Balticon 45 day trip Saturday

Another fine BALTICON flyby yesterday.

Gar and I drove up on Saturday morning, arriving roughly around 1030 or 11 AM. We immediately mugged for the camera.

Garrett getting into the BALTICON spirit

It’s somewhat problematic to cram everything you can do at a SF convention into roughly 8 or 9 hours, but we did our best. This was Garrett’s first SF convention ever. I tried to soften the blow a little on the way up. “Son, you know how you dad is a geek, right?” “Yeah, so?” “Well, true SF fans out-geek dad in every possible way” “that’s not possible, dad.” “Ohhhh yes it is.”

He was agreeing with me within five minutes.

I wanted to do a few things in our time there: hit the book dealer’s room, check out a few movies, maybe play a few games and sit in on a panel discussion or two. My big interests in panel discussions are going to be about writing, podcasting and new media. Alas, it seems like we were always a day late and a dollar short on the panel discussion that might interest me. No worries about that, it’s not the end of the world. We did sit in on a panel discussion with Mur Lafferty and some recent college graduate who made a film (Brent Weichsel). Both her recent book project and his film were financed by, and I wanted to get a sense of how this thing works. I was impressed and found it very helpful.

Gar was quite impressed with the notion of the Con Suite. “Really? they serve free food and soda? All the time, like all convention?”

Con Suite
Hanging at the Con Suite

I told Gar that his old man had, in days gone by gone to SF conventions, slept in his car and eaten at Con Suites to save money. He wouldn’t believe me! I was impressed with the Con Suite at Balticon. Decent snacks (not just candy and chips, but some actual fruit and fiber. And a wireless signal.

We did hit the dealer’s room with a vengeance. I picked up THE PERSEIDS AND OTHER STORIES by Robert Charles Wilson, THE BOOKMAN by Lavie Tidhar, STARTLING STORIES (anthology), WEIRD TRAILS (an anthology of humorous Western stories in weird settings published as if it were a pulp magazine from 1922), and THE ROBERT E. HOWARD READER. These last two were from Darrell Schweitzer, with whom I had a long conversation about numismatics and the Roman Empire.

I had to make a connection with John Montrie later on, as he was doing some painting for me. I had some more GAFDOZ figures done, some 54mm (ish) figures left over from my collection of wizards for “Waving Hands” and some 15mm HOTT troops. John painted up a garden gnome force as well as some gray aliens. Pictures forthcoming.

Gar and I checked out the film room and I was kind of disappointed. I missed maybe the only original SF work there and the rest of the films in the program were stuff that I can see at any moment in heavy cable rotation. Kind of a letdown. I would have preferred more obscure films that are harder for me to get a hold of. Gar did like the Anime room, and we caught a big chunk of Spirited Away Away (which isn’t hard to find in the US, but neither of us had seen it in a while). After that we dropped by the Game Room.

Game Library
BALTICON Game Room Library

As you can see BALTICON had a large supply of games to play with. Gar wanted to try some star wars themed boardgame, so we set it up. It was ruddy awful– boring and almost mindless. Gar didn’t want to bother after three turns, and I agreed with him. We managed to set up a box of COSMIC ENCOUNTERS which I had brought with. We had some takers and played two games back to back. Gar played CE for the first time and loved it, and totally immersed himself into the spirit of things.

“Dad? This is Gar.. your flesh and blood.. you wouldn’t attack me, would you? C’mon now, Dad.. ”

I don’t know here he gets it from.. He pronounced Cosmic Encounter as a lot of fun.

Arkham Horror at Balticon
Arkham Horror at Balticon

We went out for a bite, came back and caught some more anime, which had me dozing (I guess I just don’t get it), then we departed. We both thought we had had a pretty good time. I wish I had caught more panel discussions, Gar wished there had been a video game room. I thought it was a good time but not earth shaking– I’m not the SF geek I was in my twenties. The bulk of people in evidence seemed to live and breathe the con lifestyle. Me? I mostly go for the booksellers these days, but still I had a grand day out.