The University of Iowa has acquired one of the world’s largest collections of science fiction fanzines. More than a quarter-million of the small-circulation publications are in dozens of boxes in Iowa City now and they’re being carefully catalogued. Sid Huttner, head of Special Collections at the U-of-I Libraries, says the sci-fi fanzines are -not- comic books. Huttner says they are something like magazines, but are more informal, containing articles, columns, letters, artwork and photographs. Some are just run off on a copy machine while others are professionally printed. Some of the ‘zines date back to the late 1930s, but most are from the ’60s and ’70s. Huttner says the collection contains titles from the U.S., Canada, Britain and Australia. He says it’s well-organized and includes some very rare ‘zines. Since most people throw their magazines away, it’s highly unusual to find an entire series of fanzines from several decades ago. Huttner says when it’s fully available to scholars, the collection will provide an invaluable resource for research into the history of modern science fiction and the formation of fan communities. Huttner says the collection of more than 250-thousand sci-fi fanzines was donated to the U-of-I by an Oregon man who had originally hoped to sell them on the Internet auction site e-Bay. The collection was being stored in a warehouse which had changed ownership. The new owner offered the building to the local fire department to burn down as practice. The ‘zine collector had to find a taker for the collection within days or they would have been burned with the building. The fanzines include Bob Tucker’s “Le Zombie” and Robert Silverberg’s “Starship,” which Huttner says are considered significant names in science fiction history. U-of-I officials say they now have the largest collection of science fiction fanzines in the Midwest and one of the largest anywhere on the planet. For more information, surf to “www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll”.
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