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News item dated 21 October 2021

Over the 45 years since we first signed a contract in 1975, the SFE has been a cottage industry, an ongoing conversation of like-minded writers and editors and sponsors: a continuity shared with but not entirely dependent upon any of our genuinely amicable publishers over the decades: Roxby Press, Doubleday, Granada, Orbit, St Martin’s Press, Orion/Gollancz. Collaboratively and alone, they carried us for all those years but have now departed: what remains is the team of us, in the virtual cottage where we have worked and thrived for so long. The mastheads name various significant editors over the years. It might be an idea here to say a bit more.

So here are a few first words about John Lifton and Pamela Zoline, who use their surnames professionally, but are married as John and Pamela Lifton-Zoline, and are sometimes known as the LZs. John and Pamela, in concert with their Telluride Institute in Colorado, have provided moral, financial and institutional support to the SFE for many years now. The moral support, the conversations and parties, began in 1975. During a financial interregnum around 2009 they kept us from sinking, long enough for the complex nuptials between the newly online SFE and Gollancz, which was also entering unplumbed waters, to be consummated in October 2011. From 2015 the story becomes more complicated, and potentially more fruitful.

In early April 2013 we had put up the first scans in our Picture Gallery, something we could initiate now that we were online; as of October 2021 it contains almost 30,000 scans of first or significantly modified editions of books discussed and/or listed in the body of the SFE. For our selection criteria, and for arguments about the importance of visually experiencing sf texts in the full context of their original entry into the world, see here. In 2015, Pamela and John came into the picture by arranging the purchase for The Telluride Institute of my own collection of sf first editions (ultimately 13,000 of them, mostly in dust jacket), which now constitutes the Clute Science Fiction Library at Telluride, where they can be consulted the way books should be consulted: as objects to be curated and touched and loved and learned from. The covers for 10,000 of these books have been scanned for the SFE Picture Gallery: along with around 4500 scans from David Langford’s and Research Editor Roger Robinson’s own collections, they provide the SFE’s personal provenance for almost half of the scans displayed (the remaining scans are from trusted friends and associates, including 4,600 images, some never seen elsewhere, from the sf dealer Lloyd Currey). For the LZs, this complex interaction between the Library and the SFE helps make the Telluride Institute, amongst its other roles in the deep Rockies, a place where the SFE can be seen and felt: a place for the joining of minds: a parliament of knowledge.

As continuing sponsors of the SFE, they are thinking of other projects we may share. We are too.

John Clute

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