Balticon 41: GOH Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
by Nora Wright (chair)
Review by Sam Tomaino
BFSF ISBN/ITEM#: Balticon41
Date: May 25 - 28, 2007
Links: Balticon 41 Site / Show Official Info /
Editor's Note: Unfortunately, neither Ernest nor I made it to Balticon this year. Luckily, Sam Tomiano attended and sent in his report.The 41st Balticon was held over Memorial Day Weekend in the Hunt Valley Inn just outside of Baltimore and the Baltimore Science Fiction Society did a nice job of putting on a con. Writer Guests of Honor were Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle with other GOH's being Joe Bergeron (artist), Jeff & Maya Bohnoff (Music), Michael R. Mennenga & Evo Terro (Special) and Maria V. Snyder (2006 Compton Crook Award Winner). There were a lot of special events including Geek Comedy Tour 3000, several concerts, lots of GOH events, the Balticon Masquerade, movies, readings and seven tracks of panels.
Panels started Friday at 5 PM and ran through Monday. The guests of honor were seen quite a bit and were very accessible. The dealer's room and art show were of a nice size and varied in content. I got to a few panels and they all ran very well. On Friday. I attended a panel called "The Five Greatest Written Works of 20th Century Fantasy" with Darrell Schweitzer, Diane Weinstein and Ray Ridenour. They actually talked about more than five but the authors included J.R.R. Tolkien, Mervyn Peake, T.H. White, Lord Dunsany, Charles Finney, Jack Vance and others.
The next day I took part in "Save the Cheerleader" which was essentially a support group for those of us that watch Heroes. No one really knew more than anyone else and it was just fun speculating about the upcoming season. Discussions ran from "Is anyone really dead?" to "Don't Mika & Molly make a cute couple?". Next, I went to a panel called "LOTR: The 4th Age of Middle Earth", an amazingly literate group discussion on what might have happened after the end of the Lord of the Rings. I also found time to attend Jerry Pournelle's Guest of Honor Speech in which he made some comments on the world we were making. He held an entire ballroom in rapt attention.
I did not stay too late on Sunday but found time to attend two panels. "The Relationship of Classical Age Literature to Modern Speculative Fiction" which was just as learned as it sounds. I went from there to "The ANALOG Mafia" with writers from that magazine: Bud Sparhawk, Maya Kathryn Bohnhoff, Robert Chase and John G. Hemry. Henry had been on that "Classical Age" panel, too and that gives you an idea how varied the programming was. There was one track that was entirely real science and plenty of panels for kids, crafters, etc.
This weekend marked my 30th anniversary of science fiction convention going and I had a great time. I'll also add that they put out a nice convention souvenir book with articles on the guests, color prints, stories by the three top winners of the Jack L. Chalker Young Writers' Contest, poems by the Balticon 41 Poetry Contest Winners and more!
Great job, B.S.F.S.!