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Entry updated 21 June 2021. Tagged: Theme.

Early item of Terminology coined by Hugo Gernsback as a contraction of "scientific fiction" and thus defined by him in the first issue of Amazing Stories in April 1926 (see Definitions of SF). Gernsback dated his original coinage of the word to 1915, most probably referring to its appearance (in italics) in the opening paragraph of "Thought Transmission on Mars" (January 1916 Electrical Experimenter), the eighth episode of his Baron Muenchhausen's Scientific Adventures sequence. In 1924 he had solicited manuscripts for a proposed sf magazine to be titled Scientifiction, but this never appeared.

"Scientifiction" – variously abbreviated as stf or stef – never became a very popular term, and within a decade of its 1926 relaunch was largely replaced by "science fiction". If used at all by later commentators, it generally refers to the awkward, Technology-oriented fiction published by Gernsback or, disparagingly, to modern equivalents. However, in his preface to The Great Divorce: A Dream (1945 chap) C S Lewis cites – without disparagement – a story "read several years ago in a highly coloured American magazine of what they call 'Scientifiction'." Later attempts to re-establish the term in a positive sense have failed. [DRL/PN]

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