“What is constantly astonishing to me going to Comic-Cons is the absolute enthusiastic energy. Everyone at these conventions is there because they love this stuff… It has been nerds getting together to celebrate the art and culture of nerdom since 1970.”

Greg Bear aptly describes science fiction as “the dreaming subconscious of science.” Growing up as a Navy brat in the Philippines, he saw Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion wonder, 20 Million Miles to Earth, at age 7 and was instantly hooked. Real inspiration, however, would come from an early encounter with Ray Bradbury, to whom he presented an 8-page screenplay he and his fellow Junior Woodchucks, a science fiction fan club from Crawford High School, had written for Sound of Thunder. Greg quickly discovered how accessible and supportive the big names in the field were, and at Ray’s advice (“do not give up on what you love”), first tried his hand at illustrating and went on to enjoy tremendous success as a Hugo and Nebula Award-winning writer.

Greg’s involvement with Comic-Con began as a fan. Part of the gang that haunted Lanning’s Bookshop, he began illustrating for Ken Krueger in 1970, helped organize the one-day March 1970 Comic-Minicon, and served as science fiction coordinator at subsequent Cons for several years. In his interview, Greg reflects on the major science fiction and comics phenomenon that continues to characterize southern California, owing to the post-war atmosphere, the Space Age, a heavy concentration of military brats, and San Diego’s proximity to Los Angeles, where so many of the major figures live. You can visit Greg’s website at: www.gregbear.com.

Interviewed by Jonathan Valdez

Watch the Greg Bear interview on YouTube.