Aliens, Monsters, and Robots, Oh My!: Science Fiction in the Special Collections Department

People of Earth! We have taken over this blog post to give you a very important message. There is something lurking in Iowa State University’s Special Collections Department, something strange and sometimes sinister. If you are not careful, you may be pulled into another world, one perhaps more wonderful or more terrible than the one in which you now live! It goes by the name Science Fiction…

A sample of the science fiction novels on our bookshelves.

A sample of the science fiction novels on our bookshelves.

Okay, so aliens aren’t actually taking over the blog, but the message is true! As today is Halloween, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight one of our most unexpected collections and one that fits in quite well with this holiday. The Margaret Young Science Fiction Collection comprises 397 books and 35 serial titles in editions from the early and mid-20th century, all with their original cover art. The collection includes anthologies and several Ace Double Novels, as well as Galaxy Science Fiction Novels. Notable authors in the collection include Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clark, H.P. Lovecraft, Jules Vern, Kurt Vonnegut, and H.G. Wells.

We have quite a few novels by Robert A. Heinlein as well!

We have quite a few novels by Robert A. Heinlein as well!

You might be wondering just how and why we came to own these volumes. Science fiction, after all, isn’t one of our primary collecting areas. We first received the collection in the 1970s from Margaret Young, an avid science fiction reader and mother of an ISU employee. Young wanted to place the collection in a repository where it would be kept all together, and Dr. Yates (head archivist at the time) wanted to keep the cover art on the books intact. As these editions have become rarer and rarer, it was a good thing they were taken in by Special Collections and not circulated in the General Collection. While it’s a fun collection to have, it should be noted that we do not actively collect science fiction anymore.

A little teaser of some the cover art in the collection.

A teaser of some the cover art in the collection.

Want to see more? Stop in to Special Collections sometime! Just beware of the monsters that lurk within the book covers. Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

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