The Creating gods (and other super powered individuals) panel was an interesting one. The panelists were Brandon Sanderson, Carrie Vaughn, Brenda W. Clough.
Do other characters become insignificant if there are god-like characters? Carrie Vaughan said no and gave Greek mythology,with its human and god interaction, as an example.
Brandon said that disparity in power causes conflict. The panelists agreed that power need not define a person (I was reminded of those endless debates over power levels of Wheel of Time characters at Wotmania; they are probably still happening!) A protagonist needs to overcome adversity to impress the reader. Too easy is not as interesting. Foreshadowing makes using magic to solve problems satisfying for the reader.
Super powered beings can have a weakness. (Brandon wrote a novella on this topic from which he read an excerpt earlier in the Con.) The classic way is to cripple the god, but the panelists found this often feels contrived. (Erikson has a god literally named the Crippled God).
Brandon tries to surprise the reader with how powers are used in interesting ways to solve or overcome problems. He said he “inherited” Rand when Rand had ultimate power and struggled with how to handle it. While Rand has god-like power, Brandon emphasized Rand’s difficulty with interpersonal relationships, and also the Shadow’s strategy to subvert Rand so they can win. He concentrated on Rand’s despair. These things have nothing to do with super powers.
I noticed that all panelists except Brandon talked about writing the death of a god. Hmmm…
I attended the Manga: which series got you hooked panel to get ideas for surprise gifts for my teenage son who likes manga and came away with plenty. Better still, Peter Ahlstrom kindly provided me with more suggestions after the panel.
Some, such as Full Metal Alchemist, I had written down on a piece of paper and then lost it. I have heaps of paper with notes on at home.
These ones sounded worth checking out to me:
- Hikaru-no-Go - about the game of go. (I’ve written about go in the Wheel of Time here).
Barefoot Gen – about a Hiroshima survivor
Dazzle – a complex series not complete about a small group of wanderers. (Heck, I’ve been waiting for series to be completed for years; I don’t see why my son can’t suffer too!)
Gantz – ongoing series about souls who become part of a semi-posthumous "game" in which they are forced to hunt down and kill aliens
Sanctuary – a political thriller
Naruto – about a ninja
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle - by Clamp, refers to earlier works and has Sakura as the main character
Planetes –a sf manga
These are all shonen (aimed at male readers) manga.
Some examples of shojo (aimed at female readers) manga recommended by the panelists are:
- Red River - about a girl sucked back into Hittite and Ancient Egyptian times
Angel sanctuary – has incest, archangels (interesting mix)
Ceres, Celestial legend – about an angel kidnapped and kept
Fushigi Yuugi – about a girl sucked into a vortex and transported to China
Basara – post apocalyptic Tokyo
Other shojo manga were mentioned, but I didn’t get them all.
Recommended anime are Twelve Kingdoms and Rurouni Kenshin.