My First Worldcon

(This article appeared in the “First Night Times”, published at Noreascon IV in 2004.)

Tricon, Cleveland, 1966.

The memory fades, but a few things stand out… The terrifying overnight drive on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in a car full of fans, only one of whom knew how to drive — and that one had been awake all the previous night and was in serious danger of falling asleep at the wheel.

My roommate, Cory Seidman, getting recruited into the cabal that kept delivering jelly beans to Harlan Ellison at odd moments during the convention (in honor of his Hugo-winning story, “Repent, Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman”).

Entering the ballroom one morning to find Harlan and companion enjoying a leisurely catered breakfast at a table in the back of the program room while the fannish crowd swirled around them. It was clear right from the start that Harlan was not your normal average sort of person …

The site selection, which involved getting everyone together in a big room to hear speeches from the bidders and then vote. Boston in ’67 finished last in a field of four, trailing behind New York (the winner), Syracuse, and Baltimore.

The costume ball, which was really a ball, with a small platform to one side to let people show off their costumes.

And a few actors in costume promoting this new science fiction TV show called Star Trek.

Isaac Asimov, presiding over the Hugo Awards, complaining that he’d never won one, and then getting the award for Best All-Time Series for the Foundation trilogy.

It seemed like a really big con at the time, so it’s jolting to look it up in the Long List of Worldcons and learn that there were a grand total of 850 people in attendance! My, oh my, times have changed.

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