New Publisher and Other Changes Herald Encyclopedia of Science Fiction’s Fourth Edition

“Today the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction moved house,” said co-editor David Langford. A new publisher and web server are part of the October 6 release of its Fourth Edition. However, their familiar domain sf-encyclopedia.com is unchanged, and the Encyclopedia (SFE) remains free online for all users.

When the Third (and first online) Edition was unveiled in October 2011, it was done in coordination with Orion/Gollancz, who launched the online SFE simultaneously with their SF Gateway ebook operation and arranged for many links between the sites. SFE acknowledges their invaluable support from 2011 to 2021, during which period the SFE has more than doubled in size.

But the expiration of their Orion/Gollancz contract on September 29 has led to an amicable parting of the ways. SFE is now jointly published by the holding company SFE Ltd, based in London, and Ansible Editions, based in Reading, Berkshire. The announcement of the transition to a Fourth Edition recognizes not only this internal change but also the introduction of several improvements not previously possible for them. To users, the most obvious will be the addition of foregrounded graphic content, with a relevant cover image (if one exists in the SFE Gallery) displayed in every entry. Improvements, some more visible than others, have been made to site navigation, in hopes of making them more intuitive to use. The SFE will continue to evolve along these lines.

The work of SFE’s publishers and editors over the past 45 years has also been commemorated as part of the announcement. The editors note that during that time the textual autonomy of SFE has been strictly honored. Thanks are given to Hugh Elwes, John Jarrold, Colin Murray, Tim Holman, Malcolm Edwards, Darren Nash and Marcus Gipps.

The first edition of SFE appeared in 1979 with Peter Nicholls – the founder – as editor and John Clute as associate editor; the publishers were Granada (UK) and Doubleday (USA). The second edition of 1993, jointly edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls, was published by Orbit (UK) and St Martin’s Press (USA); this was slightly expanded as a 1995 CD-ROM from Grolier. The third edition launched by Gollancz in 2011 was edited by John Clute, David Langford, Peter Nicholls until his lamented death in 2018, and Graham Sleight. All three editions won Hugos and other awards.

The SFE’s Third Edition launched in October 2011 with 12,230 entries totaling 3,222,920 words with 113,492 internal hyperlinks. Today there are 18,834 entries, 6,362,055 words and 226,451 links.

[Based on a press release.]

3 thoughts on “New Publisher and Other Changes Herald Encyclopedia of Science Fiction’s Fourth Edition

  1. That Encyclopedia is key to the daily stitching together of the Birthdays. And I’ve dealt many times with both Langford and Clute — finer gentlemen would be hard to find.

  2. Thanks very much, Mike. Yesterday was a horrible rush when I woke up far too early (a Good Thing from the SFE point of view, but general feelings of wretchedness still continue) and found the domain transfer requested six stressful days previously had at last come through. So sf-encyclopedia.com in its new home was showing a blank page and I nearly sprained my fingers switching it to the waiting replacement site. Security certificate now on order….

    @Cat Eldridge: I blush!

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