The David Johnson Collection of Science Fiction and Popular Culture encompasses materials from the late 1920s through 2014. Stories range from reprints of proto-science fiction/fantasy stories of Jules Verne and later H. G. Wells to modern giants including Isaac Asimov, George R.R. Martin, and L. Ron Hubbard. It also contains stories and reviews of television series and films such as Star Trek and The X-Files to name but two. The collection offers the reader an opportunity to engage with stories that interpreted cultural norms and social-political values through the lens of fantasy and scientific speculation, at one time called “scientifiction”. This collection not only illustrates cultural and racial stereotypes but also offers a commentary on the politics of the 20th century found in stories, cover art, and advertisements. Whether one is interested in robots, folklore, interstellar colonization, alien interaction, historical moments altered by scientific advancement, or dystopias where babysitters gain legal custody from birth parents, the Johnson Collection provides a platform for both pleasure reading and academic research.
The Johnson Collection was generously donated by local Madison resident Dr. David S. Johnson (1945-2016). Dr. Johnson was a leading expert in computer science, specializing in algorithms and optimization. He received the Donald E. Knuth Prize for his contributions to theoretical and experimental analysis of algorithms. He had collected science fiction and popular magazines since childhood and his dedication to the preservation and enjoyment of this unique genre of literature is evident in the breadth of his collection.
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