Frequently Asked Questions
What is the World Fantasy Convention?
The World Fantasy Convention is an annual gathering of professionals, collectors, and others interested in the field of light and dark fantasy art and literature. The main features of the convention are the World Fantasy Awards, presented at a banquet on Sunday afternoon of each convention, and the large Friday-evening autograph reception called the Mass Signing.
An area of the convention that helps define its character is the Dealers Room. There is also a very high quality Art Show, which includes some works for sale as well as displays of art from the top published artists in the field. Entry into both the Dealers Room and Art Show is juried.
Who is sponsoring WFC 2018?
The two host organizations for the 2018 World Fantasy Convention in Baltimore, Maryland are partnering together so we may put on the best World Fantasy Convention possible.
The Washington Science Fiction Association (WSFA) is the oldest science fiction club in the greater Washington, DC area. Its members are interested in all types of science fiction and fantasy literature as well as related areas such as fantasy and science fiction films, television, costuming, gaming, filking, convention-running, etc. WSFA hosts Capclave (the Capital Conclave), its annual science fiction convention. Capclave attracts sf fans, authors, editors, publishers, and artists from around the region. Activities include panels on topics related to SF, a Dealers’ Room selling new and used books and other curious oddities, filking, gaming, and parties.
WSFA also awards the WSFA Small Press Award , which honors the efforts of small press publishers in providing a critical venue for short fiction in the area of speculative fiction. The award showcases the best original short fiction published by small presses in the previous year. An unusual feature of the selection process is that all voting is done with the identity of the author (and publisher) hidden so that the final choice is based solely on the quality of the story.
The Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS) promotes Science Fiction and Fantasy on many fronts, including charity auctions that contribute thousands of dollars each year to promote literacy by putting books in the hands of children. BSFS runs Balticon, the four-day Maryland regional science fiction convention held annually on Memorial Day weekend. We also promote science fiction/fantasy to the general public with displays at cultural festivals and free events in Maryland. We maintain a free lending library of science fiction and fantasy books and provide logistical support for smaller SFF cons in the area.
BSFS awards contributions to the field in several areas, including our Young Writer's Contest, for stories written by school aged children from Maryland; the BSFS Amateur Writing Contest for adults; the Compton Crook Award to honor the best first novel of the year written by an individual author; and the Robert A. Heinlein Award, for outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings that inspire the human exploration of space.
Baltimore is a great location for a World Fantasy Convention. The hotel has rooms enough for everyone and can accommodate all of our programming. Baltimore has many transportation alternatives and has great atmosphere something for everyone.
The Baltimore Harborplace and National Aquarium are located right across the street. The Maryland Science Center is a few blocks away, and there are many more attractions nearby. In addition, the monuments and museums of Washington, DC, are only 30 miles away. There are numerous restaurants in walking distance.
How can I meet authors?
You can find authors by going to program items or the Mass Signing. Otherwise, they are likely to be hanging out at the bar or in the Presidential Suite, our hospitality location. Authors, artists, editors, and publishers often do business at the convention. So please be respectful if someone says they can't talk at the moment. .
I want to see my favorite author. How can I do that?
Check the program as soon as possible to make sure you don't miss the item with your favorite author. Each person will probably be on only one program item, such as a panel, a reading, or a kaffeeklatsch. You must sign up for kaffeeklatsches. We will have information on how to sign up closer to the convention. You can also talk to your favorite authors during the Mass Signing on Friday night as long as there is no line for their autograph.
What is the Mass Signing?
A mass autograph session will be held on Friday evening, November 2, in the Maryland Ballroom and Atrium of the Renaissance. Each member of WFC 2018 will be provided a name tent so that those who wish may sign autographs at the event. The Mass Signing will continue until midnight, or until the signers and seekers of autographs are content, whichever comes first.
I understand the convention encompasses many activities in addition to those listed on the schedule. How do I learn about them?
These activities are generally noted in the program book, publicized by flyers posted around the convention, announced on social media, or listed on the convention website.
I heard that people dress up at these conventions.
The World Fantasy Con is a professional convention. Therefore, attendees usually dress in office wear or casual attire. More formal attire is not uncommon at the banquet and evening parties.
Will there be a Masquerade?
World Fantasy Conventions have no Masquerade or hall costume tradition.
What is the book bag?
All attending members of WFC will receive a complimentary bag of science fiction and fantasy Books that have been donated by publishers or authors.
Are all book bags identical?
Publishers usually do not send enough copies for every bag. We put the same number of books in each bag, but they come in different assortments.
Do I get to pick which books go in my book bag?
Contents are luck of the draw. There is one exception to this rule. If you are on site Wednesday and help for at least three hours assembling the books and book bags, you may fill your own book bag. Furthermore, if you register with a companion, please let the staff know. They may get bags for you from different piles to increase the odds that you will get more variety.
What if I do not like some of the books in my bag or want different books?
A book exchange table will be located near Registration. Put the books that you do not want on the table, and take ones that you prefer.
How do I get my books from the convention back home?
