Full record for science fiction n.

Definition imaginative fiction based on postulated scientific discoveries or spectacular environmental changes, freq. set in the future or on other planets and involving space or time travel
OED requirements interdating 1851-1927
Earliest cite W. Wilson, 'Little Earnest Book upon a Great Old Subject'
Comment The 1851 quotation is an isolated use. We would like citations between that date and 1927, which is the earliest subsequent citation we have.

Andy Sawyer submitted a 1927 cite from an Amazing Stories letter column editorial response -- probably T. O'Conor Sloane, or possibly Hugo Gernsback.

Last modified 6 July, 2008

Citations for science fiction n.

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1927 Amazing Stories Jan. 974/2 Remember that Jules Verne was a sort of Shakespeare in science fiction.
1976 A. Panshin & C. Panshin SF in Dimension 307 Crude, vigorous and imaginative magazine stories from one of the star writers of Thirties pulp science fiction.
1978 G. S. Elrick Sci. Fiction Handbk. 6 Soft science fiction is basically based on sociology, anthropology, political science, theology, or mythology. Example: Brian Aldiss's Galaxies Like Grains of Sand.
1980 D. Brin Sundiver ii.iv. 44 The thin ceram walls‥had been painted with gigantic murals—huge swooping birds and pseudo science-fiction space battles copied from twenty-century magazines.
1986 G. K. Wolfe Crit. Terms for Sci. Fiction & Fantasy 120 Soft science fiction , probably a back-formation from Hard Science Fiction, and used sometimes to refer to science fiction based in the so-called soft sciences (anthropology, sociology, etc.), and sometimes to refer to science fiction in which there is little science or little awareness of science at all.
1986 J. Gunn Readers of Hard Sci. Fiction in G. E. Slusser & E. S. Rabkin Hard Sci. Fiction 74 By hard science fiction we mean that science fiction in which the story turns around a change in the environment that can be understood only scientifically and generally through what are known as the hard sciences, usually the laboratory sciences such as chemistry, physics, and biology, and the observational sciences such as astronomy, geology, and geography. Mathematics and computers are two of the tools used by all the hard sciences. These sciences are considered hard because they deal with objective data, and predictions can be made from these data that are verifiable.
1989 A. Panshin & C. Panshin World beyond Hill 143 With utopian plausibility denied to it, this American pulp SF of the Teens became highly imaginative.
1989 L. Sutin Divine Invasions 88 There could be no more dyed-in-the-wool veteran of the pulp SF wars than Wollheim.
1991 F. Pohl (back cover quote) in L. Niven Ringworld (back cover) Ringworld’ is the best of the newest wave, the return to classical hard-science fiction of the kind popular in the Golden Age. Niven's imagination is 3-D and detailed, and his style is lucid and appealing.
1993 J. C. Bunnell in Dragon Mag. Sept. 54/1 Elizabeth Moon's newest novel finds her turning from medieval fantasy to military SF, if a rather genteel grade of the latter.
1994 B. Bova Craft of Writing Sci. Fict. that Sells ii. 6 Science fiction stories are those in which some aspect of future science or high technology is so integral to the story that, if you take away the science or technology, the story collapses.