Comic-Con Summary: Paolini, Panels, and Parties! (Day 1)

Comic-Con is best described as four solid days of pop culture, geek culture, fantasy/scifi/horror culture awesomeness. Join us as we retell the first day of Comic-Con, during which we met up with Christopher to travel the convention floor, attended panels featuring authors such as Michael Scott, Esther Friesner, Christopher Paolini, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson and more! And join us as we take you behind the scenes to Random House Publishing Group’s Comic-Con Kick Off party!Ah, Thursday, you busy day! Keeping us on our toes! Two panels, two book signings, interviews, floor wandering, and sneaking a meal or two in between all of the madness. Oh, and the Random House Del Ray party!

Pictures from these book signings and panels are now available on our galleries!
The Power of Myth Panel

Our first panel of the day – The Power of Myth, “Claiming world mythology to shape one’s own stories” – featured an amazing host of authors who know more than their fair share about mythology and incorporating old mythology-driven tales into new stories. The panel featured two prominent mythology authors who have long-since been Shur’tugal favorites: Michael Scott, author of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, and Esther Friesner, author of the Nobody’s series. The panel also featured additional authors renowned for their command of mythology in fiction writing: Amber Benson, Lev Grossman, Leslie Klinger, Seanan McGuire, and Tom Sniegoski.

The panel revolved largely around the role mythology has played in modern-day fantasy and science fiction writing. All of the panel’s authors seemed to agree that despite the recycling of many common mytho- stories (think Greek mythology), mytho-based fiction can still be original and brilliant. For example, Michael Scott’s books revolve around many established concepts of world mythology. However, Scott has woven an original and authentic tale using those established mytho- basics as the backbone for his more original and creative characters and plotlines.

Many of the authors also discussed their joy at discovering less-conventional versions of the more well-known mythology, which offer them a new and fresh perspective on what they had thought to be a set-in-stone tale. Each author agreed that for every basic piece of mythology out there will exist multiple similar-but-differing tales of that piece of mythology, all which usually revolve around the same character or basic concept.

The authors went on to discuss their favorite type of mythology, which usually touched on the obscure, and discussed how mythology has influenced their writing. Authors like Esther Friesner have been fascinated by the more obscure versions of the mythology they choose to craft tales around – for Friesner, it’s Egyptian mythology. Choosing the less-known versions of ancient mythology allows the author more room to explore and create new tales while at the same time remaining in a universe familiar to the reader.

The panel was followed by a book signing featuring all of the authors. Each author spent a great deal of time signing for and talking with each fan that stopped by their table. It’s always nice to see how incredibly down-to-earth authors can be!

Be sure to check out our Author Profiles for both Michael Scott and Esther Friesner to learn more about their books and their contributions to brilliant mythological fiction.

Pictures from Christopher’s panel, book signings, and adventures through Comic-Con are now available on our galleries!
Once Upon a Time Panel

Mid-afternoon marked the start of our second panel, this time featuring Christopher Paolini! We met up with Christopher and the Random House team at the Random House booth about thirty minutes before the panel started and made our way up to the panel room. During our wait for the panel to begin we had the opportunity to meet and talk with the other authors featured on the panel. Unfortunately once the panel began we were constantly hounded by convention security to sit down so our video coverage of the panel is non-existent.

The Once Upon a Time panel, featuring authors Christopher Paolini, Lynn Flewelling, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, and Tad Williams, aimed to discuss epic heroes in fantasy and science-fiction. However, once the panel began its focus largely shifted toward each authors’ role in the creation of their respective fantasy and sci-fi novels. The crowd wasn’t disappointed.

There were quite a few notable one-liners during the discussion (Patrick Rothfuss, whom Christopher is a fan of, was quite the amusing panelist) and some really great discussions. As this is an Inheritance fan site, we’ll highlight some of Christopher’s key moments and comments:

  • Christopher was responsible for the hilariously-“heated” (not actually heated) start of the panel: sparking the “Batman vs. Superman – Who is better?” debate! Definitely not a debate you want to start at a comic convention!
  • For those fans still not in-the-know about Book 4: Christopher confirmed (for the umpteenth time) that the cover of Book 4 (still unnamed) will feature a green dragon. He mentioned that he has seen the cover.
  • Christopher is a supporter of fan fiction, especially for writers who use it as a start in their writing career to hone in their writing skills. He also expressed his understanding that it can be fun to at times sit down and write the roles of another author’s characters in that author’s universe. However, like the rest of the panel’s authors, he made note that fan fiction will always be flattering and acceptable so long as people don’t attempt to publish their fan fiction (because that’s where it becomes illegal)!
  • Christopher mentioned that in very early drafts of Eragon, Eragon’s name was originally Kevin. (Facts like this can be found in the upcoming Inheritance Almanac, for those of you who enjoy fun unknown trivia about Inheritance!)
  • Perhaps most interesting to fans of the Inheritance cycle – Christopher cautioned a fan who asked about prophecies in the Cycle that prophecies in Alagaësia are not always as they appear. Prophecies can change, as no one’s fate is truly set in stone. Prophecies can take eons to come to fruition, as no one ever fully knows when a prophecy will fulfill itself. And he pointed out the character mentioned in passing in the books who took his own life in an attempt to prove (successfully) that your destiny can be altered – no one’s future is set in stone, which means no prophecy is set in stone.

As Inheritance fans, we have many key theories hanging on existing prophecies! What could this mean for some of our favorites?

The authors’ panel continued on at the book signing that followed, where hundreds of fans (to whom Christopher seemed most popular) lined up to talk to their favorite authors as they got their many books signed!

Comic-Con Kick Off Party

Perhaps most exciting for myself was the Random House Publishing Group (Del Rey/ Spectra/ Villard/ Ballantine/ Bantam) Comic-Con Kick Off party I was invited to attend Thursday night. The party was intended to give authors the opportunity to meet and chat with other authors, booksellers, account reps, and media who focus on the comic book / graphic novel / sci-fi and fantasy world.

I had the chance to meet several authors and many of the individuals I have worked with at Random House over the past five-and-a-half years. It was great to catch up with everyone after a long day at the convention! It was also quite a blast watching Christopher Paolini play pool and ping-pong with the people who market his books at Random House!