For some reason not publicly announced (or very well communicated) the schedule in Salon D was pushed back one hour, so that when I showed up at noon after having eaten a good-sized breakfast at the Cinnamon Tree's Sunday buffet expecting the Megastructures panel, what I got was Michael Flynn doing a very entertaining solo presentation on statistics. Unfortunately, the Megastructures panelists didn't seem to have a consensus on what they were going to talk about (arcologies or Dyson spheres?) so I bailed and hit the huckster's room.
In contrast to Convergence, Balticon's hucksters' room is still largely taken up with booksellers, though many of those booksellers are carrying manga and comics as well. There were some game sellers, some tchotchke and other crafters, but the proportion of these was lower than at CVG. There did seem to be a lot of authors in the hucksters' room flogging their books, and a lot of artists -normal ones like Mark Rogers) and fan/web artists like Rob Balder and Onezumi. I wound up buying a new belt from Larry Sands, about $20 worth of old Heinlein juvenile paperbacks from Charles Miller, a couple of Samurai Cat books and a pinup collection from Mark Rogers, and some miscellaneous stuff from Rob. I would have cheerfully bought an Erfworld T-shirt, but unfortunately neither of them were available in my size. By then, it was time to go back downstairs for more panels.
First up was Maryann Johanson's "Not On The Networks" panel, which was excellent even before Peter Beagle showed up. I think she could have carried the panel by herself, frankly, but she knows herself better than I do. I did catch her after the panel and buy a copy of her book, which she autographed on the spot. I then went down and hung out with Paul Hammer at the RiF auction where I wound up scoring a copy of John Ringo's The Last Centurion along with a baseball hat, T-shirt (wrong size) and a pair of grilling aprons, which will probably be going on eBay along with the rest of the clothing. Then followed the Connie Willis GoH interview, which was mostly good except for learning that Ms. Willis has a touch of BDS. Still going to read -and probably buy- All Clear when it comes out. A half-hour reading followed from that novel, which was excellent, and then we headed out to dinner.
Due to Connie Hammer's eating habits (so picky they make those of the hot Marine sniper chick from A Hymn Before Battle look like a P-I-G Hog) the celebration dinner for her little sister Carly's graduation was held at the Hunt Valley Wegman's. Entertainment was provided by the sisters and Kyle McAbee, with assists from his lovely wife Monica, "Mr." Mark Taylor, Paul Hammer, and occasional own goals by Yr. humble diarist, who at one point found himself asked to give a coherent description of the history and programme of Libertarian Falangism, or just Falangism. After dinner we all headed back for the Balticon Short Film Festival, which was being MC'd by the attractive and witty Ms. Johanson.
It was a pretty mixed bag. The French animated shorts were technically well done, but I didn't care for the stories; "Final Run" was a good story crippled by poor production values, and "Postcards from the Future" was fucking depressing. Whoever at NASA thought this was good propaganda needs to be beaten severely and then fired. I really liked "A Gentlemens' Duel", because it was silly and well done, and "The End is Night" because it was Irish and silly as well as being well done. "The Un-Gone" was good and serious, as was "ELI"; "Light Sabers" was gritty and edgy and kinda funny in parts, definitely worth watching.
We didn't stay for the late (after midnight) flicks; instead, Mark and Paul and I hung out and SMOFed a bit in the hall, mostly about the late great Unicon and the cons I'd worked on in Minnesota, and after that we failed to find somewhere that was still open where we could drink - besides the con suite, I mean. So we wound up going back to Mark & Paul's room and watching most of Silence of the Lambs as a silent movie, since the sound was down so Connie could sleep. Still works as a movie and is hella scary. Good job, Mr. Demme.