620 ATTEND FIRST WORLDCON IN NON ENGLISH SPEAKING COUNTRY OPPOSITION PROVES FIZZLE EUROPEAN FANDOM PLANS MAJOR CONVENTION ON A ROTATION PLAN HEICON WINS TRIESTE FILM FESTIVAL'S GOLDEN SPACESHIP AWARD
620 attendees from 15 countries out of 973 registrees from 25 countries attended this historic event, the first Worldcon ever held in a non Anglo-American country. If you didn't think it was such an event then you weren't listening. Press coverage by the major European newspapers and broadcasting networks, in some cases minor, but they were there, and by Armed Forces Radio Network. The fans from Spain, Italy, Roumania, Germany, Sweden, and England would tell you, and when the committee received the Golden Space Ship, at the banquet, the presentation speech would take note of the historic occasion. And indeed it was. Out of it would come plans for a major European convention whose site would rotate about the continent. The first will be held in conjunction with the Trieste Film Festival of 1972, the second 2 years later in Belgium. The third to be combined with Stockholm in '76.
Registration started Thursday at 2PM. We, Bruce, Marsha, myself, Ethel Lindsay, Bill Burns, and Sue Sanderson arrived at 6PM and went to our respective hotels and went to converge on the Stadthalle. However, registration had closed at 6 and we all got sidetracked to either of two of the three major parties held that night. One was an impromptu getting together of fans who found the Stadthalle closed after 6, one was an impromptu gathering of fans at the Europaische Hof Bar and Lounge and one was the Liverpool group's continuous party – well almost continuous. Friday morning registration started at 8, opening session at 11. It began late: it was really a Worldcon. After the GoHs (fan and pro) and the toastmaster were introduced according to distance travelled and received their gifts with wives if any receiving a bouquet of flowers the Left Wing Opposition was allowed to speak. Their leader, Albrecht Stuby, gave the speech in German. No translation in any other language ever appeared although it was promised. Spontaneous translation stated it was an attack on frivolity like the Hugo Awards, Costume Balls, Bavarian Nights and St. Fanthony, an attack on the United States for all sorts of things and a call for making the convention politically active. When Ion Hobana of Roumania was asked to comment on this he noted that if the convention were to be politicized he for one would have to leave and he would not be able to attend another. The convention's general technique of handling these, as I call them, children, was to ignore them and not confront them. This drove them up the wall cause they could get nowhere – no matter what they did.
Axel Melhardt introduced Follow (The Fellowship Of the Lords of the Lands Of Wonder), the German Sword and Sorcery group. The Organization is somewhat along the lines of our Association of Great Houses of our SCA, but all Follow members are fans. Follow publishes the Lands of Wonder and Pioneer – two professional looking fanzines. Their resident bards write excellent heroic poetry in English. There was a panel on international fandom consisting of Dave Kyle, Ethel Lindsay, John Brunner, Jim Blish and Frank Dietz. Then the Bob Silverberg speech. Adrienne Martine had surprised me by showing up (unfortunately no one took a picture of my surprise and shock when she appeared) with a costume she got me to promise I would wear in the competition if she could get it to Europe. So I missed all festivities till the ball. We went as Titania and Oberon and won best group. Prizes 6 bottles of wine to first-place in each of the categories, male, female and group, and 2 bottles of wine to second place were awarded at Bavarian Night. Dave Kyle was MC.
The Swedish group attempted to hold a small party that night. However the word got. around and since everyone knew where the Europaishe Hof was, the party became a jam packed typical large party. Amazingly, since room parties are not the thing on the continent, the management did not object, nor would they on succeeding nights.
Saturday morning at 9:30, the discussion on future world cons pro&con was held, Bruce Pelz providing(??). The general consensus was, that the plan voted on in St. Louis was too much, and fans favored a return to the original 3 year US rotation plan with non US sites bidding at will. Further the Hugos must become an international award traveling with the Worldcon. I suggested that each ethnic or language group vote its own awards yearly – all to be awarded at the Worldcon. Everyone, there were about 250 attendees, was warned to be at the business meeting the next morning to implement the decision made.
Jurgen von Scheidt gave a talk on SF – The Psychedelic Literature. Overhearing a conversation between Alan Nourse and Bob Silverberg later, I gather it was unfortunately dull for it was an important topic, and did not really cover writing while under the influence of the psychedelic drugs. After Forry Ackerman spoke on the birth of the German SF Club and horror films made in Hollywood, Dr. Herman Franke gave his GoH speech. He spoke in German and it was a long speech. As a result there was a great deal of restlessness among the attendees – some leaving so as not to be rude, others who could not understand German gathering and talking through the speech. After it was over James Blish, Alan Nourse and Poul Anderson got together and apologized for the actions of the Americans in the audience. This antagonized some of the American fans who felt that since there were others making noise why should they be singled out, and antagonized some of the foreign fans who felt they were making a big thing of nothing. Since Jim had been spokesman he took the brunt of the anger. However, Dr. Franke, it turned out, had realized the problem, and was not annoyed. He was the only GoH to write his speech and the committee released an English translation in Fanorama, the con newspaper.
