4/19/2012

I'm a museum exhibit, in the Scottish National Library.

I'd heard a few weeks ago about an exhibit in the Scottish National Library in Edinburgh, but had not at first been aware that I formed part of it. The exhibit - in glass cases, just to the right of the entrance to the SNL near the city centre - is meant to celebrate science fiction as part of Scotland's national heritage, and rightly so.

Behind glass this afternoon, on a visit there, I saw not only work by myself but many others, mostly the usual suspects - Ken MacLeod, Charlie Stross, Richard Morgan and Michael Cobley (although only one of them is actually Scottish) - but also a few 'outliers', such as Angus McAllister's The Krugg Syndrome and Chris Boyce's Brainfix. A large wall display featured the covers of Nebula Magazine, a publication printed in Scotland back in the Fifties (I think) and which was also, I seem to recollect, the first magazine to buy a story by an ingenue writer named Robert Silverberg.

 I was very pleasantly surprised to see mention in some of the notes at the bottom of the glass case of Brain in a Jar Books, which was also referenced in a recent SFX interview with Michael Cobley. There was something distinctly surreal, however, in the whole idea of finding myself before what is essentially a museum display in a very large library featuring my own work behind glass.

Not a place I ever expected to see myself.

I'd have taken pictures, but they're not allowed. It's not a big exhibition by any means - it's essentially one single but nonetheless very large glass case - but posted warnings of CCTV watching for people sneaking surreptitious snapshots kept my phone in my pocket.

I didn't just go through to see the exhibit, or to see myself in it, as nice as that was. They were soliciting video interviews with a variety of sf authors in Scotland to be posted on their website sometime in the next couple of weeks. Ken MacLeod had been in the day before, apparently. I'll have to be honest and say I'm not always the best at expressing myself verbally - there's a reason I'm a writer, not some kind of public speaker - but I think I made some kind of coherent sense. Or at least, I hope I did. Whenever it gets posted online, I'll put it up - unless I look and sound as bad on video as I think I do.
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