back to article Nerd Klaxon: Barbican to host Science Fiction exhibition this summer

The Barbican Centre will host a sprawling festival-style Science Fiction exhibition this summer, featuring an immersive range of exhibits from across the breadth of the genre. Curated by Swiss historian and writer Patrick Gyger, who spoke to The Register about the exhibition, the purpose was to explore Science Fiction “as an …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Internet Stops

    Hope they have included "The Machine Stops" (1909) for its prediction of the internet age. Unexpectedly its author was not H.G.Wells - but E.M.Forster at an early stage of his career and who is better known for his human drama novels.

  2. Chazmon

    The first?

    Surely if you are looking for the origin of Sci fi it has to be Cyrano de Bergerac's voyage to the moon (and later sun). Some amazing science for the time it was written (1662!) and even some conceptual stuff like beings who communicate through music. Not an easy read though.

    In any case, this may actually drag me into London.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: The first?

      How about Bishop Godwin's The Man in the Moone published in the 1620s. A swan powered flying machine to the moon.

      1. Robert Sneddon


        One of the earliest stories known, Gilgamesh is putatively SF with supernatural elements and wild impossibilities -- one of the key requirements of a good SF story is engaging the reader's Willing Suspension Of Disbelief (WSOD) and anything that noticeably distorts reality needs some serious WSOD for the reader to stay engaged with the story.

        As for adventures, the definition "Bad things happening to people I don't personally know a long way from where I'm sitting comfortably reading about them" springs to mind.

        1. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

          Re: Gilgamesh

          An "adventure" is someone else in a Hell of a fix.

          1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

            Re: Gilgamesh

            And a comedy is always a tragedy for the antagonist.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Defining Science Fiction

    My English Lit. teacher set us an exercise of trying to define science fiction - it's really difficult so I'm not surprised people find it hard to agree on the first works in the genre.

    Utopia is an interesting call - certainly Iain M Banks considered his Culture novels to be set in"as close to a utopia as a species similar to ourselves can hope to get" and alternate imagined realities for humanity are a common sci fi thread.

  4. Your alien overlord - fear me

    If Pat Gyger is at the front door counting the people in is he the official Gyger Counter?

    1. Spiracle

      If Pat Gyger is at the front door counting the people in is he the official Gyger Counter?

      Nah, that's the Gyger that works in Human Resources. Easy to mix them up.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Naaa HR Gyger works in the art department.

        Then there's the Scottish guy - who works in the engineering dept - McGyger.

  5. Hoppy

    Nerd Klaxon

    The simple headline "Nerd Klaxon" How very dare you, you made me drop my light saber.

    1. Sir Sham Cad

      Re: Nerd Klaxon

      I should like to know more about this product and/or service. I could really use one at work!

  6. Steve Kerr


    That's round the corner from my office, looks like lunch times when I'm in the office will be spent at the exhibition :)

  7. AMBxx Silver badge

    Barbican toilets

    With 90% of the attendees being male, perhaps the new gender-neutral toilets at the Barbican will be useful!

  8. Patrician

    Initially thought that The Bible was the first work of Science Fiction, but then it's more a work of Fantasy I suppose.

    1. RealBigAl

      Plenty of religious fantasy works predate the bible.

      Presumably the Hopi were the first science fiction illustrators, unless they really were painting about aliens.

    2. hi_robb

      No, no, no.

      The bible is one man's lie about an affair that got seriously out of hand.

  9. Alistair

    This is rather unfair.

    I may have to find a UK employer for the summer. So I can visit HQ. Yes, for work, of course.

  10. nijam Silver badge

    > "When something is good enough in Science Fiction, they say it's not Science Fiction."

    Which is the converse of Sturgeon's Revelation.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wish my kids preferred this heady stuff over comiccon..

  12. David Austin


    Sweet - My Favourite Genre in my favourite place.

    Just seems right hosting this in the 1970's version of the Utopian future that we never quite got (And I'm quite sad about that).

    See you all there in June - We'll meet at the Osteria bar.

  13. Stevie


    a) The Grand Old Man of British SF (Brian Aldiss) swears blind that Science Fiction starts with Mary Shelly writing Frankenstein. You'd need to read the first bit of The Billion/Trillion Year Spree to get the full argument.

    2) For all the wifflewaffle about "exploring inner space" I see no mention of the film Seconds. So a star comes off Mr Skiffy Expert's cred.

    Find a copy and watch to see why. Don't Wikispoil it for yourself.

  14. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Every now and then Science Fiction is some sort of exile or safe haven for writers - you can smuggle quite a lot of subversive stuff past the censors if you set your stories in some sort of alternative universe.

    "Satire that the censor understands is rightly censored.” ― Karl Kraus

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