May 25, 2022

New Online Research Tool: “Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction”

From The New York Times:

“Warp speed” may be a term of the moment, thanks to the federal coronavirus vaccine program. But it’s also one with a history — which goes back farther than “Star Trek,” to a forgotten 1952 science fiction story in the pulp magazine Imagination.


A historical dictionary devoted to the history of something as future-oriented (and imaginary) as science fiction may seem like a contradiction in terms. But then science fiction has always had a curious relationship to the real world, said Jesse Sheidlower, its editor.


The dictionary is the latest in a series of eclectic projects for Sheidlower, a former editor at large at the Oxford English Dictionary who first came to prominence in the 1990s, as part of a new generation of lexicographers injecting the field with a fresh nerd-cool factor.


The Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction includes some 1,800 separate entries, from “actifan” and “aerocar” to “zero-gravity” and “zine.” Headwords and other display type are rendered in Sagittarius, a new typeface by the designer Jonathan Hoefler, whose original typefaces have appeared on “Star Trek: Picard” (and in The New York Times).

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.