Apple-Obsessed Author Fella

News And Observations From SDCC

*leaps off the back of a wyvern, lands in front of you in a crouch, ignites lightsaber, accidentally chops off part of own beard with it, howls in rage*


Hi, everyone! How are you? Did you enjoy your week away from TURRIBLEMIMES?

*checks notes*

Sorry, I mean, “terribleminds?”


Point is, I have returned from the HUMAN POP CULTURE THICKET that is SDCC (aka San Diego Comiccon), and I have been changed. I have been shaped — transmogrified! — by it. It was my first such event, and, yoinks.  As such, I thought I’d pop the latch on the ol’ blog and revisit with a news and observations post.

Let us begin with

Some News And Such

• I was fortunate enough to get my own small bit of news in and then out of SDCC. Remember that Star Wars book I’m writing? A silly little thing called Star Wars: Aftermath? Well, Aftermath is now a proper trilogy. And I’m the one writing it. (News here at Entertainment Weekly!)

• I got to do a rather big geeky publishing panel — a Sci-Fi versus Fantasy Family Feud game. I was on the side of Sci-Fi with the likes of Ernie Cline, Daniel H. Wilson, and Austin Grossman. We were opposed by the raucously popular FANTASY KIDS: Leigh Bardugo, Brandon Sanderson, Naomi Novik, and the Eldritch Yggdrasil Beard himself, Pat Rothfuss. Fantasy was super-popular with the crowd, and it occurs to me that the FANTASY KIDS could easily become a violent street gang that could itself become a cult. They are dangerous, and they need to be stopped. *hangs up posters around town warning you about the FANTASY MENACE* More seriously, the Sci-Fi team totally lost, but I call shenanigans on the survey questions, damnit. One of the most popular cult films by survey was — wait for it — Star Wars. Which I think is the definition of the opposite of a cult film? Whatever. It was a blast, we had a hoot, the audience seemed to love it, and we got to explain to Daniel H. Wilson what a horcrux was.

• Speaking of that Family Feud game, we did a signing afterward and someone let me hop into this photograph and diminish it with my presence:


• Sweet hot hell, I got to meet Gary Whitta and Veronica Belmont at one time. Gary Whitta is of course the Force-wielding ubermensch writer behind Star Wars: Rogue One and also he’s working on Rebels now and oh let us not forget about this amazing new novel of his, the blood-soaked historical fantasy, Abomination. Veronica Belmont is one of the bad-asses behind Sword & Laser and is also ready to deliver unto you ethical and emotional tech advice with her new video column at Engadget, Dear Veronica. Now look at this cool picture of cool people! Robert Brockway looks like he’s scanning your brain. I’m travel-encrusted and high on exhaustion! Sam Sykes is gonna eatcha! Gary Whitta may have fouled his pants! Veronica is happy because she’s facing away from the rest of us! Diana Rowland is aware of the hilarity of her situation!

• I should also mention that Brockway’s The Unnoticeables came out this week, and it’s really fucking good you guys. I don’t even know what to call it. Just click.

• I signed a bunch of Star Wars: Aftermath posters.

• I signed all the present copies of ZERØES which was cool — I had a line of people!

• I apparently also got food poisoning? Or some kind of stomach bug. We always say it’s food poisoning and then we play the game of where we got it from, and I did eat sushi that night but I ate it from a reputable restaurant but it also wasn’t that great but you also have to eat it with your hands and for all I know I had somebody’s FOUL GERMSLURRY under my fingernails when I was popping tuna nigiri into my snapping maw and that’s what did it? I dunno. All I know is, already exhausted, I got about three hours of sleep peppered between me rolling out of bed and, ahem, having to attend to the goblins trying to get out of my intestines. IT WAS SUPER-GREAT YOU GUYS. The next night I missed a dinner meeting because I literally collapsed on my bed and fell asleep for over four hours, sleeping through my iPhone alarm, phone calls, and a rock concert playing loudly outside. I maybe died for a while? So that’s cool.

