Monday, June 2, 2014

Phoenix Comicon is coming!

Hot on the heels of Susan’s exciting BEA adventures (over 100 books hunted down?! Day-yum, girl! You show ‘em how it’s done!), I will be heading to Phoenix Comicon this Thursday through Sunday. I’m really impressed with their books and author track this year—lots of authors from across all the subgenres of SFF, many of them super highly acclaimed, and more publishers in attendance than last year! To say I’m excited would be an understatement. You can find the full run-down of guests and programming here, but here are some of the people and events I’m most looking forward to:

Patrick Rothfuss!!! Arguably one of the most famous names in the pantheon of modern fantasy writers, I was jaw-drop shocked to see he would be coming to Phoenix. So amazing!!! I’ve been hearing about him since The Name of the Wind first came out, but I didn’t get around to reading his books until fairly recently. He made it onto my list of early 2014 favorites, and I hauled ass to finish up the second (and most recent) book in the Kingkiller series last week, because I wanted to be able to attend his panels spoiler-free. Mission accomplished! I’m interested in hearing him talk about Kvothe and his world, and also about upcoming projects like the Bast short story coming out in the Rogues anthology later this month and the Auri novella dropping in the fall.

Scott Lynch!!! As if Pat Rothfuss alone wasn’t reason enough to attend to PHXCC, yet another of the most popular fantasy authors of our age will be there! Again, I’d been hearing about how great he is pretty much since The Lies of Locke Lamora first came out, and, again, I was slow to get around to reading it. When I saw he’d be at the convention I tracked down a copy to read in preparation, and it was AWESOME. Clever con artists pulling off the heist of a lifetime in a Venice-flavored setting? Yes, please! The book is seriously non-stop action and crackling writing—I pretty much read for two days straight because I couldn’t put it down. I haven’t read the sequels yet (it took all my strength of will to read a book by another convention guest rather than diving straight into Red Seas Under Red Skies), but I am so so SO excited to meet the guy whose brain produced this series! Richer and cleverer than everyone else!!!

In the realm of awesome YA authors, Laini Taylor will be attending! The WordNerds book club read Daughter of Smoke and Bone a couple years ago, and I think I was the one who enjoyed it most out of our group. I love lyrical writing and vivid imagery, and those are both things Laini Taylor excels at. I saw her at my local indie bookstore when the second book in the trilogy, Days of Blood and Starlight, came out, and she was very personable and a lot of fun. Though I haven’t gotten to that one or the final installment of the trilogy (out a couple months ago), it’s going to be interesting to hear about her thoughts on YA and writing during panels like “Improbable Dystopias?” and “True Natures, Hidden Identities in YA Fiction.” I know I’m probably courting spoilers by going to those without having finished the series, but I’m feeling BOLD, I tell you!

And a big hooray for Seanan McGuire!!! Yet another awesome, awesome author. I nommed all seven books in her Toby Daye series in about two weeks. Slightly shameful on my part, but that just goes to show how completely addictive they are! I’ve been describing that series to friends as “Holly Black for grown-ups!” By which I just mean they’re well-written and engaging urban fantasy about the fae. Holly Black’s and Seanan McGuire’s writing styles and narrative voices are very different, but their books are similar in that a) they involve faeries, b) their writing is very evocative, and c) they’re FANTASTIC. Seanan McGuire also writes horror under the name Mira Grant, but I haven’t made it that far through her back catalogue yet. It’s only a matter of time, though! It’s always so nice to a find a new-to-you author you really enjoy, and even better when they have a ton of books for you to work your way through.

Catherynne Valente, another lyrical writer I adore, is coming back to Phoenix as well! Her writing is so poetic and deeply rooted in myth and folklore, and I absolutely love it (her first Fairyland book was my #1 read of 2013!). She’s another one I’ve caught on tour at my local indie book shop, and I remember she had all kinds of interesting thoughts and opinions to share with the audience (though she did not manage to diminish my affection for A Wrinkle in Time). It’s going to be fun to see her during the live recording of SF Squeecast (a great nerdy SFF podcast, if you haven’t checked it out) and at a panel with female authors talking about Doctor Who.

There are plenty of other famous, up-and-coming, and otherwise popular authors on the PHXCC guest list as well. Any of these books look familiar?

I was super into Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books for awhile (y’know, the ones they adapted into the TV show True Blood). Jim Butcher is hugely popular and famous, though I’ve somehow never tried out the Dresden Files (just grabbed the first one with my credit at a used bookstore, though!). I’m currently trying to read Pierce Brown’s debut novel, Red Rising, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish it by the time the con rolls around. Can you believe there are going to be even MORE authors in attendance beyond those represented here? Like I said, the books-and-authors track is truly impressive this year.

Oh, and Paul & Storm will be playing a concert there with guest appearances by John Scalzi, Pat Rothfuss, and Seanan McGuire. You may know them from this hilarious song exhorting George R. R. Martin to speed it up on the Song of Ice and Fire front:

All in all, it’s shaping up to be an epic weekend. I’ll be reporting on panels and such like I did last year, so keep an eye out for that. Who would you be most interested in seeing/hearing about at Phoenix Comicon this year? Are you a fan of any of the authors attending? Hit the comments and let us know!

All author photos are from the Phoenix Comicon website, and all book cover images are from Goodreads.


LadySol said...

Hey, maybe I should go to this next year. It would be a good excuse to visit you, and actually promote my comic for a change.

Alyssa L. said...

You should!! It's super fun. Exhausting, too, but only because there's so much awesomeness to take in. :D

LadySol said...

Keep me posted about when I'd need to sign up for these things. I'll probably forget, but I think it would be awesome

Alyssa L. said...

It would totally be awesome!! It looks like they've already got the dates set for next year--May 28th-31st, 2015--but I'm not sure when memberships go on sale. Some time in spring? Though I think press/media/professional applications open earlier. I'll keep you posted!

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