Chapter Eight: Worldcons of the 1960s



* Worldcons of 1960s typified by ever-increasing attendance, and codification
  of rules for conducting them
  - the 1960 Pittcon had 568 attendees, but by 1969, attendance had grown to
    over 1500
    > ramping-up of attendance would continue into the 1970s and beyond, to
      where the worldcon would become a mega-convention that only the largest
      cities could host and many of the traditions such as the banquet would
      fall by the wayside
  - after the 1962 Worldcon, a committee established to study "the whole 
    question of continuity and codification of the mixtures of traditions and
    ancient resolutions that the conventions were operated under."
    > committee consisted of George Scithers, Howard DeVore, and Steve
      Schultheis
    > result was a new constitution and bylaws for an unincorporated World
      Science Fiction Society that was basis of rules that were used to govern
      worldcons for decades afterward
      -- was adopted at the 1963 Discon, but did not at first meet universal
         acceptance
         >> Ted White, co-chairman of the 1967 Worldcon, maintained that
            "convention committees are autonomous and have always been so. 
            Nothing decided at one convention has any binding effect upon the
            next."
            --- he announced that the 1967 Worldcon "will have no business
                session other than that for consite selection.  Business 
                sessions are an absolute farce and a total waste of time."
                >>> upon further consideration, however, White must have had
                    a change of mind, because his decision was later rescinded
  - rules for bidding for worldcons tinkered with, as they continued to grow
    > at start of the decade, a three zone system was in place, covering North
      America
      -- western, central, eastern in that order
      -- bids were still decided only one year in advance
      -- if a non-North American committee won, as did London in 1957, the
         rotation was simply delayed a year, without any zone losing its place
         >> Willis quote (what was it?) that South Gate in '58 was only
            possible because of the 1957 Loncon ((need exact quote here))
    > this 3-zone rotation was adopted by the 1963 constitution, but it didn't
      last very long
      -- were complaints that the presence of foreign bids made longer-term
         bidding very chancy, since you never knew for sure what year your bid
         would be eligible
      -- this led to a four-zone system, with bids outside of North America
         getting their own zone
    > eventually, this was changed (at the 1968 Worldcon) so that foreign bids
      would be eligible only every fifth year
      -- however, this plan never went fully into effect
      -- at the next year's worldcon (St.Louiscon), it was voted "That the
         five-year plan as adopted at the Baycon be changed back to the
         original three-year rotation plan as set up before the adoption of
         the four year rotation plan.  Effective as of 1971."
    > meanwhile, by end of decade, worldcons had grown so large and
      complicated to put on that lead time was finally changed from one year
      to two years
      -- in 1969, at St.Louiscon, for the first time two future worldcons were
         selected
         >> Heidelberg, Germany for 1970
            --- to be first worldcon in non-English speaking country
         >> Boston for 1971
    > the old, formerly discredited idea of the "rump worldcon" also
      resurfaced, but in a bright new re-packaging
      -- idea was originally discredited in 1950, when New York fandom planned
         an alternate convention parallel to Portland's Norwescon
      -- at 1968 Worldcon, the idea emerged of having a North American
         convention in the years that the Worldcon could be reached only by a
         trans-oceanic trip
         >> Tony Lewis of Boston was credited for coining the name for it:
            NASFiC, for "North American Science Fiction Convention"
      -- idea was discussed in regional conventions and adopted at the 1969
         Worldcon, but again, never fully implemented
         >> what was adopted at St.Louiscon was revolutionary to the point of
            being radical: a plan was set up to establish a true worldcon,
            that would rotate among the continents, with the idea that it
            would leave North America every other year
            --- would be an annual NASFiC, which would assume the title of
                "Worldcon" when it was North America's turn to host it
         >> problem was, the non-North American fans were not prepared to host
            as large and complicated a convention as Worldcon every other year
            --- at the 1970 Worldcon, the whole thing was scrapped, and the
                return to three North American zones was reinstated
                >>> as before, non-North American bids could take place for
                    any year, but if one won, then that North American zone
                    would be skipped so as not to disrupt other future bidders
            --- concept of the NASFiC would resurface again, and finally be
                adopted in the early 1970s, to the consternation of many fans
                for decades afterwards
  - finally, fans continued to tinker with rules surrounding the Hugo Awards
    > in 1964, the Pacificon II business meeting voted to appoint a committee
      to study the Hugo nominations system
      -- study committee consisted of Tony Boucher, Dick Lupoff, Harlan
         Ellison, Ethel Lindsay, and Dr. Josef Nesvadba
         >> they were to study nominations system and present report at the
            1965 Worldcon on suggested changes
      -- even went so far as to set up a nominating committee, which would
         have removed the nomination process from fans at large and placed it
         in the hands of an small so-called `panel of experts'
         >> fortunately, the next year's Loncon II committee refused to go
            along with this idea, and the ability to nominate Hugo Awards
            finalists has remaind with the fans ever since
            --- this decision did not go without its own share of controversy:
                George Scithers wrote that London had tacitly accepted motions
                passed at Oakland by bidding during the Oakland business 
                session, and that further, the unincorporated World Science
                Fiction Society that was created at the 1963 Worldcon was in
                fact a continuing body, whose by-laws and motions should not
                be ignored without due cause
            --- Bill Donaho, on the other hand, wrote that London shouldn't be
                restricted in the honest performance of its duties by such
                enactments, and supported the Loncon committee in its
                administering the Hugo Awards in whatever way they saw fit
  - amidst all the upheavals and changes going on in fandom during the 1960s,
    the worldcons remained as the most durable connection to earlier fan eras

