It’s almost time for the wonderfully chaotic weekend that is San Diego Comic Con! Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, it’s always helpful to have a guide of sorts to help navigate the panel circuit. If you trust in Tor.com’s taste, check out our recommendations for these literary panels at San Diego Comic Con, featuring pop culture favorites, topics on the future of science fiction and fantasy, and in-depth conversations with some of the SFF’s leading authors of today!
Of course you should also stop by Tor Books at Booth #2701 on the show floor for a ton of giveaways and programs—check out our schedule here, and head below to fill your dance card with tons of great book discussions!
Thursday July 18th
Tor: Magic x Mayhem in SF&F
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM, Room 28DE
This is the year for breaking all the rules. Gone are the days of simple good-versus-evil narratives; these are complicated times that call for complicated characters. Pop culture has clearly shifted its attention to the messy, the morally ambiguous, and the weird. In short, fans want magic, and they want mayhem. Magic X Mayhem features an eclectic mix of daring new speculative fiction authors and new voices from Tor Books and Tor.com Publishing: Annalee Newitz (The Future of Another Timeline, Autonomous), Charlie Jane Anders (The City in the Middle of the Night), Sarah Gailey (Magic for Liars), Seanan McGuire(Middlegame), S. L. Huang (Null Set), and Tochi Onyebuchi (War Girls, Riot Baby).
A Long Story Short: Mexican Comic Books
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM, Artists’ Loft, BarrioHaus
Luis Gantus (writer, The Incredible and Sad Story of the Naïve Historieta and the Heartless Industry) is joined by Daniel Garcia (editorial coordination, El Violin Negro) for a conversation about the fascinating story on Mexican comic books and how an industry was created and almost destroyed in the span of 50 years. Moderated by Sebastian Fink.
Spotlight on Leigh Bardugo and Erin Morgenstern
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM, Room 23ABC
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars, Ninth House) is a New York Times bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. With over 3 million copies sold worldwide, her Grishaverse spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, The Language of Thorns, and King of Scars—and will soon come to Netflix in an original series. Her first novel for adults, Ninth House, will be released on October 1. Erin Morgenstern is the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, which has sold millions of copies around the world and been translated into 37 languages. Her new novel, The Starless Sea, will be released on November 5. Leigh and Erin discuss writing fantasy for all ages, astrology, supporting woman-owned businesses, giant cups of tea, and so much more. Moderated by Petra Mayer(NPR).
Are You There, Gods? It’s Us, the Protagonists
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM, Room 32AB
While creators are technically the gods of their universes, for all intents and purposes, sometimes their creations include deities and religious systems. Authors discuss whether or not they choose to include gods in their world-building, whether or not they were inspired by real life in creating their worlds’ gods, religions, or magic systems, and their methods in developing those aspects of the stories. With Comic-Con special guest Ann Leckie (The Raven Tower), Joan He (Descendant of the Crane), Scott Westerfeld(Impostors: Shatter City), and Margaret Rogerson (Sorcery of Thorns) in conversation with Rebecca Roanhorse (Sixth World).
Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks in Conversation
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM, Room 28DE
Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, Carry On) is a New York Times bestselling author with the highly anticipated Wayward Son coming this fall. Faith Erin Hicks (The Nameless City, Friends with Boys) is an Eisner Award–winning graphic novelist. They are fans of each others’ work and now collaborators! Pumpkinheads comes out from Rainbow and Faith this August. It’s a tender and hilarious romantic comedy set in a pumpkin patch, and it’s Rainbow’s first original graphic novel. Hear these two in conversation prior to the release.
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, Room 32AB
Charles Vess worked with award-winning writer Ursula K. Le Guin over the last four years of her life to bring her world of Earthsea to visual life. Over the course of thousands of emails, which in turn produced hundreds of preparatory drawings, he attempted to slide inside her brain. This presentation pulls aside the curtain to give a behind-the-scenes tour of how it was done.
D&D: All Bards
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Horton Grand Theatre
Comic-Con special guest Sam Sykes (Seven Blades in Black) will DM a bunch of authors playing an hour-long D&D session where everyone is a Bard and combat isn’t allowed. The bold adventurers include Chuck Wendig (Wanderers), Paul Krueger (Steel Crow Saga), Pierce Brown (Dark Age), E. K. Johnston(Star Wars: Queen’s Shadow), and Jim Zub (Monsters & Creatures; Warriors & Weapons).
