David Louis Edelman David Louis Edelman

Balticon 42 Wrapup

Chaos and science fiction conventions go together like rum and Coke. Which makes Balticon about 180 proof.

Before I had even left for the con, the panel schedule was already messed up. The Balticon folks had mistakenly given me Scott Edelman‘s reading slot and emailed me panel assignments that were at variance with the pocket schedule on the website. Things further devolved from there when it was discovered that my picture appeared next to Scott’s bio in the program book; my buddy Tom Doyle had been given two reading slots; and the schedule for at least one entire room seemed to have come unstuck in time, leaving plenty of people with double bookings, missing panels, or both.

Balticon 42 Dealers RoomLate Sunday afternoon, I discovered that my panel on “The Future of Cities” — which had been listed at 3 pm in the email I received from programming — and which the pocket program listed at 5 pm 6 pm — was actually going to be held at 6 pm 7 pm. Plus it was going to be short a moderator, considering that he was double booked. At that point, I just decided I’d had enough and bagged the whole thing. I was sick anyways.

Some cons are just like that.

But hey, just because Balticon was chaotic and organizationally challenged in places doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun. I go to cons for very specific reasons: (1) to catch up with friends that I generally wouldn’t otherwise see; (2) to soak up SFnal ideas and pour a few into the mix myself; and (3) to promote myself and my books. But most of the people wandering the hallways at Balticon seemed to have a different agenda. They were more interested in filking or dressing up like slutty Jedi knights or playing obscure board games until four in the morning. Which is fine. Personally, I’d prefer to listen to panelists discuss the ways in which Maud’Dib deviates from the Joseph Campbell mythical hero track, but that’s just me.

Add to this the fact that the Baltimore Marriott Hunt Valley Inn is a terribly nice place, perfect for cons with its abundance of labyrinthine hallways and nooks for display tables. The dealer’s room was enticing and not too crowded, the bar was inviting, and the conference rooms got a little too hot (but then again, when have you been to a con where that wasn’t the case?).

Will I go back? Maybe not every year, but… sure, I’ll go back.

Some of the highlights of my Balticon experience:

  • A very nice dinner with fellow authors Jeri Smith-Ready, Maria Snyder, and David J. Williams, among others, during which we discussed our favorite topics (publishing and book promotion).
  • A hyperkinetic reading by David J. Williams for his just-published debut novel The Mirrored Heavens. Let’s just say that watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was kind of a letdown in comparison. Indy may have had a nuclear bomb blast, giant killer ants, motorcycle chases, and a swordfight atop Jeeps cruising at 80 mph, but David’s excerpt had some SERIOUS FRICKIN’ ACTION. David mentions on his blog that one of the audience members fell asleep and began snoring during the reading — which is true — but hey, I’m sure there was some deranged sap who slept through the bombing of Pearl Harbor too.
  • Mark Wheatley\'s \'Frankenstein Mobster\'A joint signing with comic book artist and fabulously friendly guy Mark Wheatley, during which much discussion was had about Marvel Comics film properties (Iron Man, of course, plus the upcoming Captain America, Thor, and Avengers flicks) and Hollywood in general. That’s the cover of Mark’s Frankenstein Mobster on the right.
  • A long discussion with Nathan Lilly and Diane Weinstein about William Hope Hodgson’s classic 1912 science fiction/horror novel The Night Land, which then segued into a discussion about H.P. Lovecraft, which then segued into a long complaint by me about how nobody’s done the kind of authoritative chronological trade paperback treatment for Lovecraft like Del Rey has done for Robert E. Howard.
  • Reading chapters 1, 9, and part of 10 from my upcoming novel MultiReal and hand-selling a number of copies of Infoquake in the hallways. Supposedly the readings will be available on the Balticon podcast at some point, at which point I’ll link there.
  • A very stimulating panel on “How Long Will It Still Be Called the Internet?” The panel’s supposed moderator (whose name I never caught) walked in two minutes after the hour, informed me and fellow panelist Angela Render that he was double-booked, and promptly hightailed it out of there. Since neither Angela nor I had prepared any questions, the panel soon turned into a lively free-for-all with the audience about net neutrality, government censorship, the changing nature of web client technology, and the sad state of email. The discussion quickly went over my head, but in a good way.
  • Counting the aforementioned Internet panel, writer and web programmer Angela Render moderated no less than three of my Webbish panels this weekend. I think she deserves a metal of some sort. (No, not a medal. I think we should name an atomic element after her.) No offense, Angela, you did a good job, but I’m sick of you.
  • Sampling the wonders of шљивовица with my official fangirl Danita Fries and my future wife Suzanne Rosin. (No, she’s not really my future wife. Not in this dimension, at least.) (What, you don’t read Cyrillic? That’s “Slivovitz.” Otherwise known as “fermented plum juice,” “paint thinner mixed with battery acid,” or “good shit” to you and me.)

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  1. […] Louis Edelman sat with me on three of the other panels and he’s a great guy. Check out what he had to say about the weekend (and me) as well as his books: Infoquake and […]

  2. […] Louis Edelman sat with me on three of the other panels and he’s a great guy. Check out what he had to say about the weekend (and me) as well as his books: Infoquake and […]

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