• It is rare I get to actually hang out with my Shield co-writer Adam Christopher, because he lives in — *checks a map* — East Umbria or New Zorbland or one of those other Non-American countries? They blur together. Either way, we got to hang multiple times, including once at a really weird party I cannot tell you about. Look! Here we are! GAZE UPON US AND DESPAIR. I’m loud and foolish! He’s reserved and cheeky! I’m American! He’s North Zorblander! We fight crime.


• I got to hang out with Rhianna Pratchett. Which is basically, you know — *scratches one off the ol’ bucket list* — because she’s amazing. Games! Comics! Wonderful human being!

• At the signing post-Family Feud, me and Leigh Bardugo sat next to each other which I think is the equivalent of sitting the two chatty clowns at the back of the classroom. She was the bestest sign-line buddy you could ever have. Here is a photo of us judging you for your transgressions.

• Actually, I got to meet and or hang with an unholy host of people that cannot and will not be properly enumerated here, but I’ll give a sampling: Paul Cornell, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Pierce Brown, Robert Venditti, Diana Gill, Peter Clines, Zen Cho, Joe Monti, Daniel Kraus, Hugh Howey, Alex Segura, the Star Wars publishing team (including the mighty Holocron Keeper himself), Scott Sigler, Wes Chu, Ty Franck, Daniel Abraham, Richard Kadrey, Beth Cato, David Pomerico, Jim Zub, and *cough cough* other people! I have a brain like a sieve!

So, Onto The More Observationscented Portion…

• SDCC is a human zoo. You need to know that going in.

• What this means is, if you’re like most writers (which is to say: an introvert faking extroversion, a failed actor afraid of the stage), then you will probably find those crowds challenging at some point. I loved it until I didn’t. One moment it was like, Yeah, this rules, all this geeky goodness and the pop culture awesome and then a switch flips and it’s like I MUST GET OUT OF HERE and your brain feels like a squirrel trapped in a jar full of biting ants. The sheer throngs of humanity will challenge even the most well-heeled introversion.

• SDCC was, for me, very busy, very buzzy, and very businessy. What I mean is, it was a) non-stop, b) lots of little industry whispers and rumors and c) lots of meetings and business stuff. I came out of the con with a handful of new potential opportunities if I want ’em. Which means the show was ultimately a success. That plus meeting tons of fans and hopefully making new fans — that made it really worthwhile. Your mileage may of course vary.

• San Diego is easily one of the most beautiful cities. It’s July and it was like, low-70s during the day and sea-breezy. Gorgeous weather, lovely town.

• At San Diego, you will encounter smells. Because humanity ultimately smells. We’re basically just bears pooping on our own fur. Some of the miasmas you will wander through while walking the con floor: GARLIC SWEAT GUY; DUDE WHO SMELLS LIKE THE NACHOS HE IS CURRENTLY INGESTING AT AN UNHOLY CLIP; GUY WHO MAYBE KNOWS HE SMELLS BAD SO HE BATHES HIMSELF IN ACRID COLOGNE OR AXE BODY SPRAY AND NOW HE’S A BIOWEAPON; DEMON FART; A CLOUD OF SOMETHING SWEET AND SOMEWHAT SICKENING; HOT VAPORIZED BPA PLASTIC; PATCHOULI; POOP. All of these smells get worse by Saturday.

• Saturday is, obviously, the worst day to wander the floor. People clog the channels like cholesterol in an old man’s ever-tightening arteries.

• Publishing does not have an epic presence there. I mean, it does in terms of people — but in terms of actual floor space, it’s not particularly triumphant. You’ll find that NYCC has a much stronger literary presence (likely due to the NYC proximity).

• This might be because so much of SDCC is about spectacle — not to say it’s not at all about comics or books or any of that, but the show is built around BOOM and ZOOM and OMG and books do not necessarily demonstrate that kind of vigorous excitement well. You can get people excited about a new movie trailer; less so an advanced reader’s copy of a book. SDCC is all about the TV shows and movies and ye gods, the toys, the toys. It’s fantasy on display, practically weaponized. (Speaking of toys, thanks to Adam Christopher for nabbing me a First Order Stormtrooper figure!) A lot of the publishing stuff is behind the scenes and less up front. (At least, from my limited, one-year-exposure to the con.)

And Now, More Photos From Me And Other People!