Villa Fantastica Wien - Vienna, Austria
Visited: 16th April 2015
Vienis the home of the annual European Geophysical Conference... 14000 mostly geologists with a smattering of oceanographers meet each year to give talks to each other in (in my case at least) very small rooms.
In 2015 I took aTuesday off and visited the unusual Science Fiction and Fantasy library 'Villa Fantastica', at the western extremity of the city. Over several floors great treasures of unusual fiction have been collected and are available to rent out, like in a normal library, to residents of Vienna. The staff are great and helped me explore their stock of German, English, Russian and other stocks of books. Here photographed a nice copy of Stapledon's 'The Flames'. Some real treats in there, both from aesthetic and sci-fi history viewpoints.
Although I have lived in mainland Europe for years I am awful at languages, and have not really got to know all the European editions of even my most favoured books. There are some real treats here!
It is interesting also to see how available in German are translations of some authors (such as the Strugatsky brothers and other Russian writers) almost wholly ignored by English language publishers. Some of this is likely due to the East / West Germany divide, but is that the only reason?
If you have a chance to visit Vienna try and see the library, the opening hours are varied so check with their website first. I doubt even the most seasoned fan of unusual fiction could spend 30 minutes here and not see something new to them, albeit in an unfamiliar language.