|1. What is filk? or filking?|
"Filk" is Science Fiction and Fantasy themed folk music.
2. Do I need to wear a costume to come to BALTICON?
No. Most people dress comfortably in typical pedestrian clothing. Maybe 10%
of people in the halls wear a costume and most of those are more fashion than
theatrical in nature.
3. What is the Masquerade at BALTICON; is it like a masquerade ball?
No. The masquerade is a costume competition with theatrical presentations
lasting a minute or two. It is sort of like a fashion show where the models make
the costume and create their own a theatrical presentation.
4. Why don't you have media stars at BALTICON?
BALTICON is a literary convention that has grown to embrace all aspects of
Science Fiction culture. As such we prefer ideas to showmanship and authors,
artists, poets and song writers to media actors. Many theatrical elements of
the con are added by amateur enthusiasts such as costumers and the occasional media
person with family in Maryland.
5. How can I submit ideas for panels/events at BALTICON?
Please send e-mail to "bsfs at bsfs dot org" with
your ideas. The earlier we get an idea the more likely we can use it. We constantly get good ideas two weeks
before the con and by then it is just too late to arrange details. You can become
a voting member of BSFS, Inc. as well by attending two business meetings and
paying the yearly dues. Or just show up at the business meeting and tell us
your ideas--we always need new ideas.
6. Why is BALTICON always on Memorial Day?
In order to provide 8 tracks of programming we need a hotel of adequate
size willing to provide us function space for a cost we can afford. This
forced us onto a "dead hotel weekend" where the hotel cuts their rates and
Memorial Day Weekend is one of the deadest of the "dead hotel weekends" in
the Baltimore area. In the past we were on the Easter Weekend, but Memorial
Day Weekend was considered more desireable by a survey we conducted in 1999
so we moved our weekend. Memorial Day Weekend also alowed us to expand the
convention by 24 hours so there is more time for all of the enhanced
programming SF fans can dream up.
7. What goes on at a BSFS meeting?
We talk about BALTICON and Science Fiction literature, media, life, philosophy,
the weather etc... We also sometimes stuff envelopes while we talk... We also
have a short formal meeting on the second Saturday of the month that is quite
entertaining in a warped parliamentary sort of way. The formal meetings before
and after BALTICON tend to be a bit longer, but the rest are relatively short.
Sometimes we have artists/authors/SF/cultural presentations at the meetings.
Sometimes members who are artists or authors share bits of their work.
8. When are BSFS meetings?
There are meetings at the BSFS Building on the second and fourth Saturdays of
the month, the third Sunday of the month, and a "gathering" every Wednesday
The second Saturday of every month is the "formal" business meeting. A BALTICON
planning meeting starts at 7:00 pm, the BSFS meeting starts at 8:30 pm. We might
go on talking till midnight or so
On the Fourth Saturday of each month there is a Book discussion held at 7:00 PM
where people announce the books they have recently read and review and answer
questions about them, then everyone focuses on an agreed upon book. The book
discussion is followed by Informal meetings that are purely social in nature held 8:30 PM
till midnight (or later, if people are playing cards.)
Working/very informal meeting every Wednesday 8:00 pm -10:00 pm. Mostly the
core group of volunteers at the Wednesday meetings but everyone is invited.
9. Are pets allowed at BALTICON or BSFS meetings?
The hotel does not allow pets at BALTICON. Pets can come to BSFS meetings
if the owner controls them.
10. Why is the BSFS building in Highlandtown?
It was the best building we could afford at the time and has worked out well since.
11. How do I get to the BSFS building in Highlandtown?
12. If I want to ship something to BSFS or BALTICON where should I send it?
E-mail: "bsfs at bsfs dot org"
PHONE: (410) JOE-BSFS
(that's (410) 563-2737 for the alphabetically challenged)
For "normal" items where normal postal service will do:
Postal: BSFS, Inc.
P.O. Box 686
Baltimore, MD 21203-0686
For large bulky items where normal postal service won't do:
UPS/Shipping Company: BSFS, Inc.
8775 Cloudleap Court
Columbia, MD 21045
13. Are you guys the Baltimore Science Center?
No. We constantly get people looking for the Maryland Science Center who find
For the record, the Maryland Science Center can be reached at:
and their phone number is: (410) 685-2370
14. What is a LARP?
The acronym "LARP" stands for Live Action Role Playing game. Sometimes LARPs
are run at SF cons and consist of people acting a role and negotiating deals with
other LARPers to gain points and win. If Balticon has an official LARP it will be announced and
pre-registration arranged through the Balticon web page.
15. Can you prove BSFS is a 501c3 tax exempt organization?
Yes. Go to the IRS web page at:
and then search on Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Columbia, MD. (The IRS thinks
we are in Columbia, MD because that is where our treasurer lives.)
16. What are the IRS rules about charitable donations to an organization like BSFS?
Please go to the IRS web site:
17. What kind of stuff do people donate to BSFS?
SF and other books, SF artwork and money are the major
categories of items donated.
18. What does BSFS do with donations?
Some of the SF books and artwork are preserved for cultural research and our free lending library.
Duplicate books are sold at low cost to support our other activities.
