The Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy, formerly known as the J. Lloyd Eaton Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Utopian Literature, is the largest cataloged and publicly accessible collection of science fiction, fantasy, horror and utopian and dystopian literature in the world. The collection is housed in Special Collections & Archives of the UCR Libraries at the University of California, Riverside. It consists of more than 300,000 items, including hardcover and paperback books, SF fanzines, film and visual material, and comic books, including Manga and Anime, as well as a variety of archival materials.
When the family of the late Oakland physician and book collector Dr. J. Lloyd Eaton (1902–1968) sought a home for his collection, science fiction was considered an inferior literary product—pleasant enough as a diversion, but unworthy of serious academic study. As even public libraries did not regularly acquire science fiction, there was no comprehensive collection available anywhere outside of private hands. Dr. Eaton's collection, acquired by UCR's University Librarian Donald Wilson in 1969, consisted of about 7,500 hardback editions of science fiction, fantasy, and horror from the late nineteenth century to 1955, and it contained many rare and unusual titles. The development of the collection continued under University Librarian Eleanor Montague, who created the position of Eaton Curator, hiring for the position George Slusser, a Harvard-trained literary scholar. During Slusser's 25-year curatorship, the Eaton collection grew to more than 100,000 volumes, ranging from the 1517 edition of Thomas More's Utopia to the most recently published titles. Foreign works of science fiction have been added systematically, including works in Chinese, Czech, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish. The collection also includes journals, comic books, and fanzines, primarily acquired as donations from collectors Terry Carr, Bruce Pelz, Fred Patten, and Rick Sneary. In recent years, films, videos, DVDs, film scripts, and illustrated narratives have been added, most of which were donated. The archival holdings comprise the papers of leading science fiction and fantasy authors, including Gregory Benford, F. M. Busby, Michael Cassutt, Robert L. Forward, Anne McCaffrey, William Rotsler, James White, and Colin Wilson.
Eaton SF conference
As part of its scholarly mission, the Eaton Collection hosts a J. Lloyd Eaton Science Fiction Conference, launched in 1979. Over the years, twenty one conferences have been held at UC Riverside, while others have taken place at international venues, co-sponsored by UCR and various host institutions: London Polytechnic University,1984; the Sorbonne Nouvelle, 1986; University of Leeds, 1989; Texas A&M University, 1990; the Maison d'Ailleurs, Yverdon-les-bains, and the Université de Neuchâtel, 1991; Imperial College, London, 1995; the Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2000, and the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle in 2005. The conference has attracted a number of famous writers, including Brian Aldiss, Ray Bradbury, David Brin, Samuel R. Delany, Larry Niven, Kim Stanley Robinson, Robert Silverberg, Theodore Sturgeon and Roger Zelazny and an equally distinguished group of critics and scientists, including Harold Bloom, Leslie Fiedler, Harry Levin, Marvin Minsky and Robert Scholes. The Conference has produced more than twenty volumes of critical essays, published by various university presses. Most of these volumes are still in print today, and continue to shape the field.
After a three-year gap, the conference resumed at UCR with the theme "Chronicling Mars", May 16–18, 2008. The 2009 conference, "Extraordinary Voyages: Jules Verne and Beyond" was held April 30–May 3, 2009. The 2011 conference on "Global Science Fiction" was held February 11–13, 2011 at Riverside's historic Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. The most recent conference was held April 11–14, 2013, on the subject "Science Fiction Media".
The conference sponsors the J. Lloyd Eaton Memorial Award. From 1979 to 2001 it recognized the "best critical book of each year", although it was not precisely annual. From 2008 it is a lifetime achievement award, in full the J. Lloyd Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award in Science Fiction, recognizing "contributions of lasting significance to the field". The four recipients to 2011 were Ray Bradbury, Frederik Pohl, Samuel R. Delany, and Harlan Ellison.
The conference is now biennial and includes presentations of the awards for two years. Ursula K. Le Guin is the Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award winner for 2012. Both Ray Harryhausen and Stan Lee have been named for 2013 "to honor both science fiction film culture and science fiction comic book culture".
- "Home: The 2013 Eaton Science Fiction Conference". Eaton Collection of Science Fiction. University of California, Riverside (UCR). August 17, 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
- "Essay Collections". Eaton Collection of Science Fiction. UCR. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
- "Eaton Conference Archive". Eaton Collection of Science Fiction. UCR. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- "About the Awards: Eaton".
"Eaton Winners By Year". The Locus Index to SF Awards. Locus Publications. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
- "The Eaton Awards". Eaton Collection of Science Fiction. UCR. Retrieved September 3, 2013. Overview with conference websites beginning 2008.