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.
I have a billion things to do this weekend, but since today is conspiring to just be silly, I’ll just leave this here for you. Click it, and don’t forget to hover over the red button at the bottom.
P.S. That’s not my real tattoo, though Zach got the location correct.
Perhaps the single greatest feeling in the world — better than winning the lottery, better than seeing your baby being born, better than having fresh batteries in the TV remote — is waking up to find out you’re in the latest Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic. Click the panel here to read the whole thing.
Even better? There’s a new SMBC book! I haven’t read it yet, because Zach hasn’t sent me a free copy in exchange for relentlessly shilling his stuff here on the blog, but I assume it’s at least mildly diverting. Look, SMBC is the funniest science-based web comic done by a geeky ginger who also draws himself shirtless all the time, which, let’s face it, is a niche that’s nearly saturated (assuming Rupert Grint doesn’t start one as well).
His first book, "Save Yourself, Mammal!" is really funny, and this new one is a collection of comics hand-picked by Zach, so it’ll be the best thing you’ve ever read, or Zach will send you a dozen long-stem roses flown in from Ecuador*.
[NOTE: Many of Zach's comics deal with topics that are probably NSFW. If you buy the book you may get the vapors if you are inclined thusly. Be ye fairly warned, says I.]
* Hey, if it’s on the Internet, it must be true!
Zach Weiner, of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, and Kelly Smith, of Weinersmith, interviewed me for their new podcast, The Weekly Weinersmith. I am actually only their second guest, so we’ll see if the podcast survives.
We talked about the James Webb Space Telescope, mostly, though as usual when I talk to Zach we both revert to 15 year old boys. But only briefly, and only if 15 year old boys paid attention in world history class.
I’ll note I made a mistake in the interview: I said JWST will have 6 mirrors, but it actually has 18. D’oh! I remember very clearly picturing the telescope in my head (it’s hard to do a web search during an interview) and for some dumb reason I was thinking of the old MMT, which I’ll admit is a little bizarre. Heat of the moment, I guess. I wasn’t even within an astronomer’s usual factor of two, so I guess I have to give myself three geek demerits.
I think I made up for it by calling JWST — since its future is uncertain — "Schrödinger’s telescope".
In fact, the stuff I said about JWST deals mostly with its politics and budgetary woes. I’ve written about this before:
- Where will JWST’s money come from?
- The Senate has “saved” JWST? Hang on a sec, folks…
- The watershed moment for JWST
- Hubble’s successor: doomed or saved?
- Congress puts NASA and JWST on the chopping block
So there you go. I’ll note that it’s mostly wondering about JWST’s and NASA’s future until about 45 minutes in, and then we get all optimistic and fun.
Zach and Kelly were great hosts, letting me blather on until I ran out of air. Knowing them both — Kelly’s a scientist, and Zach a hugely devoted science enthusiast and supporter (he’s teaching himself advanced calculus and blogging about it) — this will be a podcast to keep your ear on. Subscribe to it!
Does Zach Weiner know me or what?
Click to see the whole comic.
I would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling auditors!
I was going to make an empassioned plea about how science does really make a lot of stuff better, but then decided that this Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal strip was too funny to try to add any snark to it.
I’m just glad Zach didn’t draw the science advisor to look like me.
Is this the greatest t-shirt idea ever thunk up? Why yes. Yes, it is.
And will I be getting one? Duh.
I was on travel yesterday and didn’t get a chance to link to the Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal web comic, leading to approximately a metric ton of emails and notes on Twitter telling me about it. I know, the sample I have extracted below doesn’t give you a hint why people would be telling me about this particular strip, but click it to get the whole picture.
OK, spoilers below the fold! Don’t read until you’ve looked at the comic!
I’ve been meaning to write a review of Zach Weiner’s webcomic collection Save Yourself, Mammal! ever since I got it a couple of weeks ago, but seriously, if you’re a fan of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal then just go and buy the book, OK?
And if you’re not, buy one anyway. His comics are really funny. Bonus: it includes a snarky "choose your own adventure" series of tiny cartoons.
And hey – I’m saying all this even though there is not a single, solitary instance in the book of his using one of his cartoons featuring a beloved red-bearded balding astronomer. Not one. And yet, somehow, the comics manage to be awesome.
Full disclosure: I was going to give this book a positive review even before Zach offered to draw my new Twitter avatar, which is me as a baby, because the way he draws babies always makes me laugh. The shirt he gave me in the picture though was totally a bribe.
Have you bought the book yet? C’mon, folks. This post isn’t going to pander itself.
And now for something completely different:
[Click to see the whole comic.]
I’d assume that’s me, except I don’t wear cargo shorts. But he has perfectly captured my eyebrows.