Post by: Jess Ryno
For those of you that don’t know C2E2 stands for Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo.
Last year there was a substantial YA book presence mostly thanks to Epic Reads and Fierce Reads. They both had a booth again this year but they did not bring along as many authors or free books. I cleaned up last year. This year I was able to snag a few books. Mostly ARCs.
Sarah Beth Durst was there. She did several panels (we will get to those later) she also did a free shining at the Epic Reads table. They gave away copies of The Queen of Blood(book 1). Fierce Reads gave away ARCs of Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron, The Outcast(4th book of the Summoner series) by Taran Matharu, and the one I am super excited about getting Dance of Thieves by Mary Pearson.
I also picked up a copy (payed for it) of Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller. She was at the Fierce reads table doing a signing, so I got a copy to get signed. She was super nice and talked to me for a bit. She asked, how the convention was going and if I had been to any panels. I had, so we talked about the panels I had been too. She seemed genuinely interested and like I said before super nice.
Ah the panels. Just like I told Tricia Levenseller the panels were a bit disappointing. I made sure to hit all the writing related panels.
First up was LET’S BUILD A TEAM. The description said: Making one great character is challenge enough- but what if you need to create an entire team of characters? Whether building an entire team or just a sporting cast for your protagonist, there is an art to fleshing out a complete roster of characters. Join Comfort Love, Adam Withers, Ashley Wood, and David Petersen to learn the basics of team building and design. Then we will invite the audience to help in creating a small team which will be designed and drawn live.
So, when they said ‘learn the basics’ they meant a quick slide show of the basic rules and then jump into creating a small team. I understand that they had to get right into it because the drawing aspect of it took some time. The drawing didn’t apply to me but it was interesting how they took the audience’s random ideas and wove them into characters. Pairing character traits off in a way that created the most conflict. It was interesting but I don’t think I could ever do it that way.
Not writing related but I had to go to HARRY POTTER 20TH ANNIVERSARY PANEL: Two Decades of Magic. None of the speakers were Harry Potter related so I thought that was odd but it still sounded fun so I went anyway. The speakers were: Veronica Roth, Sarah Beth Durst, Lucy Knisley, and Joe Dragunas. It was still interesting. The moderator asked how Harry Potter influenced each of the speakers work and similar questions. But at the end they opened it up for audience questions and then things got really odd.
Saturday I went to JOIN THE REBELLION: Kickass Heroines Shake-up the Status Quo. The description said: Engrossing stories, fully-realized fantasy worlds and the bad ass female characters that inhabit them. Join a panel of authors for a lively discussion of resistance, rebellion and female characters who aren’t afraid to break the mold. Featuring Justina Ireland, Rebecca Ross, Christina Henry, and Sarah Beth Durst.
This panel wasn’t bad but it didn’t stay on topic. There was very little about female characters. There was a bit about rebellions and oppressed societies. But somehow things turned to diversity and needing more writers of color. I agree we need more diversity in books but it took over the panel.
On Sunday I went to THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT: Dystopian & Utopian Futures in Fiction. This too did not end up being what I expected. The speakers were Sue Burke, Kristen Simmons, Ada Palmer, Demitria Lunetta and Sam J. Miller.
So one of the speakers( I’m not naming names) but she was a bit of a know it all and came off rather snotty to the moderator and everyone else. One speaker just kept saying the our real world is doomed. And the panel basically turned into Trump will be the end of the world.
Oddly enough the speakers of the last two panels JOIN THE REBELLION and THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT, made me think they were put together by the LET’S BUILD A TEAM people. The speakers just did not seem to mesh well. They definitely had conflicting character traits and it did not make for an interesting panel.