Back from Balticon

I am, more or less, newly arrived home from Balticon 43. It was an awesomely exhausting time.

I had the pleasure and privilege of being guest liaison for Scott Sigler (like many things of this nature, I blame Dan. I mean that with absolute affection). Now, when I read horror, I tend to gravitate toward the more “strange girl” type (is this really a surprise to anyone? And yes, I know that article is about movies, but it does apply to books, too) but I like what I know so far of Sigler’s work (and after this weekend, I definitely will be reading to and listening to more). It’s mischievously aggressive — he definitely likes to push boundaries but he does it in this sort of playful way. His writing is smart and inventive.

It was no surprise he was a joy to work with. He was gracious and charming (which should in no way destroy his bad-ass image) and it was fun to get to know him.

Sigler has built his career on the Internet. He podcasts all of his books for free (they are a great way to spend your commute) and definitely inspires dedication in his fans. Let’s put it this way — you don’t really see people wearing T-shirts based on books unless they’re pop culture phenomenons like Twilight or Harry Potter or, well, by a certain writer (speaking of that, I do feel the need to mention the redesign of NeverWear just because Dan was furiously overseeing its launch on his G1 this weekend). But Sigler’s fans wear gear inspired by his work, including the very cool Krakens jerseys (and as you can see, those aren’t cheap). I think it’s great he’s found his niche and has basically done all of this on his own. He understands where the publishing industry is going in a way a lot of people don’t yet.

(And I’m not trying to make this post related to comics just to make it relevant to the general topic of this blog, but I’ve often thought about these sorts of issues as they relate to the comic book industry. Certainly, web comic artists get the idea of how well it works to provide your work for free, and I know that I’d rather pay $4 for someone’s mini-comic than I would for an issue of X-Men or whatever because I know who that $4 is going to.)

Being around Sigler was incredibly inspiring. This is a very public thank you to him for being an absolute delight and for his overall awesomeness. Thank you, Scott. And if I hadn’t lost my MP3 player sometime this weekend (it was just a cheap little thing — but it’s more I have to go buy another one now), I’d be listening to more of his stuff this week.

The rest of Balticon was great, too. If I was going to complain about anything, there’s almost too much to do (yes, that’s not really a complaint). The programming is packed. Everything I went to was interesting and informative. Mark L. Van Name was hilarious and so much fun. Gene Wolfe is, well, Gene Wolfe, which is to say delightful and it was amazing to be in his presence, even if was just for a reading. I didn’t get to interact much with Charles Stross but he was also fun. (Why, yes, I do like the word “fun” right now. Look, it was a really long weekend. I barely have an idea what day it is.)

I’m sure there are about a thousand things I’m missing. I am happy I went.

Now, on to thinking about that moving thing …

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