Peter Nicholls

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(March 8, 1939 -- March 5, 2018)

Peter Nicholls was an Australian scholar and critic, mainly known today as the creator and co-editor of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

Born in Melbourne, Victoria, he spent the years from 1968 to 1988 as an expatriate, first in the United States, and then in the UK.

Nicholls' early career was as a literary academic, originally with The University of Melbourne. He first traveled to the United States in 1968, and his significant contributions to SF scholarship and criticism began in 1971, when he became the first Administrator of the Science Fiction Foundation (UK), a position he held until 1977. He was editor of its journal, Foundation, from 1974-1978.

In 1979, Nicholls edited The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, with John Clute as associate editor. At the time, this work was widely perceived as the most comprehensive and sophisticated critical survey of the entire science fiction field ever attempted. It won the 1980 Best Non-Fiction Book Hugo. A revised and expanded version of the Encyclopedia, co-edited with Clute, was published in 1993, and won the 1994 Best Non-Fiction Book Hugo. And the Third Edition, co-edited with Clute and David Langford, won the 2012 Best Related Work Hugo.

In several 1970s articles Nicholls announced his forthcoming critical history of SF, already sold to Allen Lane The Penguin Press and titled Infinity, Eternity and the Pulp Magazines; at least two intended chapters appeared in Foundation. This was never published – he returned the advance, preferring to concentrate on the Encyclopedia – but late in life he planned a retrospective collection to be called Genre Fiction: The Roaring Years. This title was used for a substantial book of 60 Nicholls pieces, edited by David Langford and with a new foreword from John Clute, published in August 2022 by Ansible Editions. As well as essays and reviews on sf this includes five convention reports, two of them (on Seacon 75 and Seacon '79) among the funniest ever written.

Awards, Honors and GoHships:

Person 19392018
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