Goblins, orgies, and sci-fi hellfights
"goblins, orgies, and sci-fi hellfights"
by david m. ewalt
from the long island voice
"Okay... Molly Ringwald versus Claire Danes, if they both have shivs or something... who wins?"
"I think Molly Ringwald would kick her ass," Phil says. "That Molly Ringwald is a street bitch."
Welcome to the Science Fiction Forum.
Every college campus has its own version of the Forum: the freaks, weirdos, geeks, nerds - whatever you want to call them. They're often an unseen presence on campus, lurking about the dormitories and passing Star Trek books from hand to hand.
At SUNY Stony Brook, however, their presence is announced, loud and clear: from the rocket ship logo painted on the door of their office in Harriman Hall, to their penchant for swordfights and scavenger hunts that rage across campus.
The Science Fiction Forum is one of Stony Brook's oldest clubs, founded in 1968. It's a student run and funded organization, meaning it gets its funding from Polity, the student government. Nonetheless, it's not much like any other club on campus.
Official Forum membership numbers range between 60 and 70 active members, defined as those who stop by at least once a week. Even more show up occasionally, including those who no longer attend the school.
The Forum was started by a handful of students who wanted to maintain a science fiction library. They began their work in a back room of a dormitory, collecting whatever books they could find. A few thousand volumes later, disaster struck, and the library burnt down.
The Forumites pressed on, however, and now can boast of one of America's finest science fiction libraries.
Outside the library, Forumites generally spend their time immersed in sci-fi.
"Wednesday night we show TV shows," says Erik. "Our activities coordinators tape stuff off TV, like X-Files, Babylon 5, whatever. Once a semester we like to have a movie marathon, where we'll take the whole weekend and watch a bunch of science fiction movies."
Quite often there's people here until four or five in the morning, especially on movie night. A lot of times you come down here in the morning and people are just leaving."
Those late hours often lead to scintillating conversation.
Samantha, one of the few females in the office, jumps in.
"My favorite one was Physics of the Light Sabre," she says. "'It's focused light! No, what are you talking about, it's a molecule!' It went on for hours."
"I think twelve people actually jumped," she adds.
Erik, who is also active in the Medieval Guild, remembers when he put together the club's bylaws.
"In the Medieval Guild's constitution," he says, "I actually wrote, 'Polity allows us to have a standing army, and equip them with weapons of our choice... and it got approved."
"They wouldn't let us put in a ban against goblins, though, because it's against discrimination laws," says Grace Hsu, another Forumite/Guild member. "I think we should be allowed to discriminate against goblinoids... they slobber and get the floor all dirty."
"Yeah, but so do half the Forumites," interrupts Samantha.
"Never!" denies Erik. "Especially not on Halloween!"
Eventually, he relents, and goes on record.
- Full text at http://www.droppingscience.com/clips/forum.html
- Reprinted under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/1.0/