Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction

For sci fi fans who enjoy getting lost in internet rabbit holes


If you're a science fiction fan who enjoys getting lost in internet rabbit holes, may I suggest the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction? The site—newly revamped by Jesse Sheidlower, formerly of the Oxford English Dictionary and the Historical Dictionary of American Slang—offers definitions and tidy timelines for such terms as grandfather paradox. You can click through to see the pulpy pages where many of those phrases first appeared.

The updated dictionary's big brag is that it contains more than 400 antedatings, or uses of words earlier than their previously established origins. Thought-controlled, once thought to have emerged in 1977, is now known to date back to 1934, for instance. And a use of graviton in 1929 establishes that what eventually became a real scientific term was coined first in science fiction.