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Singing with Boba Fett

Sci-Fi on the Rock 7 – Newfoundland’s premier science fiction event – starts tomorrow in St. John’s. While Iceberg won’t be there in person, we’ll be thinking of all of the fine volunteers, organizers, and attendees again this year.

We initially heard about Sci-Fi on the Rock from co-founder Darren Hann when we met at Polaris (then called Toronto Trek) in July 2006. He was planning the first Newfoundland convention for the following April, and was interested in having Kenneth participate as an author guest. We said yes, of course (I think it took a full half second of consideration) and when the time came we packed up books, banners, Iceberg wear and event supplies for a 40-hour whirlwind trip. We were able to go back again in 2008 and 2009, and had the pleasure of watching firsthand as the event flourished in terms of programming, guests, attendees, and profile. And every year it has gotten better.

Mothers and sons.

We’ve met some great people because of Sci-Fi on the Rock, and have had the chance to make some special connections. I remember meeting Liz Dunford-LeDrew and her son Matt, who stopped by our table the first year to chat. Matt was a budding writer who was curious about publishing. By Sc-Fi on the Rock 2 he was an author guest himself, set up at the table next to us with his new company Engen Books.

Liz was helping with book sales that year, and as good Newfoundlanders are known to do, she and I had more than a few conversations. It was during one of those chats that we had the slightly surreal experience of realizing her family had lived in Bellevue when Matt was a little boy… the same Bellevue with the beach that was such an integral part of the Iceberg story. It was part of their story as well –– what were the odds?

Matt, Jeremy Bullock and Kenneth at Sci-Fi on the Rock 2.

Then (because very little in this world is perfect) there’s Kenneth’s story of deep regret from Sci-Fi on the Rock 2. The headlining actor guest that year was Jeremy Bullock, the Briton who played Boba Fett in the original Star Wars movies. Having the opportunity to interact with incredibly talented and decent folks like Jeremy is one of the bonuses of being involved in conventions, and both Kenneth and Matt found Jeremy to be warm and collegial.

At one point, the three of them were standing at the back of a room waiting for the start of the costume contest, which they were to judge. Jeremy and Matt, for reasons Kenneth doesn’t recall (and didn’t involve alcohol), decided to break into a rendition of Old Man River. They urged Kenneth to join them, but he refused –– kind of the same way Ken Barron resists anything that resembles dancing in the Defense Command series.

It wasn’t until the song tapered off that my son realized his error. Now, instead of being able to tell people he had sung Old Man River with Boba Fett (how cool would that be?!), he would have to tell them, very specifically, that he didn’t. Quite the wasted opportunity. I can assure you, if I’d been in the room, I would have delivered a motherly ‘smack ‘cross the side of the head’!

Sci-Fi on the Rock has given us great memories, lasting friendships, and loyal readers. We’ll miss you guys again this year, but we’ll be thinking of you –– and keeping and eye on Facebook and Twitter. Post lots of pictures, and have an amazing con!