Newfoundland’s premier science-fiction convention celebrated its third consecutive year this past weekend, with rave successes. Nearly a thousand people from the province and beyond came out to attend writing seminars, talk with authors, and meet with the stars of the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises.
“I thought the con was wonderful,” remarked science-fiction author Devin Drover. “It’s nice to see so many science fiction and fantasy fans together in one place and see everyone interacting so well together. There were lots of laughs, and lots of fun.”
The convention was kicked-off on Friday, April 24th with the launch of Kenneth Tam’s newest alternate-history novel, The Frontier. The launch, which was attended by a packed house of fans and convention goers, was emcee’d by Engen’s own Matthew LeDrew.
“It was an honor to be asked to do the launch,” LeDrew remarked on the experience. “I think it speaks to the general atmosphere of cooperation and comradery that surrounds science-fiction in general and this convention in specific. There’s no real competition between business present, just the general attitude that if one of us wins, we all win.
“Besides that, as a genuine fan of the His Majesty’s New World series, it was a thrill to be a part of this launch.”
Beyond the launch, festivities continued throughout the weekend and including book signings, seminars on writing, publishing and screenplay writing. Other guests of the convention included Star Wars‘ Peter Mayhew and Christian J. Simpson; as well as veteran Star Trek actor Vaughn Armstrong.
“The fan turnout was great,” remarked LeDrew. “We got a lot of new Black Womb fans thanks to the amazing attendance, and a lot of people from last year dropped by to pick up Smoke and Mirrors, which is always encouraging.”
Matthew spoke at eight workshops over the two day convention, some alone and some alongside fellow author Kenneth Tam, on a variety of subjects from the tools needed to become a writer to the do’s and don’ts of screenplay writing.
“Attendance in the writing panels was up this year, and we got to meet with a great group of people,” Tam said on his website. “It’s always a pleasure to meet with storytellers, whatever stage in the process they’re at.”
The Sci-Fi on the Rock writing seminars have provided fruitful material for Engen Books the last two years, a trend that LeDrew says he hopes to continue this year.
“I met Kenneth Tam when he spoke at a writing seminar at the very first Sci-Fi on the Rock, back in 2007.” explained LeDrew. “With his help I was published myself by the next year. We teamed up for seminars at the second Sci-Fi and in one panel I met both Devin Drover and Ellen Curtis, who I signed on during the interim and who were both published under our creator-owned imprint, NewFoundSpecFic.
“That tradition has continued. There were many promising authors in attendance during the weekend, some of whom I think you’re going to be hearing big things from in the near future.”
NewFoundSpecFic was also in attendance during the convention, with its all-star authors Ellen Curtis, Devin Drover and Jennifer Graham. Fan reaction to the trio was phenomenal, with potential authors young and old wondering how they could join the NFSF team.
“There was some notable interest in NewFoundSpecFic, even from the people who didn’t buy it,” commented Ellen Curtis, author of both The Tourniquet Revival and Falling into Fire. “Apparently word is getting out to some of the high schools in town through other people who went. Hopefully that’s a sign of good things to come.”