Sci-Fi Expo Delights Crowd

The event at Juniper-Poplar drew science fiction enthusiasts who played games and displayed their artistic talent.


Pieces are placed on the chess board for the game "Your Move."                                   Photos: Laura Kneski | USF News

By Laura Kneski

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2013) – In a room filled with battles and laughter, science fiction enthusiasts gathered around a large chess set measuring four-feet square.


Novice players and experts sat together and played out the games. All the while, art from these worlds—this genre of Sci-Fi—decorated the space.


The Fantasy Sci-Fi Expo at the University of South Florida showcased not only artists, but those with an interest in the supernatural, as well. Watercolors of woodland fairies were propped adjacent to printed photos of alternate realities. Some visitors sketched their own masterpieces on the whiteboard in the Juniper-Poplar classroom. What drew most of the crowd’s attention, though, was the chess set.


The game, originally titled “Your Move”, exemplified the war between good and evil. Student Rina Walker chose the name for her creation in order to encourage more hands-on interaction with the set. Otherwise, people tend to be afraid to handle the figures.


The ceramic chess creatures appear fragile, and in fact have broken many times. But a little glue, Walker said, gets the fairies, minotaurs, griffins, imps and other pieces ready for more battles.


Even though the entire set took her months to complete, Walker didn’t mind the occasional crack as long as people were having fun.


Tampa Bay Comic Con was also at the recent Expo. They provided free, specially-designed posters of The Black Widow. Their annual convention will take place from April 6-7 at the Double Tree.


Trading Card Game Club at USF president Alexander Beard had the idea for the Expo last September. He said that he had always enjoyed Sci-Fi, and once he found out that the Honors College provides help for putting on events, he decided to make it happen.


After months of planning, Beard was pleased with the product. He is hoping for an even bigger turnout of artists and visitors next year.


“I would love to make this an annual thing,” he said.


Student Robert Owens enjoyed the Expo. His favorite aspect of it was that it showcased the talent of his fellow students that may not otherwise have been recognized.


“This isn’t the most popular genre out there, but there are a lot of people that are interested in it,” Owens said. “So that’s nice to have it condensed into one, fun place.”


The Trading Card Game Club at USF can be contacted at its Facebook page.