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The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction Hardcover – April, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0312096182 ISBN-10: 0312096186 Edition: 2 Sub

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1370 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 2 Sub edition (April 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312096186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312096182
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 2.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,000,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Extensively revised from the 1979 edition, this edition has been expanded from 2,800 to more than 4,300 entries. Approximately 2,900 of them are for authors. Included besides mainstream writers of science fiction, horror, and fantasy are such authors as H. P. Lovecraft and J. R. R. Tolkein, who have influenced the genre.

There are 212 topical entries, including Robots, Time Travel, and Cyberpunk. A list of these topics is found in the introduction. Sixty-five scientific or sf jargon terms are defined. Science fiction in 27 different countries is covered in separate articles, which helps to balance the collection's strong U.S.-U.K. bias. This focus is probably inevitable given the anglophone domination of the field, but it has its drawbacks. The Japanese film industry, which "owned" the monster-movie market for years, is relegated to a few paragraphs in the article Japan.

Individual novels, even such seminal ones as Stranger in a Strange Land and War of the Worlds, do not get separate entries, but 544 motion pictures, 34 filmmakers, and 96 TV shows do. The movie known to monster-movie fans as Godzilla is listed as Gojira (a transliteration of its Japanese title), but there are adequate cross-references. Publishing houses (Arkham House), editors (Judy-Lynn del Rey), and critics (Kingsley Amis) have entries, as do comic book writers, artists, and publishers. Magazine and cover-art illustrators are also listed.

The editors devote considerable space to sf fandom, with such entries as Fanzines and Semiprozines, magazines which have provided some authors with their start in the field. There are also articles on fan organizations, without addresses.

The article Bibliographies is a useful survey dating back to the 1940s when fans compiled some ground-breaking titles such as Raymond Bleiler's The Checklist of Fantastic Literature (1948). It also lists more academic studies, including The Reference Guide to Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror (1992). The encyclopedia has no separate bibliographies, but entries cite titles of major works in the field with variant titles and dates of publication.

An introductory section includes a list of contributors with initials--all entries are signed. Contributors express opinions, sometimes strong ones. Articles range in length from a few lines to several pages. The dictionary format and abundant cross-referencing allow the browser or librarian with a ready-reference question to plunge right in.

More detailed author biobibliographies and criticism can be found in such sources as Contemporary Authors or some of the works cited in the Bibliographies article. But its coverage of so many related topics makes The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction a recommended purchase for medium-sized to large public and academic libraries. High schools will want to consider it, too.

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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Shepherd VINE VOICE on February 5, 2002
This is a massive reference work and an obvious labor of love. It covers almost every conceivable aspect of science fiction, from movies to history to criticism. This is the second edition of this work, with large updates to bring the work up to the time of publication (1992), especially new authors and newer works by old hands, and there has also been a good deal of new material added to the thematic sections.
For anyone wanting to develop a good course on science fiction , or anyone interested in how SF came to be what it is today, a perusal of these thematic entries on everything from ANTIGRAVITY to MUTANTS to UTOPIAS will yield a wealth of material concisely presented, profusely cross-referenced, and source material properly indicated. Often within these sections even an experienced long-time fan of the field will find works referenced that he hasn't heard of before but deserve a look.
Within the author entries you will find one of the works most useful features: a listing of all of that author's works that belong within a given series or author created world/universe, often with a good description of the salient features of these author worlds. Also very useful is a listing of all known pseudonyms for each author. Still another useful feature is the indication of every variant title a work has appeared under, which can end up saving the reader money by knowing that he already really has that title under a different name. But these entries are also the most problematic of the information presented in this volume, as the opinion of the writer of the piece (almost all of the author entries were done by John Clute) about the quality of each of the author's works clearly shows.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By pro_crustes on June 16, 2005
This is a book beyond all expectations. It is thoughtful, detailed, deep, and enlightening. It is truly encyclopedic. SF as a genre had no right to expect such an asset to materialize. But it did, and we all gained something from it, if we loved SF and read any part of this spectacular work.

But...

It came out in 1993. SF is a young field. Where's the 2005 edition? Where are the continuing updates that should be available by subscription? Where's the sense of _community_ that is the distinguishing element of SF from all other genres?

It's a five-star work, no question. But, as a reference text, it is already obsolete, and will grow ever more so as the future unfolds. Will C&N write another? Can anyone else? I hope so, to either or both of those questions.
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By Peterboy on December 18, 2012
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This has it all. Easy reference. Easy format. A must For all Science fiction fans. Huge book with no waste.
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