In Lieu of News, Con Report Part 2, Balticon 53

Balticon 53 turns into a Larry Niven story. News at 11.

When you travel, you have tremendous opportunities for learning; new peoples, variations on our American culture, new foods, new things to see and, perhaps most importantly, more things to add t your shoulda, woulda, coulda list.

I coulda made my bookmarks available to my tablet (right now I could write and entire early morning screed on how and why ubiquitous electronic technologies -like cloud storage- that I refuse to engage with – can cause you to over-estimate your capabilities and make inappropriate assumptions.

But I’m at the con, I’m tired and don’t have the energy for an impassione diatribe…and a good rant requires passion and energy, so we’ll skip it.

On to the con.

The arrangement of facilties here is a bit non-standard, obviously owing to the arrangement of the hotel.  The dealers room, for example, is split between two separate function rooms.  They’re right next to each other, there does not seem to be a thematic separation of goods being offered and access is not restricted in any way, but it’s not the usual arrangment.

Artists alley,where we’ve ended up with two tables, is basically out in a large open space…more prominently featured in terms of traffc flow than I’m used to seeing.  Other functions are on other floors entrirely or placed in conjunction with hotel facilities, like a large bar/lounge.

Last night there was a quasi youth riot outside the hotel.  Kermit, Dan Kimmel and I were coming back from a local eatery at dinnertime and walked right into e middle of it.

I’ve heard that it was picked up on national news but have not yet seen the coverage.  From our perspective, there were a huge number of teens running around, screaming, laughing, and generally appearing t be playing a game of teasing the police…who arrived with overwhelming force.  We watched one cop retrieve his bodycam from the street where he ‘accidentally’ dropped it (right before direct confrontation wih the teens), othere carrying what were probably bean bag shotguns (or a non-lethal weapon resembling a shotgun of some kind, the neon yellow stock and pump were dead giveaways).  We saw two teenaged girls getting arrested, and several occasions in which things appeared to have calmed down and then were escalated again by the police.  Which incidents, I understand, have not been mentioned b national press.

What we heard was that it was essentialy a flash mob.  Everyone got together on Twitter, selected a time and place and then hundreds of kids showed up.

I think this is the first time ever I’ve been to an SF con that morphed into a Larry Niven story.

What else?  Busines at the both has not been bris,  is has been steady (although I’m quite sure that the folks selling candy in the dealers room are doing the best of everyone…and yeas, we’ve had some brief discussion of printing an edible edition of Amazing in order to tap that market…)

All in all it appears that Balticon 53 wil end up as a successful event, despite the fact that three times now I have ridden the elevator with GoH Gregory Benford and been unable to strike up a conversation.

But he’s heading this way right now, so I’ll close this out and urge you all to tune in tomorrw for more coverage.

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