Off to Balticon again

I'm off to Balticon this Memorial Day weekend, the Maryland sci fi convention. Hopefully I will meet old friends, make new ones and move the ball a bit on the whole sci fi novel writing project, formerly the Secret Project. Each year I get a bit recharged, get some new ideas and feel both pumped up and intimidated by the notion of being a sci fi writer.

I know, you might be thinking that a sci fi convention is all geeks, freaks, and freaky geeks. Yes, that's true: we pretty much form our own ethnic group. Only when we're all together does it become glaringly obvious how similar we are. The stereotypes are true to a large extent. These are the nicest, strangest, smartest non-conformers I've ever run into and I'm proud to be one of their number.

Balticon is not your typical sci fi convention, driven by TV stars, fanboy drooling and new product demos. It has a heavy literary focus, which is nice for us writerly folks. Yes, there are movies, video games and tabletop gaming going on for something like 72 hours straight, but there are also sessions on writing, podcasting, comic books, artwork, medieval dance and costuming. Plus straight up bona fide lectures on physical science subjects (physics, astrophysics, biology, tech, computer science, etc.). Not to mention the dealer room and art show and auction. (There's a masquerade ball and costume contest and live action role play, but I've not been to any of them).

My goal at this con, besides steeping myself in a weekend of sci fi, is to do a bit of networking, be a bit more social, maybe talk to authors, publishers and other wannabes like me. This is not easy for me. My first con two years ago, I was so awestruck by A.C. Crispin that I couldn't even say hi to her in an empty hallway. I mean, I had read all of these books of hers, and what the hell was I going to say that she might have wanted to hear other than incoherent fanboy gushing?

Last year I loosened up a little bit with some success. Networking or casually conversing with the rock stars of certain areas of life has always come very hard for me. I can't help seeing it at times as being fanboy gushing, or sucking up, or being totally phony. Plus, I suck at it, I think. I'd rather have relationships emerge naturally, instinctually, rather than an as a result of a Special Ops surgical strike masquerading as a random meeting. If one thing will sink the writing career and other possible career options, I fear, it is my uncomfort with this most basic level of business dealings. So this is yet another attempt to move the ball a bit on this front as well.

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