Smithsonian Magazine: A Dictionary of Science Fiction Runs From Afrofuturism to Zero-G

Smithsonian Magazine: A Dictionary of Science Fiction Runs From Afrofuturism to Zero-G. “In the summer of 1987, movie audiences first met Robocop in the science fiction classic about violence and corrupt corporate power in a future, dystopian Detroit. But the title word is much older than that, going back at least to a 1957 short story by writer Harlan Ellison, in which a tentacled “robocop” pursues a character. The prefix ‘robo-,’ in turn, dates at least to 1945, when Astounding Science Fiction published a story by A.E. van Vogt mentioning ‘roboplanes’ flying through the sky…. This is the kind of rabbit hole a reader can go down in the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction, a resource decades in the making that is now available to the public in an accessible form. Lexicographer Jesse Sheidlower started the project years ago, when he was an editor at the Oxford English Dictionary.

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