Experts from the Forensics Department of the St. Maarten Police and popular Canadian science fiction writer Nalo Hopkinson may not know each other yet but their worlds are about to collide on the Friendly Island. “Collide is probably a word to make it sound exciting but they definitely will be at the scene, around the same time, and with exciting presentations or discussion about their work at the University of St. Martin on Saturday, June 4,” said Shujah Reiph, coordinator of the 14th annual St. Martin Book Fair, June 2 – 4, 2016. Book fair-goers and lovers of sci fi books and movies will get up-close insights into the mind of a big name in the very imaginative, other-worldly category of the fiction genre, said Jacqueline Sample of the book fair organization. Hopkinson is the author of eight books of fiction, the editor/co-editor of four fiction anthologies, and a fiction co-editor for the Lightspeed special edition People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction, said Reiph. Hopkinson, who was born in Jamaica and is a Canadian citizen, has received the John W. Campbell Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Andre Norton Award, and twice, the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. She’s now a Creative Writing professor at the University of California Riverside in the USA. The author of the newly published Falling in Love With Hominids (short stories), has made noted novelist Junot Diaz write that, Nalo Hopkinson is “a powerful writer with an imagination that most of us will kill for.” It is exactly on a subject like killing where Hopkinson’s world of great fantasy and the forensics world of real crime investigation could clash in sometimes dangerously dramatic, sometimes tragic and captivating ways, or depart with the differences of light years between them, said Sample. Reiph thinks that it’s no exaggeration to say that many people in St. Martin are addicted to forensics crime shows on TV. “Now when there’s a murder in St. Martin it’s sadly normal to see newspaper and online pictures of police and gendarmes conducting parts of their forensics investigation. But there are other types of crimes that forensics deal with,” said Reiph. The St. Martin Book Fair forensics workshop will be about “Digital forensics and cyber crime” fighting in St. Martin, said Sample. Those attending the workshop will get to ask the experts in real time about the scientific investigation of this type of crime that uses, for example, social media and the Internet on the island, said Sample. Nalo Hopkinson will present the commentary at the Presidents Forum, where the science/future-oriented topic will carry the title of, “I will write a story and put myself in it, in this new world.”
“I can’t wait for these two programs,” said Sample. “One could touch on the fantastical worlds of science fiction writing and future thinking. The other is about the meticulous facts that make forensics science so captivating but more importantly rewarding of justice for so many people.” Sample, a criminologist by profession, is an avid reader of science fiction books and murder mysteries. In a nutshell, forensics have to do with scientific tests or techniques that are used in connection with the detection of crimes such as murder, rape, genocide, burglary, monetary and technology theft and fraud, crime that uses the Internet, and to solve certain aspects of espionage cases. By the way, the theme of the island-wide literary festival this year is “The Science of It.” Conscious Lyrics Foundation and House of Nehesi Publishers are organizing the the St. Martin Book Fair in collaboration with the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, University of St. Martin, LC Fleming Foundation, GEBE, SOS Radio, and the Collectivity of St. Martin. The Book Fair Committee is also very thankful that Philipsburg Jubilee Library, IrieLife, and Peridot Foundation are contributing to literary and movie presentations of the 14th edition of the St. Martin Book Fair, said Reiph.