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May 2, 2007

The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction
Posted by Teresa at 12:16 PM * 37 comments

Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction is a delightful book, even if they do misspell my name in the list of works cited. Much I care. How can I dislike an OUP dictionary where the first entry is actifan, and the definition’s first citation is to Jack Speer?

In just a few minutes’ flipping through, I spotted citations of Mike Ford (atomics), Doyle and Macdonald (outplanet), David Moles (on-planet), and me (fanac). Naturally, I also spotted words that had been left out. The list thus far: fout, the transcend, and the non-music-related use of filk to mean folk.

What I didn’t find were errors. I’m sure there are some; just not many, if my initial assay is anything to go on.

Highly recommended.

Comments on The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction:
#1 ::: Lucy Huntzinger ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 01:07 PM:

How splendid! I must have one of those.

#2 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 01:32 PM:

Oh wow! Unfortunately, it has come out just as I have to cut back on book purchases!

#3 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 02:01 PM:

One of the best reasons for comfortable chairs in bookstores yet.

#4 ::: Will A ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 02:09 PM:

Mmmm, pretty.

I like that the list of facts and numbers on Amazon includes the book's weight. It's only there for practical shipping purposes, but it helps me imagine the heft of the thing in my hands as I settle into a bookstore's comfy chair.

#5 ::: MacAllister ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 02:14 PM:

Heh! Off to order it now! Many thanks.

#6 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 02:35 PM:

just as I have to cut back on book purchases

cut back on book purchases, or cut back on book purchases? Because I just found I'm the lucky first one to put a hold on this book at my local library. Sqweeee.

#7 ::: Andrew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 04:09 PM:

What is "the transcend", please?

#8 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 04:27 PM:

*eeeeeeeeee!!*

[rushes off to purchase]

#9 ::: JDC ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 05:17 PM:

#7 See Vinge's "A Fire Upon the Deep"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_upon_the_deep#The_zones_of_thoughthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_upon_the_deep#The_zones_of_thought

#10 ::: JDC ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 05:18 PM:

#7 See Vinge's "A Fire Upon the Deep"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_upon_the_deep#The_zones_of_thought

#11 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 06:01 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale #6: The latter, not the former. Perhaps I'll get a chance to peruse it at the library; or I'll just wait a while and buy it secondhand.

#12 ::: Calton Bolick ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2007, 11:30 PM:

Huh. Does it include "disemvowel"? And come to think, how DO they spell your name?

#13 ::: Bus Ridin' Traveler (BRT) ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 12:26 AM:
#14 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 05:42 AM:

re: Budin #13

Looking at my copy (which I picked up at Dreamhaven last weekend), none of those made it.

Its a lot of fun to flip through. I do find it amusing though that the book relies on, whenever possible, print references for words, even when there is a more common and likely attribution.

For instance, droid's first attribution is to "G Lucas. Adventures of Luke Starkiller, 1976" rather than to the Star Wars movie itself.


#15 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 06:54 AM:

#14 - droid - isn't that just because the word's use in the early draft of the screenplay came before the movie made from it, even if it was the movie that popularised it?

#16 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 07:04 AM:

...But is it signature sewn?

(Not that I have time...I'm not even getting the LOTR binding done that I wanted to.)

#17 ::: Gag Halfrunt ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 07:12 AM:

The Oxford English Dictionary's policy is to cite the earliest known use. I imagine that the same applies to Brave New Words.

#18 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 07:59 AM:

abi @ 16... Not that I have time...I'm not even getting the LOTR binding done that I wanted to.

When are you moving to Amsterdam?

#19 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 10:54 AM:

Calton: Funny, that was my first thought, too...

#20 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 11:07 AM:

I thought their policy was the earliest use in print. (I was looking up a [four-letter] word in the OED the other day: its earliest use (as a verb) is given as 1503. It's safe to say it's been around rather longer than that.)

#21 ::: Gag Halfrunt ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 11:57 AM:

PJ Evans@20: Yes, earliest use in print.

