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SFF: About

The Nick Pollard Donation

In 2009 Nik Pollard kindly donated over 4,000 books to the Science Fiction Foundation. The books, almost all science fiction and related works, had been accumulated over many decades, first by Nik's father and then by Nik himself. Both were primarily readers, not collectors or scholars. About 1,000 of Nik's books will end up in the SFF Library at the University of Liverpool, where they are available to scholars studying and researching science fiction literature and history. The rest were sold to raise funds for the Library, or passed to James Bacon for SF Outreach.

Below are just some of the books from Nik's donation that have been added to the SFF library - chosen to show the diversity of the collection.

BaxterAuthor : Stephen Baxter
Title : The Raft
Publisher : Grafton
Pub Date : 1991 - 1st edition
Artist : Chris Moore

This is Stephen Baxter's first book, and the first in the Xeelee sequence of novels that dominated Baxter's literary career for over a decade. It was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1992. The SFF Library relies on donations to acquire books like this, and this copy of the first edition replaced a later edition in the library.

Farren Author : Mick Farren
Title : The Texts of Festival
Publisher : Hart, Davis MacGibbon
Pub Date : 1973 - 1st paperback edition
Artist : uncredited

This was the author's first book, in a paperback edition that was later widely-remaindered. You probably know people who've got copies. But that didn't include us until now. If anyone can tell us who painted the cover we'd love to know.

Griffith Author : George Griffith
Title : The Angel of the Revolution
Publisher : Tower Publishing Company
Pub Date : 1893 - 1st edition
Artist : uncredited

This has been described as: "A lurid mix of Jules Verne's futuristic air warfare fantasies, utopian vision, and war invasion literature." Steampunk anyone? The internal illustrations are by Fred T Jane - best known for Jane's Fighting Ships.

Harbou Author : Thea von Harbou
Title : Metropolis
Publisher : Readers' Library
Pub Date : 1927 - 1st English language edition
Artist : Aubrey Hammond

Novel of the 1926 film, directed by the author's husband Fritz Lang. The two of them collaborated on a number of film scripts and novels. (And who said no women ever wrote sf?) The SFF thinks that the visual history of SF is as important as the literary history, and the Library values and preserves dust-jackets whenever possible.

Hay Author : George Hay
Title : Flight of the Hesper
Publisher : Hamilton & Co
Pub Date : 1951 - 1st and only edition
Artist : George Ratcliffe

George Hay wrote several science fiction novels, but that's not the only reason why we remember him. He was a prime mover in establishing the Science Fiction Foundation at the North East London Polytechnic in 1971 - he wanted to transform the world through science fiction. We decided to become academically respectable instead, and concentrated on the Library and the Science Fiction Foundation Journal. Later we named the Eastercon Hay Lecture in his honour.

Hoyle Author : Geoffrey Hoyle
Title : 2010 Living in the Future
Publisher : Heinemann
Pub Date : 1972 - 1st edition
Artist : Alasdair Anderson

Well, we had to show you this, didn't we? And while I doubt that a computer cooked your eggs this morning, and most of you aren't wearing jumpsuits, Hoyle did get some things right. Science fiction tells stories about the future and shows us how people think about the future (among other things). Thinking about that tells us something about the future, but more about ourselves, and our world. That's education, and that's what the Science Fiction Foundation is all about.

Hunt Hunt Author : Gill Hunt
Title : Galactic Storm
Publisher : Curtis Warren
Pub Date : 1951 - 1st and only edition
Artist : Ray Theobald

It's by John Brunner, actually, and his first book, written when he was only 17. Gill Hunt was a "house name" used on books published by Curtis Warren for books actually written by Brunner, E.C. Tubb and others. It's not generally thought to be a very good book, but it is quite scarce.

Many books never have hardback editions, and paperbacks are treated by some people as not worth preserving. However many are the first, and indeed only, edition. If we don't keep these paperbacks, with their wildly varying cover art, who will?

Sellwood Author : Arthur Sellwood
Title : Children of the Damned
Publisher : Four Square
Pub Date : 1964 - 1st edition
Artist : uncredited

This is the novelisation of the film of John Wyndham's The Midwich Cuckoos. It's quite scarce. This book is now owned by the SFF, but the University of Liverpool also houses the Wyndham Archive. In 2009 Liverpool University Press issued a previously unpublished novel, Plan for Chaos, written by Wyndham circa 1950 and edited for publication by SFF Librarian Andy Sawyer with fellow academic David Ketterer. A paperback edition of Plan for Chaos was issued by Penguin in 2010.

Shield Author : M P Shiel
Title : The Dragon
Publisher : Grant Richards
Pub Date : 1913 - 1st edition
Artist : uncredited

Best known for his end-of-the-world novel The Purple Cloud, M. P. Shiel also wrote "future-war" novels whose titles might just suggest a slight anxiety about the potential power of China and Japan. The Dragon features a conflict between England and China involving flying boats and a "blinding ray" by which the invaders are defeated. Originally serialised as "To Arms!" in the Red Magazine early in 1913, it was reissued in 1929 as The Yellow Peril, just in case anyone missed what he was trying to say.

Space Author : uncredited
Title : Adventure in Space Story Book with Transfers
Publisher : Tower Press
Pub Date : undated
Artist : uncredited

Author unknown, artist unknown, the kind of ephemera that often survives only in private collections or not at all. We thought it was time we started to show you some of our stuff. We hope to put some more of it on our website soon - watch out for it.