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On The Smugglers’ Radar: The Book Smugglers’ Comic-Con Roundup Edition (& Giveaway)

In which we roundup our favorite things from San Diego Comic Con, and offer up a giveaway of some of the goodies snagged from SDCC!


Last weekend was San Diego Comic Con–a ginormous annual congregation of literally hundreds of thousands of comics, tv, movie, and SFF nerds in sunny Southern California. SDCC is always an experience. It’s usually an uncomfortable one, given the many, many bodies, but there’s always a ton of cool stuff–including hugely important reveals of upcoming films and tv, and, a book lover dares to hope, awesome author meetings, signings, and con exclusives.

This year (as with the past 8-10 years), SDCC is all about the movies. A ton of awesome trailers were revealed, swag (including posters and a ton of google cardboard products) given… but the books were pretty disappointing. In particular, this fangirl was incredibly frustrated to learn that even though Ernest Cline was at the con, and it was the lead hyped title being promoted by Crown Publishing at the con, and the book published this past Tuesday 7/14, NO COPIES OF THE BOOK WERE AVAILABLE (neither for sale or for giveaway). But I digress–for all of the missteps (mostly publishers taking the “we’re here because we have to have some presence but this isn’t really our audience” stance), there were some great bookish discoveries at the show.

Here’s a roundup of my favorite trailer reveals, books found at the con, and a giveaway of some SDCC awesomeness!

The Trailers


Unholy necronomicon, people, ASH IS BACK WITH HIS BOOMSTICK! Also Lucy Lawless! Diverse cast! I cannot wait.


It’s Josh Holloway reunited with Carlton Cuse in an invasion/occupation/rebellion story! I am a little leery of the way Sarah Wayne Callies is framed in the trailer (because she’s basically… Laurie), but I like the premise of the show and am willing to give it a try!


I feel obliged to include this trailer even though I am not a fan of Ben Affleck’s casting and I think the batsignal and sign look oddly boxy in this trailer. The reason it’s here: WONDER WOMAN. We finally get a glimpse of Gail Gadot as both Diana Prince and in her awesome WW garb. I WANT TO BELIEVE THIS IS GOING TO BE GOOD, PEOPLE.


More importantly: anyone else a fan of animated series? I haven’t been keeping up with many of them, but the new animated Vixen from DC looks awesome, doesn’t it?


Did you know that MTV is adapting a television show based on Terry Brooks’ Shannara Chronicles? I don’t think I ever read more than the first book, and that was many moons ago–but with Jon Favreau at the helm, I’m hopeful.


Speaking of book-to-screen adaptations, I am super bummed that I didn’t get to attend the panel at SDCC, but I am very excited to see more information about the show following last weekend. The trailer–and Google Cardbord VR–looks amazing. Time to catch up on the rest of the Expanse books!


I confess that I had no idea what was going on when I first saw this trailer because it looks like a parody music video with dancing stormtroopers (remember at the beginning of Star Wars Rogue Squadron on gamecube?). But then I remembered, hello, Propos! I am so terrified and excited for Mockingjay II–it will be so painful to watch because it is so heartbreaking (PEETA! FINNICK! RUUUUUUUE!), but at the same time, I need to see it.


The most important trailer (well, featurette) from SDCC 2015 in my opinion is this. If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ve probably watched it several times in the past week–and I’m not ashamed to say that I tear up every. Single. Time. The music, the obvious love and care and respect that go into every aspect of this newest episode, the blend of old favorites and costumes and sets and actors with new… it’s breathtaking. It’s a big deal.

The Books

Slim pickings, but here are a few keepers I was able to purchase or otherwise snag at the convention.

The Fold


The folks in Mike Erikson’s small New England town would say he’s just your average, everyday guy. And that’s exactly how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he’s chosen isn’t much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but he’s content with his quiet and peaceful existence.

That is, until an old friend presents him with an irresistible mystery, one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve: far out in the California desert, a team of DARPA scientists has invented a device they affectionately call the Albuquerque Door. Using a cryptic computer equation and magnetic fields to “fold” dimensions, it shrinks distances so that a traveler can travel hundreds of feet with a single step.

