The beta version of the third edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is now live. It’s an online only compendium of all things sci-fi, and will help you any time you find yourself in need of knowing obscure facts. It’s also a fantastic collection of mankind’s greatest minds.
Sci-fi is seen by so many as a fringe part of culture, but the truth is that it’s pervasive to a degree that’d surprise those folks who think sci-fi is lame. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction showcases how much of modern culture is made up of, or influenced by, sci-fi stories. It’s incredible how much the creators in science fiction have been able to analyze what makes mankind work.
A cursory glance at the Encyclopedia showcases a plethora of such creative endeavors. If I ever need to defend the need for sci-fi to exist it’ll be easy to scrounge up worthwhile examples of creative genius. It does appear that the Encyclopedia may not be entirely up to date. Robert J. Sawyer, author of FlashForward, commented on Facebook that his entry in particular goes no further than the mid-1990s. Of course, this is a huge undertaking and as a fan of obtaining knowledge and obscure factoids I’m happy that some form of a sci-fi encyclopedia exists. Although the absence of updated material does give the beta an unfinished quality. Almost like they’ve been transposing the old cd-rom to the website, and caught the occasional update.
It’s also unfortunate that, like almost every sci-fi site on the internet, the Encyclopedia is chock full of fantasy items. I’m all for fantasy, but shouldn’t it remain in its own genre? Certainly it can’t be because using the term “sci-fi” is a way to sneak fantasy into the mainstream. When I heard that the beta text of the Encyclopedia was up I had it in my head that what I’d find would be an expansive collection of strictly science fiction related items.
Still, the list of what is included is extensive and you should be able to settle any geek disputes that arise. They plan to have all of the text updated sometime in 2012.