A bit of an odd abbreviation - arriving at "sci" from "science
" isn't such a leap for anyone who's ever attended a post-secondary institution (Comp Sci? Poli Sci, anyone?)
, but how on earth does "fiction
" lose its -ction
? Even today the word tends to get shortened to a recognizable "fic", as in slashfic
. Fi, isn't that Latin or something - Semper Sci Fi
The inspiration for the "sci-fi" Forrest J. Ackerman coined (in popular usage - Robert Heinlein is actually credited as using it in private correspondance seven years earlier) in 1954 actually goes 20 years back to RCA Victor's "hi fi" (high fidelity) Red Seal 78 rpm records, first advertised as such in 1934.
It's definitely a weird bit of slang - denounced by some as nothing weightier than "the sound of two crickets screwing" - but let's be thankful that we ended up with it rather than its predecessors: following Hugo Gernsback's 1929 "Science Wonder Stories" - a mouthful indeed - the abominable portmanteau scientifiction and its appalling abbreviation stf (pronounced "stef" - but if you do, I'll tell you to stfu 8) enjoyed wide credence as the names for this new and spreading genre until the catchy (to some, twee to others) "sci-fi" came along and knocked them out as contenders.
A pity that it had to be saved from a silly name by a different silly name 8) Perhaps in the future, when regularized contact with extraterrestrial life forms, nanotechnology, FTL communications, Dyson spheres, artificial intelligence, satellites and submarines are no longer the sole territory of visionaries and crackpots but rather facets of everyday life the greatest and most fanciful minds of the future can put themselves to the ultimate task: of finally coming up with an appropriately dignified - yet catchy - name in which to suitably enshrine this style of speculative forward-looking.