The invention promises to make mankind’s dreams of teleportation a reality. And, the scientists insist, traveling through the Door is completely safe.

Yet evidence is mounting that this miraculous machine isn’t quite what it seems—and that its creators are harboring a dangerous secret.

As his investigations draw him deeper into the puzzle, Mike begins to fear there’s only one answer that makes sense. And if he’s right, it may only be a matter of time before the project destroys…everything.

A cunningly inventive mystery featuring a hero worthy of Sherlock Holmes and a terrifying final twist you’ll never see coming, The Fold is that rarest of things: a genuinely page-turning science-fiction thriller. Step inside its pages and learn why author Peter Clines has already won legions of loyal fans.


No final cover for this one yet, but I cannot wait to read Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel.

An inventive debut in the tradition of World War Z and The Martian, told in the cutting-edge cadences of interviews, journal entries, transcripts, and news articles, Sleeping Giants is a literary thriller fueled by a quest for truth—and by a struggle for control of earthshaking power.

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

Advance praise for Sleeping Giants

“This stellar debut novel . . . masterfully blends together elements of sci-fi, political thriller and apocalyptic fiction. . . . A page-turner of the highest order.” —Kirkus Reviews


This book came out last month from Saga Press:

The War Against The Assholes

The novel is set in a Manhattan “shrouded in mystery” and follows a 17-year-old Catholic high school student who begins to acquire supernatural powers after being introduced to a book called The Calendar of Sleights by a strange classmate. The protagonist is then pulled into a long-running war among rival factions of magicians.


I hadn’t heard of this book before the con, and wasn’t particularly interested when I saw the cover. But the synopsis, that got my attention:

Twelve Kings of Sharakhai

Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings—cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite company of Blade Maidens, and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert. There is no hope of freedom for any under their rule.

Or so it seems, until Çeda, a brave young woman from the west end slums, defies the Kings’ laws by going outside on the holy night of Beht Zha’ir. What she learns that night sets her on a path that winds through both the terrible truths of the Kings’ mysterious history and the hidden riddles of her own heritage. Together, these secrets could finally break the iron grip of the Kings’ power…if the nigh-omnipotent Kings don’t find her first.


Last but not least, I picked up this graphic novel from Image Comics and cannot wait to read it (all of the reviews cite it as terrifying and original–yes, please!):


Everything you thought you knew about witches is wrong. They are much darker, and they are much more horrifying. Wytches takes the mythology of witches to a far creepier, bone-chilling place than readers have dared venture before. When the Rooks family moves to the remote town of Litchfield, NH to escape a haunting trauma, they’re hopeful about starting over. But something evil is waiting for them in the woods just beyond town. Watching from the trees. Ancient…and hungry. Collects Wytches #1-6.


The Book Smugglers’ SDCC Giveaway:

SDCC 2015 Giveaway

We have a few goodies up for grabs from San Diego this year! Included are:

  • SDCC exclusive version of The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown
  • Legendary Pictures’ SDCC Google Cardboard (download the Pacific Rim app. IT IS AMAZING. The Expanse app is pretty good, too.)

The sweeps is open to addresses in the US, UK, and Canada only. Enter by using the form below, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  • Cynthia Porter
    July 18, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    My favorite “news” out of SDCC? The glimpse of Wonder Woman! This better be good!

  • Vanessa C.
    July 18, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    My favourite news? Star Wars! I was hoping for another trailer but I loved the behind the scenes video. I really can’t wait for December.

  • Hebe
    July 18, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    I have to agree: the Star Wars featurette is big news. I really hope the film manages to live up to all the hype.

  • Allison
    July 18, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Star Wars!!! Also The Walking Dead, because I love that show.

  • Thea
    July 18, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Oh my gosh, Allison–you reminded me of another trailer I just saw a few days ago! Have you seen the FEAR THE WALKING DEAD trailer??? I. CANNOT. WAIT. Something that is brilliant about THE WALKING DEAD is how it is, technically, post-apocalypse. It’s great in terms of Rick’s initial displacement and fear and isolation, but we lose all of that awesome zombie outbreak terror… but FEAR THE WALKING DEAD is going to be a true horror TV show and good grief it looks amazing. (Also love the LA choice, and the diverse cast!)

