Balticon is the Maryland Regional science fiction convention, sponsored by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS). It has been held annually since 1966. The name "Balticon" is trademarked by BSFS.
Balticon brings together over 1700 science fiction and fantasy professionals, creative amateurs, and fans on Memorial Day weekend each year for a 4-day multi-track event in the Baltimore, MD area.
Balticon can be described as a "General" or "Big Tent" science fiction convention since, while the primary emphasis is literary, programming and activities cover a number of other areas, as such as anime, art, costuming, film, gaming, and filk. A Childrens' Program track is offered every year. Balticon has an exceptional Science Program, in part due to its proximity to the DC area and its plethora of Federal Government researchers. Balticon's Podcasting and New Media Program is well established and thriving.
Balticon is produced by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Inc., a 501(c)(3) literary society, and is staffed and run entirely by volunteers, who assume responsibility at many levels, ranging from gofers who sign up and run errands at the convention, to the Con Chair who may spend up to two years on planning and administration.
Activities and program items are developed by the convention staff with suggestions from program participants, and the literary program usually concentrates most heavily on the segment of genre in which the year's Guest of Honor publishes most of his/her work.
Some Balticon activities and tracks run 24 hours a day from Friday afternoon to Monday afternoon. Balticon also usually hosts a Heinlein Society "Pay It Forward" Blood Drive during the convention.
BSFS presents the Compton Crook Award during Balticon, for the best first novel of the year in the Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror genres. The previous year's winner is invited back to present the award to the new winner.
The winner of the annual Jack L. Chalker Young Writer's Contest is announced at Balticon. BSFS sponsors this short story writing contest for Maryland residents or school attendees between the ages of 14 and 18, in the Fantasy or Science Fiction genres.
The Balticon Poetry Contest winners are invited to read their winning entries at Balticon, and they are published in the Balticon Program Guide. Cash prizes and convention memberships are awarded.
The Masquerade is usually held on Saturday night, and awards are given for various categories in Costuming, including creativity, construction and presentation.
The Balticon Sunday Night Short Film Festival is a no-submission-fee competition traditionally held on Sunday night. The audience votes on the best independent live action and animated short films in the Science Fact, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror genres.
Past Balticon Sunday Night Short Film Festival winners:
- 2011 Best Live Action DEAD ON TIME — Kostos Skiftas, Andreas Lambropoulos, directors
- 2011 Best Animated ZERO — Christopher Kezelos, director
- 2011 Director's Choice Animated SINTEL — Colin Levy, writer/director
- 2011 Director's Choice Live Action CORBIN — Brent Weichsel, director
- 2010 Best Animated ETA — Henrik Bjerregaard Clausen, Director
- 2010 Best Live Action (tie) THE LEGACY — Mike Doto, writer/director
- 2010 Best Live Action (tie) ANDROID LOVE — Lee Citron, writer/director
- 2010 Director's Choice Animated THE PAINTER OF SKIES — Jorge Morais Valle, writer/director
- 2010 Director's Choice Live Action MY FRIEND JOSH — Shaun Springer, director
- 2009 Best Animated BURNING SAFARI
- 2009 Best Live Action The Hunt for Gollum
- 2008 THE END IS NIGHT
- 2007 HIDE AND SEEK — Chris Romano, Creator/Director
- 2006 THE GRANDFATHER PARADOX
Prior to 1966, BSFS held an annual event for the election of BSFS Board of Directors. After several years, BSFS rented hotel space and invited an author to speak, as a guest of honor, at its election events. From this point forward, the event became an annual convention known as Balticon. Subsequently, BSFS election functions were moved to a different date.
Before 2001, Balticon was held on Easter weekend to take advantage of lower hotel costs and was three days long; however, in 2001 Balticon moved to Memorial Day Weekend and expanded to four days.