Friday July 19th
The Future as I See It
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM, Room 23 ABC
Bestselling creators engage in a lively discussion of what-ifs about the future as foretold in their work and unfolding in the world. Panelists Jonathan Maberry (VWars, Joe Ledger series), Seanan McGuire (X-Men), Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Dark Crystal, Lost, Blood and Treasure), Steven L. Sears (A-Team, Xena), Timothy Zahn (Star Wars, Terminator), and Gini Koch (Alien) are moderated by Bryan Thomas Schmidt.
The Fantastic Flavors of Fantasy
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM, Room 25ABC
From urban fantasy to epic fantasy to superheroes, fantasy contains multitudes of the amazing and the astonishing. Authors Renee Ahdieh (The Beautiful), Lauren Shippen (The Infinite Noise), Katy Pool (There Will Come a Darkness), Nicole Conway (Legend), Sherrilyn Kenyon (Stygian, Deadman’s Cross series), and Marissa Meyer (Supernova) serve up spicy tropes and savory imaginations across a multitude of subgenres in conversation with David Canfield (Entertainment Weekly).
Berger Books and The Writer’s Room: Stories Come First
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM, Room 23ABC
Karen Berger (Vertigo founder) brings together a panel of some of the industry’s best writers—including Jeff Lemire, co-creator of Black Hammer; Nnedi Okorafor, co-creator of LaGuardia; Christopher Cantwell,co-creator of She Could Fly; and Jody Houser, writer for Stranger Things and Critical Role—to discuss about what it takes to write comic books and to highlight Berger Books’ newest groundbreaking series.
Spotlight on Ursula Vernon
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM, Room 24ABC
Ursula Vernon (author and illustrator, Dragonbreath, Digger, Hamster Princess) talks about writing and drawing comics for kids and adults and balancing the job of art with the art of writing.
Wherefore Dystopia and Darkness? Enjoying Creators’ Wretched Unjust Societies
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Room 4
Why do so many readers want to spend time in an imagined world or society in which people lead wretched, dehumanized, fearful lives? Authors Marie Lu (Rebel), Jess Rothenberg (The Kingdom), Rachel Caine (Sword and Pen), Richard Kadrey (The Grand Dark), Ally Condie (The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe), and Paul Cornell (The Lights Go Out in Lychford) discuss the delights of dark works with Mallory O’Meara(The Lady from the Black Lagoon).
Lucasfilm Publishing: Stories from a Galaxy Far, Far Away
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM, Room 7AB
As we near the epic conclusion of the Skywalker saga with Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker,some of the biggest and best Star Wars authors and artists gather to discuss new and upcoming stories set in a galaxy far, far away. Featuring Lou Anders (Pirate’s Price), Katie Cook (Creatures Big & Small), Zorida Córdova (A Crash of Fate), Delilah Dawson (Black Spire), E. K. Johnston (Queen’s Shadow), George Mann (Myths & Fables), Brian Rood (The Skywalker Saga), Cavan Scott (Dooku: Jedi Lost), Kevin Shinick (Force Collector), Charles Soule (Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith), Timothy Zahn (Thrawn: Treason), and Rebecca Roanhorse (Resistance Reborn). Moderated by Lucasfilm’s Michael Siglain and Jennifer Heddle.
What’s Up with Penguin?
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Room 25ABC
Anne Sowards (Ace Books), Caitlin Whalen (Penguin Young Readers Group), and Jennifer Dee (Penguin Young Readers) give you the dish on forthcoming books from their authors and licensed properties, such as William Gibson, Marie Lu, Stephen Donaldson, Renee Ahdieh, Patricia Briggs, Stephane Perkins, Traci Chee, Brendan Reichs, Rachel Caine, and many more. You can expect giveaways like finished books or advanced reading copies!
Calling All Book Lovers: A Sneak Peek at New Books from Tor, Tor Teen, and Tor.com Publishing
8:00 PM – 9:00 PM, Room 25ABC
From Robert Jordan to V. E. Schwab, Tor has been publishing the best of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror for almost as long as San Diego Comic Con has been around. This panel shines a spotlight on the best of what Tor, Tor Teen, and Tor.com Publishing have to offer. Every attendee will leave with a book in hand
Saturday July 20th
Real World Reflected in Fantasy
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM, Room 29AB
What do these powerhouse YA authors have in common? They all are writing groundbreaking, highly acclaimed (or highly anticipated) work that pulls from the trials and tribulations of real life to create mind-bending fantasy. Tomi Adeyemi (Children of Blood and Bone) tackles systemic racism in the Legacy of Orïsha trilogy. Marie Lu (Legend trilogy) contemplates economic disparity and climate change in her series and the upcoming Rebel . Margaret Owen (The Merciful Crow) promotes social justice in her debut. And Hafsah Faizal (We Hunt the Flame) dispels myths about Arabian culture in her first novel. Moderated by Mary Pearson (The Remnant Chronicles, Dance of Thieves), author of the upcoming Vow of Thieves .
