Steve Lake can remember being a child, sitting in front of a television watching the original Star Trek series. He was hooked. “You see something fantastic on tv and your imagination is captured and away you go from there,” he says. So it’s no surprise that he’s been involved with the local science fiction and fantasy convention, Sci Fi on the Rock, since it formed. He’s currently the Vice Chair and Vendor Coordinator.
In the past, science fiction and fantasy were considered small niche genres, but in the last decade they’ve become staples of pop culture. In fact, we just might be in a Golden Age for geeks. Because while science fiction has “always been a little more to the side of mainstream,” Steve says, but right now, “It’s hip to be geek.”
Look at what the famous shows are: Game of Thrones, which started off as a book series, has been brought to life (and plenty of death) on HBO. Doctor Who is one of the most popular science fiction shows on air.
Marvel Studios keeps producing hit after hit on the big screen as well as on the small screen, with shows like Agents of Shield. On Netflix there’s Daredevil and Jessica Jones. As well, classic franchises like Star Trek and Star Wars have more movies in the works.
“It’s all just kind of exploding at once and it’s fantastic,” Steve says. “It’s just an incredible time to be a geek or a nerd.”
Tara Murphy, the chair of the committee for Sci fi on the Rock, agrees. “There’s no question in pop culture that science fiction and fantasy has really become far more popular in recent years.”
10 Years Strong
It’s a good time to be a geek or a nerd in Newfoundland. Sci Fi on the Rock is celebrating its 10th year in April, and TimeMasters, another staple of the local geek community, just celebrated 25 years in business.
Fans from all over the province and afar will descend upon the Sheraton Hotel and take it over from April 1-3. It’s a move from the usual location at the St. John’s Holiday Inn. But the move was a necessary one, Steve explains. The convention was expanding and the organizers agreed they need the space.
The move to the Sheraton also coincides with a milestone year for the convention, “And that’s another part of the reason we wanted to go bigger with the Sheraton space. Because it is 10 years that were celebrating.”
Almost three years ago the committee started looking around for a larger space to hold the convention. Steve recalls the convention’s first year at Mount Pearl Hotel, 600 people crowded the hallways. Last year 3,000 people attended the weekend event at the Holiday Inn, where they were bursting at the seams.
“And although everybody was getting together and were still having a fun time, the biggest observation we would get, year after year, was ‘you guys need more space, you need more space.’ So we had to go find someplace that could hold us,” Steve says.
Steve wants Sci Fi on the Rock to eventually make it to the Mile One Convention Centre. “I hope to see it grow to that point. I mean, I’m still having fun and as long as I’m having fun I’m going to stick around and do what I can to, hopefully, reach that point.”