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Farpoint people actually took issue with me saying that it was essentially a February version of Shore Leave when I did my 2005 report on them. I still maintain the similarities in the layout and overall feel of the cons -- however, at this point, I will definitely acknowledge the differences in staffing and other managerial aspects.

Farpoint continues to bring in excellent guests, which is a good thing for a winter con (especially one regularly opposite two other large ones). Penny Johnson Jerald was one of the big draws this year, and she was incredibly polite during the several instances I ran into her. I especially appreciate the guests' un-Galaxy Quest-like ability to talk about their Star Trek work, even with things like (in Ms. Jerald's case) 24 now under their belts. It probably goes without saying that people who work the con circuit at that level are expected to be polite to fans, but to consistently have guests who show that level of respect is quite an accomplishment.

The layout of the con doesn't really ever change, which (in the case of Farpoint) is rather comforting. They have a good setup going, including and especially the dealer's room extending out into the hallway. I will continue to gripe about the bootleggers until something is done about them, but that aside, the dealers were excellent, as always. Props for bringing back my homie Sir Nicodemys.

Panels in the smaller rooms continue well enough. The ones I attended didn't have any problems with crowding or rowdy attendees, and the people they got to run them are clearly more prepared than I ever bother to be.

Not the con's fault, but thumbs-down to the ugly, ugly, remodeling job the Hunt Valley Inn has received ... although it inspired a lot of masquerade entries, apparently.

There's no delicate or tactful way to state my feelings concerning the upper eschelons (or at least upper-middle) of con staff, so I won't. Suffice to say that there are things that could be run a great deal better ... and that, if there is a difference between Farpoint and Shore Leave, this is where it lies.

Overall a decent con, but it has not swayed me away from others occurring on the same weekend.

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