City Tech, Fall 2016

Category: City Tech Science Fiction Archive

A Small World Of The Science Fiction Genre at City Tech

Thursday 12/1, we had the tremendous gratification to attend the City Tech Science Fiction Archive Collection and let me tell you something: this was an INCREDIBLE experience. That’s why I am taking some of this post to thank Prof. Belli for being the first class who attend the collection. I felt so honored!!!!

It is amazing the job it took to settle the entire collection at the City Tech library and how it first started. Without doubt this collection required a lot of work and dedication for some professors who put their time and passion in organizing and preparing the library to receive this anonymous science fiction collection. The donation which consisted of books, sequels, magazines, journals, among others, were brought from California to New York City and furthermore to our college. According to Prof. Ellis who was the main participant in packing and transferring this collection to the school, there were a total of 103 boxes that were transported to the college. He showed us some of the magazines that are now really preserved in the library and let us take a look to the covers and asked us to pay close attention to the details inside them. There was a lot of advertising, as well as several articles and editorials written by some science fiction authors. What it really caught the attention of some of my classmates and myself is that surprisingly during that time these magazines cost 15 cents!!!! I wish it could have stayed like that. I would have bought an entire bookstore.

issac-asimovBut the most incredible part of this whole visit is that we had the honor to go inside the room where the collection is organized. To me it felt like I was entering another world. Seeing that incredible amount of books and the work they put to keep them the way they are, definitely made me appreciate more and increase my passion towards literature but specially it made grown my interest towards the science fiction genre. I am really thankful that our college New York City College of Technology is trying to make their alumni to become more engaged in the genre and I look forward to have the opportunity to visit it anytime soon.


A whiff of History

Our visit to the Science Fiction Archive was encouraging. I admired the fact that so much effort and hard work was used in making this archive possible. Not often people would sacrifice their time, much less their summer to put together a collection for students benefit. It amazes me that the sci-fi archive was brought in cross-country, recycled from one scholar to the next. This alone shows me the care teachers have for all students by providing us with such a stacked collection. I say this because it’s more than a pay check for some educators, besides I respect the commitment of intellectuals who use their expertise and resources to benefits others well-being.

The smell of old books with new prints opened up my fascination with this archive. As a history enthusiast, I was excited to see prints as far as the twenties. Sadly, those text was preserved in plastic, besides I was just too nervous to touch them for the reason it was in sensitive condition. Still, it was great to see it, just the thought of the journey those text experienced, along with the many people whom flicked through the pages. Moreover, there were books from World War II, the events of that era is so historical that imagining the context of those stories was impactful in so many ways. At the time, the entire world was in turmoil, not knowing the outcome of the world war. I can imagine the numerous amount of post-war dystopian/utopian tales that gave people insight on the future. While visiting the thought of this rattled my mind, with addition to the powerful advertisement in the magazines of that time.

If given the opportunity I would love to spend more time in the archive. Simply to get a glance of the past through the eyes of authors who envisioned great possibilities. Believe it or not, I would like to work in the archive just to get a hands on feel of the collection, maybe sneak a few reading every now and then. Overall, the visit to the archive was worth the trip as I did appreciate the historic collection of science fiction. In time, I hope the archive will increase, as well as improved to a larger space to fit historic figurines of science fiction and classic text that would make City Tech’s science fiction archive the best.



An Astounding Collection

The Science Fiction archive is a vast collection of Science Fiction material gathered by a single collector over the years.  It was great that the owner of such an astounding collection would offer it to Professor Ellis of City Tech. Now City Tech is the home of one of the most sophisticated collection of Science Fiction works with most of it located within the library.

The trip to the archive was a really interesting experience nonetheless.  What really caught my attention was the fact that there were actual editions of magazines from WWII.  I wondered at that instance of time, “how did the owner preserve such old literature made with fragile material?”  In addition, I noticed that the owner of this collection also added manga into the mix.   Professor Ellis mentioned that the owner also had social interests.  Therefore, he also collected works of different varieties.

When we got to look at magazines from the archive, they had some very interesting content.  Aside from the novellas and some brief previews of novels to be released, the first thing I noticed was the advertisement from the back of the magazine.  The first line of the first question from the ad read, “What if God is a computer? – see other side”  I was honestly baffled by the question, but it’s understandable that Science Fiction magazines would have this type of content.  When I browsed through the comments written to the editors, it was filled with complements and the fans desires for more novels.  Overall, the magazines gave us a sense of how communication between readers and Science Fiction editors used to be in the past without all of the modern technology we have today.

Ultimately, the amount of books within the archive was overwhelming, since there were books still kept within boxes.  Surprisingly enough, there were also old machines that editors used back in the day that were scavenged and restored.  I hope that this archive will prove to be very beneficial in terms of research in the near future for students that are interested in Science Fiction.

