play audio Science Fiction Conventions

Yes it is that time of year again when pot-bellied men, dust off their Darth Vader costume, ample women reach for the princess Leia slave costume, and totally embarrassed kids dressed up as Artoo Deeto find themselves converging on convention centres dotted around the country to shriek with delight at seeing the left thumb of Brent Spiner or actually getting to pose for a photograph with Levar Burton, Nichelle Nichols , or a slighty sweaty stormtrooper.

Sci Fi convention geeks are a thick skinned lot, and I am one of them. Not only have we inadvertently weaved script lines from Star Wars and Star Trek into the very fabric of our existence, but we also believe in coming together every so often to worship at the autograph altar of our heroes. We find some sort of indescribable need to see them in the flesh and not in their natural habitat, on the deck of a star ship, or meandering through the forest moon of Endor on what can only be described as a broom on crack.

By removing ourselves from reality we find a certain peace in knowing that in this world, Scotty will come up with some ingenious method of getting us away from Khan in the nick of time,  that good invariably will triumph over evil and no matter how annoying Jar Jar Binks is , he does not deserve some excruciatingly horrific form of torture.

We are aware that so called normal people do not understand our fascination, that they ridicule us for not having a life , or heaven forbid that we generate the sort of enthusiasm and expectation more appropriate for an autopsy on an arthritic squirrel.

We do not care, the stories , the films all have a special meaning to us. They speak of hope, and the fact that good should and must win in the end. They provide us with a form of escapism, not the Sam Tyler kind where divorcing oneself from reality would obviously do us no good at all. No, the sort of release from the droll nine to five , grey tie wearing , triangle sandwich eating , talking on the mobile phone loud enough to try and justify your own existence speaking, whirlwind of debt, low wages and crass behaviour we have called life.

So, the next time you see a guy wearing a Klingon outfit that looks a little too much like the remains of a cereal box, cut him a little slack because telling others to get a life is normally done by those who themselves don’t have one.


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