American science fiction writer Bruce Sterling has donated a collection of materials to the Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin.
Sterling, an alumnus of the university, is known as one of the co-founders of the “cyberpunk” movement in the 1980s, with William Gibson, Rudy Rucker, John Shirley and others. In Sterling’s introduction to “Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology” (1986), he defines the movement as “an unholy alliance of the technical world of pop culture, visionary, fluidity and street-level anarchy.” The anthology, which Sterling edited, examines what happens when scientific discoveries push the boundaries of human knowledge.
The bulk of the collection, which spans from the early 1980s to the present, comprises more than 250 books from his library and 322 serial volumes, along with a set of posters from Russian films (ca. 1986). Many of the books are various editions of works by Sterling, and many of the periodicals contain articles or stories Sterling wrote.
The collection also contains drafts of several of Sterling’s major works. Late drafts of “Holy Fire” (1996), “Heavy Weather” (1994) and the unpublished “Angel Engines” are included, and multiple drafts in various stages can be found for “Islands in the Net” (1988) and “Schismatrix” (1985).
The novel “The Difference Engine” (1990), which Sterling wrote with Gibson, is well-represented with manuscript drafts and notebooks of chapters. Microcassettes of what appear to be phone conversations between the two discussing the work are also included. For this novel, Sterling conducted research in the rare book collections in the Ransom Center’s reading room, and his research notes are included in the materials.
The collection also includes some business papers, correspondence, notes and research materials, an unused screenplay Gibson wrote for “Aliens III,” five unpublished early stories by Sterling and paste-up manuscripts and copies of Sterling’s fanzine “Cheap Truth,” which he edited under the pseudonym “Vincent Omniaveritas” in the 1980s.
The Sterling papers complement the Ransom Center’s existing holdings of science fiction writers L. Sprague de Camp (1907-2000) and Catherine Crook de Camp (1907-2000) and specialist bookseller and editor L. W. Currey (b. 1942).
The materials will be accessible in the fall once processed and cataloged.
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