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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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Payson, William Farquhar

(1876-1939) US author whose explanation, in John Vytal: A Tale of the Lost Colony (1901), of the disappearance around 1584 of the inhabitants of Roanoke Island (in what would become the state of Virginia) is made into a tale with Lost Race implications. [JC]

Lyons, Lynda

(1949-    ) US author of Priorities (1990), a Near Future tale featuring transgressive interactions between Robots and gay women. [JC]

Harris-Burland, J B

(1870-1926) UK author who began to publish magazine stories before the end of the nineteenth century, and who was very early to use the automobile in tales of adventure, an example being "Lord Beden's Motor" (December 1901 Strand). His first novels of sf interest, Dacobra, or The White Priests of Ahriman (1903) and The Princess Thora (1904; vt Dr Silex 1905 UK as J B Harris-Burland), were signed Harris Burland. The first tale sets in an occult frame a wide range of supernatural subjects ...

Ralph, James

(1695-1762) American-born historian, controversialist and author, in UK from 1724; his Satirical play, The Astrologer (1744 chap) – remotely based on the mistaken-doubles comedy, Albumazar (1615), by Thomas Tomkis (circa 1580-1634) – targets the tropes and lunacies of what we now call Proto SF, as conveyed through its fatuous protagonists' attempts to make sense of the vision of Life on Other Worlds afforded by a new telescope. [JC]

Schmidt, Dennis

(1939-2003) US author who restricted himself almost exclusively to series during his short active career; although he began publishing work of genre interest with "Seeker of the Way" for Galaxy in October 1976, the tale was a prelude to the three volumes of the Kensho sequence – Way-Farer (1978), Kensho (1979), Satori (1981) and Wanderer (1985) – which features a protagonist who combines Zen and martial arts in agreeably complex Space-Opera adventures. The Twilight of the Gods ...

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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