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Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame

The Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, the first in the world of its kind, opened on June 18 in Seattle, Washington. The ceremony and several days of associated events were attended by numerous people active in the science fiction field, including Greg Bear, Gregory Benford, David Brin, Michael Whelan, Charles N. Brown, David Hartwell, Lawrence Krauss, Neal Stephenson, and Analog editor and author Stanley Schmidt.

Located in Seattle Center, at the foot of the Space Needle and right on the Monorail, the SFM occupies part of a futuristic building designed by Frank Gehry, which also houses the Experience Music Project. Both museums owe their existence to Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen.

Inside, the visitor first sees a huge suspended globe covered with ever-changing projected science-fictional images and surrounded by the exhibits of "Homeworld," setting the stage for all that follows.

Isaac Asimov's Werewolves
One of these exhibits is a timeline showing events of various periods in science fiction and the real world. The 1938-1946 segment includes Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" broadcast; an early _Astounding_ cover with then-editor John W. Campbell; Jr., Cleve Cartmill's "Deadline," the short story that brought FBI agents to Campbell's office seeking a security leak that didn't exist; and the first-ever paperback anthology of science fiction.

In the Gallery of Fantastic Voyages, built to simulate the interior of
an orbital spacedock, visitors crowd around a tank featuring an
animated display of many famous science-fictional spacecraft. Visual
effects throughout the museum are impressive, thanks to the talents of
award-winning Hollywood veteran designers.

In the "Amazing Places" gallery, a different kind of globe lets visitors select real or fictitious worlds for a startlingly realistic "view from space."

A special exhibit shows the evolution of Hal Clement's Mesklin, one of science fiction's most famous amazing places, from the original _Astounding_ serialization of _Mission of Gravity_ through its hardcover book release—complete with Clement's original biopowered analog computer.

In the Hall of Fame, featuring a wall made of glass bricks containing laser-embedded portraits of important authors, editors, and artists, present _Analog_ editor Stanley Schmidt reads up on predecessor John W. Campbell, Jr., using one of several interactive kiosks.

Anyone interested in science fiction will want to visit the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame whenever they get to Seattle. Even if you've been there before, exhibits will change from time to time, so there'll always be something new to see. In the meantime, you can get a sneak preview, and keep up on new developments, at the Museum's website, www.sfhomeworld.org.

All photos taken by Stanley and Joyce Schmidt
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