A convention's Guest of Honor (abbreviated "GoH" from Guest of Honor and pronounced “gō”) is the title given to people the convention is specifically honoring. Most cons have both a Pro GoH and a Fan GoH, but "GoH" is also frequently used as a generic term applying to all kinds of guest including both pros and fans.
A person is usually made a GoH to recognize significant and long-lasting contributions to the SF field or the SF community. (Of course, conventions hope that having a famous name at their convention will draw more attendees, also.) Because of this, repeating GoHs is uncommon and generally frowned on.
The ultimate GoHship is, of course, being GoH at Worldcon -- it's fandom's equivalent of a Nobel Prize. There is a sensible and long-standing rule of thumb that a Worldcon GoH should have at least thirty years activity in the field before being honored. (The thirty year number is arbitrary, but has proven to be about right -- there are always many potential deserving guests with at least that length of activity -- and does an excellent job of discouraging the honoring of one-hit wonders and charismatic flash-in-the-pans.)
A Worldcon GoH is a member of the sf community whose contributions have had a substantial (positive!) impact on the community. A GoH should be one of the people who made us what we are.
The Worldcon Fan GoHship is the ultimate accolade and as such has a much higher standard than FGoH at a regional convention. A Worldcon FGoH should have been active in fandom for at least thirty years and should have made major (positive) contributions in more than one area of fandom. It should never be given for sheer longevity, and not normally for someone who excels in only one thing.
The oldest Worldcon tradition was to have a single GoH. A second, a FGoH, was added in the 50s and the number of GoHs at a typical convention has gradually increased. More than about five (even at a Worldcon) is considered crass, though, sadly, some conventions go much further, greatly diminishing the honor. (As a rule, Guests of Honor are individuals, but sometimes a couple will be honored and occasionally a group (e.g., The Stranger Club at Noreascon Three). Those cases are generally counted as a single guest, albeit one with multiple heads.)
A common practice is to reserve "GoH" for a pro writer and have other specific GoHships such as Fan GoH, Artist Guest, Filk Guest, etc. If so, this does not normally indicate a difference in ranking. Everyone called a "GoH" of any flavor is equal.
Rather than simply listing all Guests of Honor and GoH or dividing the GoHs into Pro GoH and Fan GoH categories, some conventions are more specific. When a convention has an Author GoH (sometimes called Writer GoH), this usually means that the con has chosen to list specific descriptive titles. An Author GoH is nearly always a pro. Of course, this being fandom, no rule is followed 100%.
This not preclude that person also being a pro, as long as the honor is for their contributions to fandom specifically. Many well-known pros are also fans and have been honored as Fan Guests of Honor. However, the quality of the honoree’s fanac should always be the first criterion.
An old tradition called for a fan goh to be someone from outside the con’s locale, but this is rarely a consideration today.
Special Guests are sometimes Guests of Honor and sometimes not -- this is a convention-dependent thing. (For Worldcons, Special Guest is never a GoH unless specifically designated as such.) A good way to judge if an ambiguously designated person is a real GoH or simply an important person whose presence is being noted is to count the other guests. If there's reasonably full slate of GoHs without the ambiguous cases, they are probably not GoHs.
In general, a "guest" at an SF convention is one of a small number of people whose expenses (but never an appearance fee or honorarium) are paid by the con. When the word "guest" is used to describe someone formally, it practically never refers to the general run of program participants. None-the-less, many conventions use the term "guest" loosely, especially in publications, to mean all program participants.
Commercial and media conventions do not follow these rules and frequently have either no GoHs or a plethora of them. While many of the practices were adopted from fandom's, they are not longer part of the community and are not further considered here.
