My Comic Con Schedule for 2013: Three Panels, Geekery Overload

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
July 15 2013 11:43 AM

My Comic Con Panels

San Diego Comic Con
Comic Con, baby!

Photo by pinguino on Flickr

Ermahgerd, it’s time for San Diego Comic Con again!

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

SDCC is geekapalooza, nerdvana, the comicapocalypse. Actually, it’s a huge amount of fun, a giant party with your 150,000 closest friends.

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I have gone the past few years, and 2013 may be my best time there yet. Thanks to help from Slate and the Science and Entertainment Exchange—which are sponsoring my trip this year—I am moderating two panels and participating in a third. Here’s the scoop:

Thursday, July 18 at 1:10 p.m.: Europa Report

Europa Report
Standing on Europa, from the movie.

Photo by Magent Releasing

The movie Europa Report is a tight, well-done scifi movie that is currently available on demand and for download; it hits theaters on Aug. 2. I saw it recently and I won’t give away any spoilers, but I really liked it. Comparisons with Moon are inevitable, and not entirely unfair.

I am honored to be moderating the Europa Report panel in Hall H (!!) at 1:10 p.m. Thursday. The panelists are director Sebastian Cordero, musician Bear McCreary, producer Ben Browning, actress Karolina Wydra, and NASA/JPL scientists Steve Vance and Kevin Hand, who consulted on the film. We’ll have clips and a lot of talk about the science, which was very accurate and really enhanced the drama of the movie.

Thursday, July 18 at 6:30 p.m.: The Science of Science Fiction

I’ll be moderating the perennial Science of Science Fiction panel in Room 24 ABC at 6:30 p.m. I do this panel every year, and it’s one of the highlights of my SDCC experience. Panelists this year are Amy Berg (co-executive producer of Eureka and supervising producer for Person of Interest, Leverage), Kevin Murphy (writer/executive producer of Caprica, and SyFy’s new show Defiance), Kevin Grazier, Ph.D. (science adviser for Defiance, Falling Skies, and Gravity), and Zack Stentz (co-writer of the small indie movies Thor and X-Men: First Class). (Note: Jaime Paglia, executive producer of Eureka and long-standing panelist, unfortunately could not make it to SDCC this year.)

We’ll be talking about how science gets used and abused in TV and movies—and this is coming from the mouths of the people who make the shows. If you a) love science and b) love science fiction, then you want to see this.

Friday, July 19 at 6:45 p.m.: Science Fiction That Will Change Your Life

The science fiction and pop culture blog io9 will be holding its annual Science Fiction That Will Change Your Life panel, and moderator (and my pal) Annalee Newitz asked me to be on it.* Panelists choose one science fiction book, movie, TV show, or what-have-you from the past year that they think has a big impact. Panelists this year are Charlie Jane Anders, Meredith Woerner, Lauren Davis, Javier Grillo-Marxuach (of Middleman, holy yes!), Marc Bernardin, Austin Grossman, Jose Molina, and (duh) me.

This was a lot of fun last year, and I got a lot of really great suggestions from the other panelists for things to read and watch. 

Saturday, July 20 at noon: SOOPER SEKRIT PROJECT

I have a thing I’ve been working on with a friend, a Well-Known Internet Personality™, and I’ll be announcing it very soon. I’m very excited about this—it’s a quirky little thing we dreamed up and very different from my usual sort of project. Stay tuned here on the blog, but if you’re at SDCC, keep Saturday from 12 to 1 open. Further, deponent sayeth not.

Random Silliness

I have a lot of friends going to SDCC and a lot of sci-fi folks I admire and respect. I’ll be tweeting lots of pictures and (no doubt) dumb jokes, so follow me on Twitter to share in the geekery.

Brent Spiner and Marinia Sirtis at Comic Con
You never know whom you'll wind up standing next to at SDCC. Like, say, Brent Spiner and Marina Sirtis from Star Trek: The Next Generation. (Not pictured: Neil Tyson, to whom they were actually speaking.) Also, a couple of years ago, this happened.

Photo by Phil Plait

Correction, July 15, 2013: This post originally misspelled Annalee Newitz's first name.

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