Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Balticon Roundup

As often, I didn't get to hang out with all the people I wanted to hang out with.

The con went smoothly. Programming's biggest screwup that I noticed was failing to notice my name on the list for the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading, and I did get that fixed on the online program (pro tip: The online program is always more accurate than the printed one).

I moderated two panels.

The first one, "How to present your genre work in a non-genre setting" attracted precisely one attendee. Too technical, perhaps?

The second one, "The Future of Work," was standing room only and a lot of people didn't get to ask their questions. Like...whewf. I needed a drink after that one (moderation is not an easy job, people).

Every single panel I was on was well attended (other than the aforementioned panel on workshops and writers' groups) and went smoothly. This year I was pretty much the "Problems in fandom" panelist. Next year I'm sure it will be different.

The fire alarm went off twice. TWICE. It was the local 5th-6th floor alarm. The first time it was somehow set off by power washing the windows. Who knows on the second (It wasn't a kitchen fire, I was close enough to the kitchen at the time that I'd have smelled smoke). This hotel and fire alarms...

Although, the hotel has improved a lot. I still don't like it, but I don't hate it any more. The accessibility problem with the elevators (flickering lighting) has been fixed. The staff seem to have finally grasped what kind of crowd they are getting. The food and beverage service is greatly improved. If we can just get security less twitchy it will be perfect (they're less twitchy, but people who arrive late at night should be able to get from the parking lot to the hotel and for the love of...if a disabled person asks to use your "guests only" restroom, it's good PR to let them without a brouhaha. But compared to previous years...)

Oh, and those who didn't find it this year, for next year? The Hare Krishna festival going on across the street had good lunches for $7 a pop. I didn't check the prices on the booth they had serving vegan hot dogs and other non-Indian food, but I still bet they're more than reasonable by Inner Harbor standards. They do come with a side of meditative chanting ;).

Overall, I think this was the best Balticon of recent years, despite competing with Escape Velocity.

AND I already have three panel ideas for next year, two literary and one gaming.