Discovering Drew’s Science Fiction Collection

By Laura Archer

Want to escape school and travel to unknown lands and distant galaxies? Wander over to the Academic Commons in the library to transport yourself into novels, magazines, and more.  The library’s current exhibit on display, Gosh! Wow! Boy-oh boy (and girl)!: Building Community through Scientifiction, showcases some of the best of Drew’s collection of science fiction. These works from The David Johnson Collection of Science Fiction and Popular Culture, all donated by Dr. David S. Johnson, show relevance to today by connecting literature, culture and society. This collection of works contains multiple mediums including magazines, novels, comic books and photographs, showcasing the vast range in which the science fiction genre has reached.

The world today centers around a quest for knowledge. Between technology and social media, it’s easy to access information with a few clicks and taps. However, to the 1920s audience that the works from the collection were catered to, a few clicks and taps were beyond imagination. The technology that was dreamt up within the genre of science fiction is close to the inventions we have today. You can see the futurized technology through the stories told within the comics, novels and illustrations in this exhibit.

One part of the exhibit is dedicated to the fans of these works. A big trend during the 1930s was to publish fan mail within the magazine. On display are some of these magazines, opened to pages that show the fan mail published within these issues. This helped build the genre and connect fans with creators, to make science fiction more personal. Today, it’s easy to connect to creators of works like “Star Wars” or “The X-Files” through social media. Taking the place of published fan mail, social media platforms help build fan bases and connect fans and creators alike.

Those dedicated to the genre of science fiction, or anyone interested in the progression of society through and coinciding with literature, should check out this exhibit. The exhibit spans across the Academic Commons in the Rose Library and the lobby of the United Methodist Archives and History Center. The Rose Library holds viewing hours from 8:30am-10pm, and the United Methodist Archives and History Center viewing hours are from 9am-5pm. Viewing of this exhibit ends March 3rd.

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