I don’t get out much. At least not for book related events – I’ve been too nervous to go to a conference or fair so far. I keep thinking I’ll be one of those people creeping round the edges too nervous to talk to anyone! But I decided to work by way up to the big events starting with this the Out Of This World exhibition at the British Library. Luckily I do have a couple of friends who also like books who I persuaded to come with me – well, one friend who likes books and another I could sweet talk into keeping us company! J
Me in 1950s horror mode - a nightmare of a spaceship crashing into a library!
The subtitle of Out of This World is Science Fiction But Not As You Know It and basically it looks at all the big questions that Science Fiction has asked over the years and how these writers have inspired and led science fact, entertainment and philosophy. As such there were plenty of original documents and first editions of some of the most influential stories and books over the last 200 years – some are beautifully illustrated manuscript and even more exciting for book geeks – manuscripts with authors notes and edits in!
There are various areas of the display looking at Alien Worlds, Future Worlds, Parallel Worlds, Virtual Worlds, End of the World and Perfect World which cover such wide ranging authors from HG Wells. Arthur C Clarke, Connie Willis, China Mieville and so many others! I also admit I might have added quite a few books to my wishlist looking around – there are a number of classics that I have never read but I should have!
The Doctor was visiting as well...
In addition there are interactive session where you can talk to a computer that is learning to act human (although try asking ‘Elizabeth’ a political question or about the Olympics and she tends to get a little confused or say she’ll ask her mummy!). There’s also a crystal ball quiz, a life-size replicator of Doctor Who’s Tardis (He’s at lunch sadly) and plenty of musical options where youcan listen to any number of songs about aliens or time travel (I did end up with The Carpenters Calling Occupants of Interplanetary... stuck in my head!).
The exhibition isn’t too crowded and nicely laid out so that you can follow the official flow or just move to whatever catches you attention. I was a little bit of a butterfly flittering to which ever area caught my attention, but really enjoyed the variety and different views of the future as imagined over the years. I thought the whole exhibition was interesting and am considering a return visit to see if I missed anything!
The exhibition is free and open until 25th September. Go have a look! J