From Diagon Alley to a galaxy far, far away, the world of science fiction has long been a source of escapism and allegorical triumph. It’s little wonder then that these worlds are so densely populated by fans, who draw upon these stories to do good in their everyday lives.
In 2016, one such fan, Keith Armour was inspired to take bold action. Already a keen fundraiser, Keith had been utilising his costuming abilities to raise money for charity, when he set his sights on something more ambitious. Keith had been a longstanding supporter of the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland; the only charity that provides hospice services in Scotland for babies, children and young people with life-shortening conditions. With a team of just fourteen volunteers, Keith created Scotland’s first non-profit science fiction convention, the Capital Sci-fi Con. The convention, “for fans, by fans”, embraced movie and comic book culture which resonates so strongly with so many people. Nominated for both the Local Hero Award and Scottish Charity Awards, the convention raised £37,680.68.
This year, Capital Sci-fi Con returns to Edinburgh for its second run, and having already amassed 124 volunteers, is set to surpass the previous record. The convention will be hosted by Meadowbank Sports Centre on 18-19 February. Until then, the convention roadshow will be touring Lothian hotspots: Lothian Shopping Centre on the 14-15 January, and Kingsgate Shopping Centre on the 28 January.
At this year’s convention “there’s something for everybody”, boasting memorabilia from classic science fiction universes such as Doctor Who, Star Wars, Marvel and DC. Costumed volunteers, the 501st and Rebel Legion will be on patrol, in addition to the UK Colonial Marines from the Aliens’ universe. Attendees are encouraged to come in costume and get stuck into the convention’s own cosplay competition, and will have the opportunity to immortalise their creation with a trip to Doctor Bell’s “Magical Mirrorless Picture Box.” Creator Keith is particularly enthusiastic about the opportunities cosplay offers to young people, which allows them to “step into that world and be that character.” The convention has elected an all-female panel of judges in a bid to reflect the role of young women within science fiction fandom and encourage more girls to embrace cosplay.
Attendees itching to get involved will be spoiled for choice with the opportunity to play retro arcade games, visit “Owl Magic”, have a turn in the Call of Duty soft-shooting range and browse the wares of 120 traders. An incredibly diverse range of guests will be in attendance, representing both the worlds of comics and movies. To highlight a few, Mark Silk, having voiced such characters as Scooby Doo, Johnny Bravo and Aks Moe, will be hosting Man of a Million Voices. Infamous “creature performer” Ian Whyte will also be present, the man who brought life to such roles as Predator in Alien vs. Predator and the Engineer in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. In attendance will be comic book artists who have worked in such illustrious company as DC and Marvel. LucasFilm artist JAKe will be leading a How to Draw workshop, leading attendees in the creation of storyboards and superheroes.
To end the event with a bang, Banshee Labyrinth will be hosting the Capital Sci-fi Con after party, featuring musical acts, comedy sketches and movie screenings, with the convention’s guests in attendance.
It’s set to be an unforgettable event in aid of an incredible cause. “Come along and help a worthy charity that helps so many families,” the creators urge, assuring every attendee an out of this world experience. For more information and to book tickets now, visit http://www.capitalscificon.co.uk/.