Columbia University Libraries is pleased to announce the gift of science fiction and fantasy publications from Dr. Fred Lerner. Lerner is a Columbia College alumnus and doctoral graduate of Columbia's former School of Library Service. He founded the University Science Fantasy Society in the late 1960s and wrote his 1981 dissertation on "Modern science fiction and its reception by the American literary and educational communities, 1926-1970."
This collection, the first of its kind to come to Columbia, includes substantial runs of the following titles: Amazing Stories, Asimov’s, Astounding Science Fiction, Fantastic, Galaxy Science Fiction, If: Worlds of Science Fiction, Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Magazine of Horror, as well as various issues of several other titles.
"As both the former president of the Columbia University Science Fiction Society (CUSFS) and an American Studies major, it's difficult to describe in words how exciting and important this addition to the Columbia Libraries is. CUSFS's independent library has been focusing on adding more current science fiction to our collection, but it's equally important to learn and read about the stories that came before and in many ways created the foundation for the genres we know today. This gift will allow future generations to continue to explore the rich history of science fiction and fantasy, and it's incredible to know that such a large part of that history will be made available to the Columbia community," Suzanne Walker, BC '12, said.
Columbia University's location in New York City, a hub of the science fiction publishing world, and legacy in graduating some of science fiction's preeminent writers, from Isaac Asimov to Roger Zelazny, makes it a natural fit as a place for the academic study of and home for sci-fi and fantasy collections.
"Dreams of the future provide one of the most illuminating methods of investigating our cultural past. Among the pages of the magazines that comprise Dr. Lerner's gifts, scholars can find allegories of the struggle for civil rights, searching critiques of sexism, polemics for and against internationalism, environmentalist jeremiads - all wrapped in tales of alien encounters and future dystopias. These magazines are an invaluable resource for unpacking the dreams of the American century," Jeremy Dauber, Atran Associate Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture at Columbia University, said.
Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 11 million volumes, over 150,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 500 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.