Comic Con: My panel on science and scifi

By Phil Plait | July 30, 2008 1:30 pm

The reason I went to Comic Con was because the Hive Overmind (Discover Magazine) sponsored a panel discussion about the Science of Science Fiction, and invited me to be on it. They paid for my junket, which was very cool of them, and of course buys my loyalty for at least a week or two.

The panel was a lot of fun. They recorded it, and it’s now live:

The audience seemed to enjoy the discussion, and we got a lot of great questions. The panelists were me, Kevin Grazier (science advisor for Battlestar Galactica, Eureka, and The Zula Patrol), and Jaime Paglia (Executive Producer of Eureka). The moderator was Stephen Cass, who contributes to the Science Not Fiction blog at DM.

io9 has comments on the panel (more about them later), and it’s also up at the official Eureka writers’ blog, Eureka Unscripted.

After the panel, DM took us all out to dinner (Kevin had to leave early, which is too bad; we’ve been friends a while and I would’ve liked to have hung out more). Jaime went, as well as Eureka writer Eric Wallace and his wife Wendy (coproducer of seasons 1 and 2 of Eureka). Eric is teh awesome, and we spent a lot of time cracking each other up and squeeing over Doctor Who. In fact, everyone I met was totally cool. I’m really having a hard time assimilating that fact; everyone was fun to be with.

I have more Comic Con info coming later, but I’m still struggling to catch up with email, the blog, and life in general. But I have to tell y’all about the SciFi Channel’s afterparty… but that’ll have to wait for later.

But it was AWESOME.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Science, SciFi, Video Blog

Comments (36)

  1. Phil, I am totally jealous of you! Sounds like way too much fun to get paid for. And those after parties are LEGENDARY!

  2. Pop

    Now picture this… a stary night, top down on the convertable, a teenaged Phil out with his best girl. There they are sunggled on the front seat. She’s feel all cuddly and close. What’s Phil doing? Lookinng up at the stars and making goo-goo sounds as he points out one after another star.

    Phil must have been a lot of fun out on lover’s lane on those summer evenings. Whattda ya say BA?

  3. Pop

    Wished I’d of had a convertable at the time I was a teen. I’d have been looking at the stars too. Just pulling your leg BA. But, you are the envy of many folks. You have way more fun in life then most. Good-on-yer!

  4. Charles

    If you got to hang out with Trish Helfer, I officially hate you.

    (just kidding.)

  5. Oh boy,

    Now I’m never going to be able to deflate Phil’s head. He’ll be at Dragon*Con telling me how much of a tiny ass con it is. Even though it is almost the same size, just spread out around 4 hotels. ūüėČ

  6. PG

    I did a similar panel on a small convention locally. Got to hang out with some of the guests, one of whom I see on your flickr page (presumably those are your shots from the afterparty). My panels were loads of fun for me, but I can see that it didn’t measure up to your panel at ComicCon!

  7. Sensitive Ears

    First- I love the blog. I check it out daily.
    Second – I don’t know if this is your fault or not, but please don’t post videos or ads that auto-play with sound.
    I like to read your stuff when work is slow and having this Eureka thing blast out of the speakers unexpectedly is pretty embarassing.

  8. Great panel. Though some time you’ll have to go into detail about what happens below the neck in explosive decompression.

  9. ABR.

    Big Eureka fan here, but I have to agree with Sensitive Ears about the annoying auto-play feature.

  10. Phil, did you check your email during the panel discussion? :-)

  11. Steve Johnson

    Phil, I love your blog and read it several times a day — but, if you continue to have auto-play videos I may reconsider. Please stop the auto-play.

  12. Tara Dresbach

    I certainly enjoyed the panel. I can’t wait to read more thoughts on the convention. I’m glad you had a good time.

  13. I am very disappointed in this blog entry, which resembles nothing more than an advertisement.

  14. inertially guided

    “They recorded it, and it‚Äôs now live”…

    Excuse me? This is some definition of “live” that I am not (yet) aware of…

    Seriously, Phil, I hate to be a party pooper, but not all of us out here have the ability to download/stream/otherwise recieve all the videos that you attach to your blog. I for one am on a ship (Uncle’s Navy) with available bandwidth just a tad greater than when I first signed up for dialup many years ago, and it’s frustrating for me to have so much content that I simply cannot access. Sorry to rant!

    …all at sea!

  15. inertially guided

    Oh, and we don’t get Battlestar Galactica or Dr. Who, either! NOW I’m really upset…

  16. Mena

    Is there a setting that can be used when embedding videos so that this site doesn’t force me to listen to someone screaming at me about Eureka when all I want to do is read the article and comments?

