“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.
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?”
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.