* 1960 Pittsburgh (Pittcon) (Sept. 2-5, 1960)
  - Dirce Archer, chair
    > (mini bio goes here)
  - James Blish, GoH
  - 568 in attendance
  - Penn-Sheraton Hotel
  - 1st Worldcon Art Show
  - Bjo's unicorn costume
  - Hugo Awards
    > presentation ceremony telecast by KDKA TV station
    > E. E. Evans Big Heart Award presented by Ackerman to Sam Moskowitz
    > Novel:  STARSHIP TROOPERS by Robert A. Heinlein
      -- Heinlein made one of his infrequent convention appearances, arriving
         just in time to stride into the banquet hall at the proper moment to
         receive his award; such exquisite timing made many attendees wonder
         if it was really a coincidence
    > Short Fiction:  "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes
      -- Keyes was at convention, in one of his few convention appearances
         >> described by Moskowitz as "a short, pudgy, pleasant man"
    > Professional Magazine:  FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION
      -- as much as Heinlein was timely, Robert Mills, the magazine's editor,
         was untimely; he had had to leave the convention earlier that day,
         and missed the opportunity to receive the award when it was announced
    > Fanzine:  CRY OF THE NAMELESS (ed. F.M. & Elinor Busby, Burnett Toskey
      and Wally Weber)
    > Professional Artist:  Ed Emshwiller
    > Dramatic Presentation:  The Twilight Zone
    > Special Hugo Award:  Hugo Gernsback as "The Father of Magazine Science
      Fiction"
      -- Gernsback not present at ceremony
  - Business meeting
    > limited voting on Hugo Awards only to convention members
      -- ballot-stuffing attempt to get Hugo for R. Lionel Fanthorpe
         >> 70 ballots received from small English town of population less
            than 7000
         >> none of voters' names recognizable to prominent British fans

* 1961 Seattle (Seacon)  (Sept. 2-4, 1961)
  - Wally Weber, chair
  - Robert A. Heinlein, GoH
    > Heinlein kept his room open to all and provided refreshments
    > GoH speech very pessimistic, predicted that one-third of those present
      would be dead before too long as a result of wars and survivalist raids
  - 300 in attendance (Moskowitz claims the attendance was 270)
  - Hyatt House Hotel
  - $45 most paid for a painting (by Bob Pavlat, Bill Evans, & Jim Caughran)
  - Hugo Awards
    > Novel:  A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
      -- some thought Algis Budris's ROGUE MOON should have won
    > Short Fiction:  "The Longest Voyage" by Poul Anderson
    > Professional Magazine:  ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION / ANALOG
    > Fanzine:  WHO KILLED SCIENCE FICTION? (ed. Earl Kemp)
      -- one-shot (appeared in SAPS)
      -- rules change later made to prevent recurrence of one-shot winning
    > Professional Artist:  Ed Emshwiller
    > Dramatic Presentation:  THE TWILIGHT ZONE
  - Site selection of Chicago for next worldcon
    > Earl Kemp so confident of winning, he showed up with membership cards
      already printed, and ready for sale/distribution
    > painting by Weird Tales cover artist Margaret Brundage was auctioned,
      became first actual contribution toward the Chicago worldcon

