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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 25 November 2022
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Counter-Earth

An imagined extra planet of our own solar system, supposedly sharing Earth's orbit but always concealed from observation by its position on the far side of the Sun (that is, at or near the L3 Lagrange Point of the Earth-Sun system). The concept is ancient: Pythagoras proposed both the world, which he called Antichthon, and the mechanism of its concealment in the fifth century BCE. Although Counter-Earth – or ...

Cold War

The prolonged post-World War Two (roughly 1946-1991) state of tension between the West – principally the USA and its NATO allies – and the Warsaw Pact countries headed by the USSR was inevitably reflected in sf written in the shadow of what at times seemed to be an inevitable nuclear World War Three. Such past hopes of salvation as the Pax Aeronautica were no longer even ...

Golden, Christopher

(1967-    ) US author, prolific and successful for his many fantasy and horror novels, who is given an entry here mainly for some sf Ties published early in his career. Some of his horror evokes Horror in SF tonalities, like Snowblind (2014), in which a "Great Storm" feels almost planetary in its violence and implications, though the story itself is a classic Answered Prayer tale [see The ...

Ransom, Bill

(1945-    ) US author who has worked as a medic and as a firefighter. His early writing was poetry, with several volumes released from Finding True North & Critter (coll 1974 chap) onward. He began publishing sf anonymously with "Songs of a Sentient Flute" in Analog for February 1979, a collaboration with Frank Herbert published as by Herbert alone: Ransom wrote the first draft at Herbert's ...

Sociology

Sociology is the systematic study of society and social relationships. The word was coined by Auguste Comte (1798-1857) in the mid-nineteenth century, and it was then that the first attempts were made to divorce studies of society employing the scientific method, on the one hand, from dogmatic political and ethical presuppositions, on the other. Social studies in a more general sense have, of course, a much longer history, going back to Plato. Sociology and sf have a ...

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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