Balticon 43 will feature continuous multi-track programming throughout the 4-day weekend plus fixed functions such as Art show, Dealers Room, Computer Gaming Room etc... Our goal is to reawaken the sense of wonder that originally brought you to SF/F. We constantly seek ideas from fan clubs and news-groups and conduct brain-storm sessions to generate fresh new topics and "twisted" spins on old ideas. The excitement in our program committee this year is dramatic and just a little scary, but in a good way. Down with boring panels--up with the new reformed Balticon panels!

Panel discussions with SF professionals (writers, artists, agents, etc.), informal discussions among devoted fans, skill demonstrations, readings and performances are included. Every cultural art form related to Science fiction and fantasy will be brought out, dusted off and given a beautiful shine through our interactive program.


Balticon program participants with qualifications as authors, editors and publishers will explore varied themes in SF literature through panel debates, author readings and personal autograph session interaction. Everything from philosophical debates, story crafting tips, publishing advice, science speculation and historical perspectives will flow. Reviewers and Fan group officers will review and discuss work and its place in the genre to help you find new literature suited to your taste. Multiple literary program tracks make this the core of Balticon programming.

Writers Workshop:

Balticon 43 will once again host the annual Writers' Workshop on Saturday morning. Each participant should bring a sample of their writing (at most, one page), to be read aloud at the workshop. Authors may read their own work, or have the workshop coordinator read for them. Each participant will have a turn, with feedback provided by other participants. This is your chance to hear how your words sound, and to fix those problems (grammar, dialog, setting, etc.) youve been having. Constructive criticism is one of the hallmarks of SF/F fandom. Take this opportunity to help yourself and others. Rules are available on the website. Info: email or check "Writers' Workshop" on the registration form.
More information can be found here.

I Should Be Writing Workshop:

This is a workshop for complete beginners. No writing sample necessary, but pre-registration is required. Should you be writing? Been afraid of following your dream to be a writer? Scared to join a workshop because everyone else will be more experienced? We will discuss and do exercises to cover the beginning steps of the three aspects of a writing career: the craft, the business, and the mindset. Limited to 15 participants. Saturday 9 am - noon

Sorry, but the I Should Be Writing Workshop is full.

AboutSF's Teaching Science Fiction Workshop:

A Workshop to prepare teachers to develop a class on science fiction for primary or secondary students. Monday (Memorial Day) noon to 4 p.m. in the Garden Room at the Marriott Hunt Valley. No advance registration is required. The Teaching Science Fiction workshop covers what to teach, how to organize a class, and ways to promote the course. The workshop answers all questions educators may have about this idea oriented, forward looking, student stimulating body of speculative literature. Materials for the workshop have been developed by the AboutSF Science Fiction Resource Center, a joint project of the University of Kansas, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and the Science Fiction Research Association. Presenters include: Catherine Asaro, author and Nebula Award winner, Magi D. Shepley, a teacher who has taught science fiction in the classroom, and David-Glenn Anderson of Reading for the Future. There is no charge for those attending Balticon for the full weekend or just for the day. A special Workshop-only one-day Balticon membership for teachers is available for $11. For questions please contact:

Young Writer's Contest!

This contest is for young Maryland writers (age 14-18) of SF and Fantasy, sponsored by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. Share your stories and compete for fame and cash prizes. The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2009. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Saturday. Check the Young Writer's information box on the registration form for more information or e-mail:
Contest rules.


Poetry programming at Balticon 43 explores the arena of verse from inspiration and writing to submitting for publication and an overview of small press publishing. There will be a poetry workshop and reading featuring winners of the Balticon 43 SF&F Poetry contest, Edgar Allan Poe dramatic readings, and open mic. Calling all poets who want a chance at fame, glory, publication in the BSFAN and a cash prize (deadline: April 1, 2009). Info: email or check the "Poetry Track/Workshop" box on the registration form.
Contest rules.


An entire track of costume programming with items of interest to beginners and experienced alike. Learn how to create an exterior casing that reflects your soul or at least your sense of humor.


