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 our annual convention -- Balticon.
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 beyond this veil of tears.
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 don't think you're weird because you like that "sci-fi" stuff.
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.
BSFS is run entirely by volunteers, none of the Board of Directors, or officers, receive any pay for what they do. Likewise, all Balticon workers are volunteers.
Balticon, our annual regional science fiction & fantasy convention, features authors, editors, publishers, artists, filmmakers, and, most importantly, fans. Balticon has speeches by our guests, author readings, panels, slide shows, films, videos, an art show, a dealers room, board gaming, card gaming (collectible and otherwise), computer gaming, a masquerade show (costume contest), science programming, a writer's workshop, and much, much more. 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 has moved to the Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend!! See the Balticon web page for more information or 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 presented "The Compton Crook Award" each Balticon since 1983, for "... the best first novel in the genre published during the previous year..." The list of eligible books is published in the monthly newsletter so all club members will have a chance to read and vote and a complete list (with synopses) is also available on-line through the Compton Crook Award Page. The winning author is invited to Balticon (BSFS pays transportation and lodging) and presented with the cash award. 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 Jack L. Chalker Memorial Young Writer's contest rules web page for the full rules or contact BSFS for a hard copy.
BSFS supports young readers with our BSFS Books for Kids Program with change collection jars and a charity auction (of donated books, artwork, or services) at Balticon.
BSFS produces a monthly newsletter addressing club business that is distributed free to all members and is exchanged with other Science Fiction Clubs throughout the world.
BSFS is 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 (mostly paperbacks) and videotapes with over 12000 titles. BSFS members and the public may borrow these books and videos. BSFS also has an extensive collection of old pulp SF magazines on microfiche.
The regular monthly BSFS business meetings are held at 8:30 PM on the second Saturday of the month. When needed, Balticon planning meetings are held at 7:00 PM on the second Saturday of the month.
There is a social meeting at 8:00 PM on the fourth Saturday of the month.
BSFS sponsors an SF Book Discussion Group that meets at 6:00 PM on the fourth Saturday of the month just before the monthly social gathering. Please call for the schedule of books to be discussed or check the BSFS Calendar web page for the book schedule.
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 and special events information is available on the answering machine or on the BSFS Calendar web page.
Food, fuel etc. near the BSFS building:
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 recommended by Marty Gear, who's family used to own a Greek restaurant. Ikaros, 4805 Eastern Ave., Baltimore 21224, (410) 633-3750
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.