Instead of congregating at conventions, book fairs and on the Internet, science fiction fans will get their own shrine dedicated to the art, literature and film of science entertainment, courtesy of billionaire Paul Allen.
Tentatively named the Science Fiction Experience, the exhibit is slated to open in the summer of 2004 within the confines of Allen’s Experience Music Project (EMP) in the shadow of Seattle’s Space Needle.
“Science fiction shows us that change is constant and exhilarating,” said Microsoft Corp. co-founder Allen, who is funding the project.
Flanked by science fiction props such as Captain Kirk’s original command chair from the “Star Trek” television series, classic science fiction books and movie banners, Allen said the $20 million non-profit endeavor would provide “entertaining and thought-provoking exhibits” for visitors.
Allen, a philanthropist who has invested in everything from cable television to professional sports teams since leaving Microsoft in 1983, has funded several cultural projects in his hometown of Seattle, including the EMP, a Jimi Hendrix-inspired music museum and the Cinerama, a restored 1960s-era movie theater with a giant, curved viewing screen.
Allen said he expects the Science Fiction Experience, which will be built in a newly vacated space within the EMP, to pull in 150,000 to 200,000 more visitors to the building every year.
Science fiction author Greg Bear of Seattle will chair an advisory board to the museum and said that respect for the genre has been long overdue.
“Science fiction is one of the greatest untold stories of science and art today,” said Bear, winner of two Hugo awards for novels such as “Eon” and “Queen of Angels”.
Among the items on display will be a complete set of autographed first editions of the Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov, a collection of “Astounding Science Fiction” magazines and artwork depicting the future.