|Event - Number -||Date||Location||Guests (listed GoH)|
|Balticon 1||abt. 1967||The Emerson Hotel, Baltimore MD||no guest of honor|
|Balticon 2||abt. 1968||Lord Baltimore Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Samuel R. Delany|
|Balticon 3||abt. 1969||Lord Baltimore Hotel, Baltimore, MD||L. Sprague deCamp|
|Balticon 4||abt. 1970||Lord Baltimore Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Damon Knight & Kate Wilhelm|
|Balticon 5||abt. 1971||Lord Baltimore Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Harry Harrison|
|Balticon 6||Washington's Birthday Weekend, 1972||Hopkins Hilton Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Gordon R. Dickson|
|Balticon 7||Washington's Birthday Weekend, 1973||Lord Baltimore Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Poul Anderson|
|Balticon 8||Washington's Birthday Weekend, 1974||Lord Baltimore Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Frederik Pohl|
|Balticon 9||Easter Weekend, 1975||Pikesville Hilton Hotel, Pikesville, MD||Hal Clement|
|Balticon 10||April 16–18, 1976||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||Isaac Asimov|
|Balticon 11||1977||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||Philip Jose Farmer|
|Balticon 12||March 24–26, 1978||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||Anne McCaffrey|
|Balticon 13||April 13–15, 1979||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||Poul Anderson|
|Balticon 14||April 4–6, 1980||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||Algis Budrys & Sean Spacher|
|Balticon 15||Easter, 1981||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||John Varley|
|Balticon 16||April 9–11, 1982||Hyatt Regency Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Samuel R. Delany|
|Balticon 17||April 1–3, 1983||Hyatt Regency Hotel, Baltimore, MD||L. Sprague deCamp & Catherine Crook de Camp|
|Balticon 18||April 20–22, 1984||Hyatt Regency Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Parke Godwin|
|Balticon 19||Easter Weekend April 7–9, 1985||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||R. A. MacAvoy|
|Balticon 20||March 28–30, 1986||Hyatt Regency Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Nancy Springer|
|Balticon 21||April 17–19, 1987||Omni Inner Harbor Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Roger Zelazny|
|Balticon 22||April 1–3, 1988||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||Spider Robinson|
|Balticon 23||March 24–26, 1989||Omni Inner Harbor Hotel, Baltimore, MD||C. J. Cherryh|
|Balticon 24||April 13–15, 1990||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||Robin McKinley|
|Balticon 25||March 29–31, 1991||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||Nancy Kress|
|Balticon 26||April 17–19, 1992||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||Donald Kingsbury, Christopher Rowley, David R. Palmer, Sheila Finch, Thomas Thurston (Wren), Christopher Hinz, Elizabeth Moon, Josepha Sherman and Michael F. Flynn|
|Balticon 27||April 9–11, 1993||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||Allen Steele|
|Balticon 28||April 1–3, 1994||Hyatt Regency Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Mercedes Lackey|
|Balticon 29||April 14–16, 1995||Lord Baltimore & Omni Inner Harbor Hotel, Baltimore, MD||James P. Hogan|
|Balticon 30||April 5–7, 1996||Omni Inner Harbor Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Robert Jordan|
|Balticon 31||March 28–30, 1997||Omni Inner Harbor Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Glen Cook|
|Balticon 32||April 10–12, 1998||Omni Inner Harbor Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Harry Turtledove|
|Balticon 33||April 2–4, 1999||Omni Inner Harbor Hotel, Baltimore, MD||David Weber|
|Balticon 34||April 22–23, 2000||Omni Inner Harbor Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Octavia Butler|
|Balticon 35||May 25–28, 2001||Wyndham Inner Harbor Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Hal Clement|
|Balticon 36||May 24–27, 2002||Wyndham Inner Harbor Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Mark E. Rogers, Phil Foglio & Kaja Foglio|
|Balticon 37||May 23–26, 2003||Wyndham Inner Harbor Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Steve Miller & Sharon Lee|
|Balticon 38||May 28–31, 2004||Wyndham Inner Harbor Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Lois McMaster Bujold|
|Balticon 39||May 27–30, 2005||Wyndham Inner Harbor Hotel, Baltimore, MD||Steven Barnes & Tananarive Due|
|Balticon 40||May 26–29, 2006||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||Neil Gaiman|
|Balticon 41||May 25–28, 2007||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Joe Bergeron|
|Balticon 42||May 23–26, 2008||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||Connie Willis, John Jude Palencar|
|Balticon 43||May 22–25, 2009||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||Charles Stross, Kurt Miller|
|Balticon 44||May 28–31, 2010||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||Tanya Huff, Howard Tayler|
|Balticon 45||May 27–30, 2011||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||Dr Ben Bova, Vincent DiFate,|
|Balticon 46||May 25–28, 2012||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||Jody Lynn Nye, James Robin Odbert (Nybor)|
|Balticon 47||May 24–27, 2013||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||Joe Haldeman, Rick Sternbach|
|Event - Number -||Date||Location||Guests (listed GoH)|
|Balticon 48||May 23-26, 2014||Hunt Valley Inn, Hunt Valley, MD||Brandon Sanderson, Halo Jankowski|