The first Science Fiction magazine is on display at the “Fantastic & Strange” exhibition in the Oviatt library. Mark Joseph, a CSUN instructor in developmental mathematics department was surprised to find the Amazing Stories edited by Hugo Gernsback among the books at the exhibition.“You have to mention that they have the first Science Fiction magazine,” said Joseph. “Some of the old books are marveling.”
“Fantastic & Strange” focuses on Science Fiction books from known and unknown writers. Visitors will also find posters and photographs of diseased authors. “It’s our way of honoring the them,” said Ellen E. Jarosz, Librarian Special Collections at Oviat Library.
Many of the books Jarosz wanted to include in the exhibition was too fragile and wouldn’t have lasted a whole year. The most fragile book on display is the Amazing Stories. The pages are yellow and they barely stick together. Over 150 books by 100 writers are placed around the gallery, divided into 17 different themes, which makes it easy for visitors to find the books they are interested in.
The themes varies from Alien encounters to Nuclear weapon to gender issues. Cody Beckley, a CSUN cultural anthropology graduate student describes the gallery as wonderful, transformative and imaginative. “I have seen a dozen of books I want to read like Dune and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” Beckley said. “I love the genre Science Fiction, how the abnormal is normal.” Richard Green, a Ventura resident admits having three thirds of the books in the gallery. He has been a Science Fiction fan for the last 32 years. Richard loved the way the books were presented and that writers get recognition for their work. “I began to read Science Fiction when I outgrew comic books,” Green said.
Carmen Drake, a senior CSUN English literature major liked the section were writers predicted current technologies. “I’m a potential Science Fiction fan,” Drake said. Milt Stevens, a member of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, donated 80 percent of the books in “Fantastic & Strange,” Jarosz said. Fantastic & Strange is at C.K and Teresa Tseng, at the second floor of Oviat library, from Sept. 18 to July 26, during the varying library hours.