Visions of the Future
British Science Fiction writers
Photograph left copyright © John Stapledon, photograph centre copyright © Li Yi Tan Brunner, both courtesy University of Liverpool Library. Photograph right courtesy University of Liverpool Precinct magazine. These are links to larger images.
Science fiction has produced many of the classics of modern literature. Such acclaimed authors as Jules Verne (1828-1905), H.G. Wells (1866-1946), Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), George Orwell (1903-1950), and Arthur C. Clarke (born 1917) have crafted thought-provoking visions of future civilization.
Science fiction continues to be a vibrant and dynamic genre, whilst its ideas are increasingly used in teaching and research. Science fiction explores the nature of change and links literature and film to such diverse subjects as philosophy, politics, science and technology, utopian studies, and popular culture.
The literary papers and manuscripts of many of Britain's most important writers of science fiction and fantasy are now listed on the Archives Hub. The University of Liverpool Library holds the papers of John Wyndham, Olaf Stapledon, Eric Frank Russell, John Brunner, Brian Aldiss, and Colin Greenland, amongst other prominent writers and organisations in the field. Together with its extensive collection of science fiction books and periodicals, this constitutes the largest research library of its kind in Europe.
Other science fiction-related archives listed on the Archives Hub include another substantial collection of Brian Aldiss' papers at Reading University, the E.R. Eddison Papers at the Bodleian Library and the papers of Victor Gollancz Ltd. at Warwick University. The Penguin Collection at the University of Bristol also contains material relating to science fiction authors.
This year sees the launch of the Science Fiction Hub, the first subject portal for science fiction studies. Created by The University of Liverpool Library with support from the Arts & Humanities Research Board, the SF Hub aims to facilitate research into the genre by providing search tools and detailed guides to the extensive collections at Liverpool University, as well as links to other major resources and relevant courses, conferences, and organisations.
- Roy McCready, SF Hub Project Manager.
- E.R. Eddison (1882-1945): author of the fantasy novel The worm Ouroboros (1922)
- CS Lewis (1898-1963): author of a trilogy of Christian science fiction novels
- Mervyn Peake (1911-1968): writer and illustrator best known for his Gormenghast books
- James Blish (1921-1975): American author who emigrated to England in 1968; Hugo Award winner
- Brian Aldiss (born 1925): prolific mainstream fiction and science fiction author and critic; Hugo Award winner (papers at Reading University Library and at Liverpool University Library)
- Penguin Books: major British publishers; Brian Aldiss has edited several Penguin science fiction anthologies
- Victor Gollancz Ltd: British publishers, specialising in science fiction
- Science Fiction Hub: the first subject portal for science fiction scholars
- Science Fiction Foundation: association of writers, academics, critics and others
- British Science Fiction Association: international forum for science fiction fans
- Eastercon: UK annual science fiction convention (March 25-28, 2005)
- Edge Hill College of Higher Education: BA (Hons) in English module
- University of Glamorgan: BSc in Science and Science Fiction
- University of Liverpool: MA in Science Fiction Studies; BA (Hons) in English module
- University of Reading: MA in Science Fiction
- The Hugo Award: annual awards from the World Science Fiction Society
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