On Star Wars

It's All in the Numbers

By Tanya Huff

Way back in late August of 1980, five of us were driving from Toronto down to the World Science Fiction Convention in Boston. For reasons I can no longer remember but I’m sure made sense at the time, we left home at one a.m. and arrived at the Canada/U.S. Thousand Island border crossing at five a.m. Our ages ranged from eighteen to twenty-three, and we were not, at that hour, looking our best.

Now, we’d all been across the border to science fiction conventions before and we were all expecting trouble trying to explain to a civil servant working the end of the night shift–an armed civil servant at that–where we were going and why. Neither the hour, nor our youth, nor the fact we were a mixed group (three men, two women) was working in our favor. Lying never occurred to us. It might have been a Canadian thing. It might have been because we figured we were too damned tired to lie convincingly.

So we paid our toll and crossed the bridge and rolled up to the only station open at U.S. customs and immigration. A beefy, middle-aged man peered into the car.

“Where you going?”

“Boston.”

“Why?”

“We’re attending the World Science Fiction Convention.”

“Science fiction?” he demanded suspiciously.

And before any of us had time to imagine the inevitable strip searches and start panicking, my ex smiled brightly and said, “You know, like Star Wars.”

The guard’s suspicion morphed instantly to delight. “Star Wars?” he repeated, smiling broadly. “I loved that movie! Saw it three  …

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