New York Comic Con 2019 – Friday, October 4- Part II
After Lucasfilm Publishing- Stories from a Galaxy Far, Far Away I immediately went to a room near by for another book panel: Family Members: The Best of Allies, The Worst of Enemies.
Whether they’re genetically related, or found family, one’s relationships with one’s parents and siblings are often among the most complex and intense of one’s life. Authors relate the familial entanglements with their characters’ best friends and worst enemies. Explore the tangled limbs and pointy branches of some family trees with Adam Silvera (Infinity Son), Nikki Richard (Demon In The Whitelands), Bob Proehl (The Nobody People), Joan He (Descendant of the Crane), and Akwaeke Emezi (Pet) in conversation with bookseller Ali Kokmen.
Akwaeke Emezi was not there. I walked in a little late because it was back to back with the Lucasfilm panel so I don’t know why Akwaeke was not there.
However, it was still a great panel.
Each author introduced the plot of their novel before they got into the topic of the panel.
When I walked in Adam Silvera was talking about his book Infinity Son. He was describing the brotherhood between Emil and Brighton and what happens when one of the twins gets powers. He compared Brighton to Ron in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Emil to Harry in that Emil didn’t ask for his powers just as Harry didn’t ask to participate in the Triwizard Tournament. Like Ron, Brighton is angry with Emil. He thinks Emil did something to get his powers.
Adam said he was supposed to be a twin (vanishing twin syndrome) but that he also found his family through his friends. He is closer to his LGBTQ family than his he is to his older brother.
Growing up and being gay Adam had a lot of body conscious issues and never saw that addressed in any stories he read. He also recalled the first time he read about a character who was bi-sexual was in Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series.
When the panelists were asked if the family dynamics change when characters have superpowers Bob Proehl (The Nobody People) said they don’t really change just because a sci-fi element is added. Children are not carbon copies of their parents and they can develop skills that the parents didn’t see coming, whether that is being really good at sports or being abel to manipulate time.
The authors also spoke about when the characters are keeping secrets.
Bob Proehl said that part of being a normal, healthy adult is to talk to your family and just tell them things. It is frustrating when you’re reading or writing a book and you want the character to “just tell the wife.” But that would make a boring book if they didn’t keep their secrets.
Nikki Z. Richard spoke about her book Demon in the Whitelands and the title character, Samuel, who is the bastard son of a cleric and he is charged with taking care of a mysterious demon girl. There are many secrets in her story. All religions except one are banned, yet who is this girl and is she really a demon? Why and under what circumstances did Samuel’s parents get together?
Joan He (Descendant of the Crane) spoke about how the king in her novel takes his secrets to the grave. The readers might not agree with his reasons but he knew the consequences if his daughter knew these secrets.
The authors also spoke about the themes in their books. They were all pretty much in agreement that they don’t sit down with a theme in mind. They don’t come up with a metaphor and then write 300 pages around that. They just sit with the characters and write from experiences and their reactions to the world. The authors don’t even realize there is a theme until their readers or their editors point it out.
The authors were asked if their family reads their books. I wish I had written down all their answers but at this point my cold was really kicking in so I had tissues in my hands instead of my pen and paper. I do remember something about Joan He talking about her parents immigrating from China.
Nikki Z. Richard said she does not speak to her family since she came out as transgender and therefore has no idea if her family has read her book.
Adam said his mother does and she loves them because she reads it in her son’s voice and it is like she hears her baby telling the story. His father recommends one of his books to friends (I can’t remember which one), which Adam finds odd because the father in the story is not a good father. The fictional father was based on his own, yet his father still thinks it’s a great story and tells people to read it.
Something that Adam said that really resonated with me was that he is done with writing bad fathers. That there needs to be books out there with LGBTQ people who have supporting parents. Not that there aren’t parents out there who will not be supportive and not that those stories aren’t important, but he wants to tell stories that are about families that are positive. And I totally agree with that. I think that if more stories are told about parents that love and stand by their LGBTQ child, then it will evoke that positive behavior in others.
After the panel they gave out an ARC of Infinity Son and I went to the autographing table so that Adam could sign it. I told him that I really agree with what he said above.
Then I went back up to the Penguin/Del Rey booth. Peter V. Brett was signing and the line was not capped so I got on it. They were giving free copies of his book The Warded Man. I told him I have seen him a couple of times in conversation with Pierce Brown and I have been meaning to read his books, but I am a slow reader. Peter talked about how those discussions with Pierce are exactly how they talk when it’s just the two of them at the bar. I said I believed it because they’re just so natural and relaxed.
He asked me if I had finished Dark Age and I said I had. He said he’s about halfway through the audiobook. He only listens to audiobooks because he multitasks.
At the end of the day my sister joined me and we went to The Colorful Geek. I bought two t-shirts, both from Stranger Things. One is blue and says Scoops Troop. The other is purple and pink and says You Can’t Spell American Without Erica.
We also went to the Harper Collins booth and we each bought their Mystery Box. I chose Fantasy Quest.
Inside was this tote bag and these books:
I actually already have The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst from Book Con 2017. I still have to read it. Maybe this is a sign!
– King of Ashes by Raymond E. Feist
– Woodworker by Emily B. Martin
– The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe
We also checked out the costumes for the women in the new Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn film right before we left.