Spotlight on J Michael Straczynski
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM, Room 7AB
The Eisner, Hugo, and Inkpot Award–winning writer/producer will discuss his autobiography Becoming Superman -which is debuting here at SDCC via Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore-and his long-awaited (some might say long-feared) return to comics, helping create a new comic book universe for Artists, Writers, and Artisans, the new comic book company launched by Marvelites Bill Jemas and Axel Alonso. Straczynski’s spotlight appearances are an SDCC tradition and a favorite among law enforcement officials searching for clues that would connect him to the Black Dahlia Murder.
Spotlight on Audrey Niffenegger
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM, Room 24ABC
The author of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Bizarre Romance, Audrey Niffeneger, will be interviewed by award-winning comics editor Diana Schutz. topics may include art, love, loss, sex, death, ghosts, cats, and why it’s taking a long time to write the sequel to The Time Traveler’s Wife. There will be a Q&A.
Writing: Craft, Community, and Crossover
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM, Room 23ABC
James Killen, head buyer of sci-fi and fantasy for Barnes & Noble, talks to Corey Doctorow (Radicalized), Seanan McGuire (Middlegame), Charlie Jane Anders (The City in the Middle of the Night), Annalee Newitz (The Future of Another Timeline), and Sarah Gailey (Magic for Liars) about the process of creation from the perspective of first-time authors to veterans of multiple genres. The discussion will touch on the difficulty creators have in cultivating and maintaining community and fandom and the difficulties of bringing fans with them as they cross over, balancing one’s identity as a writer, and the importance of social media.
What’s New from Del Rey Books
6:30 pm – 7:30 PM, Room 5AB
Adventure, science fiction, fantasy, and fairytales; the publisher of some of genre’s best and brightest stars is here to talk about what’s next on the horizon from Del Rey Books. Hear from authors Pierce Brown(Red Rising series), Adam Christopher (Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town), Paul Krueger(Steel Crow Saga), Delilah S. Dawson (Kill the Farm Boy, Star Wars: Phasma), Chuck Wendig (Wanderers,Miriam Black series), and Timothy Zahn (Star Wars: Thrawn: Treason) as they discuss their new and upcoming books with moderator Tricia Narwani (Del Rey editorial director).
What’s the Scoop at Simon & Schuster
6:30 PM – 7:30 PM, Room 8
Liesa Abrams (marketing), Chrissy Noh (marketing), Lisa Moraleda (publicity), Devin MacDonald(marketing), Jill Hacking (marketing), and Lili Feinberg (publicity) offer a sneak peek at the hottest books and properties coming from Simon & Schuster in 2019, including books by fan-favorite authors. Attendees will take home exclusive swag
Sunday July 21st
Q&A: Ann Leckie
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM , Room 29AB
Ann Leckie is the author of the multi-award-winning novel Ancillary Justice, and just out this year, her first fantasy novel, The Raven Tower. Ann will be hosting this Q&A session so you can ask her about her books, about writing, or whatever else strikes your fancy.
140-Odd Years of Looking at the Future
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM, Room 25 ABC
Comic-Con special guest Greg Bear (HALO: Forerunner Saga), along with David Brin (Chasing Shadows: Visions of Our Coming Transparent World) and Larry Niven (Man-Kzin Wars XV)-three of speculative fiction’s iconic authors-will be in conversation discussing time travel from the mid-20th century to today, one day at a time. The conversation will be guided by Dr. Travis Langley (Black Panther Psychology, The Joker Psychology), psychology professor at Henderson State University.
Q&A: Sam Sykes
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM, Room 24ABC
Sam Sykes, one of the only people to have their time-wasting Twitter posts turned into a movie,will talk about books, social media, and whatever else he can think about-it’s his spotlight, after all. As the author of Seven Blades in Black, the Bring Down Heaven trilogy, and the Affinity for Steel trilogy, as well as comics like Brave Chef Brianna, there’ll probably be a lot of talking about books.