Full record for mundane adj.

Definition belonging or relating to the world which lies outside the sphere of interest of a particular group of enthusiasts (used esp. among science fiction fans, originally of mainstream fiction).
OED requirements antedating 1950
Earliest cite in 'Fantasy Advertiser'
Comment Geri Sullivan submitted a 1959 cite from Fancyclopedia II. James Landau submitted a cite from Damon Knight's article "Kornbluth and the Silver Lexicon" from a 1968 reprint of "In Search of Wonder"; Cory Panshin verified the cite in the 1959 second printing, and Alistair Durie subsequently verified the cite in the 1956 first edition. Mike Christie checked the original publication of the reviews that were included in this article (from Science Fiction Adventures, in 1953 and 1954) and they do not include the cited text; Alistair Durie located and verified the text in a 1955 publication in Science Fiction Quarterly. Jeff Prucher submitted a cite from a 1978 reprint of Samuel Delany's 1974 article "Shadows". Fred Galvin submitted a 1950 cite from a book review in Fantasy Advertiser.

SF sense added to OED3 in March 2003, with an earliest cite of 1959.
Entry updated in September 2003 with an earliest cite of 1955

Last modified 6 July, 2008

Citations for mundane adj.

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1950 Fantasy Advertiser Jan. 11 Recently published and worthy of comment are three fantasies written by authors who have distinguished themselves on the lower, mundane planes. This reviewer is of the opinion that the average good writing of those planes is, literarily, superior to the average good writing found on the higher, fantasy planes.
1955 D. Knight Readin' and Writhin' in Sci. Fiction Quarterly Feb. 76/1 The other two pass, barely, but are so close to mundane stories that they make me almost equally uncomfortable.
1955 D. Knight Readin' and Writhin' in Sci. Fiction Quarterly Feb. 76/1 The center of attention is a young spaceman, hideously deformed by his craft; I might have missed the mundane parallel, though I felt it, if Kornbluth himself hadn't spelled it out for me—the old used-up railroad men who congregate in a dismal bar in ‘Gandytown’.
1956 D. Knight In Search of Wonder 103 The other two pass, barely, but are so close to mundane stories that they make me almost equally uncomfortable.
1956 D. Knight In Search of Wonder (1959) 103 The other two pass, barely, but are so close to mundane stories that they make me almost equally uncomfortable.
1956 D. Knight In Search of Wonder (1968) 149 Three of the best are the result of a serious attempt to graft the mainstream short story onto science fiction. I dislike these three on principle. The very best of the lot, ‘The Goodly Creatures’, flunks the key clause of Sturgeon's definition of science fiction—‘ [a story] which would not have happened at all without its scientific content.’ The other two pass, barely, but are so close to mundane stories that they make me almost equally uncomfortable.
1956 D. Knight In Search of Wonder 103 The center of attention is a young spaceman, hideously deformed by his craft; I might have missed the mundane parallel, though I felt it, if Kornbluth himself hadn't spelled it out for me—the old used-up railroad men who congregate in a dismal bar in ‘Gandytown’.
1959 R. Eney Fancyclopaedia II (1979) 109 Mundane , non-fannish. Pertaining to the Outside World.
1959 R. H. Eney Fancyclopedia II 24 Or they may be ‘fannish translations’ of mundane stories/conventions.
1959 R. H. Eney Fancyclopedia II 15 No less important to fannish than mundane drinking, this useful beverage is even given divine honors by the sect of Beeros, and worshipped either as Beer or Bheer.
1959 R. H. Eney Fancyclopedia II 109 Mundane , non-fannish. Pertaining to the Outside World.
1959 R. Eney Fancyclopedia II 109 Mundane , Non-fannish. Pertaining to the Outside World.
1978 S. R. Delany Jewel-Hinged Jaw 81, I feel the science-fictional-enterprise [sic] is richer than the enterprise of mundane fiction.
1990 Thrust Winter 30/3 Sci fi was applied to the most miserable sort of juvenile fiction, to stories about dragons on other planets, to Burroughs-type adventure fiction, to mundane fiction which the author insisted occurred in the near future, even to sword & sorcery fiction and alternate universe novels.
1993 R. Silverberg Coll. StoriesII. 68 A ‘translation’, in the uncompromising critical vocabulary set forth by Damon Knight and James Blish in the 1950s on which I based much of my own fiction-writing aesthetic, is an adaptation of a stock format of mundane fiction into s-f by a simple one-for-one substitution of science-fictiony noises for the artefacts of the mundane field.
1997 Sci.-Fiction Studies Mar. 142 What I'd lost—what sf had lost—after Sputnik had stitched its way back and forth across the new mundane sky, was the old sense that space was a magic portal, a sky-hook capable of hiking us into the future.
2001 Sci. Fiction Chron. Mar. 42/1 I thought Powers was following Dan Simmons into the world of mundane, near past thrillers.