Balticon 2003

Heinlein Society
Balticon

Memorial Day weekend 2003, Baltimore, Maryland

reported by Ogden “OJ” Johnson, III
photos courtesy John “JT” Tilden

Location, location, location!” Ogden Johnson at the perfectly placed table. To a prepared retired Marine, and Teresa Redmond had brought all the materials OJ needed, a small table isn’t even a minor problem!

We, the Washington, D.C. contingent, myself and my wife, Ogden and Mya Johnson, and Teresa Redmond and her daughter Heather, arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, on Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend. We were met by THS member John Tilden and Dr. Yoji Kondo, one of The Society’s directors, both Baltimore SF Society members. The Balticon organizers couldn’t have been more gracious and helpful to us, despite our late reservation of a fan table.

They had moved heaven and earth and had a THS fan table for us in the “Main Concourse” area, right across from the Information Desk next to where the Art Show being held in one-third of the ballroom. They also presented us with a bit of a surprise when we arrived.

The husband of Balticon’s husband and wife Artist GOH (guest of honor) team, Omar and Sheila Rayyan , had donated one of his paintings to be awarded by a drawing from tickets filled out by blood drive donors.

We had a panel discussion, which took all us by surprise to see it listed in the ‘con program. Dr. Kondo, who writes science fiction under the pseudonym Eric Kotani, had originally scheduled a Koffee Klatch to discuss his own works, but had the program modified to accommodate us, so JT ended up moderating a discussion about Heinlein and the Society, with OJ chipping in some good points, too. Dr. Kondo’s stories are always entertaining!

The extemporaneous panel must have been well received. Attendance was pretty decent — we have a total of sixteen in a small conference room, as the photos show. We’ve already been contacted informally by the Balticon folk who’ve asked us to make formal Heinlein Society panel suggestions for next year! Don’t be too surprised if you live in the Baltimore area if someone from the Society calls and asks whether you’d like to participate in what we suggest.

The blood drive was conducted on Sunday. OJ spoke to Omar at Sunday’s drawing and formally thanked him — on behalf of The Heinlein Society — for his great generosity. As so many other SF fans have, Omar cut his teeth on Heinlein, although his course in SFF has veered since. He is also former military, and a long-time blood donor himself. The lucky winner of the Omar Rayyan original was Michael Konold of Baltimore. Our congratulations to Michael; and we hope he will be the first of a long line of raffle winners at THS blooddrives.

Balticon had actively promoted the THS blood drive in their conference schedule, and in posters all over the Wyndham Inner Harbor Hotel that was the site of Balticon. The blood van was located in a good spot just off the Wyndham’s Lower Lobby. Our sign-up table was set up right inside Our sign-up table was set up right inside in a lounge area, and right across from the Balticon Con Suite. That guaranteed a *lot* of traffic that we are certain contributed to our results. Our final numbers on the Red Cross tally were:

Red Cross’s Goal: 50 donors

Donors Scheduled: 21 [From preliminary sign-up sheets as of 10 a.m. Sunday.]

Donors Presenting: 48 [Woo-Woo!! — and the main hang-up was the Red Cross, for people waited constantly from 11 am. through cut-off at 3:30 p.m. Our last donor left the trailer at 5:30 p.m.]

First Time Donors: 6

Total Units Collected: 36 [The Red Cross follows very restrictive standards nowadays]

After leaving, JT was contacted by Harold Feld, representing Conglomeration, the local fan-run filk organization and publisher, inquiring whether the literary estate would be interested in authorizing a CD-ROM of filker songs based on Heinlein works. We passed the information on to the Prize Trustee.


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