FedEx has an office in the Renaissance. Currently they are only open on weekdays, but we will try to arrange for them to open some time during the weekend. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is about 4 blocks away at 111 N. Calvert St.
Art Show and Dealer's Room
Will there be an Art Show?
Yes, more information will be available in early 2018.
I am an artist and would like to display my work in the Art Show. How can I do this?
Artists exhibiting at the World Fantasy Convention Art Show are selected by jury. The deadline for artist applications is June 1, 2018.
All art must be of a fantasy or dark fantasy nature. All art must be of professional quality, as determined by the Art Show jury.
Artists who have been included in WFC Art Shows at least twice in the past four years do not need to be juried for the current year. Any artist who has been a Guest of Honor at a World Fantasy Convention or has been a World Fantasy Award winner is exempt from the jury selection process.
Artists who create two-dimensional and three-dimensional art, fine jewelry, and prints are welcome to apply for the Art Show. Jewelry must be art (unique), not craft (mass-produced). All jewelry must contain more than 50% unique material if a mixture of mass-produced and unique art is used to make the piece.
Only work by artists exhibiting original art will be allowed in the Print Shop. Prints (including giclee prints) should appear in the Print Shop rather than the Art Show proper unless they are marked as a limited run of 100 or less.
All exhibiting artists must be either Attending or Supporting members of the convention.
When will I be able to set up my art in the Art Show?
Art Show setup Wednesday evening, Octocber 31. Artist check-in will be Thursday, November 1.
When is the Art Show Reception?
The reception will be Saturday evening, November 3, 2018, There will be desserts, hors d'oeuvres, and a cash bar.
What can I buy or sell in the Dealers Room?
TThe Dealers Room will contain about fifty tables of new, vintage and collectible genre books, printed matter and art. Participating vendors are selected by jury. Dealers Room applications and instructions will be posted sometime between the end of World Fantasy Con 2017 (November 5, 2017) and February 2018. Since space in the Dealers Room is limited, we recommend interested vendors frequently check this website for updated information.
How can I get a table in the Dealers Room?
Tables in the Dealers Room are determined by a jury process. Applications and instructions will be posted sometime between the end of World Fantasy Con 2017 (November 5, 2017) and February 2018. Since space in the Dealers Room is limited, we recommend interested vendors frequently check this website for updated information. Each dealer and each member of the dealer's staff must have an Attending membership.
Banquet and Awards
What awards does the World Fantasy Convention present?
WFC will present the following awards on Sunday, November 4, 2018, immediately after the banquet:
• Life Achievement Awards
• Short Fiction
• Special Award – Professional
• Special Award – Non-Professional.
Can I participate in the nomination/voting process for the World Fantasy Awards?
All WFC members are eligible to nominate books/stories/people for the awards. The nomination ballot is distributed in Progress Reports Two and Three. Progress Report Two will be issued in January 2018 and Progress Report Three should be April/May. The nomination period will end in May 2018. Members of WFC 2018 will be eligible to nominate at the next two years' conventions.
I understand that the World Fantasy Awards are presented after the banquet. Must I have a ticket to the banquet to attend the Awards Ceremony?
No, after the banquet, the room will be opened. A general seating area will be provided for those who wish to see the Awards Ceremony.
When is the banquet?
The banquet will be at 1 pm Sunday, November 4, the last day of the convention. Detailed information and banquet tickets will be available much closer to the convention in 2018. We will work with the hotel to make sure that those with special dietary needs are accommodated.
What will be on the menu for the banquet?
The menu will be available on the banquet page after banquet details have been announced.
Is the banquet included as part of the membership?
No, members must purchase a banquet ticket separately. Tickets will go on sale in the summer of 2018, and there will be a choice of entree. Usually we will arrange for a vegetarian or vegan entree as well as two other entrees.
Facilities and Accessibility
Is smoking permitted in the Baltimore Renaissance Harborplace Hotel?
No. The state of Maryland prohibits smoking in all public accommodations, including hotels.
Is the Renaissance Harborplace accessible?
The Renaissance Harborplace complies with all statutes, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. All function space is wheelchair accessible. If you need an accessible sleeping room or other accommodation, please contact Dale Arnold, Facilities Liaison, as well as requesting it on your hotel reservation, after hotel reservations open.
Where can I rent a wheelchair or scooter?
We will post sources for wheelchair and scooter rentals on the web site. After you arrange for your rental, the rental company will coordinate delivery with the Renaissance
Whom do I contact about other accessibility services?
If you need other accessibility services, contact Accessbility by September 30, 2018.
Food and Drink
What hospitality will be available?
WFC 2018 will have the traditional, well-stocked Hospitality Suite located in the hotel’s Presidential Suite, opening on Wednesday evening. Tentative hours will be about 9 am to 1 am. The suite will be open after the banquet on Sunday but will close earlier than previous evenings.
The Watertable Bar is located on the same floor as most of our programming, and we will arrange for extra lounge seating in the adjacent large atrium.
What are my dining options?
