The panel schedule for Salt Lake Comic Con 2016 is live, and I’m delighted to share both the topics I’ll be participating in, and the beautiful artwork for each panel I’ll be on at the con. The organizers have gone to amazing lengths to make advertising for the event both easy and elegant, and to make this one of the biggest and best pop culture conventions in Utah. It is an honor to be included as a guest once again. I can’t wait to discuss science fiction, horror, and creativity with the very fine panelists listed below, and to make this an unforgettable experience for everyone who attends.
Salt Lake Comic Con takes place September 1-3 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- Friday, September 2–10:00 AM: Writing Science Fiction: An Inside Look at the Art of Creating the Fantastic (room 251A)
Cecil Castellucci, David Farland (Moderator), Angie Lofthouse, Eric Swedin, Callie Stoker, Sarah E. Seeley
- Friday, September 2–3:00 PM: Creativity as an Act of Courage: Allowing Your Art to be Seen, Read, Heard, Etc. (room 253A)
Shannen Camp, Kristyn Crow, Brian Durfee, M. Todd Gallowglas, James A. Owen, Charlie Pulsipher (Moderator), Sarah E. Seeley
- Saturday, September 3–7:00 PM: How Science Fiction Has Shapes Our Future (room 253A)
William Neidermeyer, Damon Ricks, Sarah E. Seeley, Blake Smith, John Steiner, Eric Swedin (Moderator), J. Christopher Thompson
- Saturday, September 3–8:00 PM: Mass Consumption of Brains! How Horror Reflects the Current State of the World (room 255B)
Jason A. Anderson, Michaelbrent Collings, Angela Hartley, Sean Hoade, Carter Reid (Moderator), Sarah E. Seeley, Johnny Worthen
I’ll also be selling books at the Xchyler Publishing booth, #2226 on the vendor floor, all three days! Come say hi! Oh, and don’t forget to pick up some squishy brain swag while you’re there–I’ll have more!
I had the opportunity again this year to attend Salt City Steamfest with the wonderful Xchyler Publishing authors of Utah. (The picture above features Kelly Olsen–our local convention sponsor who happens to be a very clever real estate agent and knows just where to find the perfect Victorian-era home for you in Utah; John Olsen, Scott Tarbet, Jay Barnson, Julie Barnson, and Scott Taylor. And me. :-).
Steampunk fans really love what they do, and the cosplay at these events is creative and often elaborate. There were fantastic and interesting booths to explore this year as well, from fossils and reptiles on display, to the costume and gadget vendors, to the harpist and other entertainers who helped create a delightful atmosphere. It was fun to be among you all once again.
I wasn’t on panels this round, but it was nice to relax back at the booth and reconnect with my friends and colleagues. We–Jay, Kelly, and I–had a particularly fun time teasing Candace Thomas (who stopped by the convention briefly to peruse corsets) about her visceral aversion to green pear taffy (“Pear is poison,” she says). (If you feel so inclined, you can watch the video that we authors have been enjoying for our own entertainment here on Facebook: http://fb.me/79VajjeZ1)
Thanks for another great event, Salt City Steamfest! Until next summer!
Dan Wells is a cool guy. I first discovered him while listening to the Writing Excuses podcast with Brandon Sanderson, Howard Taylor, and Mary Robinette Kowal several years ago, and I’ve had the opportunity to speak with him in person at a few conventions.
I haven’t discussed the fiction of Dan Wells on my blog in much detail up to this point, but I’m a huge fan of his I Am Not A Serial Killer books. They’re creepy, they’re funny, they’re surprisingly deep and humanizing despite what they might appear to be on the surface, and they tell a fantastic story. Set up as thriller-style YA murder mysteries, a teenage sociopath named John Cleaver hunts down supernatural monsters while trying to keep his own violent and anti-social tendencies in check.
Over Your Dead Body brings John Cleaver and his pre-Marcy high school obsession Brooke closer than ever, developing these two broken characters and their relationship in surprising ways during their adventures to hunt down the Withered. The ending, of course, is a little heart wrenching. This is a horror book, after all. But it’s another fantastic addition to the I Am Not A Serial Killer universe.
It’s difficult to write a good trilogy, let alone a solid continuation of an original series. Dan Wells has done a masterful job expanding his series into new territory. The more I read about John Cleaver and his terrifying adventures, as well as his inner journey to balance the monster he could become with the protector of humanity and monster-slayer he wants to be, the more I fall in love with these characters. I can’t wait for the next installment!
Part of what I love so much about this series is that this author is so good at exploring and drawing something beautiful and meaningful (as well as terrifying) out of the pain of human experience, particularly concepts of mental illness. I don’t know much about sociopathy, but I’ve struggled with depression and have various family members who have struggled with mental illness, even going back a few generations. I love that this author is willing to have a discussion through storytelling about both what makes mental illness scary and sad, as well as what makes it interesting and human. He’s the sort of author that makes the horror genre beautiful because of its potential to explore the darkness and find the contrasting light of human nature’s potential in the midst.
Well done, Wells! Again, I’m a huge, huge fan of this series—it’s definitely one of my favorite sets of books. (In fact, I should probably put the series down on my little “favorite books” list under my About Me tab.)
You can pick up a copy of Over Your Dead Body, or any of the I Am Not A Serial Killer books here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Over-Your-Dead-Body-Cleaver/dp/0765380692
Or you could do what I did and listen to the amazing Kirby Heyborne narrate this book over here on Audible:
I really enjoyed this book and wanted to share it. Wonderful discussions about gendered adaptations and approaches to threat and conflict. Mental illness, and societal as well as evolutionary adaptations we possess for dealing with trauma. And our human need for strong social bonds and meaningful opportunities to come together as one to contribute to, protect, and heal our communities. Thought-provoking, sincere, hopeful, and deeply moving writing (or, in the case of the audiobook version I “read,” listening). Also a decent commentary on the challenges we face in America and other developed Western societies, where we have incredible blessings of health, security, technological advances, and prosperity that also tend to stratify us into social or political classes and isolate us from one another.
There are so many cool things I could talk about with this short book, but I’ll leave the discussion here. I feel greatly enriched by this book, and I’m growing rather fond of Sebastian Junger’s well-researched and thoughtful perspectives of humanity. There’s a lot more potential for good in our natures and tendencies than we often consider, and we humans need one another more than we know.
Highly recommended read!
You can find Tribe here on Audible (read by the author himself): http://www.audible.com/pd/History/Tribe-Audiobook/B01D57FN3I
Or here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tribe-Homecoming-Belonging-Sebastian-Junger/dp/1455566381.