  17. Mena

    Hit “submit comment” too quickly…
    It’s not that I don’t want to ever watch this video, I just don’t want to now and it looks like a lot of people are having the same reaction. There have been a couple sites that I have seen like that today and it’s a pain when more than one video is playing at the same time. Right now I’m using Opera and disabling plug-ins but it’s a pain to have to keep resetting that. Maybe AdBlock with Firefox will have to deal with this if it doesn’t get fixed.

  18. IBY

    Cool! I wish I could go to one of these conferences. ^_^

  19. KC

    Well rather than harass Phil about it why not scroll up to the top and use the customer service link and complain to the management?

  20. Off topic, but since I know you are a fan of pareidolia I wanted to make sure you knew that Jimmy Hendrix was sighted in a cat’s fur. At least it looks like Hendrix to me, but I think the cat’s owners said it looked like Ivan De Jesus or something like that.

  21. Maura

    That was really interesting. I really like Eureka and initially thought of it as a guilty pleasure. Over time as the episodes have been cosistently good and internally consistent with respect to the science, my guilt has evaporated. I think my favorite thing about it is that the heroes of the show are just unabashedly smart – its heart is in the right place.

    Thanks for posting this.

  22. I am really starting to wonder what bug is in the water lately that is making so many commenters so likely to grouse here.

    Autoplay is not controlled by me, it’s controlled by the video software. I specifically set autoplay to false in the code, and it still plays.

    This post sounds like an ad? What? I’m talking about a panel I did at a convention! I notice, Paul, that you entered a website address into the form when you commented so your name links to a blog. That is far more of an ad than my post is.

    To everyone else, thanks. I did have a great time, and there are more Comic Con posts to come. Stay Tuned.

  23. Jeremy

    I think it’s interesting that you regard Jurassic Park as “anti science” but don’t seem to have a problem with a series that takes that series and runs as far with it as I’ve ever seen anything run: Eureka. The principle message of this show seems to be “scientists have no sense, minimal morals, and will inevitably destroy us all if some non-academic, non-intellectual everyman doesn’t save us from them.”

  24. I’ve done the meteor shower date before. Make out, watch meteors, make out…

    Had the police come ask us why we were in a ditch on the side of the road. After explaining, they suggested a better spot to make out — I mean — watch meteors!

  25. nih

    Auto-play embedded video = removed from my favourites list. Really, really bad form.

  26. Phil, minor complaint here, and I see that its already been mentioned before me.

    I don’t know if you have any control over it, or its the folks at Discover, or Sci-Fi, but that auto-play is REALLY annoying. Now, until you post enough entries to have this one fade to the next page, this video is going to auto-play (which slows down my computer and is generally a pain in the a**).

    Don’t worry though (as I’m sure that my opinion is the make-or-break aspect of this site), I’m still going to keep reading, and recomend the site.

    It’s just that auto-plays really bug me.

  27. From Discover central (aka “the Hive Overmind”). Sorry about the auto-play. This is actually the first time anyone has bought an ad to run with a video in this format(thanks Phil!), so we are still working out the kinks. Hopefully this will be fixed today. Thanks for your patience.

  28. Wildride

    BTW: A better word for the “reversing the decyon field” thing would be technobabble (or treknobabble for that one show). It’s usually a string of technical terms used as a hand wave to resolve a situation.

    A MacGuffin is a thing in a story that seems important initially, the search for which is often the focus of the early acts of the story, but ultimately turns out to be unimportant. Sometimes the term is used to just describe anything that is sought after. So, the want of the MacGuffin sets the hero onto the path of the story, but it doesn’t really matter what happens to the MacGuffin from there.

  29. PG

    If you use a simple add-on with Firefox like NoScript or FlashBlock, all such autoplay thingies will not occur unless you click on them. I personally have no problem clicking “pause” when I start hearing sound from a page! Remember the good-old-days when blinking text was everyone’s biggest beef about people’s HTML?

  30. Gary Ansorge

    Eureka! Just another word for “WoW! That’s SOOO cool.”
    eureka takes KNOWN science and extrapolates to the Nth degree. It’s not the SciFi that’s so much fun. It’s the characters interaction.

    As far as the Science types , “scientists have no sense, minimal morals, and will inevitably destroy us all if some non-academic, non-intellectual everyman doesn‚Äôt save us from them.‚ÄĚ, this isn’t the message, if there is one at all. I do know a few,,,shall we say, distracted, science oriented folk. This comes from being obsessed about what you do. As ANY really successful person can tell you, obsession is the key to success. Do it ’til you fall over,,,

    The everyman is just comic relief, though the sheriff seems gifted in his ability to determine casual relationships, so maby he’s not so everyman as he appears.

    Note: The wisdom of the masses ,,,works,,,

    GAry 7


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