Charlie ("Charles N") Brown was the force behind Locus Magazine (previously) until his death in 2009; he hired me to be a columnist for the magazine in 2006 and I've been writing for them ever since.
Charlie was such a prolific collector you could be forgiven for calling him a hoarder (the distinction is always hard to make!) and his archive contained some of the great rarities of science fiction.
That collection is now in the hands of Duke University's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which has taken delivery of 1,000 boxes of paper ephemera, correspondence, books, and memoribilia. Duke instructors are encouraged to make use of the collection: English professor Michael D’Alessandro brought students enrolled in a class in "utopias and dystopias in American literature" to see the materials firsthand.
I recently finished processing the manuscript portion of the collection, which includes seven boxes of files relating to more than 800 authors. My favorite part of these files is the correspondence, the bulk of which was written between 1960 and 2009. Many writers wrote to Locus to share news that could be included in the magazine or to quibble about inaccuracies and to suggest corrections. Overall, the correspondence creates a sense of community among a very diverse and spread-out group of writers; people wanted to know who was publishing what, who changed agents, who was involved with such-and-such scandal or lawsuit, who died, who got re-married, etc. Fans may swoon over the signatures of Octavia E. Butler, Arthur C. Clarke, Issac Asimov, and Ursula K. Le Guin (to name a few). Many of the letters are amicable, some are irate, and some are sassy and humorous. Here, one of my favorite writers, Octavia E. Butler, writes to make an important and sErious correction:
Locus Archives Document the History of Sci-Fi [David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library/Duke University]
Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library Acquires Locus Science Fiction Foundation, Publisher of Locus [Gary Price/Infodocket]
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Gather round, young and old — and hear tales of bygone days. Back in olden times, citizens would mass at a house of coffee, wherein skilled java alchemists would concoct special blends and apply artisanal wizardry to make each steaming chalice an appointment for the taste buds. Granted, said wizards, once known as baristas, were […]