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Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fictionby Jeff Prucher
Synopses & Reviews
The first historical dictionary devoted to science fiction, Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction 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, film, 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.
Brave New Words covers the shared language of science fiction, as well as the vocabulary of science fiction criticism and its fans — those terms that are used by many authors in multiple settings. Words coined in science fiction have become part of the vocabulary of any number of subcultures and endeavors, from comics, to neo-paganism, to aerospace, to computers, to environmentalism, to zine culture. This is the first book to document this vocabulary transfer. Not just a useful reference and an entertaining browse, this book also documents the enduring legacy of science fiction writers and fans.
"I had an embarrassingly good time poring through Brave New Words. It's more than a dictionary, it's a secret history of science fiction — and of the last 50 years of popular culture." John Scalzi, author of Old Man's War
"An important and entertaining reference for any science fiction writer, magazine editor, fan, neophyte reader, or librarian....Both interesting and humorous. Many science fiction fans will probably read it from cover to cover. Highly recommeded. All levels." CHOICE
"This admirable and unique source demonstrates on nearly every page the surprising extent to which the language of science fiction has entered everyday English-terms and concepts such as beam me up, cyberspace, downtime, gateway, morph, newspeak, robot, and space cadet. Highly recommended." Library Journal
Book News Annotation:
Prucher, a freelance lexicographer, compiles a dictionary of science fiction terms used in novels, stories, mainstream publications, fanzines, screenplays, newspapers, comics, songs, and the internet. Most of the entries (relating mainly to the twentieth century) come from the Oxford English Dictionary Science Fiction Project, which has collected terms since 2001. Terms from the genre of fantasy are excluded. Entries cite usage, etymology, definition, variant and derived forms, cross-references, and citations in publications. A few sidebars discussing topics such as fanspeak, expletives and profanity, robots, Star Trek, and time travel are included. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Jeff Prucher is a freelance lexicographer and an editor for the Oxford English Dictionary's science fiction project. He has previously been a bookseller, office temp, editorial assistant for Locus, and software quality assurance engineer. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and more books than they realistically have room for.
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