The Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
The Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is an illustrated collection of bibliographic essays on the history and subject matter of science fiction. It was edited by Brian Ash and published in 1977 by Pan Books in the UK and Harmony/Crown Books in the US. The book starts with a parallel chronology of significant events in the fields of science fiction stories, magazines, novels, movies/TV/radio, and fandom, from 1805 to 1976. The book's thematic sections contain introductions by science fiction authors, and extensive bibliographies of science fiction works featuring each theme. It includes extended essays on science fiction, called "Deep Probes". The chapters are numbered in the style of a technical manual. Illustrations are primarily book and magazine covers, and interior illustrations from magazines, including a number of illustrations by Virgil Finlay, among others. The book received positive reviews within the field of children's literature, including the American Library Association. Reviews from the field of science fiction were less enthusiastic:
A handsome volume, illustrated in colour, it did not work well as a reference work for people interested in particular writers, and was widely regarded as a "coffee-table" book.
The Visual Encyclopedia is a thoroughly superficial work, but with such values of convenience that even a superficial reference work can have.—R.D. Mullen, Science Fiction Studies #15, Vol. 5, Part 2, July 1978
Table of contents
- 01. Program (chronology)
- 02. Thematics (authors of introductions in parentheses)
- 02.01 Spacecraft and Star Drives (Poul Anderson)
- 02.02 Exploration and Colonies (Jack Williamson)
- 02.03 Biologies and Environments (James White)
- 02.04 Warfare and Weaponry (Harry Harrison)
- 02.05 Galactic Empires (Lester del Rey)
- 02.06 Future and Alternative Histories (Brian Aldiss)
- 02.07 Utopias and Nightmares (John Brunner)
- 02.08 Cataclysms and Dooms (J.G. Ballard)
- 02.09 Lost and Parallel Worlds (Robert Sheckley)
- 02.10 Time and Nth Dimensions (Fritz Leiber)
- 02.11 Technologies and Artefacts (Kenneth Bulmer)
- 02.12 Cities and Cultures (Frederik Pohl)
- 02.13 Robots and Androids (Isaac Asimov)
- 02.14 Computers and Cybernetics (Arthur C. Clarke)
- 02.15 Mutants and Symbiotes (Josephine Saxton)
- 02.16 Telepathy, Psionics and ESP (Larry Niven)
- 02.17 Sex and Taboos (Keith Roberts)
- 02.18 Religion and Myths (Philip José Farmer)
- 02.19 Inner Space (A.E. van Vogt)
- 03. Deep Probes
- 03.01 Interface, by Edmund Cooper
- 03.02 Science Fiction as Literature, by George Turner
- 03.03 Recurrent Concepts
- 03.03.1 The Value of Science Fiction, by Damon Knight
- 03.03.2 The Barbarian As Hero, by L. Sprague de Camp
- 03.03.3 Software: the Psychological View, by Brian Ash
- 04. Fandom and Media
- 04.01 Fandom
- 04.02 Science Fiction Art
- 04.03 Science Fiction in the Cinema
- 04.04 Science Fiction on Television
- 04.05 Science Fiction Magazines
- 04.06 Books and Anthologies
- 04.07 Juveniles, Comics and Strips
- 04.08 Commentators and Courses
- 04.09 Fringe Cults
- Katz and Fraley 1983, p. 180.
- Clute and Nicholls 1995, p. 55.
- Ash, Brian. The Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Brian Ash, ed. Harmony Books, 1977. ISBN 0-517-53175-5.
- Clute, John and Peter Nicholls. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 1995. ISBN 0-312-13486-X.
- Katz, Bill and Ruth A. Fraley. Reference Services for Children and Young Adults. New York: The Haworth Press, Inc., 1983. ISBN 978-0-208-02290-5.
- Mullen, R.D. Science Fiction Studies #15, Vol. 5, Part 2, July 1978. Greencastle, IN: DePauw University, 1978.