Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction

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Word Definition
blast-off n. (1937) the initial thrust required to launch a rocket or the like into space; the launching of the rocket itself
blast off v. (1937) (of a person or being) to take off in a spaceship, esp. one propelled by rockets; (of a spaceship) to take off
blast rifle n. (1935) a long shoulder weapon that fires a destructive beam of energy; cf. blaster n.
blowup n. (1945) a war that destroys a culture or a large part of the population
blue pill n. (1998) a drug that allows one to remain ignorant of reality; cf. red pill n.
BNF n. (1948) someone who is extremely prominent within a particular fandom
boat n. (1900) = spaceship n.
Bonestellian adj. (1953) of, relating to, or characteristic of the art of Chesley Bonestell, esp. in featuring accurate depictions of astronomical objects
Borg n. (1989) in the fictional universe of the Star Trek franchise: a group of cybernetically enhanced aliens linked in a hive mind
bot n. (1969) a robot
Bradburian adj. (1951) = Bradburyish adj.
Bradburyesque adj. (1948) = Bradburyish adj.
Bradburyish adj. (1948) of, relating to, or characteristic of the writing of Ray Bradbury, esp. in focusing on psychological concerns (often based on the presumed simplicity of personal interactions) rather than technological developments
braintape n. (1946) a recording of the (entire) contents of a person’s mind
Buck Rogers adj. (1934) = science fictional adj.; (specif.) characteristic of hackneyed or dated science fiction
bug-eyed monster n. (1939) a monstrous alien with bulging eyes, esp. as a stereotype
bullet time n. (1999) a video effect in which the camera appears to move around a stationary or very slow-moving subject
Campbellian adj. (1949) of, relating to, or characteristic of the writing that appeared in the magazines edited by John W. Campbell, esp. in featuring heroic characters in technologically advanced scenarios
carbon-based adj. (1939) based on the chemistry of carbon compounds: usually describing life, contrasted with that based on other chemical elements
carbonite n. (1980) a carbon-based material in which a person can be cryogenically preserved
catastrophe adj. (1948) = disaster adj.
Centaurian n. (1931) a native or inhabitant of the constellation Centaurus or of a star system within it, esp. Alpha Centauri; cf. Alpha Centaurian n.
Centaurian adj. (1901) of or relating to the constellation Centaurus or one of its star systems, esp. Alpha Centauri, or its inhabitants; cf. Alpha Centaurian adj.
Chicon n. (1940) a SF convention held in Chicago, esp. the 1940 Chicago Science Fiction Convention
chrononaut n. (1960) = time traveller n.
chronoscope n. (1936) a device for viewing events in the past or future
chronoscopy n. (1956) viewing past or future events
cityship n. (1953) a large spacecraft having the size or complexity of a city
Clarke belt n. (1981) the ring-shaped region around the Earth containing all possible geostationary orbits
Clarke orbit n. (1969) geosynchronous orbit
Clarke’s Law n. (1962) any of three maxims formulated by Arthur C. Clarke (sometimes specified as Clarke’s First Law, Clarke’s Second Law, Clarke’s Third Law): (a) ‘When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong’ (b) ‘The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.’ (c) ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’
class M planet n. (1964) an Earth-type planet