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The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction – Coming Soon Online and Free!

This has been a long time coming, but it looks like the online edition of one of science fiction’s most indispensable resources, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, is finally becoming a reality.

For those who are not familiar with the physical edition, this hefty volume (of which I own several strategically located copies because, hey, you never know when you’re gonna need it) is the go-to guide for all things sf-related (at least up until the date of its publication in the 90’s). The cool thing about it was that it was compiled and written by experts of the field who are both knowledgeable and trustworthy. And that looks to be the case with the online edition as well.

From the Gollancz press release:

The third edition of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, the definitive reference work in the field, will be released online later this year by the newly-formed ESF, Ltd, in association with Victor Gollancz, the SF & Fantasy imprint of the Orion Publishing Group, whose support will enable the text to be available free to all users. This initial “beta” version, containing about three-quarters of the total projected content, will be unveiled in conjunction with Gollancz’s celebrations of its 50th anniversary as a science fiction publisher.

The first edition of the Encyclopedia, whose founder and general editor was Peter Nicholls, appeared in 1979, and contained over 700,000 words. A second edition, edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls, appeared in 1993 and contained over 1.3 million words. Both editions won the Hugo Award from the World Science Fiction Convention, in addition to numerous other honours. The beta version of the third edition will contain some 3 million words, including about 12,000 entries and well over 100,000 internal links. The entries cover every area of science fiction, including authors, illustrators, movies, music, games, and fanzines. The text will be completed, through monthly updates, by the end of 2012.

The third edition has been produced by editors John Clute and David Langford, Editor Emeritus Peter Nicholls, and Managing Editor Graham Sleight. Contributing Editors for the third edition include Mike Ashley on magazines, Paul Barnett on artists and illustrators, Jonathan Clements on all aspects of Japanese and Chinese SF, Nick Lowe on movies, Abigail Nussbaum on television, John Platt on comics, and Adam Roberts on music. During the Encyclopedia’s development, the project has been supported by Clare Coney as Technical Editor, Roger Robinson as Research Editor, John Lifton-Zoline, and Pamela Lifton-Zoline. Robert Kirby of United Agents, The Bookseller’s Literary Agent of the Year 2011, represents the Encyclopedia.

I’m excited to see this finally come to fruition and you should be too. The names attached to the project are class acts. This is gonna be a site you’ll wanna bookmark because you’ll refer to its invaluable (and free!) content again and again.

[via Paul Di Filippo and]

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

2 Comments on The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction – Coming Soon Online and Free!

  1. This is good news.  I remember purchasing the early 90’s edition when I was just starting to write my own stories and spending hours pouring through its pages.  It still sits on the shelf beside me.  I wonder whether they will put the Encyclopedia of Fantasy up as well or simply merge it into the current project?

  2. Thank you all involved with this great project. I am very appreciative of your efforts and your generosity.

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