After dinner – Bavarian Night. Here the Opposition made their move. During the St. Fanthony Ceremony, held while the Bavarian performers took a break, flyers, in German only, attacking the US presence in Vietnam came flying over the railing of the balcony. Then more flyers came over the railing thrown by three of our kids – they had been handed the flyers to have fun with. A delegation of fans maximum 8 went to the balcony to quiet the fuss. Karen Anderson and the Stadthalle guard chewed out the kids while Stu Brownstein took pictures with a smile. Bruce Pelz, Al Rachlin, Scratch Bachrach and a few other fans leaned against the railing and talked. I walked down to the balcony with my back to the AST (Opposition) and watched the ceremony. Albrecht Stuby and his henchmen glared daggers, muttered oaths, assigned each of us a shadow, otherwise did nothing and then went out and lied to the newspapers for the report on Monday stated that 30 burley-bullies of guards went up on the balcony that night. Inducted into the Order of St. Fanthony were Axel Melhardt (Austria), Thea Molly Auler (Germany), Bill Burns (England), Mario Bosnyak (International), Manfred Kage (Germany), and Don Wollheim (USA). Fred Prophet failed the acid test and was very convincingly beheaded off stage. Parties that night – Europaishe Hof Ara Pashinian and at the Taunhauser St. Fanthony threw one for first fandom. At the latter it was suddenly discovered how inefficient, fouled up AMEXCO Heidelberg was. With money paid in advance and holding receipts some of the English fans found themselves not booked for rooms. However they made friends with the room clerk and he fixed things up. Turns out that this was only the latest of a series of foulups AMEXCO had perpetrated. I recommend the Post Chase Park Plaza action in addition to whatever other action they planned.
THE BUSINESS MEETING: Will the AST finally Act? The AST is the Left wing segment of European fandom who have threatened to disrupt the convention. To date they have been unsuccessful. Amy Brownstein feels that after the fiasco at Bavarian Night they'll be too ashamed to face the world and besides they'll oversleep the meeting. To forestall any actions of the AST 150 fans have gotten up at an unearthly hour to attend a business meeting scheduled for 9AM. Promptly at 9:30 Phil Rogers called the meeting to order, read a sheet of paper to himself and, stating "by the precedent set by St. Louiscon Business Meeting ...", tore it to shreds. It read "Resolved that Heicon '70 concerned about the world of the future, conclude that the institution of war as an instrument of national policy is incompatible with the development of a humanistic society and may lead to the destruction of all societies. (Signed) Max M. Stalnaker #551, Miriam Chown #541, Nicholas Reve." The first order of business was con site selection. Bruce Pelz, co-chairman of the LA in '72 committee, noted that due to the lack of opposition fandom was stuck with them. A motion by "Filthy Pierre" about the rotation zones was read and tabled till Noreascon. We immediately labeled it the 54°40' or Fight motion for it delineates the zones in that manner and it requires a map to follow it. A European group led by Jacqueline H. Osterrath made a motion calling for the establishment of a European convention. "Move that: a) Feeling the necessity of a tightening of the relations between persons interested in science fiction and all other related meetings, activities, and phenomenons, we recommend and wish the organization of yearly SF meetings by language or country. b) In the same way, the creation of an European meeting (convention) following some rotation plans. c) In order to promote SF (like the Hugos), the organization of an SF award to be given for every country (or language) in the following categories: novel, short story, fanzine, motion picture, comic strip, screenplay, painting, illustration, etc ..., provided the quality attained in those fields is high enough to justify the awards, to be given at national conventions. d) Later, the creation, on the European scale, of an European SF Award following the same principles, to be given at the European convention." It was signed by Jacqueline Osterrath, Pierre Strinati of Switzerland, Andre Leborgne and Tania Vandenberghe of Belgium, Jean-Paul Cronimus and Claude Carme of France, Gianfranco de Turris and Gianluigi Missaija of Italy, Luis Vigil and Sebastian Martinez of Spain, Ion Hobana and Vladimir Colin of Roumania, Dr. Herbert W. Franke and Manfred Kage of Germany, and someone from Sweden (Per Insulander was announced in this spot and announced that it was not he who signed). Phil ruled it out of order because the Worldcon had no right to determine local conventions. He then entertained a motion of support for the group. Said motion was made, I believe, by Bruce Pelz, and passed. The group had met following the previous day's discussion on "Worldcons Pro and Con". One hopes that this was not convention fever and that the Eurocon is realized. Now came the meat of the meeting. However yesterday's meeting on Worldcons had gotten most of the arguments out of the air and after a minimum of discussing all competing and/or variant motions were withdrawn leaving only the motion promulgated by Bruce Pelz (USA), Ulf Westblum (Sweden), Per Insulander (Sweden), Marsha Brown (USA), L.O. Strandberg (Sweden), Anthony Lewis (USA), and Elliot Kay Shorter (USA) which read: "Moved that World SF Con rotation plan return to a 3 zone system i.e. the Western, Midwest, and Eastern zones of North America beginning in 1973 with the Midwest. Boundaries of these zones shall be as previously defined. Any site outside of North America may bid for a World SF Con in any year. All bids must be placed two years in advance." This passed and will be brought up again at Noreascon for ratification. We then ratified decisions from St. Louiscon: The inclusion of Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Caribbean in the Eastern zone, and "no award" to be mandatory on all Hugo ballots. There being no more business the meeting was declared adjourned. Forty-five minutes had passed from start to finish. Later we found out that Amy's theory was correct and the AST members had indeed slept through the meeting.