#22 ::: Nicholas Waller ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 12:06 PM:

I believe the OED accepts earliest use in various media, even, if I remember correctly the relevant BBC "Balderdash and Piffle" programme about hunting down first uses of words for the OED, a schoolgirl's handwritten autograph book. [googles]. Yes, see the first citation for "phwoar" at http://www.oed.com/bbcwords/phwoar.html where the girl writes, in 1976, in praise of a teacher: "We love Mr Blackburn's legs. phwor! cor! wow!!! phew!"

And a 1972 Monty Python gramophone record is the first citation for the phrase "something for the weekend?" (meaning, "do you want some condoms?").
http://www.oed.com/bbcwords/weekend.html

#23 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 12:41 PM:

I don't know where to put this one:

Schirra has died. ('Hello from the beautiful Apollo Room, high atop everything!')

#24 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 12:46 PM:

If the earliest known print cite is what is supposed to happen, then they sure goofed with citing Mike Ford for atomics (see Teresa's original post) unless his career goes back before the first _Dune_, which had several mentions of "family atomics". And that off the top of my head--I'm sure there's all sorts of Late Golden Age stuff that uses it.

#25 ::: Nicholas Waller ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 01:01 PM:

Teresa's post didn't mention first citation, though. Have a look at http://www.jessesword.com/sf/view/336 , which is on atomics: "Charlie Petit submitted a cite from a reprint of Lester del Rey's "Nerves"; Mike Christie verified this in the 1942 original magazine appearance. The OED has a 1919 example in a scientific journal."

Jesse's Word "is run by Jesse Sheidlower, Editor-at-Large of the Oxford English Dictionary. Feel free to look for my name on the OED Staff Page if you have any question about the validity of this site. The main public area of this site is the Science Fiction Citation project at http://www.jessesword.com/sf, which everyone is welcome to explore."

There's a whole list of words there.

#26 ::: sdn ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 01:12 PM:

what i love best about this book is that its acquiring editor was my friend erin, and its author is a friend of one of my authors.

and yeah, i bought one.

#27 ::: sdn ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 01:14 PM:

what i love best about this book is that its acquiring editor was my friend erin, and its author is a friend of one of my authors.

and yeah, i bought one.

#28 ::: Lisa Hertel ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2007, 02:59 PM:

I'm sorry your name got misspelled; NESFA had two advisors to the volume, and they really ought to have known better. (BTW, OUP approached NESFA; they wanted NESFA's help/blessing.)

#29 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2007, 01:55 PM:

Just got my copy, and have learned that H. Beam Piper coined "sapience." When I read the Little Fuzzy books, a million years ago, the meaning seemed intuitive so I assumed it was an existing word.

Neato.

#30 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2007, 01:13 AM:

I must know--does it include "spung"?

#31 ::: cgeye ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2007, 04:20 AM:

Misspelling your -- how shameful.


{intercom}
Jesse Sheidlower to the spanking booth, please.
Jesse Sheidlower to the spanking booth, Aisle 1, please.
... and, keep the bowtie on.
{/intercom}

#32 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2007, 06:29 AM:

Can't possibly spank everyone who misspells my name. It's just too easy to do.

#33 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2007, 11:52 AM:

Ah, the spelling of names! Whenever I need to go by my married name (Faren Hanscom) -- usually when dealing with doctors and prescriptions covered by my husband's insurance -- I have to spell out *both* names. Is it any wonder I stick with Miller most of the time? I don't insert it in the middle, though, finding triple deckers a bit tough to handle.

PS to Teresa: It seems like this encyclopedia is an exception to the reference books that bother you so much in your "rant" in the Wikipedia thread. Good to know it's not complete anarchy and incompetence out there.

#34 ::: Jan Vaněk jr. ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2007, 09:23 AM:

I like how the Amazon's "Editorial Reviews" (currently) have the same quote twice as by "John Scalzi, author of The Android's Dream" and "John Scalzi, author of Old Man's War".

#35 ::: iesha ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2008, 08:29 AM:

what the is the meaning off scenice fiction in words

#36 ::: Cyborgelf ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2009, 04:04 PM:

This really looks great. I've seen it mentioned in other places, and I'm definitely going to have to get a copy.

#37 ::: janetl sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2014, 05:24 PM:

spam at 37

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