The history of science fiction and fantasy is a topic that fosters heated discussions, creative arguments, and little agreement. However, most people agree that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is, in some way, a part of the science fiction canon. Frankenstein made an immediate impact when it was published, and has remained in-print virtually all the time since that initial publication. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection has included copies of Frankenstein for many years.

In 2005, the Cushing Library acquired a copy of the third edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, published in 1831. The Cushing copy is a good example of books of this vintage.




The 1831 edition also featured the first image of Frankenstein’s monster:

A copy of the 1845 edition is also held in the Cushing Library. Like the 1831 edition, this copy is s a good example of books of that vintage.

By the Twentieth Century, editions of Frankenstein were commomplace. This 1957 paperback edition is one example of the many editions of Frankenstein now available.

The image of the Frankenstein monster evolved continuously, but the best-known representation of Frankenstein’s monster is the cinema version played by Boris Karloff.



History of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection


In 1974, the Evans Library announced the formation of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection.  The collection started in 1970, with the purchase of over 2000 science fiction pulp magazines, with another 3000 issues added in the next few years.  Some 10,000 paperbacks were added before the announcement ceremony. 

There is, of course, “the rest of the story.”  It seems that a librarian saw a “for sale” notice for those 2000 pulp issues in a fanzine, and suggested a science fiction collection.  The library director, in the best administrative fashion, wrote two memo, one to the English Department, and one to theCollege of
Engineering.  Both departments replied.  The English Department noted that we were, after all, an engineering and technical university, and such a collection might be of interest.  The
College of
Engineering, more enthusiastic, noted that “engineers look good in science fiction” and recommended we build the collection.  Alas, both memos were lost in administrative housekeeping. 

Over the ensuing years, the collection has grown steadily.  The collection now contains over 25,000 books, and over 13,000 magazine issues.  The strength of the collection is from 1960 to the present, but there are interesting items from earlier times.  We will feature bits and pieces of interesting items from time to time. 

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection is housed in the Cushing Memorial Library, and is available for use there.  It is a research special collection, so use is limited to the Cushing Reading Room. 

You can search for books and magazines in the collection in LibCat.  Using the limit for The Cushing Library will allow you to look at only material in Cushing. 

The Evans Library has circulating copies of most recent hardcover science fiction and fantasy.