Just yesterday, San Diego Comic Con held a Fantasy Mixology panel, led by NPR’s Petra Mayer. The six panelists–Mary Robinette Kowal, Drew Magary, Paul Krueger, Richard Kadrey, Kevin Hearne, and Paul Cornell–had a lively chat about how to mix the best stories like you would a cocktail.
They also talked about booze. Of course.
The concept of the panel came from an idea that Kevin Hearne (Iron Druid Chronicles) had about how Urban Fantasy functions as a subgenre, often taking bits of folklore and mythology and dropping them into a modern context. “That’s really what you do when you have a lot of booze in your cabinet,” he explained.
The panel proceeded to give their “recipes” for their most recent works:
- Mary Robinette Kowal’s Ghost Talkers is “three parts historical, one part spirits, one part romance, shake it over ice, pour it into a glass with a salted rim and serve it up.”
- Paul Krueger’s Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge was “one part post-graduate millennial angst, one part magic, one part food service blues, then enough whiskey to dull the pain of being an adult.”
- For Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series, he claimed that we wanted to do the opposite of the fantasy novels with a noir sheen, saying that he went more for an “old American crime novel with magic like a float on top.”
- Paul Cornell said his book Witches of Lychford was like “comedy and horror got smooshed, mixed together and distilled over time.”
There was fun cocktail talk all the way around. Kowal gave everyone the secret behind the naming of the French 75–named for the 75 millimeter, because the drink “hit you like one of the shells.” Richard Kadrey confided that the Bamboo House of Dolls bar found in his books is actually an amalgam of about six special bars spread out across the United States. And Paul Krueger–being from Chicago–talked about the infamous Mallort liqueur, which Chicagoans foist on visiting pals for the sake of snapping a picture of their face once they’ve tried it. (He explained that Mallort is actually quite good, and being a fellow Chicagoan, I happen to agree. Solidarity.)
And there’s more! Can you guess what Kowal’s worst service industry job was? Take a peek at the video of the whole panel over on Shawn Speakman’s Facebook page, and you’ll find out!
Because you definitely can’t guess the answer. I promise.