The San Diego Comic Con is the largest pop–culture (scif, fantasy, and so on) convention in America, and one of the largest in the world; over 130,000 people attend. It’s actually a madhouse (A MAAADHOUSE!), with a packed exhibit hall and hundreds of amazing panels and talks.
[At the bottom of this post is a gallery of pictures I took while I was there.]
This year, I moderated a panel called "The Science of Science Fiction: Canon Fodder" – we talked about keeping the science straight in a pre-existing universe when you’re writing a prequel or sequel. I asked top-notch A-listers to be on the panel, and man, they came through. I had Jane Espenson ("Buffy", "Firefly", "Battlestar Galactica", "Torchwood: Miracle Day"), Dr. Kevin Grazier (science advisor for "Battlestar", "Eureka", and the upcoming show "Defiance"), Ashley Miller (who cowrote "X Men: First Class" and "Thor" with panelist Zack Stentz), Jaime Paglia (co-creator and producer of "Eureka"), Jon Spaihts (who wrote the original screenplay for "Prometheus", and Zack Stentz (cowriter with Ash Miller).
The room was packed, and the panel itself was a lot of fun (if you don’t believe me, read this io9 review and another on Physics Central). I cannot praise the panelists highly enough, and I really hope someone got video. It was amazing. And I must thank The Science and Entertainment Exchange for sponsoring the panel. Without them it literally wouldn’t have happened, and Marty Perrault did the vast majority of work making sure this event happened without a hitch. She’s amazing too.
I also sat on a panel myself for io9′s Science Fiction That Will Change Your Life, where I plugged my friends John Scalzi’s and Rob Reid’s books. That was fun, and I clearly need to do a lot more reading given the other panelist’s recommendations.
So much else happened it’s hard to list it all. I did a video interview with Neil Tyson for his Star Talk radio show, I went to fabulous parties, I went to w00tstock and The Nerdist shows. And Holy Gallifrey, I got into the Doctor Who panel (thanks Lee!) and sat in the eighth row, close enough to feel the wind when Karen Gillan flipped her long, silky, red hair. Sigh. See the gallery below for some great pictures from that panel!
But the best part, really, was meeting up with old friends and catching up. If I thanked them all individually this post would be twice as long, but they know who they are.
Comic Con is insanity, it’s a mob, it’s a non-stop sprint of nerdnitude for four days, and I loved every second of it. And you bet your lump of glowing green kryptonite I’ll be there next year – I have even bigger ideas for panels and guests. If I can pull off even half of this, it’ll shake the pillars of heaven. Stay Tuned.
Here are some of the pictures I took from my time at Comic Con. Click the thumbnail to go to a slide, or use the arrows to navigate.
<Farnsworth>Good news, everyone!</Farnsworth> I’m going to San Diego Comic Con!
Better news: I’m doing two panels!
Better-than-that-news: I’m moderating one of them, and it will be awesome.
Comic Con, for those of you who have never watched Big Bang Theory, is one of the largest nerdfests in the world. It happens in San Diego every summer, and while terrifyingly huge and crowded is a lot of fun. I’ve been several times, but missed it last year. I swore I’d go this year, and even though my mom told me never to swear, it worked this time. I’m going.
The first panel I’m doing is The Science of Science Fiction: Canon Fodder — and yes, of course I came up with that name. The panel is Thursday, July 12, at 6:00 in Room 25ABC in the convention center. I’ll be moderating the panel of some of the biggest names in Hollywood and TV writing:
How about that? Like I said, awesome. I’ve known most of these folks a long time and consider them friends. We’ll be talking about maintaining science continuity in ongoing series of movies and TV shows. When I was putting the panel together I was looking over the folks participating, and it seemed like a fun topic. It must be tough for a writer to have to know what the canon is and stick with it… or is it? What if you can bend the rules? It’ll be a great conversation.
I’ll note this is the fourth time I’ve done this panel, twice as a panelist and twice moderating it. I hope we can do it every year! It’s a lot of fun – last time, we were turning people away at the door. If you want to see it, come early! This year, the panel is sponsored by my good friends at The Science and Entertainment Exchange, and they’ve done a great job putting this together. Thanks, SEEx!
The other panel I’m doing is also going to be fun: SciFi That Will Change Your Life, and it will be on Friday July 13 at 5:00pm in Room 7AB. On the panel:
I’m excited about this because we get to dork out over scifi, and I’m pals with Annalee and Charlie Jane (from the io9 blog). I’m also really happy to be on a panel with my old buddy Deric, who writes and produces Warehouse 13 on the SyFy channel, a show I really like.
I love SDCC for a lot of reasons, but maybe the best is I get to see lots of friends I rarely see otherwise. And, of course, w00tstock! I won’t be on stage this time (but because I am a gentleman I will still plug Paul and Storm’s crazy great Game of Thrones video), but I’ll be there lurking and standing creepily in the shadows. Look for me! Win prizes!*
I need to go over the vast schedule of things going on there, but I’m planning on being at the SyFy Channel’s Defiance panel, and I’m hoping to get to the Mythbusters and Big Bang Theory panels. And Fringe. And Firefly. And Warehouse 13. And Alphas. And and and.
Yikes. I netter start getting some sleep now. There won’t be time next week!
* Sorry, you’re not eligible for the prizes.
Because it’s a FAQ: I won’t be at the San Diego Comic Con this year, but I will be at Dragon*Con.
For the past few years, Discover Magazine has hosted an increasingly popular and extremely fun panel on Science and Science Fiction at Comic Con, which I’ve been honored to moderate. Unfortunately, this year we won’t be doing the panel, so I won’t be attending. I’m sad, but we’ll be there next year for sure. I hate to miss such a huge geekapalooza, but we’ll have to figure out some way to make the 2012 panel extra-awesome. I’m thinking the panelists will skydive in. Or we’ll fight with bat’leths. Something.
