Category Archives: City Tech Science Fiction Collection

Sci-Fi Archive Revisited

I had the chance once more to go and explore the shelves of the science fiction archive in the city tech library. I looked through a multitude of books look for a specific author: Harlan Ellison. I recently started reading a book of his called “I Have No Mouth And I Want To Scream” and his stories have intrigued me since then. Luckily, I managed to find another work by Harlan called “Harlan Ellison’s Hornbook” which included a number of his other works. I skimmed through the book and checked the table of contents and picked a short story that seemed interesting to me. I managed to actually get caught up in reading one story of his. The story seemed to be more of a rant than a story, but interesting nonetheless. About how television has become the preoccupation of everyone and how toxic it can be

The Archive Revisited

On October 18, 2018, class was held in the library again so that we were able view the City Tech Science Fiction Collection for a second time. Since we already knew the rules, we were given much more time than before to browse the shelves for anything that might peak our interest.

While I was skimming the titles of the books, I noticed a lot of the titles matched our initial thoughts on science fiction. In the beginning of the semester, when Professor Belli asked us all what we thought of when we heard the words “science fiction” we said things like “technology, aliens, cyborgs, and supernatural” Some of the books I noticed we’re things like “Aliens on Earth” or “Biomedical Technology”, and “Cyberpunk”.  Aside from those, there were also a lot of mentions things like “Vampires or Hogwarts” which was supernatural but more on the unrealistic side. Professor Belli told us not everything there was complete science fiction which made sense considering that there was a magazine in there called “The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction” which leaned heavily on the “Fantasy” genre.

It was difficult to settle on a single book because there were so many but one of the books I took out to look at was called “Cyborg Worlds: the military information society” Obviously, the word that lured me in was “Cyborgs” because RoboCop and Terminator movies made them look really good so I checked it out. The cover was also a lot more intriguing than the ones I saw on the magazine. It had the drawing of the side of a human skull outline on it but it was shooting a laser beam out of its eyes.  In addition, parts of its head looked like it was torn out showing things like, numbers, wires, and chips. The way they drew it actually made it look like it was coming out at the viewer which was pretty cool.

Inside the book were things like “The cyborg soldier: The US military and the post-modern warrior” or “Strategic offense: Star Wars as military hegemony”.  I think it was a scholarly book designed to persuade people of the possibilities of using robots and artificial intelligence to improve the military’s capabilities.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to read all of it because I found in near the end of class.

Overall, a lot of the things we considered today are mostly the same as back then, so I guess our views weren’t as different as I initially thought when I first entered the archive.  Our second visit to the archive was a lot more fun than the first one and I did develop some questions about the collection overall. A lot of the books in there are very old, and therefore require careful handling but will we ever get to visit the archive again?  Not necessarily as a class trip but like in a normal visit to the library. It’s behind two locked doors so students currently can’t access it freely. I also took a look at the inventory sheet of the science fiction collection and some of the magazine series are incomplete, like the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction only has two issues in 2010 but they’ve released more than that.  Will City Tech continue adding to the collection to continue the anonymous donors work? Since I’ll probably never get the chance to see the archive again, I’m really curious as to what the plans are for it.

Back To The Archive, A Day Spend Reading And Relaxing

The second trip back to the science-fiction archive on the fifth floor of the library was better than the first. We were given more time and freedom to do what we like, not to mention the experience of relaxing in an peaceful, silent, air conditioned room with an intriguing book in hand is just pure bliss.

I continued with my reading of the magazine Amazing Stories vol. 52, No. 3, May 1979 that I was reading before on the first trip. From this collection of short stories, two tales caught my interest: “Devolution” by Edmond Hamilton and “I, Robot” by Eando Binder.

Edmond Hamilton wrote for science fiction pulp magazines, and he was a pretty popular SF writer back in his days; in fact, he was awarded the first Jules Verne Prize by the votes of fans (Jules Verne Prize is the first SF prize before the existence of the Hugo Awards). It is interesting to note that Hamilton’s progress is similar to the Amazing Stories in which they both evolved from romantic, fantasy centered stories to more unsentimental and realistic stories (haffnerpress). “Devolution” plays with the idea of “what if humans are the devolution products of more advance lifeforms,” contradicting with Darwin’s survival of the fittest and evolution. When I was reading this, I imagine what it would be like if it were true, I found I was a little shock, angered, and sad. Deterioration gives me ideas of backward, destruction, chaos, and disappearance like the people of the short story “There Will Come Soft Rain.” I always look at evolution as an advancement for the better, the idea of deterioration and eventual disappearance is just sad.

