Out of this world: science fiction, but not as you know it

Attack the books

Out of this world” is a free exhibition running at the British Library from 20 May to 25 September 2011. It’s an exploration and celebration of science fiction, centred around the library’s collection of first editions and other valuable copies of great books.


It’s a much bigger and frankly better exhibition than I expected. Like a typical museum show, there are themed cases containing numbered exhibits and a knowledgeable description of each exhibit. There’s also video, audio, interactive stuff and some random memorabilia, plus a series of related workshops. And it has its own mini-website, of course: www.bl.uk/sciencefiction.

The Time Machine

It has clearly been designed by a team of people who love and respect science fiction and tease out not only the usual obvious questions that SF can deal with, but also some more obscure or difficult ones, such as “What is reality?” and “What does it mean to be human?”

Out of this world

Mostly I just geeked out on the beautiful old books and manuscripts (which tended to be on loan from authors or other museums) but I also added many many books to my wishlist. Highly recommended to anyone who can get to London.

Northern Lights

3 thoughts on “Out of this world: science fiction, but not as you know it

  1. lillput June 28, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    I really enjoyed the exhibition but would have preferred a bit more interpretation on some of the exhibits.
    I liked that it was arranged thematically – nice touch.

  2. Nose in a book June 29, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    lillput I would have liked a few less “This could have been the first work of science fiction” comments in the descriptions – there’s only so many times you can say that. But overall a well crafted exhibition.

  3. Susanna P July 6, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    This looks awesome! Too bad I’m in the US and not planning a trip there in the foreseeable future.

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