1ST WORLD FANTASY CONVENTION
October 31-November 2,1975
Holiday Inn, Providence, Rhode Island
A convention devoted to and honoring fantasy fiction.
Robert Bloch, Guest of Honor
Gahan Wilson, Toastmaster-Artmaster
For altogether too many years, devotees of fantasy and supernatural horror have had to
gather within other forums, chiefly that of science fiction. And, while works of fantasy do win
the Hugo or Nebula awards from time to time, it comes rather as a reminder that we1 re dealing with two different genres. The two genres sometimes do overlap, and they do have things
in common, but a key appraisal is that, had they lived, it is unlikely that H. P. Lovecraft or
Robert E. Howard would ever have won either a Hugo or a Nebula. And the same fate seems to
be evolving for certain more contemporary major writers whose work is broadly classified as
science fiction but which nevertheless remains something else. That something else can be
broadly labeled as fantasy, and the time is at hand to recognize it as a separate entity. For
those who love this unique field, 1975 is the time to gather together and honor its creators.
Plans are in motion for bringing to the convention as many of the remaining authors of the
WEIRD TALES school as is possible, as well as newer writers and artists in the field. It is
planned and felt that the major attraction of this convention will be meeting the authors. Also
planned are bus tours of LovecraftTs Providence emphasizing the sites utilized by HPL in many
of his stories, exhibits and tie-ins with Brown University, panel discussions, and talks by the
writers. Although this convention is planned as a yearly event to spotlight the whole spectrum
of fantasy writing, by reason of the setting, the emphasis this year will obviously be on H. P.
Lovecraft, probably the most important and influential author of supernatural terror literature
in this century.
ItTs hard then to think of a better choice as Guest of Honor than Robert Bloch, one of the
finest and most powerful creators of fantasy and also one who knew and appreciated the master
of Providence Plantations for what he was as writer and extraordinary individual. Our Toast-
master is a great stroke of good fortune, too. Millions of people whose chief interests lie
outside of this field know and delight in the cartoons of Gahan Wilson. He!s one of America1 s
foremost humorists. He is also a gifted author of uncanny stories in his own right and anyone
who has read his column of reviews in FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION can vouch for his credentials as one who deeply cares about fantasy fiction.
The overall plan of the convention is to focus on the serious side of fantasy literature.
Fritz Leiber recently reflected on one of the effects of his correspondance with Lovecraft:
11 •' . . I became convinced that the supernatural horror story and the fantasy (and the sword-
and-sorcery story) are as much high art as any other sort of fiction. . . . tf That's exactly
the guiding light of belief for this convention: to gather for serious exploration into, and discussion of, fantasy art. Here, with no disrespect mean't to anyone, this is definitely not a
convention for fans of Star Trek, science fiction per se, comicbooks, horror movies, etc.,
and no emphasis or catering to those subject areas will be made. Only those interested in the
literature of the supernatural are urged to attend. The intent is to honor, in a way it never has
before, the kind of works Mr. Leiber speaks of above.
To that end, there will be a banquet-luncheon on Sunday, November 2, 1975, and awards
will be given out for works in this genre for: life-work, best novel, best short work, best book
other than novel, and best artist. The award, with a cash prize to go with it, will be a bust of
H. P. Lovecraft, specially created by Gahan Wilson.