fantastic adj.

having the quality of fantasy n. 1

SF Encyclopedia

SF Criticism

  • 1930 Argosy 25 Oct. (cover) page image bibliography

    The Snake Mother[:] The Outstanding Fantastic Novel of the Year by A. Merritt.

  • 1931 C. A. Smith City of Singing Flame in Wonder Stories July 203/1 page image bibliography

    Angarth, whose fame as a writer of fantastic fiction will probably outlive that of most other modern magazine contributors, [etc.].

  • 1933 M. Z. Ingher The Editor Reflects: Witches, Werewolves, Vampires, et al. in Science Fiction Digest (vol. 1, no. 7) Mar. 1/1 page image Maurice Z. Ingher bibliography

    For the sake of clarity, let me say that a number of science fiction fans read the fantastic magazines avidly, but the others, nurtured on fiction a trifle far-fetched though based on scientific fact cannot tolerate this bastard literature. Personally, the editor’s tendencies are toward these fantastic stories.

  • 1934 Wonder Stories Feb. 793/1 page image

    Any one who can enjoy the beautiful tales of Clark Ashton Smith can really appreciate fantastic literature.

  • 1935 F. J. Ackerman in Wonder Stories Feb. 1139/1 Forrest J. Ackerman

    ‘The Final Struggle’ unfortunately impressed me as being very bad as a science-fictional, fantastic, or any kind of story.

  • 1942 C. A. Smith City of Singing Flame in Out of Space and Time 61 Clark Ashton Smith

    Angarth, whose fame as a writer of fantastic fiction was already very considerable, had been spending that summer among the Sierras, and had been living alone until the artist, Felix Ebbonly, went to visit him.

  • 1970 H. Harrison Nova One Introd. p. ix Harry Harrison

    Some of the more enthusiastic science fiction aficionados tend to overstate the claims of this medium. Modern SF definitely does not date back to the second century and Lucian of Samosata, or even to the Gothic and fantastic novels of the last century. It has roots there, of course, just as it has roots in all fiction, being a part of the greater main of fiction.

  • 1971 S. J. Lundwall Science Fiction 23

    Many fantastic stories and novels these days are set upon another world inhabited by people, and if the author of a particular work was to start off by saying, ‘There is a world in space inhabited by people, and the natural laws of this world are somewhat different from ours, and they are magical,’ one could, generally speaking, say that this is a fantasy. But if he says, ‘Here is this world’,—and it is the same story—leaving implications that this is the result of a colonization experiment from Earth of a thousand or two thousand or ten thousand years before, then it would suddenly become a science fiction story, because the reader has got a basis for suspending his disbelief.

  • 2014 T. LeClair Futuristic Thrillers in N.Y. Times 16 Feb. (Book Review section) 30/1 Tom LeClair

    [in a review of Annihilation, a metafictional allegory by Jeff VanderMeer:] A clandestine government agency called the Southern Reach has sent 11 mostly failed expeditions into Area X, where an environmental catastrophe has created a nasty new ecosystem that may be encroaching on our own familiar world. [...] Area X stands for the domain of fantastic fiction. The biologist is the reader.

Research requirements

antedating 1930

Earliest cite


Research History
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1971 cite from Sam Lundwall's "Science Fiction: What It's All About".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1935 cite from a letter in Wonder Stories by Forrest Ackerman.
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1934 cite from editorial comments by Hugo Gernsback in Wonder Stories.
Jeff Prucher submitted a 2002 cite from a blurb by Paul Di Filippo in Polyphony 1.
Mark English submitted a 1974 cite from a reprint of Clark Ashton Smith's 1931 "The City of Singing Flame"; Jesse Sheidlower verified it in the July 1931 Wonder Stories.
Irene Grumman submited a cite from a 1971 reprint of Harry Harrison's 1970 anthology "Nova One".
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 1933 cite from the editor of Science Fiction Digest.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 1930 cite from the cover of Argosy.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2014 cite from Tom LeClair.

John Locke submitted a cite from Otis Adelbert Kline's "Writing the Fantastic Story" in an (unpaginated) electronic version of The Writer from January 1931; we would like to verify this in a print edition.

Last modified 2023-10-28 19:27:16
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.