June 07, 2007


Jeff Prucher answers the call.

You'll want to follow up with some of the other fine posts at his weblog, "Home of the Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction":

Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction is the first historical dictionary devoted to the language of science fiction and science fiction fandom. It shows exactly how science-fictional words and their associated concepts have developed over time, with full citations and bibliographic information. It's a window on a whole genre of literature through the words invented and passed along by the genre's most talented writers. In addition, it shows how many words we consider everyday vocabulary—words like spacesuit, blast off, and robot—had their roots in imaginative literature, and not in hard science.

Citations are included for each definition, starting with the earliest usage that can be found. These citations are drawn not only from science fiction books and magazines, but also from mainstream publications, fanzines, screenplays, newspapers, comics, filk songs, and the Internet. In addition to illustrating the different ways each word has been used, citations also show when and where words have moved out of the science fiction lexicon and into that of other subcultures or mainstream English.

Posted by Mark Liberman at June 7, 2007 09:12 AM