Sic Parvis Magna

“Greatness from small beginnings.”

For lack of a better, snarkier, quipier opening I’ll just say this: The Science Fiction Archive at City Tech is freaking dope!

I had heard much talk from you, professor, about the Archive and I thought It’d be cool but didn’t think it was as expansive as what we got. SO thank you for bringing us, thank you for helping make this a thing. Thank you to Professor Ellis for his part in all this and of course god bless the anonymous donor. I really hope he reveals himself because I’d like to talk to him as an amateur collector to a collecting connoisseur such as he.

I'm glad to see Sci-fi has always been appropriately edgy.

I’m glad to see Sci-fi has always been appropriately edgy.

It’s always great to see how far you’ve come and I feel like for those who are deeply involved in this field, that tiny room is a dream come true. I can’t even begin to tell you how honored I am to be one of the first people to go back there and be able to touch any of that let alone document it via pictures and be able to read some of it. My only regret is that I didn’t read more of what was actually in the magazines. My greatest sin is skimming the pages for more illustrations than stories. Which brings me to an awesome thing.

These are magazines?! Maybe the magazine took a drastic left turn in the last 20 or so years but I was not expecting them to basically be books. Aside from the flimsy covers, the two styles are not that reminiscent of each other which is an interesting development in and of itself. What these mostly are and what I absolutely love about them, is that they’re, in essence, anthologies. The one constant between all of the publications is that they were chock full of hella short stories written by hella authors(sorry for the hella’s that’s the San Francisco in me coming out). Like almost cover to cover. It was ridiculous and incredible. By the way, shout out to the main homie Isaac Asimov, I’ve never read a single thing he’s done but he’s literally on every cover of every magazine. That drive to write and share is what I aspire to have within me.

The closest similarity I see the two distinct eras of magazines having in common is one of my favorite parts though and it’s clearly one of Professor Ellis’ too: the reader letters. In a world, where our favorite writers are an email away, a message delivered in seconds, it’s ridiculously cool to see how far we’ve come in that department. Snail-mail is the best and I won’t have anybody tell me otherwise. Seeing how this portion of magazines created an open, albeit slow dialogue, between writer and reader is incredible. I wonder if there’s a power in that slow burn, you know what I mean? Something about fostering and maintaining relationships with a few short texts feels…hollow. But taking the time to cultivate a well written letter to someone you possibly admire or disagree with and sending that out with the knowledge that it would take a while to get to them is, in my opinion, the best way to start up a conversation. I’m not saying that I want my friends and me to communicate very slowly but if we could all communicate a bit more methodically and properly, that’d be great. I’ve rambled about communication via snail-mail for too long so I’ll just end all of this by saying this: In a genre so caught up with warning us about our future, it was refreshing to see our humble beginnings.

This felt like an apropos ending because of the Adam and Eve-like imagery.

This felt like an apropos ending because of the Adam and Eve-like imagery.

Science Fiction Archives; A Gem of an Addition to the NYCCT Library

Funny enough, I almost believed that we didn’t have class last Thursday and was quickly informed otherwise. I’m glad that I was wrong about this, however, because I was able to enjoy something well worth not missing. The City Tech Science-Fiction Archive was a sight to see and, with the help of Professor Ellis, I learned a lot about Science-Fiction through it’s history, it’s importance, and just liked getting to see old artwork/readings (since I am such a fan of old stuff after all).

Professor Ellis did a good job talking about the history of Science-Fiction that people got from periodicals. He talked about how he was affiliated with the anonymous donor of this collection, and how the donor had practically every issue from a variety of well known magazines, such as Asimov’s Science-Fiction, Fantasy, and Analog. He linked us to a website called, which is a good way to view every magazine digitally at home, but it’s also incredible to actually have the physical copies available to City Tech. It’s very special to have it in physical presence and shows the reverence towards the art (and, taking away from some Science-Fiction ideas, beats viewing the “ersatz” version of the texts via digital copies versus the real thing).

I learned that there is a great deal and interest in preservation of these Science-Fiction texts, and the City Tech library is able to see this as well. It’s incredible how Professor Ellis and his other colleagues were able to work with the library in hosting this collection. More so, the City Tech Library was so gracious enough to accommodate it, which is no small feat for a school that is limited in it’s space. Clearly the City Tech Library sees the value in these books, and hopefully others will as well in order to retain the archive in it’s integrity and not have to be moved out of that area of the library.

