[Ads-l] Jesse Sheidlower's New Dictionary

MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY CCDC AVMC (USA) 0000099bab68be9a-dmarc-request at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Tue Feb 2 13:18:58 EST 2021


>  I don’t know the details, but Gernsback’s wikipage indicates that he coined the term 
> “science fiction” (in the relevant sense), which presumably explains why the prizes are 
> Hugos.  
Gernsback generally referred to the genre as "scientifiction", I believe.  The 1927 Amazing Stories
quote below is from a response to a Letter to the Editor, and is signed simply "Editor".  The
masthead lists Gernsback as "Editor" and T. O'Conor Sloan as "Associate Editor".  It's not obvious who
wrote the paragraph in question, but Gary Westfahl, in "Science fiction quotations : from the inner 
mind to the outer limits" attributes it to Sloan.  This carries some weight as much of Westfahl's scholarship
was on the period that Gernsback,, as an editor and publisher, was developing SF into a genre of its 
own, and on Gernsback's role in developing it.

The award is named after Gernsback mostly because fans started calling the award the "Hugo" and the
name stuck.  At that time (early 1950s) he was widely recognized as the father of Science Fiction, and not
so much as the guy who coined the term (which he probably didn't).


>  The entry supports the negative assessment of his character above for dishonesty, 
>  chintziness, low standards, without providing evidence of racism—

I said he was racist primarily because of what he published.  Stories under his editorial direction routinely
included ethnic racial slurs, stereotypical depictions of black people and other groups, etc.  



OED’s entry on “science fiction” has 19th c. cites for the irrelevant sense of 
fiction that involves science but these two as early cites for the relevant one, which is 
glossed as ‘Fiction in which the setting and story feature hypothetical scientific or 
technological advances, the existence of alien life, space or time travel, etc., esp. such 
fiction set in the future, or an imagined alternative universe.

1927   Amazing Stories Jan. 974/2   Remember that Jules Verne was a sort of Shakespeare in science fiction.
1933   Astounding Stories Dec. 142/1   Intelligent people, as a rule, will read science fiction.

Gernsback himself is not mentioned in the entry.

LH
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