Something in the water? Liverpool and the literary fantastic

Space Diversions back coverThe author Clive Barker’s biographer, Douglas E. Winter, writes: “Some have suggested, jokingly, that there was something in the water in the Liverpool of the 1960s – or, perhaps that Carl Jung was right, and Liverpool is indeed the pool of life.”

We all know that Liverpool is famous for music . . . but the city and surrounding region has always been home to some of the greatest names in science fiction, fantasy and horror.

“Something in the water?” celebrates Merseyside’s connection with writers of the fantastic:

• the pre-war Liverpool sf fan group out of which a host of British science fiction writers came:
• Olaf Stapledon, who whose epic future-history influenced a young Arthur C. Clarke
• Eric Frank Russell, the first British writer to win a Hugo award for science fiction
• Fanzine-publisher Bill Harry who went on to promote his friends the Beatles in Mersey Beat.

• And modern writers of the fantastic such as Clive Barker, Stephen Baxter, and Ramsey Campbell, winner of the World Fantasy Society’s lifetime achievement award.

• Ken Campbell’s Science Fiction Theatre of Liverpool and artists such as Dan Dare creator Frank Hampson and Josh Kirby (famed for his covers for Terry Pratchett) are also remembered – as are works by a new generation of sf and fantasy writers such as Priya Sharma and Debbie Johnson, comic book stars such as Leah Moore, John Reppion, Tim Quinn and John Higgins, and film greats such as Alex Cox.

The exhibition is launched as part of the University’s LIGHTNIGHT celebration of culture on May 13th. On Saturday 14th May, Andy Sawyer will be joined by award-winning author Pat Cadigan at Liverpool Central Library to discuss The History of Science Fiction in 10 Objects – carefully selected from the science fiction treasures in Special Collections and Archives!