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.

One thought on “With Honor in His Own Country

  1. Nice piece by John Hertz and (though not one of my best) I believe that I took the photo.

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