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October 10, 2011 9:35 AM   Subscribe

The beta version of the SFE (The Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction) has just gone live (blog - What is a beta text? Some philosophy, Some history…)
posted by fearfulsymmetry (22 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
ahem 'The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:40 AM on October 10, 2011


The 1993 edition is one of the five or six most important books in my whole experience of reading or understanding anything. I'm so, so excited to dig into this thing.
posted by cgc373 at 9:41 AM on October 10, 2011


All hail the new flesh! Death to wikipedia!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:43 AM on October 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


What is a beta text?

it's bugs one that bugs still has bugs?
posted by eriko at 9:45 AM on October 10, 2011


Heh. Margaret Atwood, all up to date.

I wonder if Wikipedia will start refusing it as a reliable reference now it's on the web - I've used the old version to save articles from deletion a few times.
posted by Artw at 9:47 AM on October 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


First thing I did was to look up Robert Heinlein; pleasantly surprised to note that whoever wrote his SFE entry seems to largely agree with me that the juvies he wrote in the mid 50's were his finest work.

Look I just have strong feelings about teenagers in space, okay? :-|

Anyway, as far as my thoughts on this wonderful project go: I would pay real money for a well-designed iPad app. Oh my lord, yes.
posted by pts at 9:49 AM on October 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


The '79 edition was pretty much my nerd bible in high-school.
posted by octothorpe at 9:56 AM on October 10, 2011


A web version of the giant hardback book we no longer have room for? John Clute? Fantastic!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 10:01 AM on October 10, 2011


I own a '93 edition hardcover, and the sister volume (encyclopaedia of fantasy). They're so damn big that they gather dust on the bookshelves -- I'd get a hernia lifting them!

My first move on seeing the new edition was to check if there was an entry under my name. It seems to be a little scattershot, but the information that's there is mostly correct; no obvious errors. So you can take this as an endorsement.

(I wonder how long it'll take wikipedia to wake up and start using the SFEncy as a citable source?)
posted by cstross at 10:05 AM on October 10, 2011


For what it is worth, the entry on Finland contains many titles in Finnish and some in Swedish, all of which are spelled correctly apart for one little mishap with a's and ä's (which I've reported via the contact form). They've been thorough and careful. I approve.
posted by tykky at 10:13 AM on October 10, 2011


cstross, wouldn't it be more fun to wonder how long it'll take Wikipedia to wake up?
</Skynet>
posted by cgc373 at 10:14 AM on October 10, 2011


No John Ringo. Is that a bug or a feature?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:18 AM on October 10, 2011


At this pointy Wikipedia has essentially been taken over by deletionists, so if you have an unreferenced or poorly referenced article it's pretty much toast as soon as they notice it. You can try rescuing such articles by adding references, and as I say the previous edition was great for that, but when an article has attracted attention and is in the process of being deleted deletionist types will contest any and all references you add to it as being insufficient. They're very quick to dismiss anything that's on the web as, well, it's on the web, and has web cooties.

So this may make it harder to save articles on Wikipedia.

On the other hand, fuck Wikipedia. It peaked in 2006 and now It's clearly in the process of eating itself so we have to accept that other wiki's and encyclopedia are where we are going to have to get information on most things.
posted by Artw at 10:24 AM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's weak on british comics... John Wagner gets a mention on the page for Dredd but no article.
posted by Artw at 10:26 AM on October 10, 2011


It's weak on british comics... John Wagner gets a mention on the page for Dredd but no article.

They will probably get around to it... there's only 3.2m words at the moment... be 4.2m by the end of 2012
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:30 AM on October 10, 2011


No entries for Mundane SF or Slipstream either... where do I send my corrections?

Q: My favorite author/film/TV programme doesn't have an entry. Is this because the SFE is still a beta text?

In all probability, yes. We know there are a lot of missing entries at the moment. These gaps will be filled over the course of the next year or so.

posted by Artw at 10:50 AM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


But Cosy Catastrophe gets its own entry, hurrah! (Up yours, wikipedia)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:53 AM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Rule 34... perhaps distractingly told in the second person..."

Oooh... a little editorializing there.
posted by GuyZero at 10:55 AM on October 10, 2011


FINALLY~!!!!!
posted by grobstein at 11:07 AM on October 10, 2011


All hail Langford!
posted by Chrysostom at 9:17 PM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


It has an entry for Bob Shaw. I am happy.
posted by Gentlemanhog at 9:22 AM on October 11, 2011


On the other hand, fuck Wikipedia. It peaked in 2006 and now It's clearly in the process of eating itself...

This is not clear to me. In fact, this SFE looks neat but isn't really an encyclopedia. It reads more like a comprehensive collection of reviews. Just because you didn't like Steel Beach doesn't mean it "lacked dramatic urgency".
posted by DU at 5:15 AM on October 17, 2011


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