SF Encyclopedia, Third Edition

As I say on the About page, one of my sf-related tasks is helping John Clute and David Langford with the new edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. (Slightly confusingly, we all call it by the acronym SFE.) This reference book – first edition 1979, second edition 1993 – is going to be online in its forthcoming third edition; at the moment, we’re hammering out exactly how and where. We’ve assembled some stellar contributors: for instance, in addition to the original film entries by Editor Emeritus Peter Nicholls, new ones will be done by Nick Lowe, BSFA-Award-winning author of the Mutant Popcorn film reviews column in Interzone for many years. John is writing author entries – now with complete bibliographic checklists – and David is doing theme entries. And we’re also coming up to a small milestone; as of this week, the text-in-progress of the new edition will have twice as many words as the 1993 edition (2.6 million vs 1.3 million).

Between now and the SFE’s launch, we’re going to be using the SFE’s website to showcase work-in-progress. At the moment, what we’ve done is made available sample entries for a number of authors who’ve recently died, including William Tenn, Kage Baker, and Everett Bleiler. The links to other entries don’t work, but these entries should give an idea of the kind of coverage we’re aiming for.

One further note: if you’re an author who qualifies for an entry [1] in the SFE, you may want to fill in the questionnaire here. Not all of the fields are mandatory – we have our own bibliographic database, for instance, so no need to provide a full listing of titles. But we are trying this time to include full and accurate data on authors’ dates and places of birth – which authors are in the best position to provide!

[1] This time, as before, the basic qualification for an author to receive an entry is having written a (non-vanity-published) English-language book of science fiction interest.


~ by grahamsleight on June 15, 2010.

3 Responses to “SF Encyclopedia, Third Edition”

  1. Is there any plan to publish this new edition in hard copy? I guess I’m just old fashioned enough to prefer the ink-and-paper format, even if it means multiple volumes. Even if it was a limited edition, I’d buy. So, can I hope?

  2. John Clute here.

    I share your pain, but at the moment nobody can work out how to finance what would be 1) a 3,000,000 wd plus publication venture, but, significantly, 2) a much-opened-out layout — take a glance at some of the draft author entries linked to above — that would itself hugely expand the page-count necessary. My ballpark would be an expansion from 1400 pages to at least 4000.

    I share your pain two. We cannot nowadays hope to sell a huge expensive artifact that does not incorporate updates, ie anything not on line. The SFE will undergo a global update on a monthly basis, and we expect the site design will give us room for a NEWS window, where entries for recently deceased authors, new film releases etc, can be shown in draft form before incorporation (at the end of each month) into the fully edited and archivable text.

  3. Thanks very much! I’ll be focusing on the digital format and look forward to having it as a resource. I’ll keep an eye out for updates.

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