Out of this World-British Library
There are at least a million different things a geek can do in London, and in my effort to do them all, alas, I failed. One major highlight was the current free exhibition at The British Library (for us yanks, it is like The Library of Congress), Out Of This World: Science Fiction, But Not as You Know it.
First, I am a bibliophile, so this was like Disneyland for me, except at Disneyland you can take pictures and touch things. Each section of the exhibition had a specific theme ranging from the birth of Science Fiction (in the 1600s!), Utopian societies, distopian societies, graphic novels, robots (did you know that the first “robots” in literature were actually synthetically made human slaves, and not machines?), and more. Among these were impeccable, perfect first editions, that made me drool, with some of the most beautiful, and outright cool cover art you will ever see. One major highlight was an original telegram sent from George Orwell to his publisher, lamenting that 1984 would have been “better” if it had not “been written under the influence of TB”, where he goes on to call Satre a “big bag of wind”.
I could write for days on the books on display and how amazing it was to see hand written pages of first drafts, books hundreds of years old, amazing posters (see?), but what really struck me were the interactives they had set up, for all age ranges. You (or your kid) can use an interactive touch screen to draw your own alien, and then watch it join other hand drawn aliens dancing around on the wall behind, there was a sleepy robot that was motion activated that carried on conversation about his favorite science fiction robots, a computer where you could challenge AI to the Turin’s Test, and at least five other things I didn’t have time for.
All in all, this would be an amazing stop in London (runs until September 25), even (or maybe especially) if you have kids in tow.