Common GoH Designations
|just-plain-GoH||Can mean a generic (unspecified type) GoH and is also commonly used to refer to the pro writer GoH. It depends on local custom.|
|Author||Always means pro writer GoH.|
|Artist||Can be a fan or a pro.|
|Fan||A GoH being honored for accomplishments in fandom. Does not imply the person is not also a pro, but reflects only their fannish accomplishments.|
|Editor||Sometimes also used for people in publishing who are not, strictly, editors.|
|Publisher||Usually does not include editors.|
|Media||Usually used for people from outside the community who work in movies or TV.|
|Filk||Always someone being honored for accomplishments in filk.|
|Music||A broader category than filk. A Music GoH can be a filker or someone from the mundane music scene (hopefully with a ties to the sf community and not just entertainment).|
|Gaming||Usually a game developer.|
|Science||Someone honored for achievements in science or technology. Often, this is a member of the SF community, but it doesn’t have to be. (However, scientists who are not connected to the community are prone to ask for honoraria.)|
|Special||A very confusing category. Sometimes it effectively means "Other GoH" or "GoH-but-we-don't-have-a-neat-category" and sometimes it means "Not a GoH per se but someone we wish to honor or note." Sometimes used to advertise the expected presence of a potential draw. It depends strongly on local custom. See Special Guest for more.|
Also involved: - 13th World Fantasy Convention - 14 Bob the Bushel - 14th World Fantasy Convention - 1942 Michiconference - 1946 Retro Hugos - 1948 Open ESFA - 1958 Open ESFA - 1963 Open ESFA - 1968 Detroit Triple Fan Fair - 1968 Hugo Ceremony Transcript - 1968 Open ESFA - 1969 Open ESFA - 1970 Open ESFA - 1977 SF, Horror and Fantasy World Exposition - 1985 World Fantasy Convention - 1995 World Fantasy Convention - 1Pi-Con - 1st World Fantasy Convention - 2007 Best Related Book Hugo - 24 and Moore - 2Pi-Con - 3 Days of the Khandor - 31-ET - 3Pi-Con - 4Pi-Con - 4th World Fantasy Convention - 5Pi-Con - 6th World Fantasy Convention - 8Pi-Con - 9Pi-Con - A-Con 7 - A. Bertram Chandler - A. J. Brockway - ABC-DeepSouthCon - ASFiCon 2 - ASFiCon 4 - ATom - Ad Astra 2018 - Advention '81 - Advention 2 - Agents - AggieCon I - AggieCon VI - AggieCon VII - AggieCon X - AggieCon XIII - AggieCon XIX - AggieCon XXVIII - AggieCon XXXVIII - Ah, Wilderness: Forty Years of Colorado Fandom - Alan Thiesen - Albacon 1996 - Albacon 1997 - Albacon 1998 - Albacon 2000 - Albacon 2001 - Albacon 2002 - Albacon 2003 - Albacon 2004 - Albacon 2005 - Albacon 2006 - Albacon 2008 - Albacon 2009 - Albacon 2010 - Albacon 2012 - Albacon 2014.5 - Albacon 2016 - Albacon 2019 - Albacon 84 - Albacon 85 - Albacon 91 - Alexei Panshin - Alfred Bester - Alicia Austin - Aliens Stole My Handbag! - Alison Evans - Alison Goodman - Altercon 666 - Alternacon - Andy Offutt - Anne McCaffrey - Anne McCaffrey: A "Dragondex" and Bibliography - Anonycon 2 - Anthony Boucher - Anticipation - Apollocon 2004 - Apollocon 2005 - Apollocon 2006 - Apollocon 2007 - Apollocon 2008 - Apollocon 2009 - Apollocon 