The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

From Balticon to the EDC

Posted on | June 10, 2016 | 4 Comments

— by Wombat-socho

So over the Memorial Day weekend I packed my bags and flew to Baltimore for Balticon 50, which was celebrating its 50th anniversary by inviting back all its former Guests of Honor, headlined by some guy who’s famous for writing a lot of medieval rape scenes. Frankly, I was more interested in some of the other authors, namely Michael Flynn (still recovering from a horribly broken arm, but cheerful) and Connie Willis, who always gives good panel, even at the hideous hour of eight in the morning. Since I was mainly there to socialize with my Washington-area friends, I didn’t catch much of the panels or other programming, but I got the general impression that the move to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor from Balticon’s traditional suburban home at the Hunt Valley Inn went well, despite some unavoidable elevator problems and predictable whining from a minority of fans.

I hadn’t intended to buy any books while I was there, but nonetheless I came home with three: Drakas! edited by S.M. Stirling, which is a collection of short stories by other authors set in Stirling’s alternate history where South Africa winds up hosting refugeee Tories and Confederates and becoming the Domination of the Draka. You wouldn’t want to live there, and some of the stories are fairly horrific; others, surprisingly, are somewhat humorous, in a grim sort of way. I also picked up Michael Flynn’s Lodestar, which I thought was the first book in the series (it wasn’t) and which I’m setting aside until I get and finish Firestar, which is. Finally, I bought Breach The Hull, part of the “Defending The Future” military SF anthology series, which includes stories by James Daniel Ross, Jack Campbell, and others; the handful of stories I read while at Balticon seemed good to me.

On the way out to Balticon, I started and finished (hey, it was a four-hour flight!) Sarah Hoyt’s Through Fire, the sequel to A Few Good Men, and it’s just what it says on the label: a tale of a darkship pilot stranded on Earth who has to survive a rerun of the French Revolution and hopefully stop it in its tracks. If you liked the tales Hoyt’s been spinning in this series, you’re going to like this one, too. I also downloaded and started on A Meep In Manhattan, an autobiographical look back at New York in the 1990’s by Mary Pat Campbell, whose posts at STUMP on pensions and public finance are a frequent feature of In The Mailbox. Worth a look if you want to see how Manhattan has changed in the last two decades.

Also downloaded to the Kindle (and maybe, just maybe I’m going to find some time to read them this coming week) were Outies by Jennifer Pournelle, which is a sequel to The Mote In God’s Eye by her dad and Larry Niven, and The Praetorians by Jean Larteguy, which Penguin has finally republished after sixty years with a new foreword by General Stanley McChrystal. It’ll be interesting to see if I do manage to carve out any time for reading this week, what with the primary on Tuesday, the Electric Daisy Carnival coming to town next weekend, and the implosion of the Riviera Hotel & Casino next door forcing me to decamp for a day to the Circus Circus a couple blocks away. Fun week ahead, to be sure.


4 Responses to “From Balticon to the EDC”

  1. Eric Ashley
    June 11th, 2016 @ 11:09 am

    Just finished ‘A Star Curiously Singing’ by Kerry Nietz who also wrote ‘Amish Vampires in Space’. ‘Star’ is Christian SF, has a very strong setting with a solid touch of the Future is Weird, is first person with the hero being definitely not quite normal human due to the brain implant he has, and its set in a Sharia future.


  2. Kirby McCain
    June 11th, 2016 @ 6:10 pm

    My daughter went to her first con last year and sat in on a panel with an author she reads alot. And while that author writes mostly YA stuff it’s a start. I believe the woman’s big character is Anita Blake but don’t tell my daughter I actually pay attention.

  3. Wombat_socho
    June 11th, 2016 @ 6:30 pm

    I liked it a lot, and several of the commenters say the rest of the series is equally good.

  4. Wombat_socho
    June 11th, 2016 @ 6:31 pm

    I’m not sure I’d describe the Anita Blake books as YA, but young adults these days aren’t what they used to be.