Deeper Than Swords!

DTS poster final

Okay, we are seriously gearing up for our next genre exhibit, Deeper Than Swords: Celebrating the Work of George R. R. Martin. It may quite possibly be the largest genre event we’ve ever put on–definitely bigger than One Hundred Years Hence. The exhibit itself will be drawn directly from George’s archives here at Cushing and showcase his work, examining his contributions to the field of Fantastic Literature and his role in forming popular culture today. Last year Time Magazine declared him one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World. SO!

The official event website of Deeper Than Swords has links to obtain tickets for his free lecture on March 22, the opportunity to get a ticket to the priority line for his booksigning, and also to participate in a special preview of the exhibit with George at a special fundraising dinner on March 21. (Proceeds will go towards collection development and maintaining our exhibits program. This is how we can keep doing cool things for you guys!) You can also follow DTS at Facebook to catch new updates as they come–and they will be following faster the closer to the opening we get!

Now, a lot of people are also kindly donating their time for this event, not the least of whom is George himself. If you follow his Not a Blog, you know he is a serious jetsetter, attending conventions and events across the world and occasionally popping by the set of HBO’s Game of Thrones. His close friend and fellow author (and fellow donor to the SF collection here at Cushing), Lisa Tuttle, is kindly contributing an essay about George for the catalog that will accompany the exhibit itself. Hugo Award-winning artist John Picacio is granting us permission to use his iconic artwork on our building facade and promotionals, and some of his original artwork will be on display as well.

We also have a lot of friends who are coming out for this. On March 22, Chef Tai’s Mobile Bistro will be on hand with special themed treats (Chef Tai will also be catering the fundraising dinner, itself Westeros-themed; how cool is that!!). The Texas Renaissance Festival will be outside the Library spinning the prize wheel so lucky folks can get free tickets to the Ren Fair. Aggiecon actually moved their dates so they could be on the same weekend with us, and George will be their special Guest of Honor as well!

Now, I realize that’s a lot of info, so here’s your shortcut FAQ:

When is Deeper Than Swords?

DTS will officially open on March 22, 2013 and run through December 2013. The exhibit itself is going to be on the second floor gallery of Cushing Memorial Library & Archives and free to the public.

What are all those special events again?

March 21, 6 pm. Fundraising dinner of Westerosi-themed dishes and an exclusive preview of the exhibit with George himself. See our website or go to the MSC for tickets. They’re worth every penny for the opportunity to help out the Libraries by doing something so much fun!

March 22, 4-6 pm. Booksigning at Cushing Memorial Library. We’ll have two lines, one that is an expedited, priority line with tickets that can be purchased online to essentially guarantee you a signature (and again, all proceeds will go to the Library); there will be a secondary line, free of charge, so you can still have a chance at getting a signature but it isn’t guaranteed. George will only sign two items, no personalizations, so be prepared.

March 22, 6:30 pm. George will speak at Rudder Auditorium, with moderated Q&A. This event is completely free but you  do need to reserve a ticket at the MSC.

Did you say that George was going to be at Aggiecon too?

Yes, we sure did!

How awesome is this?!

Very awesome!

Updating the Cepheid Variable Archives





We’ve been up to our gills in exhibit planning (stay tuned for more exciting news on that front!), but in the meantime I thought I’d show off a couple of our new donations. Former Cepheid Nadine Miller kindly sent us a number of classic zines to add to the Aggiecon-Cepheid Variable Archives. These are some great pieces to help continue to document the history of that group, and we thank her for them!

So it’s almost Halloween and I’ve been particularly remiss with things genre on that front. >_> If you’re local to College Station, the Cinemark is going to have a special showing of Young Frankenstein in the digital theater on All Hallow’s Eve. If you plan to stay home that night, I recommend the classic Wicker Man (for all of your non-Saruman Christopher Lee needs!) or the best film of this year, Cabin in the Woods. (Oh yeah, I said that, you heard me! *G*)

Back to School!

Yesterday the University Libraries hosted a Resource Fair and welcomed some 1200 students to the Libraries, Our Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts was waiting for them!


