San Diego Comic-Con may have a reputation as being all Storm Troopers, superheroes, and movie stars, but in the past few years, authors—and fans—of genre prose have made their presence known with packed panels, appearances, and signings. Comic-Con’s big-tent approach to fandom embraces diverse genre promotion in the convention space. As Adams Media acquisitions editor Rebecca Tarr Thomas tells PW, it’s “just part of the vibe, that escapism, seeking out your particular little corner of the nerd universe.”

Not only are genre novels on the rise, there’s a notable resurgence also in the RPG (role-playing game) world with its surrounding tie-in accoutrements and guides. “We’re speaking the language that this audience is speaking,” says Thomas. Adams brings interactive RPG experiences to its panels, playing games live with audience participation. Authors are “excited about RPG the same way that the audience is, and you get to nerd out and tell stories and create content together.”

Below are some highlights from the new and upcoming genre titles being featured at SDCC this year.

The Bright Sword

Lev Grossman. Viking, July

When King Arthur dies, he doesn’t leave behind knights of legend, but a motley group including Merlin’s traitorous former apprentice, Nimue and Arthur’s fool, who’s knighted as a joke. As for Camelot? Warlords are laying siege, and young knight Collum must work alongside Arthur’s ragtag assortment to reclaim Excalibur and restore Camelot to glory. PW’s starred review promises that “epic fantasy fans will hang on every word.”


Buried Deep and Other Stories

Naomi Novik. Del Rey, Sept.

This prose collection spans genres from fantasy to science fiction, with each story centered on what it means to wrestle with destiny. Readers will find a tale about a mushroom witch, the story of a Middle Ages bride who gambles with Death, and Pride and Prejudice reimagined with dragons. Novik will appear as a special guest of SDCC and be featured in a spotlight panel.

The Düngeonmeister Random Monster Generator

Jef Aldrich, Jon Taylor, and Sara Richard. Adams Media, July

Readers can mix and match heads, torsos, and legs to create all manner of new monsters to debut at their next RPG session in this interactive flip book. Of course, the monsters aren’t just illustrated with delightfully grotesque images from artist Richard; each aspect comes with its own stats to match, making for unique beasts with surprising abilities to bring to dice battles.


Murtagh: Deluxe Edition

Christopher Paolini. Knopf BYR, Oct.

Dragons return in the updated deluxe edition of Paolini’s bestseller. This time, appearing alongside the fan-favorite tale of Dragon Riders and evil kings are a new scene featuring Eragon and Murtagh, a set of full-color maps, and two pieces of black-and-white artwork created by the author himself. Paolini is also a Comic-Con special guest, with a spotlight panel and signings planned.

The Night Ends with Fire

KX Song. Ace, July

This Mulan-inspired fantasy novel follows Meilin as she trades the dangers of her life for the dangers of war. Disguised as a boy, Meilin finds friendship and sparks of romance with her sparring partner, but when a spirit begins to visit her in visions, promising freedom and power, Meilin faces a tough decision about her future. It will be a featured title at PRH’s Book World exhibit at Comic-Con.

Vilest Things

The sting of betrayal runs deep through this sequel to Gong’s Antony and Cleopatra–inspired fantasy novel, Immortal Longing.  Amid the aftermath of bloody political games and broken family alliances, an exiled aristocrat’s old romantic interest appears with a secret that threatens to tip the new, precarious balance of the empire into anarchy.

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