Murdoch’s rare science fiction collection explored in talk

March 2, 2017

Murdoch University’s science fiction collection comprising fanzines and convention materials will be explored and discussed at a special free event this Friday.

Dr Jessie Lymn, the 2016 Special Collections Fellowship recipient from the Council of Australian University Librarians and the Australian Society of Authors, will provide a rare insight into the University Library’s collection from the ‘60s and ‘70s, and discuss how the various items reflect the cultural, political and social issues of their era.

“Fanzine collections are particularly unique because they provide a window to the printing technologies used, and the interests and experiences of the people writing them,” said Dr Lymn.

“The fanzines talk about the duplicators and typewriters they use and you can smell the ink in the air.

“For many of the writers they are an everyday life journal and contribute to our impression of the counter culture they were from. For example, one fanzine features a very detailed account of the everyday eating habits of Australians.

“Papers relating to the first science fiction convention in Perth in 1976 – known as SwanCon – feature an annotated list of restaurants for attendees to dine in. The restaurants are ethnically diverse and give insight into the multiculturalism of the region.”

Dr Lymn has been accessing Murdoch University Library’s unique and internationally renowned science fiction fanzine collection for her project entitled Practices of Australian fanzines – uncovering the networks and practices of early Australian science fiction fanzines.

Murdoch’s collection spans more than 60 years and includes rare books, comics, fanzines, t-shirts and correspondence that relate to the science fiction community of Western Australia and the world.

“Special collections such as Murdoch’s are what differentiate it from other institutions, drawing academics, students, authors, artists and others from across the world. Indeed, special collections are among the Library’s most intriguing and unusual assets,” said Susan Ashcroft, Murdoch University Librarian.

“I would urge anyone with an interest in science fiction to attend what is certain to be a fascinating discussion.”

Dr Lymn’s presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with Dr Leigh Edmonds, a historian and the collection donor, Grant Stone, the collector librarian and Dr Lymn.

Dr Edmonds is a major Australian fanzine editor and publisher and donated his collection of literature and supporting materials to Murdoch. He is in the process of writing a book about the history of fandom in Australia up to 1975.

The event takes place in the Hill Lecture Theatre, Murdoch University, from 4pm and is free.

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