Welcome to the Third Edition of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edited by John Clute, David Langford and Graham Sleight (managing). All the more than 18,700 entries are free to read online; samples appear below. Click here for the Introduction and more on the text; here for Frequently Asked Questions; here for Advice to Students on citations. Find entries via the search box above (more on searching here) or browse the menu categories to the right of the SFE logo. To see what links to the current entry and to identify contributors' initials, click the Incoming / Citation button at the top of the entry.


Berkey, John

Tagged: Art

(1932-2008) US illustrator, occasionally working as just Berkey, probably best remembered for his sf and space-science Illustration but who also worked in a wide variety of other genres, including the images for no fewer than 16 US postage stamps, among them the Santa Claus stamps for 1983 and 1991; he also painted the Old Elvis Stamp, the image that lost a nationwide poll in 1992 to choose between this and the Young Elvis Stamp (painted by Mark Stutzman).While still at high school he took a vacation job with a studio, running errands and the like. He received his formal art education at Minneapolis School of Art and worked at a number of Minneapolis studios before joining Brown & Bigelow, t...

Golden Heroes

Tagged: Game

Role Playing Game (1984). Games Workshop (GW). Designed by Simon Burley, Peter Haines.Golden Heroes, like Villains and Vigilantes (1979) and Champions (1981), is an early Role Playing Game with a Superhero theme. Its mechanics are generally well designed and closely match the narrative conventions of the written genre, their most novel aspect being perhaps the approach taken to character creation. Each player starts with a list of randomly chosen superhuman abilities (such as Psi Powers or superscientific devices) which they must then rationalize by constructing an "origin story" for their character justifying their various enablements. The most notable feature of the game, however, is its f...

Planet Stories

Tagged: Publication

US Pulp magazine, 71 issues, Winter 1939 to Summer 1955, published by Love Romances Publishing (a subsidiary of Fiction House), edited by Malcolm Reiss (Winter 1939-Summer 1942), Wilbur S Peacock (Fall 1942-Fall 1945), Chester Whitehorn (Winter 1945-Summer 1946), Paul L Payne (Fall 1946-Spring 1950), Jerome Bixby (Summer 1950-July 1951), Malcolm Reiss (September 1951-January 1952), Jack O'Sullivan (March 1952-Summer 1955). (Reiss was always in control, however, acting as Managing Editor when he was not named as editor.) The schedule was quarterly Winter 1939-Fall 1950, bimonthly November 1950-Summer 1954, quarterly Fall 1954-Summer 1955.Subtitled in its early years "Strange Adventures on Oth...

Pressor Beam

Tagged: Theme

Term coined by E E Smith in Spacehounds of IPC (July-September 1931 Amazing; 1947) – initially as "a pusher or presser beam", so spelt – for a Force-Field application that pushes targeted objects away from the beam's projector, reversing the action of the fictional Tractor Beam. In the same year as Smith's story, Neil R Jones's "The Jameson Satellite" (July 1931 Amazing) deploys "radium repulsion rays" (see Elements) to fend off meteors. The pressor beam has been widely adopted by sf authors, both as an item of Terminology and a plot convenience – usually in conjunction with the tractor beam, as for example in Poul Anderson's "Margin of Profit" (September 1956 Astounding). The all-purpose Ra...

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