Our art programming features demos and classes with several popular artists. Bring your sketchbook!


Balticon 43 will offer over 30 hours of original science programming, this year celebrating invention and the anniversaries of Darwin and the Twilight Zone. Meet the scientists and attend fascinating panels such as "The 100 Most Significant Inventions of the 21st Century," "Fantastic Voyage: A Trip to Darwins Galapagos Today," and "The 50th Anniversary of the Twilight Zone... Proto-Science Trends in the Twilight Zone That Were Achieved." Check out heavenly bodies at a Star Party (weather permitting).


Games, projects and stories for children ages 4-12 to inspire your kids to appreciate the convention experience. This is not daycare; parents retain full responsibility for children during this program. Kids will put on a skit play, have their own filk, learn to draw from an artist, hunt for treasure, hear Silly Interactive Stories, build with legos and have great fun!


Balticon's filk program starts out with Mary Crowell, our lovely and talented Music GOH, who comes to us from Alabama with a keyboard on her knees. (OK, the keyboard will actually be on a stand, but you get the idea.) Mary brings a taste of blues and jazz to the filk community, writing gorgeous tunes and deep lyrics songs that have earned the moniker "tirch songs". In addition to her main concert at 2pm on Saturday and a children's concert at 1pm Sunday, Mary will be joining Rob Balder and Tom Rockwell for a Friday evening panel on Pushing Filk's Boundaries, and giving a Monday afternoon workshop on Fills and Sound Effects. She will also be hosting a Saturday night theme circle featuring Songs of Myths and Legends.

In addition to our fabulous GOH, the Balticon filk program features Friday night concerts by Ariel "Abby" Cinii and Robert Cooke, and Sunday evening concerts by "Decadent" Dave Clement and by the Boogie Knights. Abby is a long-time filker out of New York and writes original songs of space travel and alien worlds, with vibrant tunes strummed on mandolin. Robert hails from southern Georgia and, like Mary, is a fixture at GAFilk, held every January in the Atlanta area. "Decadent" Dave, a member of Canadian filk/folk group Dandelion Wine and a Filk Hall of Fame inductee, makes his way down from the Great White North. And rounding out the filk concerts, we have local favorites and parodists extraordinaire the Boogie Knights, singing their songs of medieval derring-do.

Finally, our musical meanderings take an academic turn on Sunday. Mel Tatum, a University of Arizona law professor, will discuss her recent study of Gender and Attitudes Towards Copyright in Filk. The paper she will be presenting was solicited for a conference on Intellectual Property and Gender held annually at American University.


For the dance-minded, Balticon has two folk dances. On Friday night, Susan DiGuardiola hosts a Steampunk Dance. On Saturday afternoon, Patches will host a Medieval Dance, with music provided by Maugorn and friends. Come put on your Regency and Medieval finest and take a few turns around the dance floor. Dances will be taught, and all levels from beginner to expert are welcome.


Gracing our Main Tent at noon on Saturday are local favorites The Chromatics (, singing serious and not so serious songs a cappella, with a great sound, a lot of fun, and a lot of energy! They delight audiences with a combination of outrageous originals, crazy covers, melodic insights into modern life, and a surfeit of science songs. The Internet, texting, TV, fast food and the perils of bad hair - they're all subjects of Chromatics originals. A free download of their new song "Shoulders of Giants," commissioned for the International Year of Astronomy, is available at


New for Balticon this year, we have expanded the offerings on the Hrab Stage, a "coffeehouse-style" stage located off the hotel lobby, near the bar & restaurant. There will be a diverse array of musical and other performances all weekend, covering the gamut from rock to filk to rap.

The action starts Friday night with the Diamond Star Project, featuring Catherine Asaro and Donald Wolcott. Their rock-and-roll panel last year was a smashing success; this year they kick off the Hrab Stage action with a concert.

Saturday features Bill Gawne, Phil Rossi & George Hrab, Rob Balder and Sudden Death, and Bene Gesserit Witch. When he's not wrangling satellites or stepping out at a Regency Dance, Bill picks up a 12-string and sings. New Media brings us perennial singing podcasters Phil Rossi and George Hrab (for whom the stage is named). And FuMP members Rob Balder and Sudden Death will have you rockin', rappin', and rollin' in the aisle. Or at least in the lobby.