The Renaissance Watertable Bar and Restaurant is on the 5th floor, where most of our programming will take place. There is a Starbucks on the ground floor near the hotel’s registration desk. Baltimore has many restaurants nearby, from world class to cheap eats. (The internet is your friend.) We will post an online restaurant guide listing restaurants within walking distance of the Renaissance a few weeks before the con.
Convention Policies and Services
What is the convention’s anti-harassment policy?
"Yes" means yes, "No" means NO, and "maybe some other time" also means NO. Please take no for an answer, for everything from simple social requests to intimate encounters.
We expect all of our members and staff to follow the normal standards of proper behavior.
We will not tolerate harassment of people at our convention in any form. Everyone is entitled to a harassment-free convention experience, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, political beliefs, body size, race, national origin, or religion.
Harassment includes inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention, offensive verbal comments, deliberate intimidation, stalking or following someone, making harassing photographs or recordings, or disrupting talks or other events. Anyone asked to stop any harassing behavior is expected to comply immediately. A request to "stop" or "go away" means exactly that. If anyone engages in harassing behavior, the convention committee may warn the offender, remove the offender from the room, or expel the offender from the convention with no refund.
If you feel that you are being discriminated against or harassed, or if you notice someone violating convention or hotel policies, we respectfully suggest the following:
- Point out the inappropriate behavior to the person(s) involved. Often this will solve the problem immediately.
- If you do not feel comfortable talking with the person(s) involved or if talking to them does not resolve the issue, please report the situation immediately to Operations Staff or a Convention Committee member, identified by a red badge holder, or email Policies Try to provide a name, badge name, badge number, and/or physical description of the persons involved.
- In order to take action at the convention, we need to know about any incidents during the convention. Issues can still be reported later to the Policies email as well.
- We will respect the wishes of the affected parties within the constraints of law.
- We may share information with the World Fantasy Board and future World Fantasy Conventions.
Will the convention provide child care or children's programming?
There is no children's programming or other convention-sponsored activities for children at the World Fantasy Convention. Contact the Renaissance if you wish to arrange for child care.
Will I be able to ship books to WFC 2018 that I wish to have autographed?
You may ship books to WFC before the convention. Details and dates will be announced later. You must be on site by Wednesday evening in order to take charge of your packages when they are brought to the hotel.
If you miss the time frame to ship to WFC or cannot be on hand on Wednesday evening, you may ship a package to yourself at the hotel. The charges for the hotel to accept and hold packages will be listed in the future.
What is the current membership rate for WFC 2018?
The Supporting membership rate is $50. Attending membership rates can be found on our Registration page. Supporting memberships may be upgraded to Attending memberships as long as there are still memberships available. There is no guarantee of conversion. In addition, once the membership cap is reached, memberships cannot be converted unless an Attending membership becomes available.
If I registered, but am not able to attend WFC 2018, can I get a refund?
Memberships will be refunded only at the discretion of the convention. However, until September 30, 2018, memberships are transferable with a letter or email from the original purchaser.
How can I transfer my membership?
If you wish to transfer your membership, send an email to us. Please include your name and contact information (including email), as well as the name and contact information (including email) of the person to whom you wish to transfer your membership.
Getting to the convention and the hotel
We will post travel information closer to the convention, to insure it is up-to-date.
What is the typical weather in early November?
The average temperature in Baltimore on November 1 is cool (highs about 62°F, 17°C; lows around 42°F, 6°C) and mostly dry with cloudy skies.
What is the time zone for Baltimore, MD?
We are in the Eastern time zone (- 5 GMT/UTC).
Will Eastern Daylight Savings Time change to Eastern Standard Time during the 2018 WFC?
Daylight Savings Time ends Sunday, November 4, at 2 am. Clocks are turned back one hour, giving us one more hour of sleep (or partying!)
What holidays/events occur soon, around the dates of WFC 2018?
November 6, 2018, is a non-Presidential election day. While many schools will be closed, this is not a national holiday. Businesses will be open as usual.
I have never been to Baltimore, MD. What are my tourist options?
We will be in the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore which is a very tourist friendly destination. For extensive tourist information see the Visit Baltimore website.
Please note that foreign travel information is included as a courtesy. Verify all information before traveling.
I have never been to the United States. Will I need a visa?
Visas are not required for persons traveling from Canada, EU countries, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and some other countries. See the Visa Waiver Program(VWP) web site.
If no visa is required, what other documentation do I need?
In order to travel without a visa on the VWP, you must have authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding a U.S.-bound air or sea carrier. ESTA is the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) automated web-based system to determine eligibility to travel without a visa to the United States for tourism or business. Visit the ESTA page on the CBP web site for more detailed information, to apply for ESTA and to pay the fee.
What if I am coming from Canada?
Canadians require a passport, but do not require a visa or ESTA authorization.
If I need a visa, how do I get one?
Information is available at Visa Informataion
When I enter the United States, will they take my fingerprints?
Visitors needing a visa to enter the U.S. will have their fingerprints taken as part of that process.