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About Us

Who

Balticon is sponsored and produced by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Inc. (aka BSFS) BSFS is a §501(c)(3), non-profit, charitable, literary and educational organization, dedicated to the promotion of, and an appreciation for, science fiction in all of its many forms.

Anyone who is interested in any of the myriad forms of science fiction or fantasy (books, magazines, films, video, games, television, etc.) is invited to become a member of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Inc. (otherwise known as BSFS). Dues are only $35 per year (our fiscal year is Oct 1 to Sep 30); this includes membership in Balticon with the understanding that BSFS members attending Balticon are expected to volunteer a bit of their time either preparing for the convention or at the convention.

New members are eligible to join after attending two business meetings within a 12 month period. We want you to KNOW what you are getting into before we take your money.

How did this all start? Some people returning from a meeting of the Washington Science Fiction Association (WSFA) first formed the Baltimore Science Fiction Society on January 5, 1963, in the back seat of a Trailways bus. It went into suspended animation after a disasterous election fight on October 12, 1968, on a (non-functioning) streetcar. Its only production of consequence was the first Balticon (1967) and it has in common with the present group only the name, spirit and continuity of several founders, most of whom have now passed away.

There were no formal club meetings during the intervening years, but several fans managed to keep the Balticon tradition alive by holding Balticons numbered 2 through 8.

The present Baltimore Science Fiction Society was re-started in 1974 when it was incorporated in the State of Maryland. It applied for and was granted IRS tax-exempt status. In 1996 a copy of the original 1963 BSFS by-laws was discovered and confirmed that the rules for calling a meeting had been followed in 1974, for calling a meeting if one had not been held in the past six months, resulting in further (if coincidental) continuity between the old BSFS and the new state chartered BSFS.

BSFS is an equal opportunity organization. Its members range in age from young children to septuagenarians, from ex-hippies to ex-religious, from unemployed to self-employed, from lawyers to truck drivers, but they all have one thing in common -- science fiction. Come visit us, we won't think you're weird because you like that "sci-fi" stuff or have a passion for science and technical stuff.

What?

BSFS is run entirely by volunteers. None of the Board of Directors, or officers, receive any pay for what they do. Likewise, all Balticon staff and workers are volunteers.

Up to the year 2000, Balticon was traditionally held on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Easter weekend in a Baltimore area hotel. As of 2001, Balticon moved to the Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend. Contact BSFS to have your name added to our mailing list.

BSFS publishes an annual fanzine (fan magazine) BSFAN in conjunction with Balticon. The BSFan generally contains bios of the current Guests of Honor at Balticon, (usually) a bibliography of our author Guest of Honor's works, articles on science fiction, short stories, the winning entries in the Young Writer's Contest, reviews, advertisements, and anything else the editors deem appropriate or related.

BSFS has been involved with the "Robert A. Heinlein Award"... "For outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings to inspire the human exploration of space." since its inception in 2003. The Award is presented at Balticon.

BSFS has presented The "Compton Crook Award" each year since 1983, for "... the best first novel in the genre published during the previous year..." Balticon hosts the author of the winning novel as a Compton Crook Guest at Balticon for two years — the first year to receive the award (and the nice check that accompanies it), and the second year to give that year's award to the incoming winning author. Compton Crook, who used the nom de plume Stephen Tall, died in 1981. He was a long time Baltimore resident, Towson University professor, and, of course, a science fiction author.

BSFS holds a yearly "Young Writers Contest." Contest submissions must be in the field of science fiction or fantasy. Contestants shall reside in, or attend school in Maryland, and be no older than 18 years of age as of the date of Balticon. Submissions shall be no more than 2500 words in length. The first, second and third place winners are invited to and announced at Balticon. Please see the BSFS Young Writer's contest rules web page for the full rules or contact BSFS for a hard copy.

