Sci-Fi Saturday
Part of The York Emporium's Sci-Fi Saturday will be a Space Invaders tournament. Sci-Fi Saturday runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 15, 2013. (SUBMITTED)
If you notice a light saber battle outside the York Emporium this weekend, don't worry -- it's just Sci-Fi Saturday. The daylong "gathering of fans and aficionados," as Emporium owner Jim Lewin calls it, celebrates all things science fiction.

When the event began several years ago, there was no science-fiction convention in York or even Harrisburg, Lewin said. The closest was Balticon, held over Memorial Day weekend in Baltimore. So Lewin put plans into motion, inviting several science-fiction authors, showing a movie and playing some games.

"We try to get some interesting, fun guests," Lewin said, everyone from Lawrence Schoen, publisher of a Klingon translation of Shakespeare's "Hamlet," to the Capital City Jedi Knights.

This year's big draw is best-selling author Michael Jan Friedman, who has written 69 books, more than 30 of which are in the "Star Trek" line.

"I've been aware of him for a while," Lewin said. "I would like to say I'm a closet Trekker, but I've never been in the closet."

Lewin started reading the "Star Trek" novels in the late '70s, just before the first "Star Trek" movie came out.

"I couldn't get enough of it," he said.

It's a bit of a trip for Friedman, who lives on Long Island, but he's looking forward to his first time at The York Emporium: Readers at Shore Leave and Fanpoint, two fan-run science-fiction conventions in Baltimore, have talked it up.

"I'm looking forward to not only the event, but seeing this place," Friedman said.


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Writers Brian Koscienski and Chris Pisano of The Drunken Comic Book Monkeys, Tom Joyce of Codorus Press and New Jersey-based author Mary Louise Davie will also sign copies of their books, set up in the middle of the store where Lewin normally displays military collectibles.

"There's always plenty of books, plenty of people to meet," Lewin said.

Past years have attracted about 50 people throughout the day, which runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In addition to signing books, Davie will also give a presentation titled "Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact," going back "even to the pulps of the '30s and '40s to things that were supposedly so fantastic and out there then, that are coming true," Lewin said.

Add in a Space Invaders tournament, a local collection of NASA hardware, a performance by Baltimore-based filk band the Denebian Slime Devils and an appearance by the Capital City Jedi Knights, and it's bound to be a busy day.

"There will be a Sith Lord, too, so we'll have light saber battles," Lewin said. "Probably not in the store, probably in the parking lot. But you never know."

-- SARAH CHAIN, FlipSide staff

If you go

What: Sci-Fi Saturday

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 15

Where: The York Emporium, 343 W. Market St., York

Details: Admission is free. Visit www.theyorkemporium.com or find The York Emporium on Facebook for details

More: Read an interview with Michael Jan Friedman at www.yorkblog.com/books.