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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 17 August 2022
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Boyett, Steven R

(1960-    ) US screenwriter and author whose first novel, Ariel (1983; text restored 2009), is a fantasy, along with its direct sequel in the Ariel sequence, Elegy Beach (2009); his second novel, The Architect of Sleep (1986), is an sf tale set in a Parallel World occupied by an intricately and plausibly depicted species which has evolved (see Evolution) from raccoons. After crossing into this world from a cavern in ours, the protagonist becomes involved in a complex plot ...

Stern, J David

(1886-1971) US newspaper publisher and author. His Eidolon: A Philosophical Phantasy Built on a Syllogism (1952) tells of a virgin birth (see Religion) and an enigmatic Messiah figure. Stern should not be confused with his son, David J Stern (1909-2003), who created Francis the Talking Mule in his novel Francis (1946). [PN/DRL]


Although various literary traditions supplied inspiration and continued support to Proto SF, it was the perception of the power which the new Machines of the Industrial Revolution had to transform the world which gave birth to sf itself, inspiring Jules Verne's imaginary voyages, George Griffith's Future-War stories, H G Wells's Scientific Romances, the hi-tech Utopian fantasies of Edward Bellamy and others, and the mechanized Dystopian nightmares which dissented from them. The demands of ...

Light Novel

Term popularized in Japan for pocket-sized Pulp works of Young Adult fiction, often mistaken for a literary genre. "Light" was originally a statement not of content, but of literal weight, with publishers commonly splitting up larger novels into two- and three-volume chapbooks in order to aid the train-commuting reader. In this regard, the format bears a distant relationship to the "railway novels" once sold in 1840s Britain, the paperback Armed Services Editions issued by the US military ...

Laumer, March

(1923-2000) US author, brother of Keith Laumer, whose first novel, The Time Machine That Never Got Past First Base: A Laugh-in at the Future? (1968 Hong Kong) as by Felix Severance (the name of a character from his brother's earlier A Plague of Demons), is a spoof Satire on Time Travel stories (see also Baseball); later novels, some as by Xavier Zanthus, were similar light-hearted. In his later life, under his own name, Laumer published a number of volumes set in the Oz universe of L Frank ...

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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