sun. Twentieth-century sf writers thus pictured it as having an extremely hot "dayside", a cold "nightside" and a narrow "twilight zone". This image persisted until the ...

Auster, Paul

(1947-    ) US author and translator who came to sudden attention – after years of unrecognized work, culminating in an undemanding Baseball mystery, Squeeze Play (1984) as by Paul Benjamin – with a series of Fabulations playing on detective genres and the French nouveau roman. City of Glass (1985), Ghosts (1986) and The Locked Room (1986), assembled as The New York Trilogy (omni 1987), though not sf, interrogate the narrative abysses between self and reality in ...

Play by Mail

Term used to describe a game in which the players communicate by (physical) post. Typically all participants send their moves in at regular intervals to a central moderator, who processes the orders simultaneously and returns the results. The moderator is generally the only individual involved to know the current state of all the pieces belonging to every player. Sf examples include Starweb (1976) and Beyond the Stellar Empire (1981). [NT] see also: Postal Worlds. /

Monir, Alexandra

(?   -?   ) US singer/songwriter and author most of whose work has been fantasy for Young Adult readers, as in the Timeless sequence beginning with Timeless (2011), which involves its young protagonist in a complicated Timeslip romance. She is of sf interest for the Final Six sequence beginning with The Final Six (2018), set a Near Future world so devastated by Climate Change and Disasters that it is becoming uninhabitable; a group of young space cadets must ...

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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