THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY: VOLUME 3: MISCELLANEOUS
by Donald H. Tuck
Reviewed by Steven H Silver
The third volume of Donald H. Tuck's The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy may be in need of an update after more than twenty years, but it still provides an excellent reference tool which serves a completely different purpose than John Clute and Peter Nicholls's more recent The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. While the latter work provides short encyclopedic entries on authors, themes, magazines, and so on which have been important to science fiction, Tuck focuses his attention, at least in this volume, at an exploration of bibliographic information of magazines and paperbacks.
The encyclopedia begins with a section which details the various professional magazines. This is not only a listing of titles, but also notes publishers, editors, a complete list of issues up until 1968. Furthermore, Tuck notes important stories and the issues they appeared in. Although many of the magazines have published more issues or folded (or begun) after 1968, this listing can be used as a starting point for amassing a fantastic collection of science fiction magazines and stories.
This is followed by a section which lists paperbacks published by author. Not only are the titles provided, but Tuck includes bibliographic information about each of the titles and its reprints. This section has not aged quite as well as the magazine section, perhaps because novels have become so much more important to the field since the cut-off date of the encyclopedia. Similarly, the following section, a list of paperbacks by publisher, seems outdated when few of the publishers listed are still in the field, at least in the entity Tuck lists. To complete the cross referencing, Tuck provides a list of all the book titles, along with their authors, in alphabetical order by title.
Additional sections of the book provide information on pseudonyms and series. While the first is interesting and provides several forgotten pseudonyms and connections, the latter is, perhaps, the most outdated section of the book. Nevertheless, both sections provide information of interest to even the casual reader.
Of course, the main thrust of Tuck's work, as opposed to Clute & Nicholls's work, is aimed more at the academic researcher. It provides scads of bibliographic detail which the Clute/Nicholls work only hints at, thereby making it easier for the researcher to locate the books or stories in question. At the same time, it does not provide a quick reference for dipping into and browsing through.