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Balticon AAR

Well, except for a couple of minor annoyances here and there, Balticon was a Good Thing. Much like the last time I was there, I missed some of the programming I wanted to see because I was hanging out with friends; unlike 2009, I also missed a lot of things I would have liked to have seen due to not arriving until the middle of Saturday afternoon on account of rising late and having a bunch of things to do before I could set out for the Chase Suite Hotel, my crash space for the night.


If I had been staying for the whole weekend, I probably would have been pretty pissed off, as a number of Yelp users were, since management had to cycle me through two rooms before finding one where 1)the card key lock existed and 2) actually worked. The third room was a spacious suite with a queen-sized bed, kitchen, living room, and a shitload of closets. Easily could have slept four. Seemed clean, and I slept pretty well there even without my nose hose. The Mr. Coffee clone worked okay even if the coffee was crappy; the TV didn't, but since I wasn't there to watch TV I didn't really care. Would probably stay there again, and if I stayed longer I might opt to pack some food and fluids in since the hotel food was insanely expensive and I really shouldn't be eating at Wegman's buffet.


I probably spent more time talking to friends and other people than I did attending programming; in fact, I didn't go to any panels on Saturday since the one I was interested in conflicted with the Saturday Night PRSFS Wegman's Buffet Pillage & Knees-Up. After getting back from that, there was nothing I wanted to see on the schedule, so I mostly just hung around, indulged in people-watching, and chatted briefly with deathquaker, who was dashing between panels and apparently having a great time.

Sunday began with breakfast at the Hunt Valley with Messrs. Hammer and Taylor (eggs, sausage, coffee and bacon. Lots of bacon), a panel and a reading; after the reading, I spent most of the afternoon in the consuite talking to Michael Flynn and John C. Wright; Mr. Flynn was kind enough to answer some questions I had about the January Dancer series, and the three of us had a good, lengthy conversation about SF, somewhat assisted by a young fan who went away with a lot of writing advice and recommendations of Golden Age authors he should read. After that broke up, I ran into Kyle M. and his lovely wife Monica, and we wound up back in the consuite conversing until I eventually went off with Mark T. and the Hammer family to Wegman's, and after that I headed home.

Balticon used to be predominantly a literary SF con, and a lot of its programming is still about books and writing and publishing, but there is also a lot of new media programming (podcasts and web video) as well as anime and gaming tracks. In this way it's a lot like CONvergence, though without quite so many parties. There were a lot of young folks there, and as I remarked to Messrs. Flynn and Wright, we'll have to stop using the old "half-pretty women half-dressed to show it" line since many of the young ladies were quite stylishly dressed in steampunk or other finery, in some cases covering everything but concealing nothing, if you know what I mean and I think you do. It was a great time. Next year I need to plan a little further ahead, pre-register, and maybe even get a room at the Hunt Valley or one of the hotels across the way. We'll see.