Who'd have thought that a small city in western Germany would become a hub for science fiction literature? The Phantastische Bibliothek, or fantastic library, in the city of Wetzlar has over 270,000 fantasy books, making it the world's largest public collection of its kind.
Fans will find every German-language publication the genre has to offer, from science fiction, classical fantasy and horror, to utopian fiction, travel and adventure literature, fairy tales, legends and mythic fiction. The library also carries secondary literature, newspapers, articles and theses, as well as the literary estates of selected writers.
Its collection makes the library a point of interest not only for science fiction fans and researchers, but also for companies. From small businesses to DAX-listed corporations and even public-sector institutions, research facilities and business consultants – the library staff deals with the whole spectrum of contacts hoping that the answers to the future can be found in the literature. That's because science fiction authors often use current research for their descriptions but take it several steps further to play with the possibilities and potential consequences.
Initially, the inquires tended to focus on technological developments (automotive companies, robotics, materials) before moving to public research (nanotechnology). Today, they increasingly relate to how people use technology (acceptance, assessing the consequences) and shifts in society.