GOH: John Varley
Compton Crook ("Stephen Tall") died on January 15,
1981, so this Balticon was without its most successful resident
Balticon 15 was also a showcase con for the Baltimore in '83
bid, and everything about
the convention revealed the care that the committee
had taken to make a good impression. The cover of the program
book was in color, the entire Hunt Valley Inn was reserved
for the con. (Alas, the Hunt Valley was booked and Don had to
stay down the road in the Best Western. His sixth Balticon, and
Balticon 15 was the last Balticon in the Hunt Valley Inn .
. . at least for a while.
This was also Don's first Balticon as a pro . . . his first
published story was on sale in the Huckster's
Room. This fact didn't make him any more a pro in the sight
of the con members -- in fact, he doubted if any of them even
noticed the story or the name. Don did, however, have his first
meeting with an editor, arranged by Lucia Gauger -- Owen Lock
of Ballantine promised to fish his latest novel submission out
of the slush pile on Tuesday and have a decision for him by the
end of the week. As Don recalls, it was to be over a year before
he heard from Lock again.
("My watch isn't right. It won't be right until 10:15.")
Balticon 15 was, coincidentally, Don's fifteenth con; the only
time that a con number matched his own personal "number of
cons." And since the 47th Worldcon
was his 62nd con, there is little chance that the numbers will
ever match up again.
In the "Why You Shouldn't Be a Writer" panel, David Bischoff and Susan Shwartz (could it really have been Susan?) pointed out that one of the dangers of full-time writing was that one could become starved for real-life experience. The point struck Don, then, as incredibly profound.
This was Thomas' first Balticon. He wore his first self-made
costume, a tan flight suit that he had put together with his mother's
help. He went to the con with his friend Will Burnham, and the
two entered the masquerade
-- Thomas in his tan flight suit, and Will in a red one. Masquerades
were a little less sophisticated then: Thomas remembers that contestants
carried large placards with their numbers, and that everyone wore
con badges on their costumes.