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The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
Cover of the original 1979 edition
Cover of the first edition
Author Peter Nicholls, John Clute;
David Langford from 2011
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Subject Science fiction
Publisher
Media type
  • Print (1979, 1993, 1999)
  • CD-ROM (1995)
  • Online (2011)
Pages
  • 672 pp, 1979
  • 1370 pp, 1993
  • 1396 pp, 1999
OCLC 365133329
809.3876203
LC Class PN3433.4

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.

The first edition, edited by Peter Nicholls with John Clute, 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. 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, 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. 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 5.2 million words to date (September 2016), conveying a sense of unity to the whole.



  • Print (1979, 1993, 1999)
  • CD-ROM (1995)
  • Online (2011)
  • 672 pp, 1979
  • 1370 pp, 1993
  • 1396 pp, 1999
  • Nicholls, Peter (1979). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction: An Illustrated A to Z. St Albans, Herts, UK: Granada Publishing Ltd. p. 672. ISBN . 
  • Clute, John; Nicholls, Peter (1993). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. London: Orbit Books. p. xxxvi + 1370. ISBN . 
  • Clute, John; Nicholls, Peter (1995). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. xxxvi + 1386. ISBN . 
  • Clute, John; Nicholls, Peter (1995). The Multimedia Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (CD-ROM). Danbury, CT: Grolier Science Fiction. ISBN . 
  • Clute, John; Nicholls, Peter (November 1999). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. London: Orbit Books. p. xxxvi + 1396. ISBN . 
  • Clute, John; Langford, David; Nicholls, Peter; Sleight, Graham (October 2011). "The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction". London: Gollancz. 
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