Con Report: Virtual Balticon 54

Last weekend, I did my hair, put on clothing that had nothing to do with working out, and attended (virtual) Balticon 54! I participated in four excellent and informative panels from the comfort of my own office with appropriate feline supervision.

Perks to a virtual convention: Sleeping in my own bed, eating decent meals, not missing my spouse and kitties.

Drawbacks to a virtual convention: Missing out on the casual and spontaneous chats with friends, no direct feedback from panel audience, and no shopping in the dealer’s room.

Overall, this was still a great experience, and the tech crew deserves so much credit for keeping things running smoothly.

NOTE: I will post links to the recordings of each panel once they are available.

FRIDAY

Instead of driving up to downtown Baltimore after work I…stayed in my home office. For me, the convention kicked off with a delightful discussion about Star Trek Picard, which I was moderating! I had no idea how things would go and had no idea whether anyone would tune in to watch (other than my mother). However, everything went off without a hitch, and it was fun to have a conversation with my fellow panelists while also watch the simultaneous engaging discussion happening in chat.

After a quick break for a snack, I was back at my desk for my second panel of the evening on worldbuilding, which even more audience attended! Another perk to a virtual convention is that friends across the country (and the world) were able to tune in.

My heart was sore to miss evening conference shenanigans (read: Barcon) with friends, but I spent the time watching Star Wars Clone Wars with the spouse instead.

SATURDAY

No panels for me today, and the weather was stunning. I sat on my porch and read for a solid 6 hours, and it was delightful.

SUNDAY

I participated in another great panel on Sunday afternoon, where we discussed various presentations of magic in fiction and other pop culture. Even I came away with reading suggestions that I’m excited to check out!

They had no opinions on the cost of magic, and instead slept behind me the entire time.

With an evening to kill with no other plans than playing World of Warcraft, I decided to hop onto the Balticon Discord server and keep the fun going. A gentleman who had attended the previous panel complained that we had not answered his question (there were time constraints) and then told me I was wrong when I did answer his question with my entirely subjective answer.

Achievement unlocked: Full convention experience complete!

With that sour taste in my mouth, alas, I quietly left Discord and had a lovely evening playing video games and listening to music. Would I still rather have been at real Balticon, had that interaction happened in the hallway after the panel? Absolutely.

MONDAY

For a holiday afternoon on a gorgeous day (at least where I was), my final panel of the con was incredibly well attended. I love geeking out about writing processes, so the discussion on outlining versus pantsing (writing by the “seat of your pants”) could have been twice as long.

Time has ceased to have meaning in the spring of 2020 when I don’t leave my house, so it’s hard to believe it’s almost June. My next two planned events of the year (In Your Write Mind and Confluence) have already been canceled, alas, and I don’t have much hope for the two after that, either. So it was lovely to have this bright spot in an otherwise dreary convention season.

Published by J.L. Gribble

Author, Editor, Worldbuilder

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