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Science Fiction

The University of Delaware Library has more than 25,000 items in its science fiction collection, including the extensive collection of Roland Bounds, a well-known Delaware collector. The Bounds Collection contains many vintage paperbacks (pre-1965) and pulp magazines (pre-1953), as well as hardcover trade fiction from the 1970s to the 1990s. Other large author collections include Samuel Delany, Kurt Vonnegut and Edgar Rice Burroughs.

From the Earth to the Moon
From the Earth to the
, 1874.

The collection also contains a number of historic works that are now seen as precursors to science fiction. These were originally written as philosophy, scientific treatises or political satire but include concepts such as time travel, space travel and alternate realities. The books listed here are among the most important of the early works. First published in 1516, Sir Thomas More's Utopia describes a city-state in which the institutions and policies are entirely governed by reason. Although Francis Bacon followed the utopian tradition established by More, his is a very different community. Bacon was the first philosopher to suggest the improvement of society through science. Mercier's Memoirs, written just before the French Revolution, was the first utopia to be set in future time. Wilkins was an English scientist who considered the possibility of life on the moon and the establishment of human colonies on the lunar surface.

"From Verne to Vonnegut: A Century of Science Fiction" highlighted these and other works in the collection in a very well-received Special Collections exhibition. The exhibition focused on themes of gender, race and ecology, making it useful for cross disciplinary study.

  • Sir Thomas More, 1478-1535.
    Thomć Mori Angli, viri eruditionis pariter ac virtutis, Omnia. Louanii: Apud Ioannem Bogardum sub Biblijs Aureis, anno 1566.
  • Francis Bacon, 1561-1626.
    New Atlantis. A Worke Unfinished; written by the Right Honourable Francis Lo. Verulam, Viscount St. Alban. London: Printed by J. Haviland for W. Lee [1627].
  • John Wilkins, 1614-1672.
    The Mathematical and Philosophical Works of the Right Reverend John Wilkins. London: Printed for J. Nicholson, 1708.
  • Ludvig, Baron Holberg.
    Voyage de Nicolas Klimius dans le monde souterrain.... Copenhague: J. Preuss, 1741.
  • Sébastien Mercier, 1740-1814.
    Memoirs of the Year Two Thousand Five Hundred, tr. from the French by W. Hooper, M.A. Philadelphia: T. Dobson, 1795.
  • Jules Verne, 1828-1905.
    From the Earth to the Moon, Direct in Ninety-Seven Hours and Twenty Minutes: and a Trip Round It. New York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co., 1874.
Thomć Mori Angli...
Voyage de Nicolas Klimius.

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