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Skiffy is a deliberate humorous misspelling or mispronunciation of the controversial term "sci-fi", a neologism referring to science fiction.


The term "sci-fi" was suggested as an abbreviated term for "science fiction" by Forrest ("Forry") J Ackerman in 1954, an analogy to the then-cutting edge term "hi-fi" (for audio high fidelity). Ackerman was a long-time fan, and at the time was the literary agent for science fiction authors Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, A.E. Van Vogt, Curt Siodmak and L. Ron Hubbard.[1] Ackerman pronounced his new term as /ˈsˌf/ or "sigh figh". In the 1970s some members of science fiction fandom began to pronounce the term /ˈskɪfi/ or "skiffy" for no reason that can be documented.

Skiffy is the name of the science fiction and fantasy club at the College of William and Mary,[2] and VCU,[3] as well as not always affectionate shorthand for the American cable channel once named The Sci-Fi Channel.

In 1998 Mike Resnick and Patrick Nielsen Hayden released a book called Alternate Skiffy,.[4] In keeping with the tongue-in-cheek intent of the term, this was an anthology featuring stories about what might have happened if the lives of various well-known science fiction writers had turned out differently.

Peter Nicholls writes that "SF" (or "sf") is "the preferred abbreviation within the community of sf writers and readers."[5] David Langford's monthly fanzine Ansible includes a regular section "As Others See Us" which offers numerous examples of "sci-fi" and "skiffy" being used in a pejorative sense by people outside the genre.


  1. ^,9171,1865977,00.html
  2. ^ SKIFFY - the science fiction & fantasy club of the college of william and mary Archived 2011-02-09 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Alternate Skiffy, ed. Mike Resnick & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Wildside Press 1998. ISBN 1-880448-54-8.
  5. ^ John Clute and Peter Nicholls, ed. (1993). ""SF" (article by Peter Nicholls)". Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. Orbit/Time Warner Book Group UK.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)