Loncon II: 1965 Worldcon

Knights of St. Fantony ceremony.

A new exhibit on Rob Hansen’s Fan Stuff site tells the history of Loncon II, the 1965 Worldcon, in the words of fanwriters Ron Bennett, Terry Carr, Ted White, Ethel Lindsay, Pete Graham and Frank Dietz. Innumerable photos of fans and pros taken at the event accompany the day-by-day coverage.

The story begins weeks before the con, with letters telling how some American fans’ hopes for attending were crushed when a planned charter flight didn’t make its minimum, while others like TAFF delegate Terry Carr anticipated the trip with growing excitement. Carr told Arthur “ATom” Thomson how he studied for his trip:

Pete Graham came over the other night with a batch of English coins and bills, and we went through them and played games making change for specified amounts, etc. I now have a vague idea of the system. However; he did throw me for a loop when he asked me: ‘I’m selling pencils at fifteen 2/6, and you want forty-three of them. How much change should I give you for one bob?’ Beats the hell out of me…

Many primary documents are available at the site, such as Carr’s banquet speech, the progress reports and program book.

The Hugo winners are listed – along with the vote totals, one of the few times those were made public in the early days. I checked and generally the races weren’t very close, with the exception of Best Professional Artist, where Schoenherr won by two votes over Emshwiller. Then I looked for Kelly Freas, wondering where he finished, and was surprised to discover he wasn’t even on the ballot — which presumably struck no one as odd at the time, for at that point he hadn’t been a finalist since 1961. (The next year Freas would begin a streak of 11 nominations that culminated with five consecutive Hugos.)

Rob Hansen’s site also links to the full text of some of the conreports he quotes, and to audio recordings of Loncon II panels at Fanac.org.

This is an impressive resource well worth the time taken to explore it.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]