Detention was the 17th Worldcon, the only one ever in Detroit, was held September 4–7, 1959, at the Pick-Fort Shelby Hotel in downtown Detroit. Pro GoH: Poul Anderson. FGoH: John Berry who was brought to North America by a special John Berry Fan Fund. Isaac Asimov had been listed as the Toastmaster in all promotional material prior to the convention. At the convention, the program book added "...with the assistance of Robert Bloch," who acted as Asimov's foil at the banquet. Chaired by Roger Sims and Fred Prophet.
The committee list:
- Co-chairmen: Fred Prophet and Roger Sims
- Secretary: Mary Young
- Treasurer: Jim Broderick
- Public Relations: George Young
- Publicity: Howard DeVore, Elliott Broderick, Dean McLaughlin
- Publications: Bill Rickhardt
The convention had trouble getting a Pro GoH. Fredric Brown was the committee’s original choice, but he requested time to see if his health would improve. By late spring, they were getting desperate. Howard DeVore suggested that since he and Karen Anderson were in SAPS together, maybe he could get to Poul Anderson (still quite a new pro) through her. The committee agreed. Howard called Karen who put Poul on. When asked to be Pro GoH, he asked asked how soon they needed an answer and DeVore said he'd like to wait on the phone while he decided -- Poul accepted a moment later. Because of the convention's tight funds, he got a free room and two banquet tickets.
During 1958, there was a feud between two groups over the first WSFS, Inc. Both groups asked for Detroit in '59’s support. The bid issued a statement that they would not duck the issue, that they were studying it and would eventually issue an opinion. But not until both groups stated their support for Detroit in '59. Upon winning, however, they announced they were outside WSFS, Inc.’s auspices.
In 1954, after a financial shortfall at the Border Cities Con had to be covered by his donation of a set of Astoundings to auction, DeVore had announced there would be a Worldcon in Detroit over his dead body. Accordingly, at the Detention opening ceremonies, the fans heard the sound of a gunshot, Howard fell to the floor, and the concom dragged him across the stage to start the con.
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