Eando Binder’s stories often focus on superheros, and he is most well-known for his writing the scripts for Captain Marvel Adventures (wiki). However, the one that caught my eye is his story “I, Robot” which is the first of his Adam Link Robot short stories. These stories centers around a robot named Adam Link who is made in the likeness of human and gains self-awareness. Adam is not welcomed by the humans as they viewed him as a monster and a dangerous threat, and they are also nervous with the idea of a self-aware, intelligent robot among them. This ideas portrayed in this story makes me feel ironic, sad, and want to laugh. First of all, humans seem so feverent in creating artificial intelligence, playing god in trying to create another intellectual being, but at the same time, they are afraid of them and want to control this being. If an intellectual being is born, it can be considered another race, it has its own thoughts and feelings, and the act of controlling him/her/it will eventually lead to revolution and war. People want to play god, they want to dictate others, they want to be able to give, grant, or take power to or from others; however, when even if there is the slightest possibility that others might become just as or more powerful than them, they try to destroy or limit them. In this way, humans can be seen as puny, they just cannot seem to stand the idea that humans are not the top and center of the world.

Between these two stories, I think that “I, Robot” is my favorite, it really lets the reader think a lot. I understand that it is natural for intelligent beings to be wary of unknown, potential threats, but the quickness that humans pounce on it with intention of destruction or dictation just mouth-dropping. Makes me want to “Heh Heh.”

Image result for amazing stories  May 1979

Archive exploration

This past Thursday we were allowed to really go into the archive and explore at our leisure. Much like the first time we visited the archive upon entrance we were lead into a much too small room filled to the brim with books and stacks of boxes. visually speaking the room is nothing extraordinary. It is just like any other room, what differentiates the room from another in the library is whats  contained with in the shelf’s of the archive.Rows upon rows of the history that is science fiction. When I think about science fiction the first thing to come to mind isn’t magazines from 60s but rather movies and books. It strange to think of a world were science fiction was basically only limited to the pages of magazines and yet when we enter that room on the second floor of the library that is exactly what we are exposed to, the history genre that was just starting to blossom. 

Unlike our last encounter in the archive this one differed vastly because we were able to really see what the archive held. No longer were we limited to just the titles of these important science fiction magazines. We were able to really see what the archive held and choose what interested us specifically. One of the most striking things about all the magazines in particular was the cover art on each magazine that brought focus to a particular tale held in the confines of the pages within the magazine.

The particular magazine I had browsed through was one of Isaac Asimov’s science fiction magazine released in October of 1984. What drew me most to this particular issue was the way the cover and how the colors suggested more of a fantastical color scheme rather then that of one usually provided to science fiction. Along with this came the  striking difference of what the cover actually held, to faces mirroring each other done in sharp line and geometrical shapes.

It’s strange to see images such as these in our everyday texts. This cover in particular captured my attention but along the rows in the archive this cover is just one of many extraordinary works of art made to capture a readers interest’s and convey a deeper meaning to those who witness it.

The stories bond with in the magazine were also captivating in which they told stories of space travel along with the desires of the people with in them.When I first started going through the magazine what stood out most was the way it was sectioned. Filled with short stories that told of a desire for a new time, but still through it an annoyance persisted, ads. Pages devoted to advertasiments that tried to mirror the magazine. Told in ways of stories that would your attention and placed throughout the magazine in a way that reminded me of commercial breaks on television.

Persisting on I got to a story set in space in a futuristic world one can only dream about the story was “Moon Madness” and even though the story took place in a futuristic setting that is yet to be allowed to us still past tales persisted. The story was a boy who was lured to the moon but was being kidnapped for the purposes of money. To me even though the story took place years into the future what captivated me was the way the story told of old wants and desires, to be rich, to get revenge and to live forever. Although the setting evoloved the way people thought and acted in the story didn’t.

Back to The Archive


On Thursday October 18, 2018 we went to visit the archive once again. Unlike last time we visited the archive we were able to stay in the archive for the whole class. We were allowed to touch the books or magazines but we still had to follow rules and be careful with everything we touched. Also we had keep everything in order.

Now that everyone was allowed to stay in the archive for the whole class I could not wait go and see what I did not see last time. Also read what I could not last time. I think I was one of the first person to go inside and immediately started looking for interesting books and magazines, of course I was careful while touching and taking the books and magazines. Anyways, as I was looking through the books and magazines I noticed that there were familiar things. For example, there was a book about batman. I found that a little weird at first but then I realized batman lives in a world where things are more advanced than they are supposed to be, things like his gadgets and overall technology that people use in that world and age. I also saw Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings this I would have questioned but I realized other genres were added to science fiction as time went on. I found that really interesting, because fantasy is one of my favorite genre along with science fiction.

