A week from today I’ll be deep in the costumed crowds of San Diego Comic Con! If you love fantasy, science fiction and horror like I do, then Comic Con is the BEA of the speculative fiction world. Many people think of Comic Con as a place to break out your cosplay outfits, get up at 2:00 a.m. to get a space in line for Hall H, or *gasp* look for rare comics. But there is a lot more to Comic Con than meets the eye, and for me that means BOOKS! And AUTHORS! And PUBLISHERS! The SFF book scene at Comic Con is really strong, and I’ve learned from past experience that if you want to, you can do nothing but book related activities for the entire four days—and even then, you’ll have to choose because there is just so much to do.
Every year I attempt to plan out a schedule, but you have to be flexible because you never know what might sound like fun at any particular moment. By now, most publishers have schedules of author signings and book giveaways up on their websites, but this year I’ve only been able to track down Tor’s schedule. So my lists below are certainly going to change by the time I get to San Diego.
Here are the (mostly) bookish things I can’t wait to do at Comic Con:
Now some of these are wishful thinking. The chances of Morning Star being at SDCC are pretty slim. I remember last year I was hoping Pierce Brown would be signing ARCs of Golden Son, but they weren’t available. (Although Pierce Brown was there, and he was super nice!) I know for sure that All the Birds in the Sky, Time Salvager, and Made to Kill will be there, because they are all Tor books, and Tor has been kind enough to post their schedule. And I know Blood and Salt will be there because it’s confirmed on the SDCC website. Plus I had a Twitter conversation with the author, Kim Liggett, and she confirmed it too! The rest? Well, I know the authors will all be on various panels, so it’s quite likely they’ll be signing their books as well. Which brings me to…
Oh so many authors will be at Comic Con this year, including a few favorites of mine that I’ve never met. Yes, Chuck Wendig is going to be there this year! He just announced that he’ll be signing both Zeroes and Aftermath, his Star Wars novel. Other authors I’m looking forward to meeting that I know for sure will be at SDCC are: Ernest Cline, Wesley Chu, Robert Brockway, Greg Van Eekhout, Andy Weir, Susan Dennard, James S.A. Corey, Beth Cato, Rae Carson, Sam Sykes, Naomi Novik, Rachel Caine, Kim Liggett and Pierce Brown. As well as the authors of the books I listed above.
And like I said, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Comic Con is famous for finalizing their schedule at the very last-minute, and even though all four days of programming have been announced, the individual signings at the publishers’ booths are still being scheduled.
Just about all the big publishers come to SDCC, and many small press publishers as well. They are stationed out on the Exhibit Hall floor, handing out books and ARCs willy-nilly. Next week they will all have signing schedules, and they’ll hand out flyers with all those signings listed, which is when I settle down and plan my schedule.
There are also three publisher panels in the evenings where publicists and editors tell us about upcoming books to get excited about. There are often book giveaways at these panels, which is pretty fun. Here are the publisher panels I’m planning on attending (description of panel taken from the Comic Con website):
Thursday July 9th: The Scoop at Simon & Schuster:
Lucille Rettino (director of marketing), Chrissy Noh (associate director of marketing),Carolyn Swerdloff (associate director of marketing), Jodie Hockensmith (associate director of publicity), and Joe Monti (director of marketing, Saga Press) give a sneak peek at the hottest books and properties coming from Simon & Schuster. Their discussion will be moderated by Jon Anderson (president and publisher), and attendees will take home an exclusive prize.
Friday July 10: What’s Up with Penguin:
Anne Sowards (executive editor, Ace/Roc), Diana Gill (executive editor, Ace/Roc), and Erin Dempsey Berger (Penguin Young Readers Group) give you the dish on forthcoming books from exciting authors and licensed properties, such as Cherie Priest, Richelle Mead, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Rachel Caine, Marie Lu, Sabaa Tahir, Ilona Andrews, Andrew Smith, and many more. You can expect giveaways such as finished books and advanced reading copies.
Saturday July 11: Spec Fiction Sneak Peek: What’s New with HarperCollins:
With the proliferation of science fiction/fantasy in this year’s movie and television landscape, it’s a vibrant, transformational time in the SF/F publishing market. Harper Voyager executive editor David Pomerico discusses how the marketplace is rebounding from an overabundance of vampires and werewolves. Readers are hungry for tales more rooted in scientific reality, as well as magical espionage, supernatural noir, space opera, and military adventure. You can expect sneak previews and special giveaways of key new Voyager titles in these categories. From the publishing powerhouse that brought you Divergent and Dorothy Must Die comes the latest and greatest in teen fiction. HarperCollins presents major upcoming YA book releases that will transport you from a dystopian Oz to a land of magic and mayhem. Get ready to grab plenty of Epic Reads giveaways, limited-edition goodies, and advance copies.
I want to go to more panels this year. Last year I missed some good ones, so I’m going to make more of an effort to work them into my schedule. Here are just a few that I want to catch:
1. The Modern Fairytale with Naomi Novik, Renee Ahdieh, Julie Kagawa and more!
2. Authors of Epic Fantasy with Susan Dennard, Kate Elliott, Peter Orullian and more.
3. Worldbuilding with Charlie Jane Anders, Brandon Mull, Sabaa Tahir and more!
4. I’m Sleeping With the Lights On: Horror and Thriller Authors Discussion with Mira Grant, Robert Brockway, and more.
5. Romantic Adventure with Sam Sykes, Beth Cato, Mary E. Pearson and more!
6. Science Fiction and Sex with Wesley Chu! (and others)
7. Science Fiction that will Change Your Life with Ernie Cline and others!
8. Book to Screen with Andy Weir, Ernie Cline and more!
9. Sci-Fi/Fantasy Family Feud with Chuck Wendig, Brandon Sanderson, Naomi Novik, Ernie Cline, Patrick Rothfuss and Leigh Bardugo! (All these authors in one place might send me over the edge!)
10. We Demand Diverse Books with Soman Chainani, Cindy Pon, Scott Sigler and more!
11. Keep YA Weird with Rachel Caine, Rachel Hartman and more!
12. Author Talk with Del Rey Books with Jason Hough, Naomi Novik, Alan Dean Foster and more.
13. No Cape Required: Modern Day Superheroes with Pierce Brown, James Dashner, Marie Lu and more!
I always make sure to attend two events in particular, and I enjoy the heck out of them every year:
Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog – In case there are any geeks out there who have no idea what I’m talking about, this Joss Whedon web phenomenon includes Buffy alums Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day, and stars Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Horrible. Silly, ridiculous, musical fun! At this screening, attendees sing along with the actors (à la Rocky Horror), and this year there’s even a costume contest for best Dr. Horrible costume!
Buffy the Musical: Once More With Feeling and Juliet Landau Q&A – Another awesome Comic Con tradition, the folks of Whedonopolis present a screening of everyone’s favorite Buffy episode, Once More With Feeling. And this year, Juliet Landau, who played Drusilla on Buffy and Angel, will be hosting it! This is another sing-along that I enjoy every year, and it’s a great way to say goodbye to Comic Con *weep*
So that’s my plan. Or at least, that’s the beginning of my plan. You’ll notice there is nothing in my plan involving movies, TV or celebrities, which is sad. There just isn’t time for everything, people! I’m concentrating on the book stuff, and we’ll see what happens when I get there.
Are you going to SDCC?? Let me know!