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.
Anyone interested in signing up for the latest news on the project can do so at www.sf-encyclopedia.com. The Encyclopedia is also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sf-Encyclopedia/138995776178949 and on Twitter at @SFEncyclopedia.
On why Gollancz had decided to enter into the project, and to make the content available for free and only online, Edwards added: “There are other announcements we are planning to make that clearer next week. It’s not entirely altruistic.” He added: “We explored various paywall options and we realised none of them were really practical with the way that the web is moving . . . The ESF is very much not a wiki model, the content is controlled by the editors.”