Here’s another panel I hit in Thursday. Or rather, one that hit me.
Ode to Nerds
This panel was an absolute revelation to me. It was on my radar, but to be honest I only went for two reasons.
First, I needed someplace to sit while I ate lunch. Second, Anthony couldn’t make it and he had been geeking out hard to see one of the panelists, Chuck Palahniuk. (Weird that his name doesn’t trigger spell check – there must be a “Fight Club” fan in charge of Microsoft’s dictionary).
The description in the official guide didn’t give me much to go on: “Everyone knows that published science fiction authors reign on the Geek Heirarchy charts, because the Internet tells us so! Join panelists as the genre’s top names in publishing celebrate all things geeky and nerdy, with Charlie Jane Anders of io9.com. Geek out with Cory Doctorow (The Rapture of the Nerds),Chuck Palahniuk (Doomed), Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind), Austin Grossman (You), D. C. Pierson (Crap Kingdom), and Robyn Schneider (The Beginning of Everything). “
The first thing that hit me was what a tremendous job Charlie Jane Anders did moderating this panel of authors. I’ve just recently come to read, appreciate, and ultimately cherish the job that io9 does covering culture. So, I recognized the web site in the programming guide, but had no idea who Charlie Jane Anders was.
I’ll tell you what. Charlie was great. She was enthusiastic and knowledgeable – a great combination for a moderator. I’d never read anything from any of the authors on this panel before, except for “Haunted” by Chuck Palahniuk. Now? I’ve got a long list of these titles on my Amazon wish list.
The panel opened with a “Geek Hierarchy Chart” and launched into a discussion of people and their passions. The whole conversation made me fall in love with Comic Con all over again – there’s not just acceptance of “difference”, but celebration of it.
The best thing about this panel was the energy and encouragement these authors had for other writers. The panelists were, to a person, passionate about authors staying true to themselves and doing what they love.
There was a hilarious discussion that started from a comment about 50 Shades of Gray that I won’t repeat here because I just showed my mother how to subscribe to this blog. I’ll wait a few weeks until she loses her login and forgets about it to post the details.
My favorite comment of the panel came from Robyn Schneider. She talked about all the different kinds of fandom present under the nerd umbrella. She said, “They’re all pockets on the same pair of nerd jeans.” Then she immediately seemed a bit embarrassed that she said “nerd jeans”. Don’t worry Robyn, we get you.
The panel was very inspirational. I appreciated the discussion regarding publishing. Specifically, there was a discussion that, too often, people measure the worth of a writer by whether they’ve been published or had a movie made. I don’t want to spoil the metaphor by misquoting it here. And since this panel caught me off guard, I didn’t have my pen and notebook handy to capture specifics. Suffice it to say, there was an acknowledgement that many writers are hobbyists and there are greater aspirations than being published.
I will, however, be keeping my eye on io9, Charlie Jane Anders, and the authors on this panel. And next year, I’ll be specifically seeking out more programming like this at SDCC.
If a video of this panel exists, I’d love to see it and provide a link. I’ve still only got six skill points in Google, though, so I haven’t been able to find it on my own.
In the meantime, you can watch Robyn Schneider introduce her appearance at Comic Con on Youtube. It’s fun and will give you an idea of the geek enthusiasm that abounded.