Sunday, January 6, 2008

Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame

Opened in 2004, the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (SFM) in Seattle is “the world’s first museum devoted to the thought-provoking ideas and experiences of science fiction.”

Of particular interest to us is the museum’s featured exhibition, The Changing Face of Mars:

More than any other location, Mars has served as the stage for SF journeys of adventure, discovery and conflict. Humans have always been fascinated by the “Red Planet,” and the belief that Mars was covered with “canals” sparked countless SF tales of a dying world ready either to conquer or be conquered. These tales planted images in the public perception of Mars that affected the assumptions of a generation of space scientists. Ultimately, however, bigger and better telescopes, and then actual visits by robotic spacecraft erased those images and replaced them with more accurate views. The old Martians were killed off and their world obliterated, but what was left behind was a world ready for a new wave of SF based not on old myths, but on a real planet revealed by more advanced science.”

Here are some suggested readings from the exhibit, taken from SFM’s website:

The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells (1898)

A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1917)

The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury (1950)

The Sands of Mars, by Arthur C. Clarke (1951)

Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert A. Heinlein (1961)

Martian Time-Slip, by Philip K. Dick (1964)

A Martian Odyssey and Other Classics of Science Fiction, by Stanley G. Weinbaum (1966)

Desolation Road, by Ian McDonald (1988)

Beachhead, by Jack Williamson (1992)

Mars, by Ben Bova (1992)

Red Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson (1992)

Moving Mars, by Greg Bear (1993)

The Snows of Olympus: A Garden on Mars, by Arthur C. Clarke (1994. nonfiction)

The Secret Life, by Paul J. McAuley (2001)

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