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Detention, the 17th Worldcon, the only one ever in Detroit, was held September 4–7, 1959, at the Pick-Fort Shelby Hotel in downtown Detroit, MI. The Pro GoH was Poul Anderson, an unusual (but deserved) honor for so new a writer. The FGoH was John Berry, who was brought to North America by a special Bring Berry to Detroit 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. It was chaired by Roger Sims and Fred Prophet, though some early materials showed the co-chairs as Sims and George Young while Prophet was co-treasurer with Jim Broderick.

In the 1959 Worldcon Site Selection, Detroit in '59 won over Big 'D' in '59 (Dallas) and Chicago:1959.

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.

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.


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.

The fannish film The Genie premiered, and a fannish play, Beyond the Unknown, featured.

The 1959 Hugos and 1960 Worldcon Site Selection were held.

The committee[edit]

Rules for the Detention Business Meeting[edit]

The rules for the Detention WSFS business meeting were published in Detention's PR #4.

Note that site selection (which at that time was done entirely at the convention with no mail ballot) was by far the most important part of the business meeting -- "other matters" would be considered on Monday evening, basically at closing ceremony. Note also that the business meeting, held in the main program room, was the only program event going on in the single track.

17th World Science Fiction Convention[edit]

RULES For The Business Meetings The meeting to decide where to hold the 1960 World Science Fiction Convention will convene one-half (1/2) hour after the Banquet in the general meeting room.

Any city in the eastern zone -- as defined in the generally accepted rotation plan -- or outside the North American continent, may be nominated at that time, providing that the persons making the nomination be known fans or known to be associated with Science-fantasy or fandom. Any nomination challenged for this reason can be disqualified by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of those present in the meeting room, following debate.

It shall be assumed that all of those attending the Convention who are interested in voting on the 1960 Convention site will be present in the meeting room; therefore no specific quorum will be required.

Each nomination will be permitted a total of twenty-five (25) minutes actual speaking time, to be divided among nominating and seconding speakers according to the wishes of the group sponsoring that nomination. At least one "second" (though not necessarily a speech) must be made to each nomination.

The doors of the meeting room will remain open during the nomination period, and persons will be permitted to enter or leave as they desire. However, five minutes after the nominations have concluded and following warnings over the loudspeaker system, the doors will be closed and will remain closed until the 1960 Convention site has been named.

Voting shall be by written ballot. If no single city receives a majority of the votes cast in the first ballot, the city which received the least number of votes will be stricken from the list to be considered in the second ballot.This process will be continued until one city receives a majority of the votes cast, and is declared the winner.

By this vote, the group sponsoring the nomination of the city decided upon, will be given and shall assume the responsibility of organizing and managing the 1960 World Science Fiction Convention.

The meeting will be conducted informally. However, if any matter of procedure is challenged, Robert's Rules of Order shall be taken as the standard authority, except where said rules conflict with the rules as outlined above.

Monday evening the Business meeting will consider any other matters of business pertinent to the Convention which any member of the Convention wishes to propose from the floor. Proposals must be handed to any member of the Convention Committee by Sunday evening September 6th at 6 P.M. At this meeting a full financial report will be given. And the gavel will be handed to the city that has been selected as the 1960 World Science Fiction Convention Site.

More Reading[edit]

Solacon Worldcon - Bidding - Hugos Pittcon
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