  • Lexi
    July 18, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    I have to say I really enjoyed the behind the scenes look on Star Wars. It is nice how some of the effects are staying true to original series.

  • DJ (@MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape)
    July 18, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    I picked up Wythces, Vol. 1 earlier this week! I’d read issue #1 a while back, and loved it. I’m excited to read this volume too 🙂

  • Pam H
    July 18, 2015 at 8:17 pm


  • Mary A
    July 18, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    The first 3 Shannara books were great for 6th grade me but a reread as an adult left me a bit nonplussed. Thanks for tracking down what books you could. You all are the only place I’ve seen them mentioned.

  • Neal Trautloff
    July 18, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    Once Upon A Time – Merida will be coming to Storybrook

  • D Franklin
    July 19, 2015 at 5:22 am

    I have to say the Batsignal/Batsign in the Dawn of Justice trailer confirm my worst fears about that damn film, for one very simple reason; they’re ripped straight from the Frank Miller Dark Knight Returns/Dark Knight Strikes Back duology, the former of which is good once you get past its Millerishness, the second of which descends into a self-parody of Millerish awfulness on social justice. These are not stories I want to see Snyder using as touchstones for his story, especially given how badly WW is treated by Miller. (Though at least it isn’t ASBAR)

  • Lucy
    July 19, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    I’m with you about the disappointment of Armada not being available at SDCC. Since it was so close to release date it was silly not to have it for sale. I would have snapped up a signed copy and Comic-Con attendees are the perfect audience for that book! (As evidenced by EC’s packed book panels, and I know the booksellers on site agreed too)
    Sounds like you had a blast! The Expanse and Colony look really cool. Thanks for sharing your experience 🙂

  • Austin Baroudi
    July 19, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Definitely Star Wars THE FORCE AWAKENS!

  • DJ
    July 19, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Definitely, The Walking Dead.

  • Jishnu
    July 20, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Suicide Squad was the highlight for me as well as Batman vs Superman

  • William Gardner
    July 20, 2015 at 10:49 am

    The best news out of SDCC was that it looks like the deadpool movie mightn’t be terrible. We’ll still have to see. But personally i was ecstatic hearing a bunch of stories and being super jealous, because my girlfriend got to go, told me about some great cosplay and a panel she sat in and got to listen to patrick rothfuss ramble about writing.

  • Anonymous
    July 20, 2015 at 10:51 am

    I’m definitely looking forward to the Star Wars movie, though with as much trepidation as anticipation. I came of age when the original trilogy was coming out, and was so disappointed in the first prequel that I never watched the other two. (I know; they’re better. I’ll watch them one of these days.) I’ve got my fingers crossed for this one.

    OTOH, I wasn’t expecting the Shannara series at all. And while I’ve only ever read book one, the trailer is breathtaking, so I’m getting excited for the series – and thinking I ought to give the book series another try.

  • Amanda Lee
    July 20, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Definitely Star Wars, though Deadpool and Suicide Squad were pretty great.

    But really, who am I kidding?

    The best thing was the Dubsmash War between Hayley Atwell & James D’Arcy versus the cast of Agents of Shield. That made my Comic Con weekend.

  • bn100
    July 20, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    Star Wars

  • kelli
    July 20, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    am i allowed to say star wars at this point? i also saw a cool lego display being featured on blogs with a life size jurassic world model. so cool!

  • Nikki Egerton
    July 21, 2015 at 6:28 am

    I quite liked the Suicide Squad trailer. I was worried about Jared Leto in the Joker role, but his line at the end gave me shivers. Harley Quinn also looks pretty cool, so I’m excited to see how this one goes.

  • hapax
    July 21, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Star Wars, I guess, but meh. I hate to sound all “get of my lawn”-ish, but I think I was a lot more excited about Comic-con when it was a con by and for comic fans.

  • Mara
    July 22, 2015 at 12:51 am

    The marvel superhero selfie was pretty awesome. Jennifer Lawrence always kills it so I watched the Mockingjay panel, and I gotta say, as its THG last year, that was maybe my favorite panel.

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