Out of this World: Last Day / Gift Shop

One of the things that the British Library does fairly well is providing a decent range of things to buy in conjunction with a given major exhibit.  Thanks to Out of this World: Science Fiction but not as You Know It, for the last several months, the British Library has been selling a good range of science fiction novels and criticism; “Destruction of Earth” magnets; War of the Worlds tote bags and posters; and lots of posters of mostly out-of-copyright science fiction illustrations and book covers.

There’s Mike Ashley’s book which accompanies the show, but the same name, and, from the BL venture The Spoken Word, CDs of interviews with modern science fiction authors and H.G. Wells.

There was also, to my surprise, a postcard of the cover art for an early Rondò Veneziano album, an album not otherwise represented anywhere in the show as far as I noticed. Rondò Veneziano was a group I discovered by wandering into a shop in the late ’80s, being struck by the baroque-electronica-rock music playing, and asking what it was.  For years afterward, I would buy their cassettes whenever I ran across them. I ended up with 12-15 albums, but only realized this week, after running across that postcard, that they’d gone on to do around 70 (!) albums in total so far.

The ’80s cover art of Venezia 2000 shows a pair of humanoid robots, dressed up in baroque finery, playing their stringed instruments in a gondola while an entirely unfamiliar, presumably futuristic Venice, overshadows them across the waves. It was absolutely in keeping with the range of old predictive prints and books on display in the exhibit. If you like old future predictions and don’t already know it, you should be reading the blog Paleofuture.

Today is the very last day to catch Out of this World: Science Fiction but not as You Know It at the British Library.  It’s open until 17:00.

One Response to “Out of this World: Last Day / Gift Shop”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    It’s been a brilliant exhibition, with a great programme of events and, yes, a fantastic gift shop. I’ve been multiple times and the only thing that’s possibly pleased me more than the exhibition itself has been the number of people who’ve always been in it (oh, and the fact they let us place Zoo City by Lauren Beukes in prime place at the opening of the exhibition – thanks BL).

    The British Library have told me that’s they’ve had fantastic visitor numbers across the exhibition, and I think their success can only bode well for future exhibitions.

    We already have Tate Britain embracing their inner geek with the John Martin Apocalypse exhibition, and the Royal Society catching up fast with their One Culture programme of science and literature, and I’m hoping this is only the beginning of an upward curve of great genre events to come.

    Returning to the gift shop for a second, I now have a fantastic Martian Tripod tea towel and for those of you who missed the shopping spree, just wanted to point you to http://www.magnoliabox.com where you can still buy prints of many of the artworks from the exhibition and Mike Ashley’s excellent book – I’m nominating that for the BSFA Awards by the way.

    Encore, British Library. Encore!


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