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Ash, Brian

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author, Critic, Editor.

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(1936-2010) UK scientific journalist, editor and author. His Faces of the Future: The Lessons of Science Fiction (1975) assumes that its readers might be ignorant of sf, which leads to more plot summarizing than some sf readers found useful. His Who's Who in Science Fiction (1976; rev 1977) was well received by the general press, but heavily attacked in the sf specialist press for omissions and errors; the revised edition corrected many of the inaccuracies. Ash then edited the thematically arranged The Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1977), containing a chronology from the beginning of the nineteenth century, a large "Thematics" section in nineteen parts, each part introduced by an sf author, a "Deep Probes" section whose authors (not listed in the contents) are also sf authors, and a more miscellaneous section whose authors (here unsigned) may also be professionals. The underlying research seems to have been the responsibility of Mike Ashley, John Eggeling, Philip Harbottle, George Hay and others active in the British sf world. A handsome volume, heavily illustrated in colour and black-and-white, it was not well-designed for reference purposes as an encyclopedia – nor for users interested in the careers of individual authors – but served as a model for later companions to sf, like John Clute's similarly mistitled Science Fiction: The Illustrated Encyclopedia (1995) or David Pringle's The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Science Fiction: The Definitive Illustrated Guide (1996), whose title was also risible. Who's Who in H.G. Wells (1979) is a useful guide which encompasses the entire vast corpus of H G Wells's fiction, not only the well-known early works. [PN/JC]

Brian ?James Ash

born 1936

died Worcester, Worcestershire: 30 June 2010



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