Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | June 1, 2012

Balticon 46

Science Guest of Honor Dr. William D. Phillips

Guest of Honor Jody Lynn Nye

Artist Guest of Honor James R. Odbert









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.

Filk/Music Guests of Honor Heather Dale and Ben Deschamps

James R. Knapp presents the 2012 Compton Crook Award to T. C. McCarthy

Ian Randal Strock reads winner Stanley Schmidt’s acceptance of the Robert A. Heinlein Award, presented by Dr. Yoji Konda

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.

Reading: authors Steven H. Wilson, Catherine Asaro, and Phil Giunta

Steampunk hall costumes

Panel: The Back Story with Justin R. Macumber, Kelly A. Harmon, Walter H. Hunt, and Emilie P. Bush








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 Broad Pen Calligraphy Workshop with Brent A. Warner

Panel: Social Media Promotion with Laura Inglis, Jay Smith, Allison D. Ducan, Scott Hertzog, and Andrew Eckhart

Hall costumes








The wide variety of topics provided something for everyone. Here’s a sampling of the offerings on Friday alone:

Panel: The Generation Starship Concept as a Locus for Stories with David Batchelor, Simone Caroti, Monica Valentinelli, Jody Lynn Nye, and Paul D. Lagasse

  • 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
  • Filk concert with Danny Birt

  • 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



Writer and costumer Amy Kaplan in one of her hall costumes

Standing room only at the roundtable on Magical Systems in Fantasy Literature

Science for Writers Roundtable and Workshop with David Batchelor, Catherine Asaro, William D. Phillips, Lisa Adler-Golden, Eric Raymond, Thomas Holtz, D. Douglas Frantz, and Simone Caroti











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.

Panel: Readers Ask Why with John G. Hemry, Steven H. Wilson, John C. Wright, and Catherine Asaro

Panel: Readers Ask Why with Dr. Charles E. Gannon, Janine K. Spendlove, Nathan O. Lowell, Andrew Fox, and Danny Birt

Panel: The Fantasy of Physics with John C. Wright, Chris Evans, Jon Sprunk, and Peter BLIX Bryant








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!

Panel: Podcasting 101 with Chris Miller, Christopher Morse, Paul Elard Cooley, Billy Flynn, and Tim Dodge

Panel: WordPress 101 with Gary L. Lester, Chooch Schubert, Terri (Flynnstress) Vernon, and Doc Coleman

Panel: When Bad Guys Go Good with Patrick Scaffido, Pete Prellwitz, Reesa Herberth, Maria V. Snyder, and Jody Lynn Nye








For more photos and Balticon news, check out my personal blog.

Opening ceremonies performance by musical guests of honor, Heather Dale and Ben Deschamps

Awesome costumes

Hall costume


  1. […] more information about Balticon and more photos, see my post at The Author Chronicles. Patrick Scaffido, Pete Prellwitz, Reesa Herberth, Maria V. Snyder, and Jody Lynn Nye on the When […]


  2. It was a fantastic convention as always. This was my second year as a participant but not my first Balticon. I’m already looking forward to next year. Thanks for an excellent review and pictures. I appreciate that I am among those pictured here (reading with Nebula Award winner Catherine Asaro and my publisher and fellow writer, Steven H. Wilson)!


    • I agree — it was fantastic. I really enjoyed your reading, Phil. If you check out my personal blog, you’ll find an individual photo of you reading from your novel.


      • Wow, thanks! Gawd, I look absolutely horrid in photos…Next time, I’ll have to look for you or please introduce yourself. It would be awesome to meet you!


      • That would be great! Look for the lady in the blue hat. I plan to go to Philcon, if you venture up this way.


  3. Looks fun! Love the costumes, thanks for sharing.


    • It was! The costumes certainly add to the fun. People are so creative!


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