Todd said he was going for menacing, but to me it really looks more like “Take the darn picture, Cait, this thing is heavy!” He’s holding Robert Baratheon’s Warhammer, which will be part of our forthcoming exhibit, Deeper Than Swords, Celebrating the Work of George R. R. Martin:


Just in case you are wondering, I won’t stop talking about that exhibit until we’re done working on it. So, y’know, not for a while yet.

With the help of our mighty colleagues Anton, Jenna, and Jenni, we handed out bookmarks, pencils, talked up the wonder and the glory that is Cushing Memorial Library & Archives, and made a science of saying “We are the home of Rare books, Special Collections, and University Archives! We have everything from four thousand year old Mesopotamian clay tablets to the newest science fiction magazines! We have a website where you can download over twenty thousand images from A&M’s history! Come visit us!” in thirty seconds flat.

Todd’s also going to be teaching a seminar this semester on the History of the Book, and if he is very lucky, I might drop in with some toys.


This is a limited edition replica of the Night’s Watch obsidian knives. Soooooooo shiiiiiiiiiiiiiny!

Next week classes will start, and it’ll be back to normal: Teaching classes, watching students fight zombies (what, students don’t do that at other campuses? really? weird!) … Yep, good times for all!

Collections are Made of These

Here are some sample materials I’ve received recently that will go into our Scifi Miscellany collection: Cards from the John Carter movie release, a pin that was handed out at the midnight release for The Amazing Spider-Man, a free promo comic with a sticker and button for The Dark Knight Rises.

Now what do these various items mean in the greater scheme of things? For one, they are all evidence of how popular SF/F films were promoted to their audiences–small items, several of them wearable, meant to “reward” the early birds. Future students of audience reception and corporate marketing and industry will hopefully find them useful.

More immediately, how often do you think items such as these actually end up libraries?

Each of these examples shows off, to some extent, how easily mass-market culture can be lost. It’s not valued, it’s not kept, it doesn’t end up in libraries. In years to come, it will be for the scholars to try to track down these things, or for people to come across them and ask “what the heck WAS that??”

A couple things to keep in mind as you go to the movies this weekend. 😉 Ta!

The Daughter of the Night Bibliography!

Cushing is the new home for the Daughter of the Night Annotated Tanith Lee Bibliography library!

The collection consists of several hundred volumes of Lee’s work through multiple editions and translations. The annotated bibliography project will continue on as it has for the past fifteen years, Cushing will merely provide housing as well as reference assistance for scholars who need access to the materials. They are in the queue for cataloging, so don’t be horrified if you can’t find the books in the catalog—our cataloging staff are shorthanded these days and I certainly don’t help when I spring things like this on them (sorry, guys!). If you’re ever looking for a title and can’t find it, just shoot me a line! 😀

Anyway, take a look at these beauties:

These photos don’t do the books justice, btw. It’s actually pretty hard to fit in the aisles with a camera and get some good images. Here’s a close up:

As you can imagine, I’m really excited about this and my poor boss has had to listen to more geekery than…okay, honestly, it’s about the same amount of geeking as usual but just on different things. SO.

I’m going to be in and out running around this summer, but I’m an email-addict so I’ll be “around” even if I’m not around the office. Stay tuned for more updates and adventures!!

From the Ballard and Mayhar Families

I mentioned the recent passing of Texas author Ardath Mayhar back in February, and shortly afterwards family members contacted us to send a number of books our way. I recently got to unpack them and so here are some photos that don’t really do them justice.

Here are some images from the stacks shelves where they currently await processing. The lighting leaves …. a lot… to be desired but you do get a sense of the numbers (there are more shelves above and below, I just didn’t have space to back up enough to show them), and, well, dammit Jim I’m a librarian not a photographer!!

This is a close-up of a cross-section of Andre Norton paperbacks. These are really going to help fill some gaps in our collection!!

Here’s a close-up of some editions of Mayhar’s own works. you’ll notice multiple copies of the same book, several of which are first editions. The extra-great thing about this is it means we can keep a pristine archival copy and have an identical copy for patrons to use. (One of the nice things about working here is our collections really are used–often by researchers, and equally often by students who want to read this or that volume they can’t find elsewhere!)

I opened up one of the books to find it was a signed copy! There are several more, similar autographs sprinkled through the collection. BTW I really do recommend this book–it’s about post-nuke Texas! ….Okay that came out more chipper than was perhaps necessary considering the topic. Just, trust me, go read it!

