Balticon 47 Recap

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BobGreenberger2There have been all manner of technical issues that kept me off the website last week so this week I’ll be playing catch-up with a bunch of posts.The last time I attended a Balticon, it was primarily so Kate could have lunch with Neil Gaiman (that Deb and I also attended the meal seems entirely beside the point). I’ve always heard good things about the show so now that I live here, I can finally attend on a regular basis.  This was the first time I’d be actively commuting to a con which took some adjusting.On Friday, I arrived in time to get the lay of the land (even though it’s at the Hunt Valley Inn, they use the space very differently than Shore Leaves does) and say hi to plenty of folk I knew. At 5, SFWA hosted a Gala complete with three-piece band. In 2s and 3s, our hostess (and lead singer) Catherina Asaro introduced authors, who had 30 seconds to shill for themselves. A bookseller had a smattering of our offerings for sale and there was plenty to eat and drink so it was sociable. It was great catching up with fellow scribe Richard White and longtime friend Susan De Guardiola.Saturday saw me with conflicts so I wound up running to the con, doing two panels, then bolting to join Deb for a wonderful non-SF afternoon in Fairfax with friends. But, at 9 a.m., I was a part of Sci Fi In Comic Books 2013, hosted by Virginia retailer Larry Reclusado. Joining us were Hugh O’Donnell and Steve Wilson. Despite Steve’s best efforts, since we moved down, we have yet to see one another except at this con. We chatted briefly about the history of SF from pulps to strips to comics and then touched on the current state of affairs, recommending the things we most enjoyed in print and online.Steve and I then hightailed it across the hotel to run the Crazy 8 Press panel, joined by fellow ReDeus author Phil Giunta. Beyond Borders just debuted so we talked about that, the rest of our 2013 offerings, the challenges of running a small press and the joys of the freedom that comes with running your own press.C8_Panel_Balticon47aI returned Sunday for a full day at the show, with my first panel being It’s 1984 All Over Again!Moderator Theodore Krulik, Martin Berman-Gorvine, Darrell Schweitzer, Joy Ward and I talked about the book’s prognostications and warnings and how relevant it remains today. I took the stance that it wasn’t as relevant as it used to be given Orwell’s intent of warning about Socialism in England didn’t come to pass and the tri-nation world never came to be while Big Brother could also never happen. It was spirited and the room was packed so that was fun.The next panel was Professionalism and the Young Writer wherein Analog’s Don Sakers led Katie Bryski, Sarah Pinsker, T. J. Perkins, Bernie Mojzes, and me through a lively talk about how young and beginning writers can avoid amateur pitfalls and have their work seriously considered.Steve, Phil, and I ran out for lunch which was fun, having a chance to really talk shop. I then wandered the show for a while before joining Phil and Keith DeCandido for an hour’s autographing. I actually sold some books and signed some others so that was cool.On Monday, I got up there earlier than planned so I could watch Ian Randall Strock’s Fantastic Books booth so he could do a panel. Then I participated in a panel on Editing Anthologies. Unfortunately, track leader and moderator Danielle Ackley-McPhail was stuck at her own booth so I took over running the discussion with Elektra Hammond, Richard Allen Leider, and the chatty Darrell Schweitzer. The panel turned out well, which was a relief.Overall, I had a good time connecting with my new local authors, seeing people, and establishing my presence in the region. Some of the coordination could have been better so someone should have made certain panelists had their schedules in advance. As it was, I missed a Friday panel no one told me I was put on.


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