I missed most of the early afternoon since the huckster room closed that day. Also the Delta Film Group of Liverpool was showing its amateur films – one a take-off on Frankenstein – hilarious, the other a take-off on Harry Harrison's Deathworld. Harry gets killed off in reel one. Two slide shows of convention pictures were given, 1 by Rick Pohlman, the other by John Mansfield. The Art Show Auction was at 3. As usual some people were dissatisfied with the publicity. Considering it was announced at least 3 times from the stage, a sign was posted on Saturday in the Art Show room and an announcement, in English, was made in Fanorama, I feel that this year it was not the committee's fault. The Art Show was not competitive this year. Art in Europe is Art, not illustration. There was a lot of work I didn't like but recognized as good. E.C. "Ted" Tubb's speech was the most exciting at the con. Unfortunately the batteries of my tape recorder died during it. After, he and Phil Rogers ran the 1st auction and took in about 500DM. Off to the banquet. Sigh. While I had good food, reports of rubber veal and bouncing peas continue to pour in. The only thing that everyone agreed was good was the potato croquettes. The appetizer was chunks of hard cooked chicken in sauce. We're not used to hard chicken any more. And the less said about dessert the better. The banquet was held in the castle that overlooks the town and if you want to hear about my adventures getting there read the TAFF report somewhere about Nov. 1. Since the speeches were given throughout the con, the banquet could concern itself with just awards and so it proved fast. John Brunner was in fine fettle as Toastmaster. Dave Kyle and Forry Ackerman were brief with the 1st Fandom and Big Heart awards respectively. When the Golden Space Ship was presented to Manfred for the committee he in turn presented it to the most deserving member – Mario who received a standing ovation. Afterwards there was a party in the Europaishe Hof Lounge. The Canadians threw a party in their room and 1st Fandom threw a reciprocal party for St. Fanthony. I was invited to the latter but considering I didn't get out of the Europaishe Hof bar till closing; talking to fans like Arutin Pashinian of Spain, or Mario and Molly or Ted Tubb takes time; I didn't get there. Monday a boat-ride up the river through the locks, "if you've seen one lock you've seen them all," to Neckarsteinach. Neckarsteinach is known for its castles. Don Lundry and I got to two. Jack Chalker to three. After the trip Bob Silverberg said half seriously Lunacon should plan a Circle Line trip round Manhattan as part of the convention program! It was a great program item. The Mystery Item scheduled was a wrap up item: "What did you like or dislike about the con?" The GoHs killed this part of the program by stating the committee had nothing to apologise for or be ashamed of since it was a great convention. The committee received a standing ovation. This item was followed by an unbelievable auction where Bruce Pelz, Tony Lewis and Jack Chalker auctioned off everything not tied down including the shirt off Mario's back. Aided by Don Lundry – money collection and Astrid Anderson – Recorder. They took in approximately $900 American or 3242.97 DM. With the $180 Ted Tubb brought in that was an income of $1080 before percentages. Among items auctioned was a broken tandem bike. It went for 25 marks to Axel Melhardt. Arthur Cruttenden, an English fan, found himself stranded when it broke down and the driver of the team went home in disgust. Arthur had enough to reach the Channel but not cross it. When the tandem failed to bring anything when first auctioned the hat was passed and 200 DM was raised. Much in excess of necessary so an English emergency fund will be started administered by Doreen Parker and the Knights of St. Fanthony. With the final ending party in the Europaishe Hof bar, the quiet closing parties thrown by the Nivens and the Blishes, Heicon '70 came to an end. It was a good con. Its flaws were mostly from lack of experience compounded basically by having a committee of four people who did most of the work. To Manfred, Hans-Werner, Thea Molly and Mario, salute for a job well done. (Elliot Shorter)
Many thanks to Mark L. Olson for providing scans of Locus #63. The Locus transcriber noted and chose not to correct a couple of obvious typos: the mimeographed text has "There (sic) leader, Albrecht Stuby" and "St. Louis was two (sic) much" – both fixed in the above as a routine editorial courtesy. Also in Locus, "Their resident bard write excellent heroic poetry" needs a one-word change to either "bards" (as opted for above) or "writes" – but which? Repeated words were deleted in "an SF award to be given to be given for", and a very few minor fixes to punctuation have been made. The published version, after the 620 ATTEND FIRST WORLDCON ... headlines, was unparagraphed except for occasional "//" dividers between sentences which for the sake of readability have here become paragraph breaks. – David Langford