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The 1968 Worldcon (combined with Westercon 21) was held August 29 to September 2 1968 at the Hotel Claremont in Oakland, CA. GoH: Philip José Farmer. FGoH: Walter J. Daugherty. Robert Silverberg was Toastmaster. Co-chairmen: Bill Donaho, Alva Rogers and J. Ben Stark. Takumi Shibano from Japan was announced as a Special Guest.

Attendance was estimated to be about 1430. Total membership was 1841, with "just short of 1300" registered attending members, and 200-300 "non-registered walk-ins at various times".

The Hotel Claremont was not air conditioned, and the convention was held during an exceptionally bad heat wave. Perhaps connected with that, the hotel buffet (opposite the banquet) gave people food poisoning. More exciting, there were riots protesting the Vietnam war in Jack London Square, between the Claremont Hotel and the overflow hotels. The National Guard was required to protect fans. Besides the Claremont, the Durant Hotel and the Shattuck Hotel (both in Berkeley) and the Leamington Hotel in Oakland were used with 24-hour transportation arranged by the committee.

Another memorable feature of the convention was GoH Philip José Farmer's GoH speech at the banquet that went on and on and on... Afterwards some fans swore that seasons had changed during the speech. The speech was critical at length of John W. Campbell: who was in audience.

This was the first convention to show all-night movies, which were sponsored by the St. Louis bid committee. Unfortunately, it was mostly the same movie. Jack Chalker, who had a room above the movie room, memorized the script for The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.

Other special events at the convention included an SCA demo outside (they had misadventures with black spiders and wasp nests) but apart from those mishaps, the SCA gained quite a bit of visibility in the sf community. The tournament part of the demonstration featured Randy Garrett and Poul Anderson unsuccessfully defending a challenge against the Clan Campbell (as in John W.) from Paul Zimmer and a compatriot. Following the combat, there was an evening of revel, including medieval food, music, and dance. The SCA also staged a Medieval Fashion Show of all types of garb, including a 60-pound suit of chain mail. Ed Meskys held a meeting of the Tolkien Society of America at Baycon.

Other events included the Knights of St. Fantony initiating Forry Ackerman into their order, a performance of a fannish musical, "H.M.S. Trek-a-Star" (what a Star Trek episode might have been if it had been scripted by Gilbert & Sullivan) and the committee arranged for a light show to accompany readings by Ellison and Leiber.

The Toastmaster was Robert Silverberg, who was so witty he stole the show from everybody else on the program. After Philip José Farmer's long speech, Randall and Alison Garrett sang a calypso review of Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions. Harlan Ellison presented the Hugos, except when Silverberg wouldn't let him (Ellison was nominated in three categories).

1968 Hugos 1968 Hugo Ceremony Transcript

A Special Committee Award was given to Harlan Ellison for Dangerous Visions and to Gene Roddenberry for Star Trek. The First Fandom Award was presented by Edmond Hamilton to Jack Williamson. The Big Heart Award, to the elation of all, went to Walt Daugherty, who had founded the award and had never expected to receive it. The Invisible Little Man Award, presented by the Little Mens Club, went to J. Francis McComas

Site selection for the 1969 Worldcon was St. Louis vs Columbus, OH, with St. Louis winning. St. Louis in '69 had been identified with newer, modern fandom while Columbus in '69 had been identified with an older, more political side of fandom open antipathy between the bids was evident. There were unfounded rumors circulated that Columbus intended to have its own Exclusion Act, banning Ted White from attending. Columbus supporter Brian Burley had moved to St. Louis to keep an eye on St. Louis fandom. Harlan Ellison made the nominating speech for St. Louis at the WSFS Business Meeting. After St. Louis had won, ill feelings quickly dissipated, since Burley had become likeable during his stay in St. Louis and Columbus chairman Larry Smith and other supporters helped out at the St. Louiscon, then returned afterwards for after-con celebration party. See 1969 Worldcon Site Selection.

The convention also yielded a classic con report, Ginjer Buchanan's "I've Had No Sleep, and I Must Giggle" which was published in Granfalloon. Read Fred Pohl's Baycon reminiscence.

Worldcon was combined with the 1968 Westercon, sharing Guests of Honor and Chairmen.

Besides the winning Bay Area in '68 bid, there were two other bidders for the 1968 Worldcon: PanPacificon and Seattle in '68. See 1968 Worldcon Site Selection. Besides Bay Area in '68 bid, there were one other Westercon bidder: Las Vegas in '68. See 1968 Westercon Site Selection.

See also Bay Area Worldcons.

Fred Pohl's Baycon Reminiscence

For a long con report, see the October 1968 issue of Science Fiction Times.

Nycon 3 Worldcon Bidding,  Hugos St. Louiscon
Westercon 20 Westercon Bidding Westercon 22
Reasonator 1968
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