The 49th annual Balticon science fiction convention was held from May 22 to 25, 2015, at Marriott’s Hunt Valley Inn in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Guest of honor was Jo Walton. Artist guest of honor was Ruth Sanderson. Science guest of honor was Edie Stern. Ghost of honor was CJ Henderson. The 2015 winner of the Compton Crook Award was Alexandra Duncan.
The event included author and editor panel discussions, readings, science briefings, and an art show.
I missed Saturday, but attended Sunday and Monday. Dr. Thomas R. Holtz presented his annual “Dinosaur Update” on Sunday, at which he announced that 44 new species of dinosaur were discovered in 2014 and 9 so far in 2015. He focused on additional discoveries concerning Spinosaurus, as well as the “Great Enfluffening,” the continued discoveries of feathers on dinosaurs. From a slide: “The capacity to generate plumulose structures (or [their] derivatives) is ancestral for all dinosaurs.” They all could have had them.
Also: “Astrodon is Maryland’s state (non-avian) dinosaur.” “Non-avian” since the Oriole, being a bird, is already a dinosaur! New favorite dinosaur name: Dreadnoughtus.
The science track is always good at Balticon. I caught Dr. Inge Hyer’s presentation on the results of collaborations between observatories, “Between Gamma Rays and Radio Waves,” and some of Holtz’s talk on the impact of science fiction on public consciousness, “Popular Science Fiction and the Genesis of Paranormal Claims.”
Scott Edelman and Stephen Granade gave terrific readings during the time slot they shared. I enjoyed Ruth Sanderson’s talk/question-and-answer session about commissioning art for self-publishing. Also good was “Handling the Unavoidable Info Dump,” paneled by Joshua Palmatier, Gail Z. Martin and Tim Dodge.
Favorite sighting: The elderly woman walking with stately grace using a cane. Her T-shirt read: “Keep Calm and Nuke ‘Em From Orbit.”
Lighting conditions aren’t ideal at cons for photos, but I did manage to snap a few.