Skip to content

Royal Newfoundland Regiment on a New Planet


Newfoundland novelist Kenneth Tam is returning home this week, to launch the first book in a new alternate history series. The Grasslands will be launched on Friday night, April 18, 2008, at the Holiday Inn St. John’s. The event will kickoff this year’s Sci-Fi on the Rock convention.

The Grasslands features the Royal Newfoundland Regiment of 1919 exploring a new planet on behalf of the British Empire. “It’s a mix of the two subjects I love most –– history and science fiction,” Tam, who will graduate in June with his Master’s degree in history, explains. “Alternate history gives you the chance to see what would happen if our ancestors ran into the sorts of other-worldly things we often assume are only in our future.”

Currently residing in Waterloo, Ontario, Tam is an accomplished science fiction novelist, having already published fourteen novels in that genre. He says he has long been eager to take his storytelling to the past. “I’ve studied history at university for the last six years, while I’ve been writing sci-fi. Through all that time, I’d thought about merging the two, and now I have the chance.”

When asked why he selected the Royal Newfoundland Regiment for his other-worldly story, Tam smiled, “If you’re exploring the unknown on another planet, you need to have the best people on your side. And the RNR is rightly known as ‘Better than the Best’.”

The launch of The Grasslands will be a special kick-off event for Sci-Fi on the Rock II, the second annual edition of Atlantic Canada’s largest science fiction event. Started as a one-day event last year, the convention garnered so much interest that it was extended to two days for 2008, and has drawn in guest actors from the Star Wars films and from science fiction television series.

Three authors, including Tam, will also be guests at the convention, and will offer seminars on writing and publishing.

Tam, who was one of the author guests at last year’s convention, is pleased to be coming back, “It’s always good to come home, but more than that, this is a really great convention. Its growth from last year to this year has been phenomenal, and I look forward to returning for it for many years to come.”

Friday’s event will start at 7:00 p.m., with a reading by Tam at approximately 7:30, and questions and signings to follow.

Tam looks forward to the evening, “I’ve done events from coast to coast over the past few years, but I always enjoy the ones at home most of all.”