A brief science-fiction roll call…

As many media pundits wrap up their “best of 2011” lists, studios are preparing to promote their latest science-fiction films.  Films like “Ghostbusters 3″ and ‘The Hunger Games” are set to be released in 2012 and anticipation is building.  What will they think of next?  Perhaps they’ll transform a well-loved book into a film version.  Or perhaps return to themes explored in earlier films.  Well, the American Heritage Center has a number of Science Fiction collections that you are welcome to peruse if you’d like to see which sci-fi themes might be brought back to life or remade into modern film versions.

Forrest J. Ackerman’s papers are a treasure trove of science fiction memorabilia.  He “was well known for amassing the largest collection of science fiction, fantasy and horror memorabilia including books, magazines, movie props and posters. He attended the first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939 and continued to attend fan conventions annually. Ackerman helped create the “fandom” subculture by starting the first science fiction fan club in 1930. He received the first science fiction “Hugo” award in 1953, and is credited with coining the term ‘sci-fi.'” (From the Forrest J. Ackerman collection catalog record).

Forrest J. Ackerman Collection, Box 116.

Forrest J. Ackerman Collection, Box 109.

Forrest J. Ackerman Collection, Box 116.

Robert Bloch, most famous for authoring the thriller Psycho, also worked on such science fiction pieces as “Star Trek” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.”  His papers contain correspondence relating to his professional work, convention programs, art work, and writings.  His collection documents what it was like to be to a professional writer in the science fiction genre.

The Center also holds the papers of Philip José Farmer, another science fiction author.  Farmer was a notable pioneer in the genre; he introduced a new thematic vein in his work and also won three Hugo awards throughout his prolific career.  His collection contains manuscripts and published works and would be a fascinating perspective on the writing process.

Perhaps these science fiction collections might inspire you to complete that sci-fi novel you’ve been working on for years!

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