University of California, Riverside

Eaton Collection at UC Riverside



About the Eaton Collection


About the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction & Fantasy

The Eaton Collection is the largest publicly-accessible collection of science fiction, fantasy, horror and utopian literature in the world. It consists of hardback and paperback books, pulp magazines, fanzines, film and visual material, comic books, and ephemera. It is housed in the UCR Libraries' Special Collections & Archives, located on the fourth floor of the Tomás Rivera Library.

History of the Collection

The Eaton Collection originated with the personal library of Dr. J. Lloyd Eaton, an Oakland, California physician and book collector. Eaton's collection consisted of about 7,500 hardback editions of science fiction, fantasy and horror from the Nineteenth to the mid-Twentieth centuries. The collection was acquired in 1969 with the intention of creating an outstanding resource for the research and study of science fiction and fantasy.

Today the collection has grown to over 300,000 items and is a major resource for the study of speculative fiction or "SF." It is visited by scholars from around the world both for its American and international holdings, from  the 1517 edition of Thomas More's Utopia to the most recent sf publications. Among its archival collections are the papers of Richard Adams, Gregory Benford, David Brin, Michael Cassutt, Robert L. Forward, and Anne McCaffrey, just to name a few.

The Eaton Conference

From the outset, the intention of UCR Libraries was to make the Eaton Collection an outstanding resource for research and study. As part of its scholarly mission, the Eaton Collection began hosting an Eaton Conference in 1979.

Over the years, the Eaton Conference has attracted a number of famous writers, including Brian Aldiss, Gregory Benford, Ray Bradbury, David Brin, Samuel R. Delany, Harlan Ellison, Frederik Pohl, Kim Stanley Robinson, Robert Silverberg, Theodore Sturgeon and Roger Zelazny. It has attracted an equally distinguished group of critics and scientists including Harold Bloom, Leslie Fiedler, Fredric Jameson, Harry Levin, Marvin Minsky and Robert Scholes.

The conference has produced more than 20 volumes of critical essays, published by various university presses.

The collection is also a compendium of five centuries of publishing history. The history of decades of science fiction illustration can also be researched from the covers of pulp paperbacks and dust jackets of hard cover books.

From 1979 to 2004, George Slusser held a joint position as Eaton curator and professor of comparative literature. During his tenure the collection grew in printed titles and other materials, including the acquisition of the major fanzine collections.

A prolific scholar in the field, Slusser taught the first courses in science fiction studies at UCR and originated the Eaton Conference, which he chaired for more than 20 years. It was Slusser's dream for UCR to become a center of science fiction studies, with the collection he helped build as the nucleus. Establishing UCR as a center for science fiction studies is still part of the long-range vision at UCR.

Courses in science fiction studies are now taught by leading SF scholar Rob Latham and SF author Nalo Hopkinson. Latham also serves as ex officio liaison to the Eaton Collection and co-chair of the biennial Eaton Conference with Melissa Conway, the UCR Libraries' Head of Special Collections & Archives.

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