If the phrases “Space Invaders tournament,” “Jedi knights,” or “free popcorn” pique your interest, there’s somewhere you need to be this weekend.
You can find all of the above – and lots more – at the York Emporium (343 W Market Street) this Saturday, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. It’s the return of their yearly Sci-Fi Saturday. Jim Lewin, self-described “book sage” at the York-based bookstore, says that this annual event originated as a kind of labor of love. “First of all, I wanted to do it,” he declares. There’s a dearth of any science-fiction-focused conventions in the Central PA area. “There’s a couple down in Hunt Valley in Maryland, but there’s nothing here.”
Not that this is going to be a traditional convention – as compared to what regular con-goers might expect, he explains, “It’s more of a fun, silly kind of a thing.” What, so no people dressed up in Star Trek ensign outfits, accurate down to the tiniest detail? “There will be some people walking around in costume, I’m sure, but at a convention, there’s multiple things going on at one time. That’s not how we do things here. Each hour, we’ll have a different author speaking, or we’ll have trivia.”
Speaking of those authors – big names in the science fiction universe will be in attendance. Robert Greenberger, former editor for both Marvel and DC and author of The Essential Batman Encyclopedia, will be there. Role-playing game maven Aaron Rosenberg? He’ll be in attendance too. Michael Jan Friedman, incredibly prolific author – a good half of them Star Trek novels – and writer for over 150 comic books at one time or another? Yeah, he’ll be there too – among others.
What about that trivia?
“It’s a knockoff on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,’ so we call it ‘Who Wants to Be the Captain,’” Lewin explains. “There’ll be lifelines, you know, things like that… We’ll actually have three people playing instead of one… and the prize is an inflatable captain’s chair.” Prospective contestants, be alert: Sci-fi literature trivia, as well as trivia derived from television and comics series, will make up the pool of questions. You’ll need to know your Ursula K. Le Guin from your Margaret Atwood.
The competition doesn’t stop there. All day long, there will be a Space Invaders tournament – on an original Space Invaders game that Lewin has in-house – and the top three players on the leader board at the end of the day will receive prizes. Lewin offers a bit of Jedi-like advice for intrepid contestants: “Don’t lock your wrist up. Just go with it. Be one with the machine.”
But even if Space Invaders isn’t in your particular ballpark, if you like sci-fi, stop by. With everything from lightsaber fights courtesy of the Capital City Jedi Knights to the stacks of sci-fi and speculative fiction books in stock at the York Emporium, you’re guaranteed to find something you like. After all, Lewin stresses, this isn’t your typical convention – and really, that’s half the fun of it.
“It’s just an opportunity for sci-fi nerds like me to get together and to have fun.”