* 1962 Chicago (Chicon III)
  - Earl Kemp, chair
  - NFFF considered working partner for con committee
    > entire con committee joined NFFF
    > ran a coffee and cookie hospitality room
  - Theodore Sturgeon, GoH
  - 550 in attendance
  - membership fee was $3, up from $1 for Chicon II ten years earlier
  - Pick-Congress Hotel
    > inexpensive rates: $7 single, $13 double, suites $25, parking $0.35
  - Willis returns to Chicago
  - Jerry Pournelle takes IQs of fans
  - first worldcon for Jack Chalker, Ken Moore
  - programming tracks
    > lectures, speeches by prominent pros in sf and science
      -- NASA represented
    > Ed Emshwiller brought some of his 16mm films
  - Bjo's Project Art Show features Photo Salon
  - Costume party: "The Hell-Fire Club Masquerade Ball"
    > professional orchestra was hired for the event
    > Dave & Ruth Kyle, Steve & Virginia Schultheis, Jock Root win prize as
      Flash Gordon adventure characters (Dave was Ming the Merciless)
  - Hugo Awards
    > Bob Tucker was awards banquet MC
    > Novel:  STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND by Robert A. Heinlein
    > Short Fiction:  the "Hothouse" series by Brian W. Aldiss
    > Professional Magazine:  ANALOG
    > Fanzine:  WARHOON (ed. Richard Bergeron)
    > Professional Artist:  Ed Emshwiller
    > Dramatic Presentation:  THE TWILIGHT ZONE
    > Special Committee Award:  Cele Goldsmith for editing AMAZING and
      FANTASTIC magazines
    > Special Committee Award:  Donald Tuck for THE HANDBOOK OF SCIENCE
      FICTION AND FANTASY
    > Special Committee Award:  Fritz Leiber and Hoffman Electronic Corp. for
      use of science fiction in advertisements

* 1963 Washington, D.C. (Discon)
  - George Scithers, chair
    > would later author a CON-COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN'S GUIDE (was this a fanzine
      or a book?) that was published by Dick Eney in 1965
  - Murray Leinster (Will F. Jenkins), GoH
    > Will Jenkins wanders hotel looking for party; didn't realize he'd be 
      welcome at any party and fans did not want to impose on his time
  - 600 in attendance
  - Statler-Hilton Hotel
    > several other conventions were there at same time, including an
      insurance salesmen's convention, a fraternity convention, and a reunion
      of U.S. Army veterans from the 315th Infantry, 1st Batallion
      -- most of the noise complaints in the hotel were caused by the
         fraternity, not the sf fans
  - Opening Ceremony featured sword duel and wizards incantation
  - first worldcon for Mike Resnick, Arnie Katz, Ned Brooks
  - costume ball event
    > winners included Bruce Pelz, Dian Girard & Ted Johnstone in a recreation
      of Leiber's "Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser"; Jon & Joni Stopa as an incubus
      and succubus; and Larry Kafka as Conan
  - Hugo Awards
    > presented at banquet luncheon on Sunday afternoon
      -- featured Isaac Asimov "in his own juice"
    > Isaac Asimov was toastmaster for event
      -- did a schtick for each award, a long, loud bitter lament that *he*
         had never won a Hugo, wasn't nominated this year, nobody deserved one
         more than he did.  At beginning of ceremony, said he "hoped everyone
         picking up a Hugo would trip coming up the stairs and break his neck"
    > Novel:  THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE by Philip K. Dick
    > Short Fiction:  "The Dragon Masters" by Jack Vance
    > Professional Magazine:  FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION
      -- award accepted by Asimov, for absent Avram Davidson
         >> was surprised when normally shy Ruth Berman called from the floor
            if he was going to break his neck for everyone
    > Amateur Magazine:  XERO (ed. Richard & Pat Lupoff)
    > Professional Artist:  Roy G. Krenkel
    > Special Hugo:  P. Schuyler Miller for Book Reviews in ANALOG
    > Special Hugo:  Isaac Asimov for science articles in FANTASY AND SCIENCE
      FICTION (for putting the science in science fiction)
      -- Asimov turned to chairman George Scithers to shout, "Oh hell, you've
         blown the whole bit!"
    > There was also a Dramatic Presentation Hugo category, but the fans voted
      "No Award" the winner
  - Special Awards Session
    > presented Sunday evening
    > Forry Ackerman announced Big Heart Award
    > inaugural First Fandom Hall of Fame Award
      -- presented to Doc Smith, to grand ovation
  - site selection
    > Oakland won, uncontested
    > Ben Stark had sold 221 memberships by the time Discon ended on Monday,
      many at a huge all-night party that was jam-packed with fans

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