The search box above has more options than are immediately
Searching for a phrase reports all the entries
that contain the words you enter, with priority given to actual
SF Encyclopedia headwords (entry titles). A search for
Jules Verne finds a long list of entries, beginning with Verne's
own and others with his name in the headword.
Searching for a phrase in quotes reports only
entries where the words appear together in the given order, just as
in Google searches. Searching for Star Fox without quotes gives
many hits for such entries as Star Wars movies from
Twentieth Century Fox. Searching for "star fox" narrows down the
results to the two (at the time of writing) entries that mention
Poul Anderson's book The Star Fox.
To find the author of a particular title, it's
useful to select Author from the pulldown menu at the left of the
search box, and then search for the title in quotes. This narrows
the search to Author entries only, eliminating theme entries that
discuss the story in question. Or you can focus on these theme
entries by selecting Theme from the same menu.
Wildcard searches are also allowed within
search terms, with ? standing for a single character and * for any
number of characters (including none). If you can't remember how to
spell Cryptonomicon, a search for crypton* will find the
title. See below for a particular use of the ? wildcard.
Known Search Problems
Occasionally a search for some commonplace name or phrase which
is most definitely in the text will draw a blank: "Your search
didn't return any results." This happens when the search index is
rebuilding after a site update. Simply wait a minute or two and try
The search engine recognizes plain-text versions of
most accented and other special characters. That is,
searches for "Benet" and "Daniken" without accents will find the
accented names Stephen Vincent Benét and Erich von D?niken.
Unfortunately this fails for some less common characters: searching
for Hoeg, for example, wouldn't find Peter H?eg. A search for H?eg
works, but the ? character isn't easily typed on English-language
keyboards. The slashed L in Stanis?aw Lem's first name was equally
To fix this, we cheated. The headwords for H?eg, Lem and several
others now appear without the diacriticals that the search engine
can't handle, so searches for "Peter Hoeg" and "Stanislaw Lem"
produce the relevant headwords as top hits. At the beginning of
each affected entry we note "More correctly given as Peter H?eg"
(or whatever the properly accented name may be)
A suggested workaround for problem characters within names was
to use the ? wildcard, e.g. H?eg or Stanis?aw Lem. However, this
fails for target terms beginning with such a character.
For some reason Alien? fails to find Alien3, although Alien* does
the trick. Our current list of headwords that fall through the
meshes of searching is now short:
If magazine is a special case: no diacriticals, but we
suspect some hidden filter removes "unimportant" parts of speech
from search strings and prevents an "If" search from working at
Some other problem characters that don't appear in headwords are
known: lower-case ?, for example, as in S?vius Nicanor. This name
occurs in a Checklist title within the James Branch Cabell entry.
Searching for S?vius works.
Former Search Problems
Below is the list of headwords whose search problems have been
finessed as above. Searching for AE wouldn't find the ? entry, so
we changed the headword to AE ... and so on. Headwords starting
with awkward characters such as ? -- these are marked ?
below -- also failed to appear in the SFE headword lists
but have been restored by the workaround.
- ? ?
- ?on Flux ?
- ?on Speculative
- Bergs?e, Vilhelm
- Fr?island, Fr?is
- Gr?nfeldt, Vibeke
- H?eg, Peter
- Krajewski, Micha?
- Mro?ek, Slawomir
- Lem, Stanis?aw
- Myhre, ?yvind
- Ousdal, Asbj?rn P
- ?u?awski, Jerzy ?
- ?wikiewicz, Wiktor