Lastly, it was just nice to look at all the old Science-Fiction magazines, they all had so much character and appeal to them, even to this day. I’m usually a classic buff, so I already have a predisposed liking towards vintage stuff of any kind. That, coupled with a love for Science-Fiction, made this day well worth it to look at some interesting pieces of work. I especially liked the detail put into the artwork that was done for the magazines; it shows that there was careful work into making these magazines every two months and added to the texts that would otherwise be left to imagination. Unlike the novels and short stories that we read for class, these pictures helped the average consumer be able to put themselves into those made up worlds, and it shows why they needed such detailed pieces of art to be commissioned for each of these stories that exposed vivid ideas of their writers.

It was a good experience to check out the archive, and hopefully I’ll have the time to visit it again before I graduate from City Tech. And hopefully people will give it enough love and support that it stays there for years to come.

The past lead to the future

The trip to the science fiction archive in city tech’s library was something that i did not think would be as fun and engaging was it turned out. Seeing how much work was done to perverse old volumes of science fiction was astounding, as well as very generous by the donor who spent a long time collecting of the works that we now have access to. I spent a lot of time looking at the old covers and seeing many illustrations that seemed to have inspired later workers or proves that we have a very limited imagination when it come to something like spaceships and future technology. What i also liked was the mix between what was real and what was made up in the cover art of some of the magazines given to us, the one had was of a dragon going after a early 4-15 eagle which is a combat aircraft still in use today. Many of the other cover tired to have something that was different but still human to them, they would have been very radical at the time they were made but they still stayed true to the roots of science fiction, odd but believable, far into the future yet still close to home and many other things that make the genre what it is. Full possibility and filled with opportunity to grow. Much like the archive, it has many things within it and not all of it was on display and yet there is so much more to add to it, older works that are missing, new works that have yet to become famous and worthy of a place to be and many more to come. Seeing the past works and then looking at what we have now, it becomes apparent how much it has grown to this day. Science fiction has become popular, it has a massive fan base, it is longer something that only a few would read and talk about, it has set the stage for people to learn about the world around them and about the stars and now it is seen everywhere. All the films and shows that have come out and still are coming out, add to this ever growing world of endless possibility. And i only wish to have more time to view all of the art, to read many of the stories, and to understand more about the roots of science fiction and it’s growth to what is had become today. Everything is possible, there are so many things to wrote about, to read, to understand, to question, to learn and most important of all, to share and store. For knowledge is only useful if used, shared and absorbed bu others who will then pass it on to others who will do the same. The problem starts when people use this information for their own gain and do not share it’s power with others, such as reading the only copy of a book and then claiming it to be yours or using the power it contained for your own advancement and gain.

Keeping history in city tech

Hey all, I hope your all having a fantastic weekend and are progressing well in your archive projects. So this week we took a very early tour of the science fiction archive in city tech’s library. We got to meet Proffesor Ellis again as he described the proccess of creating the archive.

Appently it all started when an old mentor of Proffesor Ellis offerd him a vast collection of science fiction novels, magazines and books as long as they were kept safely. I wasnt impressed until he got into explaining the proccess of moveing a collection of over sixty boxes of literature, then storeing them in the proffesor’s office, then moveing all of the books onto the library shelves and meticulously organizieng them. With the help of aproximtley three other proffesors he was able to also oraganize and put all of the books into a database. Let me reiterate that Proffesor Ellis took hundreds of books and put all of its information onto a compter and while walking inside of that archive you will be overwhlmed with the sheer vast of books, let alone how long it will take to oganize those books.

Walking through the archive I really enjoed seeing the shelves and how much history they hold, what really caught my attention was the amazing book covers. Allot of these story’s are from the fortys to the early two thousands and you see an old school aestethic with the art. What also caught my interest were some of the old school science fiction magazines which have lots of art. I asked Proffesor Ellis what most of these science fiction magazines held, they had short stories, editiorials and factual science articles. So back in the day people would read their stories and learn, I wonder if I can find anything like that these days.

The goal of the archive is to get City tech students inside and learning about this genre. Scifi has a very long history, and this is a small slice of it, one which no one can just read quickly. Eventualy we can use this archive to conduct in depth research when working on projects and or finding interesting stories to read. Im currently transfferring to Hunter but I hope to still have access to this amazing room, I can find new stories, books and expand my understanding of science fiction. Anyone who hasnt been there, or anyone who is a fan of fiction in general should come check it out, you will be amazed an will want to read everybook on the shelves.

Class Today in Library: Visit to the City Tech Science Fiction Archive

Hi everyone! Just a friendly reminder that today, as a class, we are visiting the City Tech Science Fiction Archive. Therefore, we won’t be meeting in our normal classroom (M305); instead, we will meet outside the library, 4th floor of the Atrium. Please make sure that you are there no later than 4pm, so that we can do an introduction to the archive there and then head into the library together. If you have any questions, please “reply” to this post & someone will answer.

See you all soon 🙂