science fantasy n. 1

= science fiction n. 2; a work in this genre

Now chiefly hist.

SF Encyclopedia

SF Criticism


  • 1931 C. W. Harris Letter in Wonder Stories Aug. 426 page image Clare Winger Harris bibliography

    I am in hearty agreement with Mr. Glasser’s suggestion that science fiction fans write to various film companies asking for science fantasy pictures.

  • 1931 Author & Journalist Oct. 11/1

    Argosy is an excellent market for science fantasy.

  • 1933 M. Weisinger Selling the Pseudo-Scientific Story in Writer’s Digest Apr. 51 page image Mort Weisinger

    It is only during the past few years that science fiction has captured public interest to any noticeable degree. There are no less than six magazines now using the pseudo-scientific story either exclusively or as a regular part of their contents. And there is a growing number of books, plays, and films of the science-fantasy type.

  • 1935 F. Ackerman Scientifilm News in Wonder Stories Oct. 637/2 page image Forrest J. Ackerman

    All the details are contained monthly in FANTASY Magazine, the mirror of the science-fantasy world, whose address is 87-36—162d St., Jamaica, New York.

  • 1938 Tales of Wonder (#2) Mar. 123 (advt.) page image

    To All Readers of Scientific Fiction…. You should subscribe to Scientifiction[:] The British Fantasy Review This little publication will bring you reliable news of what is happening in the sphere of science-fantasy, interviews with your favourite authors, reviews of the latest science fiction books, [etc.].

  • 1939 N.Y. Times 12 Aug. 19 (heading)

    Paramount to Film Wells’s ‘Food of the Gods’, Science Fantasy.

  • 1943 P. S. Miller Fricassee in Four Dimensions in Astounding Science Fiction Dec. 67/2 page image P. Schuyler Miller

    ‘I read a couple of books one time, about the way I am and stuff like that. Fourth-dimension stuff. Tesseracts, and that. You ever seen it?’ I had. I've read my share of science fantasies.

  • 1946 G. Conklin Best of Science Fiction Introd. p. xv, Groff Conklin

    So hopelessly fantastic did The Great War Syndicate seem then and later that it dropped into a kind of honorable obscurity. Until recently it was remembered only by science-fiction pioneers like H. G. Wells, who has given Stockton credit for helping him along the road which eventually resulted in The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, and his other famous science fantasies.

  • 1952 M. Gardner In Name Science 272

    The amazing story behind Excaliber was revealed by Arthur J. Cox in the July, 1952, issue of Science-Fiction Advertiser, a magazine published by science-fantasy fans in Glendale, California.

  • 1956 ‘J. Merril’ Year's Greatest Science-Fiction & Fantasy 345 Judith Merril

    Science-fantasy has long outgrown both its worship of machines and its fear of emotion. Where emphasis once was on the mechanical sciences, it has shifted now to the psychological; where Scientific Progress was once the unquestioned goal, the more usual objective now is to question just what sort of progress might offer the most satisfaction for human needs.

  • 1959 R. Eney Fancyclopedia II (1979) 142 Dick Eney bibliography

    Science-fantasy, a classification sometimes used for science-fiction proper. But in this volume it designates science-fiction in which fantasy elements are vital—e g Lest Darkness Fall, in which hero Padway is struck by lightning and thus transferred to decadent Rome, where all his other actions are science-fictional; or those in which the author (like Ego Clarke in The City and The Stars ) depicts the accomplishments of a science so advanced that it merges with wish-fulfillment fantasy.

  • 1974 F. Pohl in R. Bretnor Science Fiction, Today & Tomorrow 22 Frederik Pohl

    Science fiction.…published in book form…was almost never labeled science fiction. That term was reserved to the pulp magazines and, in fact, most of them even called it by other names—‘science fantasy’, or ‘stories of superscience’.

Research requirements

antedating 1931

Earliest cite

Clare Winger Harris, in Wonder Stories

Research History
The earliest submitted citations listed here are ambiguous as to their meaning; the earliest clear cite we have for this sense is 1943 (P.S. Miller in "Astounding Science Fiction").

Derek Hepburn submitted a 1947 cite from Walter Gillings in the first issue of the fanzine "Fantasy Review".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1956 from Judith Merril in "S-F The Year's Greatest Science-Fiction and Fantasy".
Mike Christie submitted a 1938 cite from an advertisement in Tales of Wonder. Alistair Durie submitted a 1936 cite from the title of Willis Conover's "Science-Fantasy Review".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1935 cite from a letter by Forrest J Ackerman in Wonder Stories.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1975 cite from a reprint of "Anthony Boucher"'s (writing as H.H. Holmes) 1942 "Rocket to the Morgue".
Malcolm Farmer submitted a 1952 cite from Martin Gardner's "In the Name of Science".
Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from the introduction to William Tenn's 1956 "Of All Possible Worlds" in a 1963 reprint.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1931 cite from a letter from Clare Winger Harris to Wonder Stories.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1932 cite from a letter by Forrest J. Ackerman in Astounding.

Malcolm Farmer located a cite from "William Atheling" (James Blish) that suggests that H.G. Wells used the term to mean something akin to hard sf, but does not say when or in what work. We would like to locate this cite.

John Locke located a cite from Mortimer Weisinger's "Selling The Pseudo-Scientific Story" in an (unpaginated) electronic version of Writer's Digest from April 1933; Jesse Sheidlower verified it in the original publication.

We would like cites of any date from other authors.

Last modified 2023-10-31 18:55:51
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.