The Maryland Regional Science Fiction Convention, Balticon 46, sponsored by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Inc., took place in Mariott’s Hunt Valley Inn from May 25 through May 28, 2012. This year’s convention featured Guest of Honor Jody Lynn Nye, Artist Guest of Honor Jim Odbert, Filk/Music Guests of Honor Heather Dale and Ben Deschamps, Science Guest of Honor William D. Phillips, and Ghosts of Honor Robert L. Asprin and Richard Butler.
The guests of honor were presented during the Opening Ceremonies at 8:00 pm on Friday evening. Also during the Opening Ceremonies, last year’s Compton Crook Award winner, James Knapp, presented the 2012 award to T. C. McCarthy, and Dr. Yoji Kondo presented the Robert A. Heinlein Award, which was accepted by Ian Randal Strock on behalf of winner Stanley Schmidt.
The programmed events — about 55 pages of them — started at 4:00 pm Friday and finished up at 4:00 pm Monday. Events included panels, roundtables, presentations, workshops, readings, concerts, book launches, and autograph sessions. Events also included children’s programs, demonstrations, a Midnight Dance Party (for teens), kaffeeklatsches with the guests of honor, a round-the-clock film and anime program, an art auction, and the traditional art show, dealers’ room, and masquerade contest. The ConSuite provided a place to take a break, get a snack, and chat.
The wide variety of topics provided something for everyone. Here’s a sampling of the offerings on Friday alone:
- For fans: Words of Wisdom for Newbies, Digital Comics, The Worst Panel Ever, Martial Arts Demos
- For readers: Stories We Like to Hear Out Loud, Symbology of Animals in Folk and Fairy Tales, Early Favorite Authors, Swords and Sorcery, SF Motifs in Fantasy Literature
- For writers: Laughter is the Best Medicine, Showing vs. Telling, The Modern Short Fiction Market & the Ebook Revolution
- Skeptical Thinking: Open Wide…or Should You?
- Music: Music and Myth, Creepy Songs
- Film/TV: International Film Trailers, The Hobbit — Progress Reports
- Art: Naughty Custom Art and People Who Love It
- Dance: Poi Spinning Demo and Workshop, Hula Hoop Jam
- Performing Arts: Performing tips for Masquerade, Stage Combat & Swordplay Workshop, Reciting Poetry
- Gaming: Intro to Role Playing Games, Game Production from Concept to Reality, World of Warcraft and Everquest MMORPGs
- Science: International Space University, Water — The Basis of Life, Silicon-Based Lifeforms
- New Media: Social Media Horror, ePublish or Die, Serial Fiction 101, Web Comics 101, Narratives in New Media
- For children: Manga and Anime for YA, Kamikaze Costuming, Children of Geeks Unite
The convention also has a hall costume contest. The winners are chosen by vote of the convention attendees. The hall costumes, which were impressive, add a lot of fun to the event.
I had a great time at the convention, although I didn’t get to attend all the panels and events I would have liked to see — but it’s better, of course, to have many interesting programs from which to choose!
For more photos and Balticon news, check out my personal blog.