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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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Benét, Stephen Vincent

(1898-1943) US author, active from before 1915, very briefly involved in World War One until his myopia was discovered; brother of William Rose Benét. He was initially most noted for his moderately copious Poetry, including an Arabian fantasy, The Drug-Shop; Or, Endymion in Edmonstoun (1917 chap). The earliest examples of poems with direct sf interest are probably "Winged Man" (in Young Adventure: A Book of Poems, coll 1918), which visualizes Icarus's flight reaching "the highest steeps ...


One of the more enduring coinages of Fan Language, this is the short form of "filksong", which in turn originated from the obvious typo in an early-1950s Fanzine article, "The Influence of Science Fiction on Modern American Filk Music" by Lee Jacobs (intended for the APA SAPS, the Spectator Amateur Press Society, but not actually published there owing to bawdy content). The first recorded intentional use of "filk" was by Karen Anderson in Die Zeitschrift für vollständigen Unsinn ["The ...

Brown, Howard V

(1878-1945) US illustrator who, even though his sf Illustration represented only a small proportion of his prodigious output, became one of the Big Four sf illustrators of the 1930s (with Leo Morey, Frank R Paul and H W Wesso). He received his formal art education at Chicago's Art Institute and became based in New York. Among the books that he illustrated during his early career were all six volumes of Katharine Elizabeth Dopp's educational Industrial and Social History series about our ...


A term sometimes used to denote the dark opposite of Utopia, as surveyed in this encyclopedia's entry Dystopia (the term normally used here). For example, James Blish in The Issue at Hand: Studies in Contemporary Magazine Science Fiction (coll 1964) as by William Atheling Jr describes The Space Merchants (July-August 1952 Galaxy as "Gravy Planet"; rev and cut 1953) by Frederik Pohl and C M Kornbluth as an "anti-utopia (or dystopia, or comic inferno – choose your own term)" and cites ...


To trace an Italian sf tradition is not easy, because of the well-established split in Italy between scientific language and "literary culture". It is of some relevance to read Dante Alighieri's great poem La divina commedia (circa 1304-1320 in manuscript; first printed edition 1472; trans Henry Cary as The Divine Comedy 1814) as a sort of sf journey; Dante used his theological allegory to create a world that in terms of medieval consciousness was perfectly real. But it may be more fruitful to ...

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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