2010 - Apollocon 2011 - Apollocon 2012 - Apollocon 2013 - Apollocon 2014 - Apollocon 2015 - Arcana 19 - Arcana 20 - Arcana 21 - Arcana 22 - Arcana 23 - Arcana 25 - Arcana 27 - Arcana 28 - Arcana 29 - Arcana 30 - Arcana 32 - Arcana 33 - Arcana 34 - Arcana 35 - Arcana 36 - Arcana 37 - Arcana 38 - Arcana 39 - Arcana 42 - Arcana 43 - Arcana 44 - Archon 16 - Archon 17 - Archon 21 - Archon 22 - Archon 25 - Archon 29 - Archon 3 - ArmadilloCon 1 - ArmadilloCon 10 - ArmadilloCon 13 - ArmadilloCon 14 - ArmadilloCon 16 - ArmadilloCon 18 - ArmadilloCon 2 - ArmadilloCon 23 - ArmadilloCon 25 - ArmadilloCon 26 - ArmadilloCon 3 - ArmadilloCon 4 - ArmadilloCon 40 - ArmadilloCon 41 - ArmadilloCon 5 - ArmadilloCon 6 - ArmadilloCon 9 - Art-guest-of-honor - ArtCon - Arthur C. Clarke - Artist GoH - Artist-guest-of-honor - Artist-guest-of-honour - Artkane 1 - Artkane 2 - Artkane III - Astronomicon '01 - Astronomicon 2006 - Attemptacon - Augacon - Aussiecon One - Aussiecon Two - Author GoH - Author GoHs - Author Guests of Honor - Author-goh - Author-gohs - Author-guest-of-honor - Author-guest-of-honour - Author-guests-of-honor - AutoClave - AutoClave 1 - BECCON '81 - BECCON '83 - BECCON '85 - BYO-Con - BYOB-Con - BYOB-Con 4 - BYOB-Con 5 - BYOB-Con 6 - BYOB-Con 7 - BYOB-Con 8 - BYOB-Con 9 - Balcony Insurgents - Balticon 1 - Balticon 10 - Balticon 12 - Balticon 13 - Balticon 15 - Balticon 17 - Balticon 2 - Balticon 26 - Balticon 27 - Balticon 28 - Balticon 29 - Balticon 3 - Balticon 30 - Balticon 31 - Balticon 32 - Balticon 33 - Balticon 36 - Balticon 37 - Balticon 39 - Balticon 40 - Balticon 41 - Balticon 42 - Balticon 43 - Balticon 44 - Balticon 45 - Balticon 46 - Balticon 47 - Balticon 5 - Balticon 51 - Balticon 6 - Balticon 7 - Balticon 8 - Balticon 9 - Banff International '89 - Banquet - BayFilk I - Baycon '95 - Baycon '96 - Baycon (Worldcon) - Baycon 2006 - Baycon Reminiscence (Pohl) - Ben Bova - Ben Jason - Big Tent - Bob Beese - Bob Roehm's 20th Anniversary History of Rivercon - Boréal 2002 - Boréal 2009 - Boréal 2010 - Boréal 2011 - Boréal 2012 - Boréal 2013 - Boréal 2014 - Boréal 2017 - Boréal 2018 - Boskone 1 Convention Report - Boskone 10 - Boskone 11 - Boskone 12 - Boskone 13 - Boskone 14 - Boskone 15 - Boskone 16 - Boskone 18 - Boskone 19 - Boskone 20 - Boskone 21 - Boskone 22 - Boskone 23 - Boskone 24 - Boskone 25 - Boskone 26 - Boskone 27 - Boskone 28 - Boskone 29 - Boskone 30 - Boskone 32 - Boskone 33 - Boskone 34 - Boskone 35 - Boskone 36 - Boskone 37 - Boskone 38 - Boskone 39 - Boskone 40 - Boskone 41 - Boskone 42 - Boskone 43 - Boskone 44 - Boskone 45 - Boskone 46 - Boskone 47 - Boskone 48 - Boskone 49 - Boskone 50 - Boskone 51 - Boskone 52 - Boskone 53 - Boskone 54 - Boskone 56 - Boskone 6 - Boskone 7 - Boskone 8 - Boskone 9 - Boskone Book - Boxboro Fandom - Boycon - Brian W. Aldiss - Briscon - Brumcon - Brumcon II - Bryan Talbot - Bubonicon 10 - Bubonicon 11 - Bubonicon 12 - Bubonicon 13 - Bubonicon 14 - Bubonicon 15 - Bubonicon 17 - Bubonicon 18 - Bubonicon 19 - Bubonicon 3 - Bubonicon 4 - Bubonicon 42 - Bubonicon 44 - Bubonicon 5 - Bubonicon 6 - Bubonicon 7 - Bubonicon 8 - Bubonicon 9 - Bullcon - C'ntraction - C. J. Cherryh - CAN*CON - CAN*CON '94 - CAN*CON '95 - CAN*CON 2015 - CAN*CON 2016 - CAN*CON 2017 - CAN*CON 2018 - CAN*CON 2019 - CON/FUSION - CONduit 12 - CONduit 18 - CONduit 8 - CONduit XV - CONsume / Relaxacon 2002 - CONtraflow IV - CONtraflow IX - CONtraflow V - COSine 2004 - COSine 2005 - COSine 2007 - COSine 2008 - COSine 2009 - COSine 2010 - COSine 2011 - COSine 2012 - COSine 2013 - COSine 2016 - COSine 2017 - CactusCon - Capclave 2001 - Capclave 2002 - Capclave 2003 - Capclave 2006 - Carey Handfield - Censorship - Cepheid Variable - ChambanaCon 1 - ChambanaCon 30 - ChambanaCon 4 - ChambanaCon 6 - ChambanaCon 7 - Chambanacon 45 - Chambanacon 47 - Charlie Brown - Chattacon 3 - Chattacon 4 - Chattacon V - Chattacon VI - Chattacon VII - Chattacon XV - Chattacon XVII - Chattacon XXV - Chessiecon 2014 - Chessiecon 2015 - Chessmancon - Chicon 1 - Chicon I Program - Chicon II - Chicon II Reminiscence (Eshbach) - Chicon III - Chicon IV Reminiscence (Kyle) - Chimeracon - Chris O'Shea - Christopher Priest - Cinecon - Cinvention - Cinvention Reminiscence (Eshbach) - Clevention - Clevention Reminiscence (Moskowitz) - Clifford R. Wind - CoKoCon 2019 - CoKoCon 2021 - Coastcon '79 - Coastcon '81 - Coastcon '83 - Coastcon VIII - Coastcon XVI - Communicon 2 - Con 1982 - Con 1983 - Con 7 - Con*Cept '89 - Con*Cept '95 - Con*Cept '96 - Con*Cept '97 - Con*Cept '99 - Con*Cept 2000 - Con*Cept 2001 - Con*Cept 2002 - Con*Cept 2003 - Con*Stellation I - Con*Stellation II - Con*Stellation III - Con*Stellation IX - Con*Stellation V - Con*Stellation VI - Con*Stellation VII - Con*Stellation VIII - Con*Stellation X - Con*Stellation XI - Con*Stellation XII - Con*Stellation XIII - Con*Stellation XIV - Con*Stellation XIX - Con*Stellation XV - Con*Stellation XVI - Con*Stellation XVII - Con*Stellation XVIII - Con*Stellation XX - Con*Stellation XXI - Con*Stellation XXII - Con*Stellation XXIII - Con*Stellation XXIV - Con*Stellation XXIX - Con*Stellation XXV - Con*Stellation XXVI - Con*Stellation XXVII - Con*Stellation XXVIII - Con*Stellation XXX - Con*Stellation XXXI - Con*Stellation XXXIII - Con*Tretemps 4 - Con*Tretemps 9 - Con-Dor 4 - Con-Dor X - Con-Juration - Con-Tex - Con-Version 7 - Con-Version II - Con-Version IX - Con-Version XI - Con-Version XIII - ConCarolinas 2014 - ConCarolinas 2019 - ConCarolinas 2020 - ConCertino '06 - ConCertino 2012 - ConCertino 2015 - ConCertino 2018 - ConChord 10 - ConChord 11 - ConChord 12 - ConChord 19 - ConChord 2 - ConChord 6 - ConChord 7 - ConChord 8 - ConChord 9 - ConClave 15 - ConClave 16 - ConClave 17 - ConClave 18 - ConClave 35 - ConClave 39 - ConClave II - ConClave IV - ConClave IX - ConClave V - ConClave VI - ConClave VII - ConClave VIII - ConClave XI - ConClave XII - ConClave XIII - ConClave XIV - ConClave XX - ConClave XXI - ConClave XXIII - ConClave XXIV - ConClave XXV - ConClave XXVI - ConClave XXVII - ConDFW I - ConDFW II - ConDFW III - ConDFW IV - ConDFW IX - ConDFW V - ConDFW VI - ConDFW VII - ConDFW VIII - ConDFW X - ConDFW XII - ConDFW XVI - ConDFW XVII - ConDor 21 - ConDor XII - ConDor XIV
|This is a conrunning page.|