19. Why is the floor in the main room of the BSFS building sloped?
The BSFS building used to be the Aldine Theater before 1956. The slight slope of
the floor was to accommodate theater seats. The slope is so slight that after walking
on it a few minutes you forget it is there, and it would cost a fortune to change, so we
are leaving it alone.
20. How can I get into the dealers room at BALTICON?
Send us a request for dealers room information including your postal address to
"dealers at balticon dot org" . This will forward your request to
the dealers room manager who will
send you an information package. Follow the simple instructions in the information
package and you will have a shot at space in the dealers room. The most common
mistake is sending in a table request after the deadline, sending the table request to
the wrong address and just generally not following directions. A mass mailing of
information packages goes out to everyone who had been in the dealers room last
year, and those people who have requested information, in December. Selection is
made on a first come first served basis modified by the dealer included description
of merchandise to be sold. Those dealers who do not make the first cut go onto a
waiting list just in case someone cancels.
21. Can I sell stuff at a BSFS meeting?
Some members bring books and other collectibles to the meeting and announce
these are for sale (during Announcements). As long as this remains within reasonable
bounds we will continue to let people do this and show off their wares after the meetings.
22. How much are BSFS dues?
Annual BSFS dues (Oct 1 to Sep 30) are $35.00. Life membership dues are 10 times
the annual dues. Remember you must attend two business meetings before you are eligible to pay
dues and become a voting member.
23. How do I get my question onto this FAQ?
Send a good question to "bsfs at bsfs dot org" and we will post it if we believe people
would be interested.
24. Why can't I get a BALTICON Schedule months in advance?
BALTICON is arranged by volunteers and we do the best that we can given the
size of this event. Look for detailed schedule information to be posted to our web site two
weeks or so before the con at best. General information about major events will be posted as it is confirmed.
25. I heard that BSFS hates _____________
(fill in this blank)
and that's why they won't _____________
(fill in this blank).
Is this true?
Usually a BSFS member, or someone who people think might be a BSFS member,
says something they think is constructive criticism in public and then the rumor
mill cranks up. Individual BSFS members may love/hate just about anything, but
the organization seldom takes a stand on any issue and does not hate any group
in or out of fandom. For practical reasons we need to balance the interests of all SF
fans, so a particular group may get less some years and get more other years -- but
we do our best to include everyone we can.
26. How can I be informed about what is going on with BSFS and Balticon?
Well, you could:
come to the meetings and hear first-hand. ;-)
join the "Info" mailing list and get periodic updates about what is going on.
(to find out about the list, go to
and follow the directions about how to join the list.
27. Why are there no pictures of BSFS and Balticon on the Web?
Up until today, that was pretty much true, but we have just added a page we call
BSFS Photo Album!!!! Go on over and check it out!!!
If you have a picture of something relevant to BSFS or Balticon and you
would like us to include it in our album, send it to: "webmeister at bsfs dot org"
with the caption that would be appropriate - you know, who is in the picture
what they are doing, etc....(and who took the photo).
28. Why do we list email addresses as "something at bsfs dot org"?
Sp*mming is done by lazy people that do what is known as "data-mining" - they view
web pages with a "spider" or a "bot" that gleans every email address that they can
see and add them to the tons of unwanted emails that we all receive daily. BSFS
is attempting to cut down on this traffic by not providing machine readable email
addresses on its sites. Humans can still read what the email addresses are, and
translate something at bsfs dot org" into something their email programs
can use by substituting "@" for " at " and "." for " dot ". Eventually, "spiders" and "bots" will get smarter, but for now, this is
one way we can fight SP*M!!
29. Why does it cost so much for a Balticon membership when I can throw a SF party at home for almost nothing?
Balticon started small and cost little to run in the early days. When you throw an event for under 50-100 people you can use
your house and gather some old video tapes of SF TV programs, some chips and the party is on. Once you start renting hotel
space for hundreds and then thousands of people to attend, flying guests of honor in, setting up full theatrical stages, buying
insurance and paying copyright fees, producing program books that are collectors items, buying food for the con members at hotel
prices to meet their contract terms, mailing thousands of flyers and everything else--it costs a lot of money.
Professional conventions nearly matching
the Balticon size charge hundreds of dollars for an attendee and don't deliver the 24 hour a day 12 program tracks at Balticon.
Even at the cost of attending Balticon(or any other major SF con) the hotels find us low profit events; this is why all SF cons are on
poor hotel business weekends. People often ask why Balticon and Baycon and Oasis and Marcon and Wiscon and several others are all on
the same weekend and the answer is it is the only one we can afford--because by hotel standards we are doing an event on the cheep.
Consider in comparison we run the equivalent of 24 free events the size of a house party each year at the BSFS building for members pocket change.
So, Balticon costs what it costs because we can not make it any less expensive without eliminating the quality fandom expects from a
major regional SF con. Besides there "is" some cost to 300 hours of educational program at the con; I believe your neighbors would find an event of simmilar size held in your house a little distracting.
30. What do I need to know about running an open room party at Balticon?
Running an open room party at Balticon has its own FAQ which can be found at
Balticon Party FAQ
You should check out the party registration process on the Balticon web page to ensure your party is sited in a place
that avoids conflict and is protected under the conventions contract with the hotel.