Friday, May 26, 2006

Balticon 40 update, #1

This thing is huge! I'd always heard that Balticon was one of the top regional SF conventions in the country, but I had no idea. There are twelve tracks, which means twelve different things going on at one time. The mind boggles.

There are at least two literary tracks, as well as tracks for media (movies and TV), children's programming, science, podcasting, comics, gaming, videos, and uh, possibly llama farming.

Today's Baltimore Sun had a good article about the convention, though the reporter couldn't resist a few Star Trek references:
[Dale] Arnold, [BSFS]'s chairman, expects his organization to finish in the black in its anniversary year - another positive sign for a festival that has, like the science fiction genre itself, lived long and prospered.
Get it?! "Live long and prosper"?! Hardy-har-har!

Anyway, the opening ceremonies started with an entertaining takeoff on the Monty Python "Cheese Shop" sketch, in which a customer at a "fantasy bookstore" can't find any of her favorite authors--or any authors, for that matter. When she asks for J.K. Rowling, the proprietor says, "I'm afraid we don't get much call for that around here."

The Guests of Honor didn't speak at the opening ceremonies, unlike at some other cons I've attended. Which was disappointing, because there was no Neil Gaiman GoH speech, but also a relief, because there were no other GoH speeches to sit through.

Then we went to the Meet the Program Participants reception, where there was an assortment of dessert foods (including Cadbury Mini-Eggs!) and a big cake. I decided not to partake, since the last time I went to a dessert reception at a con, I didn't get out of bed the next day.

At 10PM I moderated a panel on "Great Erotic SF Scenes." Luckily, we decided not to read scenes as the program description instructed us to, but discussed the subject instead. It was an easy panel to moderate, because it ran itself, i.e., everyone wanted to talk. We got some great questions from the audience--mostly from men, I'm happy to say.

The discussion touched on the demands of publishers to "spice up" our novels, but got really interesting when we talked about the politics of sexuality and society's resistance to women's self-actualization. Other topics included alien birth control, polyamory, and--I am not kidding--sentient genitalia.

When one author shared a leeeeetle too much about how her writing reflected her own experiences (she has apparently had "pass-out sex" but, unlike many romance heroines, can't get her own legs over her head), I desperately wished that I had a big orange sign reading


So much for Night One. Balticon looks to be great fun, and I'm glad I finally made it.



Not sure what Three-Mile Island had to do with it. Yeah, yeah, I know. Too much info.

Personally, I was at Marcon in Columbus oh this weekend.

Jim Young

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 5/29/2006 10:58 AM

LOL! Though Three-Mile Island could have explained those four-penised mutants she mentioned.

I love Marcon. We went in 2000 and had a blast. Chris was the Science GoH, and they treated us magnificently. My most vivid memory was the slave auction. Not something I could have withstood sober.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 5/29/2006 11:11 AM

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