From Texas to Mars!!

Today I’m highlighting a couple of recent donations that are cool and came out of the proverbial blue.

The first is a modest volume by a Professor of History at West Texas A&M. Jean A. Stuntz was invited to write about the subject she knew best, with one little twist…

Okay, maybe not so little.

Seriously though, this is a fun little book, playing with the mash-up trend so popular these days, but written by someone who actually knows the source material rather than (seemingly) doing a “find and replace” words job on it. So, if you know someone with an interest in Texas and/or the macabre, look into this for them.

The next item makes a nice addition to our fanzines collection. It comes to us from Judy Bunch and is very sweetly dedicated in loving memory from Jan Sadler Kauffman to Tom Perry. It’s the fabulous Warhoon 28:

I say fabulous without irony because if you know anything about fanzines, you know they are mimeographed, floppy, and often all too short. This book is none of these things: It’s a massive hardcover deluxe compilation of all of the writings of Walt Willis. Warhoon itself, named after one of the tribes from Burroughs’ John Carter novels, was a long-running fanzine that regularly churned out issues from 1952 up until the 80s.

No. 28 was published in 1978 and is a massive 614 pages, collecting all of Willis’s “The Harp That Once or Twice” columns that put him squarely in fan history, including “The Harp Stateside” in which the Irishman wrote about his journeys in the US. He won multiple Hugos for his fan-activism and was twice brought in to WorldCons in the US.

I have a bunch of other things to share when I get time. Believe it or not this post has been composed over a week and a half. That’s what it’s like here these days.

In the meantime, do me a favor and go see John Carter one more time–it’s a great flick that’s being demolished at the box office. Until next time!

RIP Ardath Mayhar (1930-2012)

Jayme Lynn Blaschke has reported via Joe Lansdale that Ardath Mayhar has passed away.

Born in Timpson, Texas, in 1930, she initially entered the literary world as a poet at the age of nineteen. Her initial novel-length works of fiction included both Westerns and Historical novels written under the pen names of Frank Cannon, John Killdeer, and Sarah MacWilliams.

Her first science fiction tale appeared in 1973, a short story called “The Cat with the Sapphire Eyes.” She wrote or co-wrote over sixty books, including The World Ends in Hickory Hollow, a post-nuclear novel set in Texas, and the Kyrannon Shar-Nuhn cycle. She also wrote novels that appeared as part of the BattleTech and Fuzzy franchises.

In 2008 she was named Author Emeritus by the Science Fiction Writers of America.

As Lansdale himself said, she wrote “damn fine books!” She will be missed.

For further information:

The Internet Speculative Database has a comprehensive listing of her books and publications with some related links of interest.

Cushing has a collection of some of her papers, particularly her post-1980 work which is predominantly SF. The finding guide is available here. A small collection of her work is also housed at the University of Southern Mississippi.

A memorial service is pending, but more information can be found here.

Happy New Year!

Cushing is open again and I’ve been back and hard at work. First, some major news: Mark your calendars for March 22, 2013! We’re going to open a major exhibit devoted to the work of George R. R. Martin with Martin himself in attendance for a brief talk, Q&A session, and book signing. More details will be forthcoming as things develop, I promise. (Like, a title. A good title is vital. Also, the catalog. And the promos. And — Right, focusing.)

I’ve been spending the interim working on the processing backlog. Of interest to many of you will be The Hyborian Age Archives, a collection of manuscripts and correspondence from the Robert E. Howard files of John D. Clark. Curious as to how the Conan the Barbarian franchise essentially evolved in the 1950s, almost twenty years after Howard’s death? The items in this collection will tell you, including how the Gnome Press volumes were organized and those stories that were liberally rewritten by L. Sprague de Camp when they actually ran out of Howard’s material. Go check out the finding guide here.

(What the archive won’t tell you? How this:

became this:

And we do love you, Khal Drogo Jason Mamoa, but really.)

I’ll also have a student helping me finish processing the fanzine collection we got in 2010. (Look it was 150 boxes and they were all stuffed to the gills, these things take time, ok??) Stay tuned as I expect we’ll find some shiny items to share there as well.

Anyhow, from all of us to all of you, have a very Happy New Year! I can’t wait to see what adventures we’ll all get into!