Sunday, August 21, 2011
Out of this world
The British Library has a track record of putting on some excellent exhibitions that are not only free but packed with thought provoking ideas. I haven't been able to get up to one for a while but wanted to get to the Out of This World exhibition concerning science fiction.
One of the promised highlights was to be able to see some annotated notes by one of my favourite authors JG Ballard, which was indeed worth looking at just to see the extent to which he was prepared to self edit, but there was lots more besides.
The exhibition not only covered books which have been around space exploration and other worlds but also dealt with the ideas of traveling into the mind and the science fiction of a relatively ordinary world that could change once put through a dramatic change. Ballard of course is an expert at that but there were other ideas about the rise of robots, the death of the earth and the concept of co-habiting with other civilisations.
In the middle there was a Tardis which reminded you, along with a copy of Herge's Tintin Explorers to the Moon, that science fiction has always had a place in mainstream culture whether it be in the imagination of children or entertaining us all at prime time on a Saturday night.
A great exhibition and for me personally a reminder not only to get back into some Ballard but to open my mind to other authors that were prepared to explore reality.