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.

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