With Honor in His Own Country

By John Hertz: (reprinted from Vanamonde 1203) On June 29th we lost Fred Prophet (born 7 Jul 1929), co-chair with Roger Sims of Detention the 17th World Science Fiction Convention (4-7 Sep 59, Detroit, Michigan), whose publicity was headed by George Young, the head upon which as I understand was previously the first propeller beanie.

This was the Worldcon of the celebrated panel discussion — a panel of fanzine editors, John Berry (brought from Ireland by a special fund), Ron Ellik, Boyd Raeburn, Wally Weber, Ted White, moderated by Bjo Trimble — which began Sunday night, attended by six dozen, and ran until 4:30 a.m. having somehow adjourned to Harlan Ellison’s hotel room, leading Bjo to explain “After that they wouldn’t let me moderate panels anymore.” Her name is written with a caret over the “j” (possibly beyond Glyer’s or your software) to show by an Esperantism the pronunciation “bee-joe”.

Opening Ceremonies hauled a seeming corpse across the stage: Howard DeVore had said a Worldcon could only be held in Detroit, his home town, over his dead body. Alas, that did stop our giving the Big Heart Award (first presented in Detention) to Howard forty-seven years later. By then he’d long been Big-Hearted Howard anyway.

When I first met Fred, a while if not quite so long later, he still looked like his photograph in A Wealth of Fable (photo by Elinor Busby; book by Harry Warner, Jr.; 1992 rev. p. 403). After that I dared call him the Prophet of S-F.

Detention seems to have detained us all from holding another Worldcon there, but we did make Detcon the 11th NASFiC (17-20 Jul 2014; North America S-F Con, since 1975 held when the Worldcon is overseas). Shall we have a Detention or Detcon II?

Detcon made Fred and Roger its Con Chairs Emeriti. When Geri Sullivan put up a banner in the Fanzine Lounge where one could sign for each NASFiC one had attended I had the honor, or luck, to find Fred and get him to sign it. R.I.P.

Roger Sims and Fred Prophet, co-chairs of 1959 Worldcon, Detention.

Roger Sims and Fred Prophet, co-chairs of 1959 Worldcon, Detention, on a panel at the 2014 NASFiC in Detroit.

Detcon1 Day Two

John Scalzi, Jim Hines, Steve Silver, Roger Sims, and Nicki Lynch at Detcon1. Photo by Rich Lynch.

John Scalzi, Jim Hines, Steven H Silver, Roger Sims, and Nicki Lynch at Detcon1. Photo by Rich Lynch.

Friday’s Detcon1 program item “Fanzines and Professional Writing” found Jim C. Hines, John Scalzi, Nicki Lynch, Roger Sims, and moderator Steven H Silver seeking the 21st century’s answer to a question raised at Detention, the 1959 Worldcon in Detroit (which Sims co-chaired):

At Detention a discussion by the editors of amateur magazines was sparked by Ed Wood asking, “Why weren’t fanzines as good as they once were and why were their writers no longer becoming top quality pros very often?” The panel lasted from about 11 p.m. Sunday until 4:30 a.m. What is the state of fanzines today? How have digital formats affected fanzines? What role do they have now in the career of a professional writer, especially compared to 50 years ago?

Rich Lynch and his camera captured the moment.

DetCon 1 Names Guests

DetCon 1, the 2014 NASFiC in Detroit, will be held July 17 to 20.

The Guests of Honor will be author Steven Barnes, artist John Picacio, multi-talented fans/academics/pros Bernadette Bosky, Arthur D. Hlavaty and Kevin J. Maroney, scientist Helen Greiner, filkers Bill and Brenda Sutton, plus ConChairs Emeritus Roger Sims & Fred Prophet (chairs of the 1959 Worldcon, Detention).

Memberships are $55 adult $25 child $35 supporting through end of 2013. Voters who pre-supported automatically get attending memberships.

[Via Kevin Standlee.]

Rooms With A View

The Haggard Room.

Chicon 7 will recreate as an exhibit the Haggard-themed room from the home of GoH Jane Frank and her husband, Howard.

The Franks’ admiration for H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, She and his other lost world stories inspired them to design a room in their house to showcase specifically commissioned art based on Haggard’s work. Decorated in Victorian-era furnishings, the Haggard Room displays thematic art by Michael Whelan, Don Maitz, and Bob Eggleton, Gary Ruddell, Donato Giancola, Ian Miller, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Richard Bober, and Steve Hickman.

Chicon’s exhibit will be the most opulent room recreation ever presented by a Worldcon, a real peek into how “the other half lives” when you consider what has gone before.

Anticipation, the 2009 Worldcon in Montreal, used large graphic photos to reproduce the apartment of its Fan GoH Taral Wayne, the visuals as intricately detailed as a Taral fanzine cover because of all the collections on display.

Entry to Taral's apartment at Anticipation.

Collections on display in Taral's apartment at 2009 Worldcon.

Previously, Chicon 2000 decorated its Fan Lounge to resemble the living room of a typical Chicago fan in the ‘80s, furnished with an ill-assorted bunch of old couches, lamps and end tables. One couch was occupied by two crash-test dummies dressed as Neil Rest and Phyllis Eisenstein – bearded “Neil” wearing sandals, jeans and a Windycon 7 t-shirt, and “Phyllis,” attired in black, a goth ahead of her time. Poor-fan’s bookcases made of boards and cinder blocks lined the perimeter of the room.

Roger Sims and Dave Kyle with “Neil” and “Phyllis” in the Chicon 2000 Fan Lounge.

These room recreations make innovative use of the exhibit space and have all been fun. I wonder if there been any others than the ones I remember?

Update 07/27/2012: Corrected identification of Chicon 2000 Fan Lounge crash-test dummy to Neil, per comment.