Sunday, Gary Ehrlich, Igor's Egg, and Maugorn take the stage. Gary is a mild-mannered structural engineer by day and filker (or folkie) by night. (In the spirit of full disclosure, he also runs the Balticon filk track.) Igor's Egg is a progressive rock band from Philadelphia known for their epic science-fiction concept album "Quest for the Ultimate Tuh." And Maugorn is our Man of a Thousand Songs, running the gamut from classic rock to traditional folk.

For more filk announcements and details, watch the Balticon LiveJournal Community, send e-mail to the alias, or check the "filk" box on the registration form. Also, the Hrab Stage still has openings available for interested performers. E-mail fordetails.


There's a whole wonderful world of non-traditional media available and, like last year, we're bringing you more than just podcasting. Come and meet local artists and writers from the world of web comics and many other fascinating people leading the new media explosion. Learn more about what's available in independent new media and how to turn it to your advantage. Dont let your work be lost in the shadows: find your audience! Balticon was the first con to run new media programming and have its own dedicated podcast, which makes ours the longest running new media track.


Guest of Honor

British author and self-admitted computer geek Charles Stross will be coming across the pond to be the Balticon 43 Guest of Honor (GoH). His novels include Singularity Sky, Accelerando, Glasshouse and Saturn's Children, and his novellas and short stories include collaborations with author Cory Doctorow. His writing has earned him the 2005 Hugo Award for Best Novella, the 2006 Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, the 2007 Locus Award for Best Novella, the 2007 Prometheus award for Best Novel, and the 2008 Edward E. Smith Memorial Award (also known as the Skylark). His novel Saturn's Children (Ace; Orbit) has been nominated for the 2009 Hugo Awards Best Novel category, and he has been one of the top five nominees for the Best Novel Hugo Award for the previous five years, making him the first author ever to have a novel on the Hugo Awards shortlist for six years in a row.

Filk/Musical Guest of Honor

Pegasus Award winning filk songwriter and performer Dr. Mary Crowell will be the Balticon 43 Musical GoH. Dr. Crowell is a singer, songwriter, musician, composer and teacher whose musical forays include filk, jazz, classical piano and composition for brass and wind instruments. An extensive biography, and free music tracks for download, can be found at

Art Guest of Honor

Kurt Miller, artist and illustrator whose works have graced book, magazine and video game covers, board games, video games and the walls of many a fan's home will be the Balticon 43 GoH. Of particular note is that Mr. Miller was responsible for the cover art for the most recent release of BSFS founding member Jack L. Chalker's "Twighlight at the Well of Souls". His online portfolio can be found at

Special Guest of Honor

New York Times Bestselling author Scott Sigler will be the Special Guest of Honor at Balticon 43. In 2004, disillusioned with traditional publishing routes for authors, Scott decided to podcast his novel Earthcore and give it away for free. The initial release of Earthcore garnered Sigler an audience of over 10,000 listeners. He immediately followed up the Earthcore, the first novel available exclusively via podcast, with his second novel Ancestor. Releasing his books for free, in serialized audio form, has garnered him an audience in the tens of thousands as well as a major publishing contract with Crown Books. Scott Sigler has proven that there are alternate paths around the gatekeepers in the traditional publishing industry.

2008 Compton Crook Award Winner

At Balticon 42, Science Fiction author Mark L. Van Name took home the 2008 Compton Crook Award for his first novel One Jump Ahead. Mr. Van Name returns to Balticon 43 with two more novels in the Jon and Lobo series, and will be particpating in events and panels throughout the weekend, including a one-man-show SCIENCE MAGIC SEX

Ghost of Honor

Edgar Allan Poe is well known not only in Baltimore but around the world for his innovative writing, and his work is credited by some with contributing to the early development of science fiction. He continues to create an aura of mystery as each year, on his birthday, an unknown admirer leaves at his gravesite in Baltimore a tribute of a single rose and a half-bottle of cognac. Balticon will honor Poe and his work with occasional visual reminders during the convention.

We will be updating our participant list on the web as we get more responses, so keep checking back!

Danielle Ackley-McPhail
Tristan Alexander
Kimi Alexandre (TaleChasing)
David-Glenn Anderson
Catherine Asaro
John Ashmead
Jared Axelrod
Rob Balder
Jamie Baldwin
Brick Barrientos
Danny Birt
J.R. Blackwell
Dr. Nathan Bos
Dr. Padi Boyd
Angie Boyter
Mattie Brahen
Patricia Bray
Alessia Brio
Stephanie Burke
Laura Burns
Michael Capobianco
Ray Carrier
Lillian Cauldwell
Robert Chase
The Chromatics
Ariel Cinii
Carl Cipra
Brenda Clough
Dr. John Cmar
Elaine Corvidae
Caroline Cox
Dr. Michael Cranfield
A. C. Crispin
Charlene Taylor D'Alessio
Dan The Fan
Marty Day
Susan de Guardiola
Bill DeSmedt
Tom Doyle
David Edelman
Scott Edelman
Steve Eley
Christiana Ellis
Barb Fischer
Chris Flick
Billy Flynn
Doug Fratz
Charles E Gannon
Thomas "cmdln" Gideon
Laura Anne Gilman
Dr. Barry Gittlen
Jo Graham
Nancy O. Greene
Ann Hamilton
Kelly Harmon
Marc Hartstein
David Hartwell
John G Hemry
C. J. Henderson
Larry Hodges
Martha Holloway
Thomas R. Holtz
PG Holyfield
George Hrab
J.C. Hutchins
Igor's Egg
Chris Impink
Paulette Jaxton
Robert I. Katz
Eric Kimball (Drowemos)
Beatrice Kondo
Yoji Kondo
Brian Koscienski
Dave Kratz
Mur Lafferty
L. Jagi Lamplighter
Sue Lange
Grig Larson
Dina Leacock
Julianne Lee
R. Allen Leider
Chris Lester
Neal Levin
Nathan E. Lilly
Kathryn Lively
Nathan Lowell
Jeff Lyman
Jonathan Maberry
Helen E. H. Madden
Gail Martin
Bill Mayhew
Patrick E. McLean
Clayton McNally
Mike McPhail
Dr. Henry Meier
Bernie Mojzes
David Moldawer
Tee Morris
Earl Newton
Eleanor A O'Rangers
Joshua Palmatier
Mike Pedersen
Ally Peltier
Brian Pianalto
Chris Pisano
Jeff Poretsky
Peter Prellwitz
Bryan Prindiville
Mary Jo Putney
Angela Render
Ray Ridenour
James Daniel Ross
Phil Rossi
Tony Ruggerio
Don Sakers
Jonathan Schiefer
Lawrence Schoen
Chooch Schubert
Viv Schubert
Eric Schulman
Darrell Schweitzer
Podcasting's Rich Sigfrit
B. Casimir Slaski
Dave Slusher
Jeri Smith-Ready
J.M. Snyder
Maria Snyder
Bud Sparhawk
Raven Stern
Elaine Stiles
Steve Stiles
Charles Stross
MAJ Thomas B. Talbot, MD
Evo Terra
Robert Terry
Marshall Thomas
Patrick Thomas
Warren Turner
Mark L. Van Name
Jim Van Verth
Dr. Robin Vaughn
Thomas Vincent
Tyler Waldman
Jean Marie Ward
Joy Ward
Diane Weinstein
Heather Welliver
Michele White (Galactica Quorum Podcast)
Richard White
Steve White
Ted White (Galactica Quorum Podcast)
David Williams
D. C. Wilson
Gene Wolfe
Trisha Wooldridge
Martin Morse Wooster
John C. Wright
Rabbi Alan Yuter
Susan Z
Dr. Marv Zelkowitz
Sarah Zettel

All materials copyright © 2009 Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Inc., unless otherwise noted.