To promote the creation of quality genre literature in the state of Maryland, in 2013 BSFS established the annual "Baltimore Science Fiction Society Amateur Writing Contest." The winners are invited to be program participants at Balticon and the winning stories are included in the BSFan. We encourage entry by any amateur writer 18 or over, who is currently a Maryland residents or a student at a MD two or four year college. Entrants cannot be a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America nor can they have been published in a professional science fiction/fantasy magazine.

The "Balticon Poetry Contest" awards three prizes for poems up to 50 lines in length which address the themes of science fiction/fantasy/horror/science. For more information, see the BSFS Poetry web page.

You can participate in Writers Workshops at Balticon and quarterly at BSFS headquarters. Watch the BSFS and Balticon websites for announcements.

BSFS and Balticon support the BSFS Books for Kids charity with change collection jars and a charity auction (of donated books, artwork, or services) and other fundraising events at Balticon.

BSFS produces a monthly newsletter (The Beast) addressing club business which is distributed free to all members and is exchanged with other Science Fiction Clubs throughout the world.

BSFS was the third Science Fiction Club in the country to own a building. LASFS (Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society) and NESFA (New England Science Fiction Association) are the other two. The former theater at 3310 East Baltimore Street, in the Highlandtown section of Baltimore, is being slowly renovated as time and money allow.

BSFS maintains a library of science fiction and fantasy books with over 12,000 titles (mostly paperbacks) as well as periodicals, videotapes and DVD's. BSFS members and the public may borrow most of these books and videos. BSFS also has an extensive collection of old pulp SF magazines on microfiche.

When?

Balticon planning meetings are held at 7:30 PM on the second Saturday of the month. The regular monthly BSFS business meetings are held at 8:30 PM on the second Saturday of the month.

BSFS sponsors "The Ray Gun Club" (an SF Book Discussion Group) at 6:30 pm on the fourth Saturday of the month, followed immediately by an 8:00 pm Social Meeting. Those two events may occasionally be supplanted by an event or Guest Presentation at 7:00 pm. Please check the BSFS Calendar web page for the "The Ray Gun Club"'s book schedule and to verify the schedule.

The BSFS Speculative Fiction Critique Circle meets at BSFS HQ every second and fourth Thursday. This is a hard-working, high-functioning crtitique circle that is producing impressive results in terms of authors achieving publication of stories workshopped in the BSFS-SFCC.

Watch the BSFS calendar for "Dangerous Voices Variety Hour", our quarterly reading series.

BSFS hosts an Anime and Manga Social every 4th Saturday from 2:00 to 6:00 pm.

BSFS Hosts Alphabet Soup, a gaming afternoon every 2nd and 4th Sunday, when there is a BSFS member available to run it. Please call BSFS HQ on the evening before to verify whether gaming day is happening on Sunday.

Watch the BSFS Calendar for BSFS Night Out at the Movies events, usually occuring in the opening week of genre films.

All meetings are open to any member of the general public. Unless otherwise announced, all meetings take place in the BSFS building. Occasionally, the business and social meetings are swapped to accommodate members attending a convention. Please call to verify any meeting you plan to attend. Meeting information is available on the answering machine or on the BSFS Calendar web page.

Food, fuel etc… near the BSFS building.

Food:

SubWay, Taco Bell's, Vizinni's, McDonalds, Popeye's, Royal Farm Store and China Wok (a fine Chinese carryout) all near the corner of Highland and Fayette Streets (close to RT 40), just north of the corner of Highland and East Baltimore as noted above.

On Eastern Avenue on your way to BSFS, as described above, there is a fine Greek restaurant in Greek town known as Ikaros. Paid parking for Ikaros is across the street from Ikaros itself. Ikaros has a classic Greek cuisine and was often recommended by BSFS member Marty Gear, whose family used to own a Greek restaurant. Ikaros, 4805 Eastern Ave., Baltimore 21224, (410) 633-3750

Fuel:

Within one block east on Fayette (RT 40) there are several gas stations including 24 hour and diesel fuel.
See above for directions from BSFS to Fayette and RT 40.

For more information, see The Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Inc.










All materials copyright © 2010 Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Inc., unless otherwise noted.