Out of this World science fiction exhibition
Sci-Fi at the Brit Li
Review Christmas 1977, my parents bought me a copy of Pan Books' The Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.
I'd been reading 2000AD since April - from issue eight, since you ask - and was soon devouring secondhand paperbacks by John Christopher, John Wyndham, Arthur C Clarke and such, and eagerly devouring anything I could find about a new movie called Star Wars.
'My, the boy's keen,' Mum and Dad thought, and decided that the said reference work would introduce me to new authors and ideas.
They didn't look at it, I suspect - at least not thoroughly. Had they done so, they might not have thought a book with a section entitled 'Sex and Taboos' - introduced by the criminally underrated British writer Keith Roberts - suitable reading matter for a ten-year-old.
Looking at it now, that is clearly the most thumbed section of the book, but I lapped up the whole Encyclopedia and its huge selection of art cribbed from book covers and magazine illustrations.
Tome machine: Out of this World looks to back in time, to books
The Encyclopedia was prefaced with a historical timeline, charting the publication of seminal works of science fiction right back beyond the 19th Century, but its main approach was to tackle SF's abiding themes: 'Spacecraft and Star Drives', 'Galactic Empires', 'Time and Nth Dimensions', 'Robots and Androids', 'Telepathy, Psionics and ESP', and such.
Next page: Lit Crit vs lightsabres
Also the 'Terran Trade Authority' books; a fantastic excuse to show off the art of people like Chris Foss and the sadly expired Peter Elson.
The talks and events attached to the exhibition are pretty meaty
William Gibson (volcano permitting), Iain M Banks, Cory Doctorow, Michael Mosley, David Deutsch, Aleks Krotoski, all on the bill exploring various aspects of SF at very reasonable prices
Now, if they'd included some SciFi in English Lit classes instead of all that dry, boring crap we had to read then I might have had more interest. Alternatively, I guess it might have sucked the interest out of SciFi too.
> I think you have shown a page from Codex Seraphinianus.
Indeed. As the article says:
"I'd never seen or heard of Italian designer Luigi Serafini's Codex Seraphinianus,..."
ah, wacky 70's euro-scifi, what a genre!
I just googled images for "Codex Seraphinianus"
All I can say is !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It looks like, er, well, I take it some recreational substances may have been involved.
The the words of the great Zaphod Beeblebrox: "I hope you've got your head screwed on, baby!"