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Science Fiction: A Research Guide: Home


Cover of Amazing Stories magazine, August 1927. Public domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

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Gumberg Library

Science Fiction: A Research Guide  

"Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it's the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself. ...Science fiction is central to everything we've ever done."  Ray Bradbury

"SF has never really aimed to tell us when we might reach other planets, or develop new technologies, or meet aliens. SF speculates about why we might want to do these things, and how their consequences might affect our lives and our planet." John Clute

Since the nineteenth century, one of the most consistently popular genres of literature has been science fiction. Its various themes of space travel, alien invasion, creation of artificial life, founding of perfect societies or societies that are hell on earth, or how technologies may come to rule over a complacent and spoiled human race (of course, this list does not exhaust the themes), have been the stuff of novels, short stories, movies, radio and television shows, and comic books. No doubt, as new, unforseen media are developed, science fiction themes will be used in those as well. So, beyond the entertainment factor, what's going on with these things ? Why has science fiction played, and will continue to play, such an important role in our popular culture?

This research guide is designed to point users of the Gumberg Library to resources in its collection-and beyond--dealing with science fiction, fantasy, and weird fiction, to help them begin to find answers those larger questions. It points to:
  • Reference works, print and electronic, for finding background information on authors, literary works, and science fiction themes
  • Books, both primary and secondary works
  • Articles from journals, many of which are full text
  • Good resources from the Web
  • Information on citation
  • What to do if you need resources not owned by Gumberg Library

Use the tabs that run across the top of the page to see the different sorts of resources available. 

Help is Available!

If at any time in your research your need help, click on the Ask a Librarian link on the blue bar at the top of the screen. Or you can contact me, Ted Bergfelt, the creator of this page. Click to Send Email, or phone me at 412.396.5351.


Rocket icon by Hill. Public domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons.