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Balticon 2012 Review

On Friday May 25th, I pulled up to the Baltimore Marriott, ready to begin my first vacation in almost six years. But even the excitement of being ‘kidless’ for three days, couldn’t eclipse the awesomeness that would come from spending the weekend with many of my geekiest internet friends. To kick off the weekend, I met Justin Landon (@jdiddyesquire) and Myke Cole (@MykeCole) at the bar, shortly after check in and we talked until Myke’s first panel. This was a good beginning to a great con.

Now for a bit of background, I’ve been to two cons in my life, and both were last year. The first was NY Comic Con (NYCC), which is HUGE and mostly a place to wander around and see all kinds of cool things: books, cosplayers, video games, and the like. You can go to panels and signings as well, but that takes the better part of the day just waiting in line, if you’re lucky. The second was Philcon, which is much smaller. It had some good panels and I met up with some friends, but most of the time there wasn’t a lot to do if you weren’t in a panel.

This brings us to Balticon. Balticon is run by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, and this was its 46th year running. The con started on Friday and went through Memorial Day on Monday. I was only able to stay through Sunday, but I had a blast!

2012 MAY Balticon

There’s no way to compare Balticon to NYCC, as it is a completely different animal, but it was very similar to Philcon, at least in design. There was a Dealer’s Room, an Art Show, and lots of panels. As a matter of fact, at Balticon, the panels went past midnight every night I was there! There was also a game room, and two of the panel rooms were wired for recording podcasts. The best part of Balticon though, was the people.

Gun Panel
From Left to Right: Robert E. Waters, Myke Cole (mod), Charles Edward Gannon, Bernard Dukas, and Chris Evans.

I met up with a bunch of my online author and non-author friends from Fantasy-Faction and Twitter, but I also got to meet new industry people and hang out with them and just talk. We talked about books, movies, life, the internet, kids, publishing, games, anything and everything. It was so much fun! And I made a lot of new friends that I can now talk to online.

Publishing Panel 1
From Left to Right: Steven Wilson (mod), Trish Wilson, Emilie P. Bush, Ian Randal Strock, Joshua Bilmes, and Michael J. Sullivan.

The panels were also great. Not just because they were populated by awesome people, either. The topics (at least for the panels I went to) were informative and gave me a lot of ideas for improving both Fantasy-Faction and my own writing as an aspiring author.

Publishing Panel 2
Back Row: Left to Right: Brian Koscienski and Tee Morris (mod).
Front Row: Left to Right: Philippa “Pip” Ballantine, Michael J. Sullivan, and Joshua Bilmes.

In addition to the regular panels, I also went to the live podcast of “I Should Be Writing”, where Mur Lafferty (@mightymur) talked with Myke Cole, Peter V. Brett (@PVBrett), and John Anealio (@JohnAnealio) who performed the theme song live. I also attended two readings by this year’s Compton Crook Award winner, T. C. McCarthy (@tcmccarthy_), author of The Subterrene War Trilogy. On Saturday, he read from his first book Germline (the book that won him the award) and then read from the second book in the series, Exogene, the next day. I didn’t have my camera with me on Saturday, but Sunday I was able to get a video of his Exogene reading, which will be going up as a separate post as soon as I finish editing it.

TC McCarthy
T. C. McCarthy

I also sat in on a play test for a fan made board game of Myke Cole’s Control Point created by Dave Robison of “The Roundtable Podcast” (@WritersPodcast). That was very cool and if you follow Myke on Twitter, you may have seen him tweeting about it a bunch this weekend. Joshua Bilmes (from JABberwocky Literary Agency @awfulagent) even brought us chocolate cake (which was delicious!) to eat while we watched.

Myke Cole Gaming
Myke Cole

It was stuff like that, the unscheduled parts of the con, which were the most fun. Hanging out in with my new and old friends was amazing. I can’t wait to see everyone again at the next con. And I will definitely be coming back next year!



  1. Thanks for sharing the photos. Jennie!

  2. Avatar Carl V. says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the experience. This is one that is on my list to hopefully attend one day. Having just returned from my own SFF-related convention I can imagine how jazzed you still are about the event. It is hard to come down from those kind of highs, especially when you get to connect with friends and meet people whose work you admire.

    Very cool that you got to see John Anealio perform, he is a really great guy.

  3. It was great meeting you. I’m glad you had a fun time.

  4. Oh you where there! We were even sitting in the same panel together. LOL! I was at the one with Pip, Tee, Michael and all when they where talking about the Jump from self or small pub to the big pub. I remember you grouping them together for the picture! I was the one that gave Tee the book to share. 😀 Cool! To bad I didn’t realize it, I would have loved to chat with you. 🙂 Maybe next year.

    Glad you had a great time. It was definitely a blast!

  5. Avatar Shack says:

    So jealous!

  6. Avatar Elfy says:

    Cons are great fun, Jennie. We don’t get many down here in Australia, but I went to Worldcon in 2010 down here and got the bug. Worldcon in Reno last year was wonderful and I hope to go to our first ever Oz Comiccon later this month.

  7. […] you may have seen, a few weeks back I attended Balticon, near Baltimore, Maryland. While there, I was lucky enough to meet and spend some time hanging out […]

  8. […] You can also check out Fantasy Faction’s Review of the con here. […]

  9. […] look, I’m lurking behind Myke Cole. Ready to strike!Photo by Jennie Ivins […]

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