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The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
Cover of 1993 edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
Cover of the second, revised and greatly expanded edition (Orbit Books, 1993)
Author Peter Nicholls, John Clute;
David Langford from 2011
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Subject Science fiction
Genre Reference

Media type
  • Print (1979, 1993, 1999)
  • CD-ROM (1995)
  • Online (2011)

  • 672 pp, 1979
  • 1370 pp, 1993
  • 1396 pp, 1999
ISBN (below)

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is an English language reference work on science fiction, first published in 1979. In October 2011, the third edition was made available for free online.[1]

Publication history[edit]

The first edition, edited by Peter Nicholls with John Clute,[2] was published by Granada in 1979. It was retitled The Science Fiction Encyclopedia when published by Doubleday in the United States. Accompanying its text were numerous black and white photographs illustrating authors, book and magazine covers, film and TV stills, and examples of artists' work.

A second edition, jointly edited by Nicholls and Clute, was published in 1993 by Orbit in the UK and St. Martin's Press in the US. The second edition contained 1.3 million words, almost twice the 700,000 words of the 1979 edition.[3] The paperback edition included an addendum. Unlike the first edition, the print versions did not contain illustrations. There was also a CD-ROM version in 1995, styled variously as The Multimedia Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Grolier Science Fiction. This contained text updates through 1995, hundreds of book covers and author photos, a small number of old film trailers, and author video clips taken from the TVOntario series Prisoners of Gravity.

The companion volume, published after the second print edition and following its format closely, is The Encyclopedia of Fantasy edited by John Clute and John Grant.

All print and CD-ROM editions are currently out of print.

In July 2011, Orion Publishing Group announced that the third edition of the Science Fiction Encyclopedia would be released online later that year by SFE Ltd in association with Victor Gollancz, Orion's science fiction imprint. The "beta text" of the third edition launched online on 2 October 2011,[4] with editors John Clute, David Langford, Peter Nicholls (now Editor Emeritus) and Graham Sleight. The encyclopedia is updated regularly (usually several times a week) by the editorial team with material written by themselves and contributed by science fiction academics and experts.[2] It received the Hugo Award for Best Related Work in 2012. Though the SFE is a composite work with a considerable number of contributors, the three main editors (Clute, Langford and Nicholls) have themselves written almost two-thirds of the 4.3 million words to date (March 2014), conveying a sense of unity to the whole.


The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction contains entries under the categories of authors, themes, terminology, science fiction in various countries, films, filmmakers, television, magazines, fanzines, comics, illustrators, book publishers, original anthologies, awards, and miscellaneous.[5]

The online edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction was released in October 2011 with 12,230 entries, totaling 3,200,000 words. The editors predicted that it would contain 4,000,000 words upon completion of the first round of updates at the end of 2012; this figure was actually reached in January 2013.[6]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mission to Universe by Gordon R Dickson. "SFE: Science Fiction Encyclopedia". Sf-encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  2. ^ a b Debnath, Neela. "‘The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction’ makes internet debut". The Independent Blogs. 
  3. ^ Fox, Rose (6 July 2011). "Encyclopedia of Science Fiction Goes Digital, Searchable, and Free". Publisher's Weekly Blog. 
  4. ^ "SFE Beta Text launches". The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. 2 October 2011. Retrieved 2013-04-17. 
  5. ^ "Notes on Content". The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. 3 January 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-17. 
  6. ^ "Introduction to the Third Edition". The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. 14 March 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-17. 
  7. ^ The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction: An Illustrated A to Z title listing. ISFDB. Retrieved 2013-04-17.
  8. ^ a b c d The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved 2013-04-17. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Encyclopedia_of_Science_Fiction — Please support Wikipedia.
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60 news items

Locus Online
Wed, 14 Jan 2015 09:19:30 -0800

Van Gelder took over as editor from Kristine Kathryn Rusch in 1997, and acquired the magazine from publisher Edward L. Ferman in 2001, becoming publisher as well. For more on the history of F&SF, see its entry in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 11:05:04 -0700

Smithsonian spoke with the eminent critic John Clute, co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, who quotes Bertrand Russell's prophetic words from 1924: “'I am compelled to fear that science will be used to promote the power of dominant groups, ...
The Independent (blog)
Thu, 12 Jan 2012 04:08:52 -0800

I could myself write the very reference book that I really needed to own. I approached the publishers, suggested the way to go was an encyclopedia, and the deal was done. 'The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction', edited by Peter Nicholls, was published in ...
The Independent (blog)
Sun, 11 Dec 2011 07:37:22 -0800

SFE final 300x225 'The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction' makes internet debut Considered by some to be the most definitive guide to Science Fiction, 'The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction' has finally made its online debut. The launch comes nearly two ...
The Bookseller
Wed, 06 Jul 2011 01:48:58 -0700

The third edition of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is to be released online and not as a book, under an arrangement with Orion imprint Victor Gollancz and ESF Ltd, a new company set up by the contributors to the first two editions of the book ...
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (blog)
Tue, 11 Oct 2011 05:24:21 -0700

To the delight of fandom, the third edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is now online, in beta text form, free and searchable for anyone with an Internet browser. What does 'beta text' mean? The editors write: "In this context, it means a ...

Huffington Post

Huffington Post
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:18:45 -0700

In a way, Gibson is again dramatizing what the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction entry for him (speaking of the Bigend trilogy) called "the indecipherability of the real world," though the real world in this case is in the future. Actually, there are two ...
Locus Online
Mon, 15 Dec 2014 10:56:15 -0800

For more, see his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. See the January issue of Locus for a complete obituary. Category: Obituaries. « Previous post. © 2011-2014 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved. Powered by WordPress, modified from a ...

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