It is a Tuesday night, and on the quiet fourth floor of MIT’s otherwise bustling Stratton Student center, the MIT Science Fiction Society (MITSFS) is holding open hours. A narrow doorway separates airy, institutional hallways from the colorful world of room W20-473, which is lined from ceiling to floor with books.
“We…aim to have a library full of science fiction and fantasy and horror, and tangentially related genres, that we can make accessible to MIT, the community, and anybody else who’s interested,” says Laura McKnight, the Society’s Vice for 2014-2015 (she describes her role as “approximately Vice President.”) To the left of the doorway, a small plywood box is stacked on its end. This, McKnight says, is the Society’s original library. When freshman Rudolf “Rudy” Preisendorfer founded MITSFS in 1949, members would pass their books from dorm room to dorm room in this box. Things have changed a bit in the last 65 years. “Our total book count is, last I heard, 63,000,” says Laura McKnight, the Society’s Vice for 2014-2015 (she describes this role as “approximately Vice President.”) “At one point, our goal was to collect all the science fiction that had ever been published. But with the rise of self-published science fiction, that’s not even sort of possible anymore.” Full Article »