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the Lower Columbia


Photos, from top: Cosplay competition; recreation of the TARDIS from Doctor Who; Kylar Richmond and Krystopher Richmond impersonating S t a r Wa r s characters at a previous NanoCon event.

by Perry Piper

Danger, Will Robinson!

College students host sci fi event March 23-24


cience fiction usually gets a bad rap. Most people much prefer watching comedy or romance for entertainment, seeing sci fi as overly complex and nerdy. The truth, though, is that science fiction centers around the question of what it means to be human and explores this through endless scenarios of what might be possible in our future. Literature and even some films like “2001” or “Blade Runner” are notoriously tough to understand. The 20th century classics often require readers to not only keep pace at an upper college level with punishingly obscure vocabulary, but also with abstract and often philosophically controversial ideas. At first glance, many might think sci fi is only for young people today, but it has been a long lasting and classic subject, going back to at least the 17th century after the scientific revolution. However, some would argue the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh was the true spark of the medium. Sci fi exploded into its own during the 20th century. The weekend of March 23-24, Lower Columbia College’s sci fi club is throwing their fifth annual festival called NanoCon Mk. V to celebrate the genre. The word “nano” evokes

IF YOU GO NanoCon Mk. V March 23-24 (Fri 5–9:30pm, ages 17+ or with guardian; Sat 10am–10pm) Lower Columbia College Health & Sciences Bldg. 1600 Maple St., Longview, Wash. Tickets online or at the door. Prices $5–50, depending on the event and package choice. Check website for more details:

a small scale event, but one that grows out of control like the popular concept of nanotechnology — atomic sized robots that can replicate or do anything, similar to Mickey Mouse in the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and his ever-multiplying broom automatons. Friday’s events include a film festival, a concert by Stovokor (Star Trek Klingon metal band) and, for those purchasing upper tier tickets, a special dinner with guest authors like Greg

22 / March15 – April 14, 2018 / Columbia River Reader

Bear, of Halo novel fame, a popular Microsoft Xbox video game from 2001. Saturday is the main event, including many things like cosplay aka costume contests, panels, board and video games including virtual reality, which I’ll be running. There will also be merchandise to purchase, a murder mystery game and youth specific films. Everything will be clearly marked for varying age levels and the event is family friendly. Anyone who wants to meet fellow fans of sci fi can attend the event purely to socialize and meet

new friends. Younger attendees might want to know that Tadd Galusha is one of this year’s guests. He is working on a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles / Ghostbusters crossover comic and Munchkin board game expansion. In past years, classic author descendant James Wells was there, as was Poul Anderson. I hope to see some of you there this year and it will be a great event to take kids to and expose them to science fiction if they’re not already fans. Like Elon Musk says, we can’t just solve one problem after another in life, we need a vision to be inspired by to get out of bed in the morning. Many of the gizmos of today were built by kids growing up loving “Star Trek” and other classic sci fi works. ••• Perry Piper’s newest interest is daytrading of digital currencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. He spends the majority of his time as CRR’s graphic designer and tech consultant...and, of course, planning his next trip. Read his report on the new Amazon Go store in Seattle, page 17.

CRR March 2018  

5 Dispatch from the Discovery Trail : Clark’s Life Afterwards 6 Besides CRR...What Are You Reading? 7 Cover to Cover ~ Bestsellers List / Bo...

CRR March 2018  

5 Dispatch from the Discovery Trail : Clark’s Life Afterwards 6 Besides CRR...What Are You Reading? 7 Cover to Cover ~ Bestsellers List / Bo...