Monday, July 04, 2005

The Launch of the SF Hub: 12th April 2005

Probably the second post ought to be an account of the Hub's launch, and here it is:

With fewer than normal jokes about “going boldly”, The Science Fiction Hub, a new venture into science fiction scholarship developed by the University of Liverpool Library with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Board, was launched on Tuesday April 12th at the Sydney Jones Library, University of Liverpool with an address by Liverpool author Ramsey Campbell.

The Hub ( was developed by project manager Roy McCready as a web-based route into the multi-disciplinary riches of science fiction. It contains several unique features. Building on the Science Fiction Foundation Collection of 30,000 books and over 2,000 magazine and fanzine titles deposited with the University of Liverpool in 1993, the Hub allows search of the catalogue records of this major resource as well as the lists of other archive collections held by the University, including the Olaf Stapledon, Eric Frank Russell, and John Wyndham Archives. During the three-year Hub project, 20,000 journal articles (including many from scarce fanzines) have been indexed and recorded on the University catalogue. The Hub also provides easy links to other major library holdings of science fiction and significant scholarly web resources including, for instance, the largest database of material about sf, Hal Hall’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database at Texas A & M University.

The Hub was launched with a flurry of thank-yous from Science Fiction Collections Librarian Andy Sawyer, who claimed not to be in training for his Oscar nomination, and a description of the Hub from Roy McCready. Author Ramsey Campbell, who had rushed to deposit an extensive archive when the SFF came to Liverpool, returned and declaimed a poetic tribute to all concerned. Also in attendance were Brian Aldiss and Stephen Baxter, two of the authors who have deposited archive material. Not to be outdone, Brian read a poem he’d written on the train to Liverpool. Faced with a challenge to compose a praise-song in thirty seconds, Stephen Baxter nevertheless uttered a well-chosen impromptu welcome to the Hub.

Although Roy McCready is moving on from the project, there will be a process of tidying-up, cataloguing new material, and adding new links over the next few months. Comments and information are therefore welcome, to Andy Sawyer (

It is hoped that the Hub will be of use not only to researchers in science fiction and fantasy, but also to those many scholars in other disciplines who find sf – the literature of speculation and extrapolation – useful for their research.

Thanks to Ramsay Campbell, Brian Aldiss, and Stephen Baxter for their support. Almost immediately to come: the texts of the poems themselves.

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