Born in Melbourne, Victoria, he spent the years from 1968 to 1988 as an expatriate, first in the United States, and then in the UK.
Nicholls' early career was as a literary academic, originally with The University of Melbourne. He first travelled to the United States in 1968, and his significant contributions to SF scholarship and criticism began in 1971, when he became the first Administrator of the Science Fiction Foundation (UK), a position he held until 1977. He was editor of its journal, Foundation -- The Review of Science Fiction, from 1974-1978.
In 1979, Nicholls edited The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, with John Clute as associate editor. At the time, this work was widely perceived as the most comprehensive and sophisticated critical survey of the entire science fiction field ever attempted. It won the 1980 Best Non-fiction Book Hugo. A revised and expanded version of the Encyclopedia, co-edited with Clute, was published in 1993, and won the 1994 Best Non Fiction Book Hugo. And the Third Edition won the 2012 Best Related Work Hugo.
- 1995 — Thylacon 1
Other Awards and Honors: