AI logo
AI logo

SF Encyclopedia CD-ROM Viewer

This software product has now been withdrawn from sale since it was wholly superseded by the third edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (launched October 2011), which is free to read online and incorporates all the text corrections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. For its scanty historical interest, SFVIEW remains available as a free download; if you find it useful or interesting, donations are always welcome

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 upward. It is simple to use, but still comes with a detailed Help file. You can download it using the Download link below. The current version number is 1.20 – 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?) you can still use SFVIEW.

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 inserts the cross-reference corrections. All these files should be unpacked into the same directory (folder) for use.

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.

The third edition of the Encyclopedia can now be consulted on line, free of charge. This incorporates all known CD-ROM corrections, all SFVIEW addenda, and a vast amount of new material. SFVIEW has thus become superfluous.


The downloadable SFVIEW.ZIP is a compressed archive file containing the main program SFVIEW.EXE, the help file SFVIEW.CHM and the Addenda SFVIEW.ADD.


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.