London Is Out of This World (for the summer)

Writers and artists through history and around the globe have long imagined “other worlds” through the genre of Science Fiction. Science Fiction allows writers to ask the big questions such as: “Who are we?”, “What is reality?”

A new exhibition at the British Library in London presenting the rich history of SciFi through the ages opens this Friday and runs through Sunday September 25, 2011. Science fiction is revealed not merely as a popular literary genre, but as a way of looking at the world and presenting alternatives.

This new exhibition will invite visitors to enter the world of the future, alien worlds, parallel worlds and virtual worlds, and speculate on how our universe might change. These imaginings can provoke hopes and dreams, exhilaration or fear – and shed light on the time and place in which they were created. They hope to encourage visitors’ questions such as: “Is there such a thing as a perfect world?” “When and how will the world end?”

The exhibition will examine how scientific advances have influenced Science Fiction – and vice versa. It uncovers hidden gems in the British Library’s collection of manuscripts, printed books, magazines, fanzines, radio broadcasts and author interviews – from the earliest works to the latest films.

The exhibition will challenge what people think of as Science Fiction and show that it is not a narrow genre, but embraces works of utopian and speculative fiction that people may not consider as “Science Fiction”, such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, George Orwell’s 1984 and Audrey Niffeneger’s The Time-Traveler’s Wife.

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