By Noah Millrod and Zach Strum
Kidsday Staff Writers, 12, Coram
long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away - the kingdom champion
attacked the challenger with a mighty hammer?
Well, that's what happens when science fiction and fantasy collide. What
also occurs is a lot of angry fans with a dilemma - science fiction or
fantasy. Kidsday was introduced recently to the glorious Kingdom of
Uberheim, a group of pure-hearted medieval re-
creationists. They have a king, a queen and forms of chivalry. It is
what they call a sub-
society or in the words of Lord Dankworth, "We are the world's
largest dysfunctional family."
You may have seen them some time or another with a crowd gathered around
and the sound of weapons thrashing against each other. You may have
referred to them as the guys in crazy outfits waving around foam sticks.
But when fantasy fans look at them, they see a crazed flurry of fearsome
combat between two strong enemies. All it takes is a little imagination
from the gathered fans to see deadly combat. Uberheim gains the title
sub-society because it involves not only fighting but also hosting
parties, camping, cooking, brewing, embroidering, calligraphy, sewing,
storytelling and leather work.
One place to see a demonstration of such a group is at I-Con, the SUNY
Stony Brook convention that each spring for 20 years has celebrated
science fiction and fantasy. And if you're wondering which is stronger,
this year the glorious kingdom of Uberheim staged a fight scene with the
Imperial City Garrison, a group of "Star Wars" role players.
With an eager crowd of fantasy fans looking on, the Empire City garrison
charged forward with one sand trooper, two speeder bike scouts, six
storm troopers, one snow trooper, one officer, Boba Fett, Qui Gon Jin,
Queen Amidala, Darth Maul and Darth Vader. The ranks of Uberheim
included about eight warriors and five or six other nonviolent members.
When the dust cleared, the medievalists held their ground. No one took
it too seriously, though. The one true thing sci-fi and fantasy have in
common is that they are both ways of escaping the problems of life and
pretending you are in the past or the future. This is what makes the
lives of many devoted fans enjoyable and the lives of the motley crew of
The kingdom has events all year long, which you can read about on its
Web site, http://cybergaard.tripod.com. And the crew plans to be back to
put on demonstrations at I-Con next spring.
Will they prevail once again? Or will the Empire strike back?