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I honestly don't know how Shore Leave keeps it up. They really do have some amazing guests ... which means, of course, the fanboy turnout is going to be something to behold. This year, they had Amanda Tapping. I mean, sure, they had other guests ... some really amazing ones ... but everyone was there for Amanda Wrap-Me-in-an-American-Flag Tapping. Who I understand is a lovely person, and who deserves all the attention implied ... but I'm amazed at how well they handled crowd control and such for her.

Well, for the most part. There were some Saturday night scheduling issues that, while they didn't affect me, did have a bit of semi-widespread effect. The issue being that one guest arrived late, so they decided to move his autograph session when? To masquerade lineup. I wasn't interested in autographs this go round, but a large quantity of entrants were. And while they did somewhat attend to this, I have a feeling it could have gone a bit better when it came to reassuring them in advance. The majority of the problem was people thinking they were going to get screwed over ... and the info booth, which is at any other time a wonderful place, didn't seem to have anything to say about it.

Let me speak, then (having spoken of scheduling messiness), on the infinite good humour of a lot of the Shore Leave staff. Hunt Valley is a bloody ugly hotel now. Sorry, it seriously is. The money they put into the 'improvements' may run up the price of conventions held in it in future, apparently, which is ridiculous. However, Shore Leave offered decoder glasses for the carpet, and continue to be rather good-natured about the idiotic redesign of the Hunt Valley.

Masquerade? As always, handled nicely. The emcee and ninjas continue wonderfully, and I can say from firsthand experience now that the ninjas are really nice guys.

Dealers' room! It's become very easy to find specific booths over the years, because some just never move. Like the bloody bootleg table. Front and centre between the two doors, as always. I was told there might be some investigation into this bloke that weekend, but it never happened as far as I know. Thus, I continue my crusade and will keep bludgeoning the point home. Otherwise, it continued well. There were some tables out towards Main Programming whose prices were jacked rather ridiculously high (no names mentioned there ... it was annoying, not illegal), but for the most part all was fine.

The Stargate was back, too.

Panels. The majority of them looked pretty well run. There were a few panels handled individually that honestly just lagged. Probably a case of first-timers, as the multiple-person ones that I attended moved along nicely. As always, a good selection. My one complaint being the program book: rather than opting for concise and informative names and descriptions, they chose to be 'cute' (I mean, what does 'Hello, Dalek' tell us about the panel besides that it may or may not be about Doctor Who?). This was a pretty widespread complaint, leading to people honestly not knowing what to plan on doing. In future, if they must have 'clever' names, I hope they'll at least supply us with blurbs.

Shore Leave has gotten a thumbs-up the past two times, and it gets another one this time. Some of the nuances of programming were a bit off, but that's less a thumbs-down than it is just a desire to sort of draw their attention to it. Those are things that can be fixed with a minimum of effort, especially at a con that's run very well overall. Continue as you were, minus the bootleggers ... and God only knows what guests you're going to manage next year, but if they stay at the current calibre, I think you're going to have lots of very happy fans.

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