As I was looking through the books and magazines, I saw some really interesting titles. There were a lot of unique and different ideas when I say a lot I mean like a lot. I was really amazed how these authors came up with these ideas since they lived around time where technology was not advanced like how it is now. Think about it, how can these people think of such amazing stories, also when I am saying this I mean no disrespect to all those authors, because they are amazing. What I am trying to say is that things were just getting started around when science fiction stories were being published. Simply I was overwhelmed after I saw how many different ideas and stories there are. As I was looking I found a collection. It was a book containing all the best science fiction stories that was published in that year. There are a few of them and they contain a decent amount of stories. I picked up the 2016 version of those books.

When I was looking through the table of contents, two stories caught my eye, probably because they were peculiar titles. The titles were Wife Stealing Time and The Death of a Sugar Daddy. I did not get read both stories because I wanted to explore more but I did read a little bit of Wife Stealing Time, it turned out to be a story about one of Sinbad’s travels.

Overall I had fun in the archive, getting to see all the books and magazines was amazing. Hopefully we get to go again so I can discover new things in the archive.

Days of Futures Past : The Sequel

Once again my class was given the opportunity to go into the archive  on Thursday October 18th, 2018. I had felt like I was going back in time once again to relive my first experience. Here is my reflection of my second visit.

What I first did was touch and pull out random books  from the shelves. As I said before in my previous blog, the books were thin and hard to take out because there was some much books on one shelf, especially that we had to be careful of taking them out because some of them were so old.  I was trying to find an intriguing book to read or skim through . As I was looking at the shelves , I see series of books, a few encyclopedias of science fiction , pulp  magazines, few classic comics.I was surprised that the there were fantasy novels  mixed with science fiction. On of the novels I picked up and saw was the Lord of the Rings  written by J.R.R Tolkien, which is a fantasy novel. I was so excited because I never read the books , but I watched the all there  movies. and they were awesome . The book itself was the trilogy ( The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return Of The King ). However, the preface says that the book shouldn’t be mistaken for a trilogy , while it is in fact six books . I had held on to that book and still look around for any more interesting novels . As I kept pulling books out , I was curious about all these authors because I wanted to know where they get their ideas from, who inspired them , and how long did it take to write their novel or novels . Some books I looked through were just articles and reviews of other science fiction books and magazines. I think my greatest fasnation was the that some book or plups where in plastic covering. I wanted to pull on out , but I was prohibited to because it was a rare edition , supposedly its the last of its kind .  Going back to the fantasy genre , I wondered why was the fansty  intertwined with science fiction. What commonality or relationships did both genre shared. di one influence the other or where they a competing genre . As I said before , these authors was thinking way beyond their time,  giving birth to the possibility of  “what if this happened ” and could have educated the reader in the science atmosphere as well. 

Furthermore, I had a lot of curiosity. For one instance,  I had asked to myself  why was it essential to preserve all these books? what the purpose? If its for research , then what are they researching for? Especially that the anonymous donor gave all these books to my university. I had taken the Lord Of The Rings trilogy out of the library and started to read it. I was only able to read the genesis of the hobbits and the adjacent kingdoms that had affected their tribe . After that the class left the archive . 

On the whole, the experience primarily gave us more time to look through the archive and see which book was the most intriguing. However, I still have questions like is this every single science fiction book in the archive? And can any of the city tech students take one out and read for there time being.  


Back to the Archive

Having a second chance to explore City Tech’s Science Fiction Archive was such an amazing opportunity. Luckily, this time around the class had more time to process everything. Unlike, the first time where we only had like twenty minutes to look at one specific series. This time we got the freedom to view the different kinds of series the science archive held. While I was in the archive, I came across some of Isaac Asimov’s works throughout his years. It was interesting to find out that he created his own science fiction magazine.
The image above is the second issue of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. I picked this up first because of my interest in Asimov and his previous works. “The Last Question” by Isaac Asimov was such a short text but it was so meaningful. I wanted a bit more of Asimov and I came across this magazine and I was hooked. I sat down and started to flip through the magazine. The pages felt a bit dusty. But I could tell there were all sorts of interesting stories and advertisements that were within this almost 200 paged magazine. 
Above is the table of contents. This magazine included all kinds of short stories and even stories by the man himself, Isaac Asimov. The first thing I read was the short story “About Nothing” by Isaac Asimov. It was extremely short. Like it was only a page. But it included all the essentials. It had characters, conflict, a setting, and a not so typical ending. I think that what is so great about Asimov. He can write about something so small but create a concept that is so impactful. Below is the short story:

Also, while flipping through this specific magazine, there were some pages that caught my attention. Below this is a crossword activity and an advertisement for Newport cigarettes. I guess a magazine would not be a magazine if it did not have advertisements.

