Tony Lewis' Heicon '70 Reminiscence
At St. Louis in 1969 the 1970 site for the World Science Fiction Convention was set for Heidelberg, Bundesrepublik Deutschland. This was the first time that the venue of the convention was in a non-English-language country. However, since large numbers of fans were expected from all over Europe, the official languages of the convention were German and English, as almost all would be able to understand one of them.
Heicon '70 selected as Guests of Honor Robert Silverberg (U.S.A.), Edwin C. Tubb (U.K.), and Herbert W. Franke (Germany). The Fan GoH was TAFF winner Elliot Kay Shorter; John Brunner (U.K.) was the Toastmaster at the banquet. This banquet was held at the Heidelberger Schloss, certainly one of the most impressive places we have ever been - no hotel banquet facility could match it.
The program was interesting, with many Europeans speaking who had never been to a Worldcon. Items were well-attended. The art show was dominated by European art of very high quality, including massive amounts of the works of Karel Thole (sigh).
The last day of the convention was a relaxing boat trip on the Neckar River to Neckarsteinach, where, despite the committee's pre-planning, very few places to eat were open. This showed that such problems are universal and not restricted to the English-speaking countries.
The last item was a massive auction to help defray costs such as rental of the Stadthalle that were not covered by the usual fees. This auction went on for quite a while. It is no longer possible to know what was sold, as the records were also auctioned. I do remember that we sold the beer bottles the auctioneers had emptied as well as the bottle caps. We sold the shirt off Mario Bosnyak's back and almost sold Mario as well (until he saw who was bidding, but that is not a fit tale for these pages...).
About 620 people attended the convention; very few did not have a good time. Despite the small committee and the multiple languages, the con was well-organized and run. It showed that there was no need to worry about language barriers as long as the committee knows what it is doing. The Committee: Manfred Kage (Chairman), Thea Molly Auer (Vice-Chairman & Treasurer), Mario Boris Ivanovich Bosnyak (Secretary), Hans-Werner Heinrichs (Public Relations).
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