The Science Fiction Collection was established in 1972 when Temple University Libraries acquired 5,000 science fiction paperbacks from the personal library of the late David C. Paskow, a Temple alumnus. A subsequent donation in 1986 by Roger Knuth served to expand the collection not only in size but also in focus to include the fantasy genre. This extensive science fiction volume collection documents the evolution of science fiction and fantasy writing from the late 19th through the 20th century.
The collection also includes pulp and slick magazines, posters, paintings, drawing, and related ephemera. Science fiction and fantasy fan culture and criticism often referred to as science fiction fandom are documented in serials known as fanzines. Notable fanzine collections include the Women Writers Fan Fiction Collection, circa 1979-1996, which includes fanzines, underground, and circuit literature written, designed, produced and distributed by female fans of science fiction media teleplays, actors, and characters.
The collection also includes the personal papers of science fiction and fantasy authors Ben Bova, Gardner Dozois, Lloyd Eshbach, Tom Purdom, John Varley, Stanley G. Weinbaum, Felix Gotschalk, Leo Zagat, and manuscripts and files of John Taine (Eric Temple Bell), E. E. Smith, and A. Langley Searles.
The Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection holds related 17th and 18th century imaginary voyages and the Gelfand H. G. Wells Collection.