Balticon – A Review In Parts

I’m trying something new this year. Normally I review my convention experience all in one big lump. I’ve taken a day or two now and I think there’s too much to cover and do justice with one lump. I know I prefer shorter posts when I’m checking my news feeds a lot of the time. That being the case I’m going to set these lumps of review to pop up at different times. Hopefully this new review strategy will be a good one – you’ll have to let me know!

Here we go with part one – the general stuff.

I truly enjoy going to Balticon. I’ve been going for a long time. Not as long as many folks, but long enough. I look forward each year to seeing old friends, making new ones and generally having fun. This year was no exception.

I was invited as a guest / panelist again this year. I love that I have the chance to do this. I hope it is something that continues. I also signed up to be part of the art show this year. While I wasn’t ready to try to sell any of my art, I wanted to be part of the show and see what it was all about.

Making sure I was actually on the guest list was difficult. I work on staff for other conventions, so I know things can be difficult. I tried, really tried to be patient. It seemed to pay off, even if the paperwork I got was later than the deadline it gave inside.

So – guest stuff arranged, art stuff sent in and confirmed I was ready.

The registration / sign in stuff at the con itself was not. I’m certain that social media exploded with anger and frustration over this. I’m also certain that the convention staff is aware of everyone’s opinion so I’m just going to describe it as bad. That is perhaps the negligent misuse of understatement, but 4 lines and 2+ hours later I had a badge with no staple or ribbons, my original schedule, the remake and a suggestion that I look for the app for the schedule as that was likely more up to date than anything printed that I’d been given we’ll just stick with bad.

I figured in the midst of all this I’d go and get set up for the art show. Except they weren’t ready. Again, I’ve been on staff – I know things can get behind. I could always come back later. You know, later when the crash that hurt registration so much had the chance to affect art show sign in. The art show folks were diligent and helpful to me as a newbie and I really had very little to worry about. I took it all in stride and got stuff hung up.

By the time I got past all that I really wasn’t feeling the con groove. The wife and I skipped out and headed for dinner. There were panels we’d thought of heading to, but the changes were such a mess we skipped them altogether.

Friday was a struggle, but no worries – there would be more to the weekend!

And there was. I had some excellent panels. I’ll break them down more in another post, but they were right on target for me.

Seeing old friends and making new friends (even by way of shared misery in line) was just as fantastic as always. I can think of at least a half a dozen folks I normally see at the convention that didn’t make it this year. I don’t know numbers but I got the feeling that attendance was down quite a lot. The mood seemed to be less festive than I’d seen in the past. I didn’t see the array of hall costumes I’d seen before. Maybe I was just missing something or not in the right place at the right time – but a busy con shouldn’t need the right place at the right time to make it work. The right place and right time should be just about anywhere at a con.

Maybe I’m jaded? Maybe it was me?

I’ll post more through the week – I think that’s enough for now.

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