BID & PRE-CONVENTION MATERIAL

Reporting in the August 1955 issue of his fanzine SCIENCE FANTASY NEWS on the departure of TAFF winner Ken Bulmer and wife Pamela for the US and the Worldcon, held that year in Cleveland, Ohio, editor Vince Clarke wrote:
New York's in the running for bidding for the site of the 14th World Con.; a possible London bid is held up by lack of volunteers for a Committee so far in the future, but it's possible that an International Con will be held here next year in any case."
In the event the decision was been taken to bid for the 1957 Worldcon, at which point it became necessary to get the word out. Ken Bulmer was put in charge of publicity and the first (full page) ad appeared on the back cover of The Journal #1 (Feb '56), the first Progress Report for the 1956 Worldcon, edited by Larry Shaw and Sam Smith. It was pretty basic (see opposite) but it put a marker down and let everyone know that London would be bidding for the following year's Worldcon. Either at the same time or later the first convention flyer was distributed.



Ted Carnell was charged with presenting the London bid at the 1956 Worldcon and departed for the US carrying the dreams and hopes of British fandom - see ATom cartoon at the top of this page. He also carried with him a bidding flyer for distribution at the convention:

Here, taken from his convention report in NEW WORLDS #54 (Dec 1956), is Ted's account of the bidding session:

....The Biltmore Hotel, New York, Sept. 3rd.

In the palatial 19th floor ballroom of this hotel before a packed audience of science fiction enthusiasts gathered from all parts of the United States, plus several from Canada and England, voting for the 1957 World Science Fiction Convention site has just been concluded, and before the tense audience Chairmen David A. Kyle of New York City has informed them that by the overwhelming majority of 203 votes to 65 London has outbidden Oakland, California for the honour of having next year's Convention.

While this had been anticipated in England and a substantial Committee formcd some months before I left London for New York to make the bid on behalf of Great Britain, nobody until this moment could be quite sure how the majoriry of Americans would take to the idea of their own World Convention being held outside United States territorial waters. In fact, at a business session held earlier today there were some lively debated scenes, held in true American style reminiscent of scenes in the Senate, with author L. Sprague de Camp presiding.

Unlike any British Convention, I found that considerable lobbying was being done both for and against London and as the day wore on it became evident that an exciting fight would develop between those who wanted the Convention to stay in their own country and those who recognised that science fiction had become international and that recognition should now be given to active in our paricular field of interest.

At 3.00 p.m. this afternoon Anthony Boucher, editor of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, rose to make the opening bid for Oakland and in a very fine speech explained their city's plans for next year should they be successful. Several prominent West Coasters then added seconding speeches,being allowed ten minutes in which to make their tributes in favour of the Oakland-Berkeley area of California. The opening bid for London then followed by myself and was seconded bv Larry Shaw, editor of Infinity Science Fiction who attended our own Kettering Convention earlier this year. Short supporting speeches in favour of London were then made by authors Dr. E. E. Smith of "Lensman" series fame and Richard Wilson who had also becn at Kettering this year. Some thirty minutes later the result in favour of London was announced.

London can now go ahead with preparations for the first truly World Science Fiction Convention, tentatively booked for September 6th, 7th and 8th at the Royal Hotel in Bloomsbury. This will be held under the auspices of the World Science Fiction Society Inc., a body specially formed at Cleveland last year to handle these national meetings. At that time provision was made in the Society's by-laws to allow a World Convention to be held outside the United States and it is axiomatic of the democratic method used by the Society that delegates present voted the site to Europe.

Late tonight, as I write this, after the final official session has finished and the exhibits dismantled and the 12ft. " World Science Fiction Society" banner in blue and white is furled ready to send on its way to London, there will he a continuous film show in colour of scenes from many previous Conventions. All the major events this year have been covered in film and the sound tape-recorded and it may be possible for all these to be shown next year for the benefit of the many European delegates who will be visiting London and who will no doubt find an interesting comparison between British and American type Conventions.

Already, as I write this, discussions have been held in the hotel between the present Convention Committee and representatives of Pan American Airways to charter one or two 70-seater planes to take American delegates across the Atlantic in 1957. While London cannot expect to compete in overall numbers they will at least have adequate support from many American authors and fans, and those guests will receive a "Royal " welcome.

As no who will be London's Guest of Honour next year only time will tell, but the London Committee have already compiled a list of possible celebrities from whom we may expect at least one more to be present. An air letter I received this morning informs me that author John Wyndham has accepted the position of President of the Committee Council now at work planning the skeleton of next year's Convention.

Already it looks as though London will be truly representative of a "World " Science Convention.


At NYCON II: Richard Wilson, Evelyn Gold, Ted Carnell, unknown.

The faction who opposed the London bid on nationalistic grounds, and whose presence at the earlier business session he mentioned in passing, were more determined than Ted Carnell reported, as Ted White recalls:

I remember the foofaraw that surrounded the bidding at NyCon2 -- there was a fiercely xenophobic movement which was determined to keep the Worldcon in North America, because "If we let them have it they'll never give it back,"
Nor was this the end of the matter. There was an attempt to torpedo the bid later. Soon after the con Vince and Joy Clarke received a telegram from New York for the Bulmers (who were away) that read:
SUGGEST LONDON WITHDRAW BID TO PREVENT SPLIT IN FANDOM. PUBLISHERS GUARANTEE LONDON IN '58. - ARTHUR CLARKE.
Fast and costly exchanges of telegrams between Arthur C., the Clarkes, and New York fan Dick Ellington quickly revealed the telegram to be a hoax and initial suspicion rested on Mike Wilson as the probable culprit. However, detective work by Ellington revealed the true culprit as Bob Chazin, an Ohio fan then a student at Harvard, and also a leader of those who had campaigned against the London bid at NYCON 2. He was warned not to show his face around New York fan circles as a result.

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