So, I managed to convince WomanChild to go with me to Balticon today.
I wouldn’t say it was a complete waste of time (and money), since I managed to find and chat with one old friend I hadn’t seen in about 25 years (maybe longer). I also bought 3 books: 2 short story collections for myself, and one that WomanChild picked out for herself. And I found a season of Dr. Who (The Key To Time – 26 episodes!) on DVD! I spoke with representatives from a publishing company, toured the Huckster Room a couple of times, toured the Art Show a couple of times, and generally wandered around for several hours trying to see if I recognized anyone.
I was surprised and disappointed at the lack of quality costuming that I saw this afternoon. Most people seemed to be wearing t-shirts and jeans. I’m hoping that everyone was simply waiting for the Masquerade tonight to show off the good stuff. There were a few Steampunkers running around, and one lady in a beautiful, long, hooped ballgown. But honestly? I didn’t feel compelled to take any photos, even though I did see a few good costumes.
It was almost as though it was my first con (which it wasn’t – I used to attend several cons each year). I found the Huckster Room to be crowded, with way too many book sellers, and not enough original jewelry. There were several vendors selling small dragon softies, but the ones I really liked were priced a bit too high for my budget. The Art Show was sparse, and the room seemed dingy. The whole thing felt like most of the people running the event just didn’t bother putting much energy into it.
Granted, I didn’t bother with any of the panels, and I didn’t stay for the Masquerade. Those might have changed my mind about the event. But from what I saw, the panel rooms were small and overcrowded. Since I was wearing a corset, I didn’t want to sit for long. Well, more like I wasn’t able to sit for very long. And I honestly didn’t recognize any of the special guest names this year. Have I really been away from the con scene that long?
Anyway, a few vendors and attendees really seemed to be enjoying the event, and putting some effort into it. One lady had the most amazing pair of faerie wings I’ve ever seen! One of the authors selling his work in the Huckster Room took a special interest in WomanChild, chatting with her, and asking what sort of books she likes to read. When we saw that he was offering mermaid charms with the purchase of his collection of short stories featuring mermaids, we were hooked! WomanChild attached her charm to her minipurse-wristlet-thingy. I haven’t quite decided what I’ll do with mine.
In retrospect, I might have had a better time if I had gone with someone who is more familiar with the people attending the past few years or so, or if I’d spotted more acquaintances from 25-30 years ago. Then again, maybe I did spot some, but we didn’t recognize each other. At any rate, as bad as my impression was from today, I’m still considering going back tomorrow, and taking ManChild with me. If I do, I’ll be sure to wear something far more confortable than what I wore today. No corsets or heels, and no hot, heavy coat. and I’ll probably take a big tote bag with me, too! Just in case I decide to bring home one of those adorable dragons!