Note: This is an older version of this revised entry.
(1812-1870) UK writer, almost certainly the greatest novelist in the English language. Dickens wrote considerable fantasy – including most famously A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas (1843) – but no sf proper. However, it has been suggested – for example by John Clute in Horror: 100 Best Books (anth 1988; rev 1992) edited by Stephen Jones and Kim Newman, – that the nightmarish, almost futuristic London which figures in several of his later novels, from Bleak House (1853) through Our Mutual Friend (1865), was a central influence – via G K Chesterton, Robert Louis Stevenson and others – in the creation of a vision of nineteenth-century urban England (> Cities) that became a stamping-ground for Steampunk. Like William Morris, Lord Dunsany and J R R Tolkien after him, Dickens is central to the geography of sf.
It is also arguable that Mugby Junction: The Extra Christmas Number of All the Year Round: Conducted by Charles Dickens (anth 1866 chap), a self-contained volume published as an extra Christmas number of Dickens's magazine All the Year Round, may constitute the first Shared-World anthology of genre interest. Dickens is also responsible for an early use of the term Scientific Romance, in his review (24 March 1866 Household Words) of Henri de Parville's Un habitant de la planète Mars: roman d'anticipation (1865; trans Brian Stableford as An Inhabitant of the Planet Mars 2008). [JC]
see also: Amnesia; Entropy.
Charles John Huffham Dickens
born Portsmouth, Hampshire: 7 February 1812
died Higham, Kent: 9 June 1870
A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas (London: Chapman and Hall, 1843) [hb/] Mugby Junction: The Extra Christmas Number of All the Year Round: Conducted by Charles Dickens (London: Chapman and Hall 1866) [anth: chap: the Christmas Number of All the Year Round separately bound and issued: contains four stories by Dickens plus other matter: pb/]