abbreviation of science fiction n.
Despite its origins as a neutral abbreviation for science fiction, sci-fi has long been seen as a shibboleth in the SF community, many of whom perceive its use as an indication that the user is not a true SF fan, which would be indicated by the use of sf n.. It is, however, the dominant abbreviation used outside of the genre. It is also used within the genre to refer to science fiction movies and television shows, as opposed to written works, especially those considered to be poor examples of science fiction.
[probably by analogy with hi-fi]
I have two short stories that I am very hot to do, one a bobby-sox for Calling All Girls and one a sci-fic [in published text: sci-fi] short which will probably sell to slick and is a sure sale for pulp. ]
New Telepix Shows… The commercial possibilities are there as well since ‘Junior Science’, aside from its positive qualities, is a rewarding change of pace from the more thunderous sci-fi and spaceship packages.
Target—Earth! will be the screen title of ‘Deadly City’, the sci-fi story authored by Paul W. Fairman under his penname Ivar Jorgenson.
She thought that was…just another sci-fi cliché.
Before long you could even find advertisements for hi fi camera film and hi fi reproductions of antique furniture. Hi fi became synonymous with everything that was cheap and had no relationship to genuine high fidelity equipment. Sci fi was just too much for me…and soon it became as meaningless as hi fi had been.
Forry Ackerman…appears to miss the point of those who disdain the term ‘sci-fi’. There’s nothing wrong with ‘sci-fi’ as a word; indeed, it’s a very clever word, not least because it’s so easily transmutable into Greek (‘psi phi’). Full credit to Forry’s cleverness in inventing it. The problem is that somewhere early on the term became adopted as a constant (not just occasional, as Forry uses it) name for science fiction by people outside the field who knew not science fiction; a cognoscente’s in-joke for non-cognoscente.
The result of ‘sci-fi’ being used so heavily by people to whom science fiction meant bad monster movies was that ‘sci-fi’ has come to mean bad monster movies.
You and all your friends are trying to live out a fantasy rebellion, some kind of sci-fi 1776, frontiersmen throwing off the yoke of tyranny, but it isn’t like that here!
From here on, when I say science fiction, I mean stories the meet the definition above. Other areas of the field I will call SF. The term sci-fi, which most science fiction writers loathe, I will reserve for those motion pictures that claim to be science fiction but are actually based on comic strips. Or worse.
My wife makes a distinction between science fiction and sci fi. Sci fi is all over the TV networks and the movie theaters. But…what they are doing is basically the pornography of science fiction. They're showing the excitement of it without showing the rationale behind the excitement. There’s nothing in any science fiction film series or television which excites the reasoning powers.
Even before I began to write science fiction, though I didn’t know it, I was sci-fi. In those moments, my athleticism really was a superpower. Now, when I write about characters with abilities, the gift of flight, time travel, shape-shifting, I draw from my own experiences as an incredible athlete. And for these characters’ conflicts and limitations within the narrative, I draw from my experiences with and recovering from paralysis.
Jeff Prucher submitted a cite from a 1949 letter printed in Robert Heinlein's "Grumbles from the Grave", a collection of letters, but this was subsequently shown to be an editorial mistranscription; the original is clearly sci-fic (see sci-fic n.). We would like any (genuine) antedating.
Fred Galvin submitted a December, 1954 cite from an article by Forrest J. Ackerman in Imagination.
Fred Shapiro submitted a February, 1954 cite from Variety.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2019 cite from Nnedi Okorafor.
Earliest cite in OED2: 1955; updated to 1954 in OED3.
Last modified 2021-09-30 15:12:31
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.