In better news, I’ll be at Dragon*Con on September 1-5. In fact, I’ll be at the becoming-an-annual-event star party on Thursday night, September 1, where we raise money for cancer research. D*C has a very strong skeptic track, and I’ll be there as well as doing other talks and fun things (like having a two-person panel with my friend Kevin Grazier, where we rip on science in movies and TV). There are also tons of other things going on there, like the parties, the costumes, the dealer rooms, the general madness.
Read the links below in the Related Posts to get the idea. I’ll post my schedule when I get it, and if you’re a reader here, find me at one of my events!
… and I still want to bring a costume. I have an idea, but we’ll see if I can figure out how to pull it off.
Last week was Comic Con, and for the third year in a row,
the Hive Overmind Discover Magazine sent me along to be on a panel. Every year we do a variation on discussing the science of science fiction, and this year we focused on its abuse. We asked our panelists (Jaime Paglia [Eureka], Kevin Grazier [science advisor for Eureka and Battlestar Galactica], Zack Stentz [Fringe, Thor], and Sean Carroll [cosmologist and DM blogger]) to pick examples of good and bad science in the movies.
The results? Well, watch for yourself:
A couple of notes:
I have no real news here, except that one of my missions at Comic Con was to meet up once again with Zach Weiner, who writes and draws my favorite web comic, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. My wife and I went over to his booth, and there he was! As this picture shows, I was overjoyed to see him:
At Comic Con, I moderated a wonderful panel about how science sometimes gets screwed up by science fiction. Sponsored by Discover Magazine and The NAS Science and Entertainment Exchange, it’s the third time we’ve done this panel, and it’s been really fun every year. I already talked a bit about this — we had Jaime Paglia from Eureka, Kevin Grazier from BSG and "Eureka", Zack Stentz from "Thor" and "Fringe", and Sean Carroll who is a cosmologist and blogs for Discover as well.
We showed our picks for representative good and bad science in shows and movies, and I have to commend Sean for his pick of "Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure" for good science (the consistency of the time travel in that movie is wonderful) and "Big Bang Theory" for the philosophy of science — they discuss the physics of Superman, making the assumption that a man actually can fly.
We were short on time, and had to cut the Q&A off short, but as usual we got great questions from the audience and a lot of fun back-and-forth with the panelists. We’ll have the video up at some point, and I think you’ll like it when we do.
[Update: Eric Wolff wrote an interesting piece on the discussion of when to break the rules of science. I may write more on this later, but I don't think Zack Stentz's contention that science must bend to the story would faze any of us on the panel; we know we're talking about fiction here. Science won't bend when you're publishing in the Astrophysical Journal, but it must when put under the constraints of telling an engaging fictional story.]
I’ve already been able to hang a bit with Craig Engler from SyFy, and a few other friends. Today, though, is a big day. I have my
Hive Overmind Discover Magazine panel (Abusing the Sci of SciFi, with Jaime Paglia from "Eureka", Kevin Grazier (science advisor to Eureka), Discover co-blogger Sean Carroll, and "Fringe" producer Zack Stentz) and then I have to run as fast as my fleet feet will carry me to w00tstock! After that, I’m thinking coma.
But there’s no time for forced unconsciousness! I have to do stuff Friday, and Saturday (including — OMFSM — the SyFy/Entertainment Weekly party, where I will hobnob and squee over many people), and Sunday… and this time, things are a little different: my wife is with me. That will not stop me from squeeing, or from dancing with Felicia Day if given the chance.
I will try to post updates and pictures as the Intertubez allow. This is geekapalooza, folks, and I’m at its very core. Woohoo!
Brea’s an actress who played Daphne, "The Speedster" on "Heroes", and I was tickled a while back to find out she reads my blog. I had a lot of fun hanging out with her at Comic Con last year (and hope to see her again while I’m there in a couple of weeks), and even did a short interview with her when I was there.
Brea is smart, funny, generous with her time, and a complete and total comic book geek. When Len Peralta, who does the Geek a Week podcast and art, interviewed me for the series, he asked if I knew anyone else I would recommend. That was an easy one! I’m glad it worked out.. and she wasn’t the only person I suggested. Stay tuned.
Len’s got quite a few more very cool folks on his list, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what he does with them. The trading cards are killer funny and it’s always nice to hear what’s going on inside other people’s nerdy heads.
I extremely nerded out and pleased and squeeified to announce that I’ll be at w00tstock! At Comic Con. On stage.
w00tstock, for those helplessly normal of you out there, is the premier nerd event in the Orion arm of the Milky Way. Hosted by singers Paul and Storm, Mythbuster and My Close Personal Friend Adam Savage™, and my long-standing and partially-requited nerdcrush Wil Wheaton, w00tstock is billed as "Three hours of geeks and music", which is apt enough. Everyone I know who has gone has raved about it.
I am a hardened geek, a nerd who strides across the planet with 20 km boots, a dork of such vastness that I can crush you into oblivion with my HP calculator before I even hit Enter.
Yet I was reduced to near-normalcy in comparison by listening to this [some brief NSFW language]. If you are a Trek fan, specifically of TNG, and are a fan of Wil Wheaton, Jonathan Frakes, and/or LeVar Burton, then you need to drop whatever you’re carrying — a Steuben crystal, a cooler with a transplant heart, your bowl of Quisp — and listen to that. These three men are all +20 for geekery.
And next year, by Grabthar’s hammer, I’ll try to go to Phoenix Comic Con.