« Peter F. Hamilton's new book | Home | Nebula Award winners 2007 »

May 11, 2007

Brave New Words, The Oxford Dictionary Of Science Fiction

So right up front I'm going to admit that this is one of those reviews where the reviewer (me) hasn't read the entire book. But never fear, because the book is a Science Fiction dictionary. It is Brave New Words, The Oxford Dictionary Of Science Fiction, edited by Jeff Prucher (UK / US).

How does that work? Well, it's a dictionary, with definitions of words, Science Fiction words no less, and also, most interestingly, the history of those words in the form of citations. So you can look up a word and see where the word originated, which story, author, newsgroup used it first, and also a selection of important uses over the years.

It's the sort of book that you keep on the coffee table and dip into. If you leave it lying around everyone will pick it up, it can't be resisted. In fact that's exactly what I've been doing since I got this book. Every time I have had a spare minute I've picked it up, opened it at random, and learnt about the history of the word psionics or egoscan or tri-vid (I just opened the book right now and picked those words). And then I've felt the urge to tell everybody in the room about what I've just read. And then I feel compelled to go and find the cited novels and stories. It's going to be responsible for making my reading wishlist even more unmanageable!

As well as all the SF words, there is also a great introduction by Gene Wolfe.

The only downside I can think of for this book is that people might find it a bit too geeky to buy. Indeed, it is SF geek paradise. Well, if you're reading this blog you're a SF geek anyway, so just buy the book, you'll love it. And for anyone else who is a borderline SF fan, buy it for their birthday. They'll love it too.

1 TrackBack

The next book is a book that SF geeks in my circle should run and get: Brave New Words, the Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction, by Jeff Prucher.... Read More

1 Comment

With mine own copy a few feet away, I can only agree.