$2.25M science fiction collection donated to San Diego State University

Edward Marsh of Escondido was behind donation

SAN DIEGO - A science fiction collection valued at $2.25 million was donated to the San Diego State University library, the school announced Monday.

Edward Marsh of Escondido, who began seriously collecting books about nine years ago, handed over works by Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Other writers in the collection include Ernest Hemingway, Albert Einstein, George Orwell, Will Durant, Winston Churchill, Ian Fleming, William Burroughs and some U.S. presidents.

Most of the books are signed first editions and include press clippings, notes and autographs.

It will take several months to catalogue the collection before it can be put on display in the new Edward Marsh Golden Age of Science Fiction Room at the main library, according to SDSU.

"This is an incredibly significant collection, not just to science fiction fans, but to students and researchers in the fields of science, technology, politics, religion, philosophy, journalism, even theatre and film," said Gale Etschmaier, the dean of the library. "This is just a phenomenal gift for researchers."

Marsh, who attended SDSU for two semesters in 1969, worked for the Church of Scientology and became fascinated with the work of church founder L. Ron Hubbard, who wrote pulp fiction in the 1930s and 40s. He later went into the mortgage and real estate businesses.

"I hope that there are more science fiction writers that come of it," Marsh said. "We need brilliant minds to be stimulated by the old brilliant minds and to come up with new ideas because science fiction points to the future -- it heralds the future of what can be."

He has previously donated books to UC Riverside.

According to U-T San Diego, an independent appraiser valued Marsh's collection at $10 million to $12 million.

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