[Ads-l] Jesse Sheidlower's New Dictionary

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Tue Feb 2 13:27:48 EST 2021

On Tue, Feb 02, 2021 at 11:40:14AM -0500, Laurence Horn wrote:

> 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.

The first example in HDSF, which Fred Shapiro posted to this list, is:

1911 Inter Ocean (Chicago) 11 Nov. 5/5 A COLUMBUS OF SPACE (by Garrett P. Serviss. D. Appleton & Co., New York. Illustrated, $1.50) — This is a science-fiction tale for boys, written in Jules Verne’s fashion. He who is the hero of the story, by the power of ‘inter-atomic energy,’ sails into space in a queer airship he’s constructed, and with his companion lands on Venus. Then there is enough of lively action. Fierce giants with white saucer eyes and most beautiful Amazons, and monsters of the prehistoric sort, and dangers of several varieties, provide it. Boys will enjoy the story, which has four full page pictures in colors.

Pre-Gernsback. Meaning seems pretty solid.

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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