SF Encyclopedia CD-ROM Viewer

November 2012

This software product has now been withdrawn from sale since it was wholly superseded by the third edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (launched October 2011), which is free to read online and incorporates all the text corrections that were part of the SFview package, plus millions of words of updates and brand-new material. I've left the SFview pages in place for historical interest but have abolished the Buy button.

SFVIEW is David Langford's alternative viewer software for the 1995 CD-ROM edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2nd ed, 1993) ed John Clute and Peter Nicholls.

SFVIEW is a 32-bit Windows application, suitable for use under Windows 95, 98, NT, ME, XP, Vista, and so on. (For Windows 7, see below.) It is simple to use, but still comes with a detailed Help file. I'm charging £12 sterling (£10 plus VAT), or US $22 overseas. Sterling cheques or dollar checks to David Langford, 94 London Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 5AU.

You can have the software sent on disk (overseas copies go by air), or download it here using the password which I will supply. Upgrades by e-mail or website download are free to existing buyers. The current version number is 1.19 – see Release Notes. Please note that SFVIEW is useless without the CD-ROM Encyclopedia!

The Grolier CD-ROM reappeared in cheap cloned form from the British firm Focus Multimedia in 1998. Having made an arrangement with Focus, I was able for some years to offer SFVIEW plus the CD-ROM itself as a bundled package. For obvious copyright and technical reasons it was necessary to send the physical CD-ROM. However, when re-ordering in September 2006 I was told by Focus that the CD is no longer produced and no longer in stock. If you can find a copy (dumped, second-hand, eBay?) I can still supply SFVIEW.

Any queries? Click here to contact me.

To deal with the Most Frequently Asked Question: sorry, there is no Mac version and almost certainly never will be. But I am informed that SFVIEW now runs well on Macs with the Wine emulator, as was not formerly the case; this results from bug fixes to Wine rather than changes to SFVIEW.

A newer Frequently Asked Question concerns compatibility with Windows 7, which Langford does not yet use. The following advice is adapted from the FAQ for another oldish application:

The third edition of the Encyclopedia can now be consulted on line. Though still a "beta" release, it incorporates all known CD-ROM corrections, all SFVIEW addenda, and a vast amount of new material. SFVIEW has thus become superfluous but will remain available for a while yet.

Downloads (password required)

Addenda. Besides fixing various limitations described on the "Why This Viewer?" page, SFVIEW comes with a multi-thousand-word addenda file – SFVIEW.ADD – which includes further death dates from 1995 to 2012, many corrections not incorporated into the 1995 CD-ROM, portions of text (some substantial) accidentally omitted from the Grolier edition, and literally hundreds of fixes for Grolier's dud cross-references. SFVIEW automatically displays addenda at the ends of nearly 500 entries, and silently incorporates the cross-reference corrections. For use with the viewer, save the text as SFVIEW.ADD in the directory where you keep the main program SFVIEW.EXE.

Note: although it consists of more or less decipherable text (plus nonstandard internal-format codes), this file is not a replacement for the SFE on-line corrections and updates, which apply to the print edition. Most of these appear as an appendix in the paperback, and more are incorporated into the expanded CD-ROM text.

Complete Program. This is a Zip file containing the main program SFVIEW.EXE, the help file SFVIEW.CHM and the Addenda.


Special thanks to Marcus Rowland for extensive beta testing of SFVIEW (he thus deserves a plug for his Forgotten Futures project, whose copious accompanying texts of Victorian/Edwardian scientific romances are great fun even if you don't want to play the game), to John Dallman for subsidizing the program development, to David Pringle for pointing out several entries badly truncated on the CD-ROM (all now restored) and to John Clute for allowing missing text and the on-line corrections and updates to be included.