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37th World Science Fiction Convention, Seacon '79
Page 34
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Seacon. 37th World Science Fiction Convention, Seacon '79 - Page 34. August 23, 1979 - August 27, 1979. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. February 21, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/1984_003/item/482/show/373.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Seacon. (August 23, 1979 - August 27, 1979). 37th World Science Fiction Convention, Seacon '79 - Page 34. Fritz Leiber Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention Flyers & Programs. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/1984_003/item/482/show/373

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Seacon, 37th World Science Fiction Convention, Seacon '79 - Page 34, August 23, 1979 - August 27, 1979, Fritz Leiber Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention Flyers & Programs, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed February 21, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/1984_003/item/482/show/373.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Compound Item Description
Title 37th World Science Fiction Convention, Seacon '79
Creator (Local)
  • Seacon
Date August 23, 1979 - August 27, 1979
Description Information regarding the guests of honor for Seacon '79.
Donor Leiber, Fritz; Leiber, Justin
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Science fiction conventions
  • Fantasy fiction
  • Science fiction
Subject.Name (LCNAF)
  • Leiber, Fritz
  • Aldiss, Brian W.
  • Shaw, Bob
Subject.Name (Local)
  • Seacon
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Brighton, England
Genre (AAT)
  • brochures
  • documents (object genre)
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
Original Item Location ID 1984-003, Box 57, Folder 29
ArchivesSpace URI /repositories/2/archival_objects/5301
Original Collection Fritz Leiber Papers
Digital Collection Fritz Leiber Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention Flyers & Programs
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/1984_003
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Rights Undetermined
File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 34
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
File Name uhlib_1984_003_b057_f029_068_036.jpg
Transcript TOAST-MASTER BOB SHAW BY JAMES WHITE The primary function of a toastmaster at a science fiction convention is to introduce certain programme items, people and things to each other and to the attendance in general. The man chosen for this key job has to be a special individual indeed, for he must continue to introduce even when his toasts and the continually recharged glass which accompanies them are making the people look like things and the things, naturally, look like nothing on Earth - and he must go on steadfastly doing unto others that which is not being done to him. It is for this reason that I have been asked to perform the traditional, and as it happens totally unnecessary, job of introducing the introducer. Because if there is anyone at Seacon 79 who does not already know all about this renowned, soft-spoken, diminutive (he is barely six foot two) Irish fan and author called Bob Shaw then he, she or it is attending the wrong convention. For nobody here has to be told that Bob Shaw has for the past twenty years been producing consistently fine and original sf, from the unforgettable and much anthologised - thirty-two times at the last count - short story Light of Other Days to novels such as Nightwalk, The Palace of Eternity and Orbitsville, which are singled out because they happen to be my own particular favourites. Bob's early struggles are also well-known to his friends throughout fandom, as well as to HMG and the Mounties. To these more mundane activities - structural draughtsmanship, small game hunting, Canadian taxi driving, journalism and public relations - he brought the same high degree of professionalism and human insight which marks his science-fiction work. My local cinema, whose steelwork was measured and stressed by Bob over twenty years ago, still stands to this day despite two car bombs, conversion to a Bingo hall and the meteorological onslaughts of last winter. And it was while he was going through his Gunner Cade period - some of you are too young to remember that story - he once shot a spider with an air-gun at thirty feet, killing it instantly. A measure of the man is that he derived no pleasure from this achievement, but explained afterwards that it was difficult to wing a moving spider because it didn't have any. Later he converted to the water-pistol and became an expert at drowning butterflies and wasps on the wing. Soft- heartedly he invariably placed the sodden butterflies on a fence-post to dry out in the sun but where the wasps were concerned, he was once stung to retort, they could expletive deleted sink or swim.Regrettably ncdiscussion is possible regarding his reasons for leaving Canada since, as you already know, these matters are still sub judice. His later career as a journalist was also highly successful and full of incident, as were his years as a publicist and press officer for the Belfast aircraft company, Shorts, where we had the honour or misfortune - depending on what sort of humour the Boss was in - to share an office. Six years ago he decided to give up publicising these new-fangled heavier-than-air machines and changed to plugging submarines (maybe I should re-phrase that) for Vickers at Barrow-on- Furness - surely, one feels, a retreat into inner space - for a couple of years before he returned to writing full- time. But he is still remembered in the publicity office of Shorts - at least, his puns are. For this is the fan, you will doubtless remember, who during an Irish Fandom party for a visiting BNF, on being asked if he had tried the ginger-bread replied, "Yes, and found it not gilty." At that time, and for many years afterwards, he produced one of the funniest fan columns ever written. Entitled The Glass Bushel - Bob did not take modesty to extremes, and this was the only kind of bushel he was willing to hide his light under - it very often achieved a Chaplinesque dimension in its humour in that the jokes made one think after the freshly split sides had healed. **. There were lots of other fan humourists about in those golden days of Irish Fandom - Walt Willis, George Charters, John Berry, and that other fellow who became a vile pro - but I have to remember that I am writing a totally unnecessary introduction to Bob Shaw, not just to the Bob Shaw we know but to the young, earnest, rangy, clean-shaven Bob Shaw with the beautiful wavy brown hair. As we all know now, Bob's hair at this time was straight and it was his head which was corrugated, but this problem he has since ironed out. There is also a keen, scientific brain inside that overly hairy (alright, so I 'm jealous about his hair) head. You will remember the well-known incident when my balsa model spaceship which, because of a design flaw, weighed two ounces and was powered by a solid fuel jet engine which delivered a maximum thrust of only one- and-a-half ounces. The poor thing used to sit on the tiles of Walt Willis's back yard and just strain upwards and hiss piteously. Bob, in a flash of Einstein-like insight, suggested attaching one end of a length of thread to the nose-cone and the other to a bunch of keys and passing the end with the keys over Madeleine Willis's clothesline, which was convenient to the launch pad. With this counterweight attached the rocket lifted off with no problems, and this suggestion came from a man who was not even a member of the British Interplanetary Society! However, a word of advice to those of you who may be thinking of approaching and actually talking to him. He is very easy to approach - visually a bit like a hairy Post Office Tower except that his head doesn't spin, at least, not unless he has been engaged on a long and concentrated session of toasting - and he is even easier to talk to. Just introduce yourself and charge his glass and toast him for a change. Whether you are a new writer seeking advice or a reader asking for clarification of some subtle philosophical point in one of his stories - or in one of anybody else's stories, for that matter - he will gladly give you the benefit of his hard-won experience in the field. You will already have noticed that wherever he goes, and whether the company is fannish or professional, people laugh at him. Try not to laugh at him because everyone else does. The pressure on your sides will be extreme as he talks to you in his quiet, serious, sober voice - his voice, at least, is teetotal - as he rips apart the fabric ot reality with some horrendous pun. Try hard. It will be difficult, I know. On second thoughts, it will be impossible. 34