When I was finished with this magazine, I shifted my attention to the If series. Ever since my first trip to the science fiction archive, I have been interested. The first If magazine that I looked at was from the year 1966. This time I looked at the one from 1974. Although that is only eight years apart, there are a few differences I noticed. The 1974 issue is twenty-five cents more. The structure of the cover is different. And there are more advertisements.

One thing about the If series that I like is their cover art. The artwork is just so remarkable to look at. The colors are dynamic. Artists back then were so driven to make their art stand out. Another thing that I like about the If series is the interaction it has with its fans. In this magazine series, fans have the ability to ask questions about previous stories they have read from previous issues.

This the link to the magazine itself:

If I had more time inside City Tech’s Science Fiction Archive, I would gladly want to run through the entire If series. I would probably spend several months reading through everything but it would have been worth it. There is one question I still have. How come there some magazines that are in worse condition than others not in the protective sleeve? I think that any magazine that is in a worse condition should be placed in a protective sleeve just so that nothing bad can happen.

Experiencing the Science Fiction Archive

In our trip to City Tech’s science fiction archive, I entered with my partner Erik to view the different magazines it had in store for us. The archive contains numerous texts of varying rarity given by a generous anonymous donator. It includes texts from famous magazine runs such as Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Asimov’s Science Fiction and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. In total, the City Tech Science Fiction archive contains 4,147 science fiction magazines and 1,694 scholarly books and SF anthologies.

As I entered the science fiction archive, I quickly noticed how cramp the space between the texts were. It was so tight that it was difficult to have a handful of students move around. Therefore, I was limited in the amount of books I was able to check. I was surprised by the size of the archive because it seemed to be much smaller in person compared to what the video and readings presented. For example, the descriptions and quantity of texts available made it seem grander in scale than it actually was.

In addition to its size, I also took note of the “old book smell” that filled the room. I thought that it really captured the importance and age of the texts. It was like a constant reminder to the history of them. I think the aroma alone helps one become engrossed in their reading and transports them to another time or world, so to speak.

The quality of the magazines was surprising too. Most of the texts were in great condition (they seemed to be almost new) in terms of their cover and paper quality. However, there were several that were literally falling apart and had to be sealed in a plastic cover. Regardless, it was impressive to have them all hosted in one area considering their age.

In the science fiction archive, Erik and I were particularly interested in the Amazing Stories series of magazines because of its fascinating cover art and illustrations. I decided to choose the January 1988 issue of Amazing Stories (volume 62, number 5) because its cover caught my eye due to its use of color and detail. For example, it contained a very striking contrast between the humans blue smooth skin with the aliens wrinkly and red lighted skin. In addition, the cover really makes you think about what it could be about because it seems to contain symbolism of some kind. Another reason I decided to choose this particular issue was because I found the subject matter to be very interesting (aliens and space) and wanted to learn more about it.


Overall, our trip to the science fiction archive was very interesting and thought provoking because it made me think about the importance of the science fiction genre. It’s an impressive collection that all scholars will one day want to travel and view. The difference between watching the collection in a video and experiencing it in person is clear. The smell and cramp size of the archive somehow manages to transport people into another world to experience the science fiction stories.


Below is a website that contains PDF versions of numerous Amazing Stories magazines:

Extension until Tomorrow (W 10/10) on Archive Reflection Posts … Edit Away!

Hi folks:

A number of you asked me after class today if you could either edit your City Tech Science Fiction Collection reflection blogs (due today) to include images you took last Thursday in our visit to the archive or relevant links (don’t forget to cite your sources). I’ve decided to allow these edits/extension, so I’ll hold off on grading these reflection blogs until tomorrow afternoon. You may edit your existing reflection blogs (or post one–if you forgot to do the assignment completely) until tomorrow, W 10/10. at 1pm.

Please don’t forget, however, that you have another blog due at the start of class this Thursday, 10/11, on “There Will Come Soft Rains,” so if you chose to do edits on your previous blog, make sure you leave time for this new one 🙂

Professor Belli

A Walk Into The Time Portal

As my first time being in the City Tech archive, it was pretty amazing to be able to step inside and see what it is that has many ages to it. I never was really interested in what is contained inside of an archive, but taking a step inside made me see things differently. Some of the objects I seen inside are extremely old and so fragile that if you pick it up, it can possibly rip apart. I also saw a typewriter machine inside that people were using during the yellow journalism time period to write fake news. What was also great about the archive Is that it had a grand selection of stuff to choose from to do our assignment. It was difficult because I did not have much knowledge about science Fiction so I had to choose based off the cover art. Majority of the books I saw had great cover art also. If I ever had a research project, I would make sure going to the archive is the first place I attend.