edisonade n.

a story featuring a young male inventor who uses his inventions and ingenuity to defeat his foes or to explore new territory

[introduced by critic John Clute, after American inventor Thomas Alva Edison, modeled on Robinsonade ‘a novel with a subject similar to that of Robinson Crusoe’ (1837 in OED) ]

SF Encyclopedia

SF Criticism

  • 1993 J. Clute Encyclopedia of Science Fiction 368/2 John Clute

    As used here the term ‘edisonade’—derived from Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) in the same way that ‘robinsonade’ is derived from Robinson Crusoe—can be understood to describe any story which features a young US male inventor hero who uses his ingenuity to extricate himself from tight spots and who, by so doing, saves himself from defeat and corruption and his friends and nation from foreign oppressors.

  • 1995 W. W. Wagar Mad Bad Scientist in Science Fiction Studies Mar. 116

    Nor surprisingly, Haynes takes special pleasure in exploring the many sf stories casting Thomas Edison or some other wizard of invention as the hero, a subgenre recently—and most aptly—described by John Clute as the ‘edisonade’.

  • 2005 J. Nevins Encyc. Fantastic Victoriana 279

    The Edisonade, coined by critic John Clute after the Robinsonade, can be defined simply enough: it is a story in which a young American male invents a form of transportation and uses it to travel to uncivilized parts of America or the world, enriches himself, and punishes the enemies of the United States, whether domestic (Native Americans) or foreign.

  • 2006 A. Roberts Hist. Science Fiction 122

    Compared to the instrumental militarism of many 'Edisonades' (as Edison invention-adventures are called) Villiers de l'Isle-Adam’s Symbolist-mystical treatment seems posivitely pacific.

  • 2006 Apex Science Fiction & Horror Digest Summer 85

    The scientist of late 19th-century London is on the cusp between the Renaissance Man and the Corporation Man—a transformation perhaps best exemplified by Thomas Alva Edison (who lent his name to a sub-genre of his own—the Edisonade—as well as featuring in Powers' novel Expiration Date (1995).


Research requirements

antedating 1993

Earliest cite

John Clute, 'The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction'

Research History
John Clute indicated that he coined this term for the 1993 edition of "The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction"; Jeff Prucher located and submitted a cite from a 1995 reprint; John Clute submitted a cite from the 1993 edition. John Clute submitted a 1995 cite from W. Warren Wagar in SF Studies. John Clute submitted a 2005 cite from Jess Nevins' "The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana". John Clute submitted a 2006 cite from Adam Roberts' "The History of Science Fiction".

Last modified 2020-12-25 19:03:19
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.