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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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Stringer, Arthur

(1874-1950) Canadian poet and author, in the US from 1898; prolific in several genres from 1894, though he concentrated on the Canadian genre of survival tales set in the northern wilds. The Man Who Couldn't Sleep (coll 1919) and The Wolf Woman (1928) are fantasy. Of sf interest are a film tie, The Story without a Name (1924) with Russell Holman, in which a Death Ray appears, an Invention duly sought after by a sizeable passel of Villains; and The Woman Who Couldn't Die (1929), whose Viking ...

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 ...

Waterhouse, Elizabeth

(1834-1918) UK author whose acknowledged works consist mostly of religious studies and tracts written from a Quaker standpoint. The Brotherhood of Rest (1886 chap) as E W describes a retreat, somewhere in Britain, conceived as a Utopia. Her outright sf novel, The Island of Anarchy: A Fragment of History in the 20th Century (1887), is told as a Future History, detailing an extremely doctrinaire Utopia established in Britain, with women returned properly to their homes (see Feminism; Women in SF) ...


A convenient shorthand term employed and promoted by John Clute since 2007 to describe the armamentarium of the fantastic in literature as a whole, encompassing science fiction, Fantasy, fantastic horror and their various subgenres (see also Gothic SF; Horror in SF; SF Megatext), but not Proto SF. It is a concept normally restricted to narratives. More generally understood, the term has long been used in Czech, other Eastern European and Russian discussions of genre; it is the title of ...

Johnson, Toby

Working name of US author Edwin Clark Johnson (1945-    ), whose Plague: A Novel About Healing (1987) is a Near Future medical thriller, and whose Secret Matter (1990; rev 2005) is a First Contact novel set in San Francisco after a devastating earthquake, the encounter leading to a clement gay Utopia. [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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