20th World Science Fiction Convention

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Chicon III, the 20th World Science Fiction Convention
Genre Science fiction
Venue Pick-Congress Hotel
Location(s) Chicago, Illinois
Country United States
Inaugurated August 31-September 3, 1962
Attendance ~730
Filing status Non-profit

The 20th World Science Fiction Convention, also known unofficially as Chicon III (less frequently, Chicon II), was held August 31–September 3, 1962, at the Pick-Congress Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, United States.

Because the second Worldcon held in Chicago was officially called, in its publications, the 10th Annual World Science Fiction Convention (and once as the "10th Annual Science Fiction Convention") and not Chicon, the next Chicago Worldcon held in 1962 was occasionally referred to as Chicon II, though Chicon III is the generally accepted and preferred nomenclature.

The chairman was Earl Kemp, the guest of honor was Theodore Sturgeon.[1] The toastmaster was Wilson Tucker. Total attendance was approximately 730.[2]

Following the convention, Advent:Publishers published The Proceedings: Chicon III, edited by Earl Kemp,[3] the book includes transcripts of lectures and panels given during the course of the convention and includes numerous photographs as well. Events at the convention included an address by Willy Ley.[4]


During his Guest of Honor speech, Theodore Sturgeon expressed regret that Hugo Award winner Robert A. Heinlein could not attend. Heinlein, at that moment, walked into the ballroom, in a white tux, saying that Ted's regret for his nonattendance was premature, he went to the podium, and Sturgeon offered him a sip from a water glass, asking Heinlein to share water with him (a reference to Stranger in a Strange Land.) Heinlein and Sturgeon shared water.

Before the convention, in 1961, chairman Earl Kemp wrote to Isaac Asimov relaying that someone had jokingly suggested that Asimov deliver a pseudo-lecture on the theme "The Positive Power of Posterior Pinching" and offered that the convention would "furnish some suitable posteriors for demonstration purposes."[5] Asimov responded, "I have no doubt I could give a stimulating talk that would stiffen the manly fiber of every one in the audience." However, he noted, "I will have to ask the permission of various people who are (or would be) concerned in the matter. If they say 'no', it will be 'no.'"[5] The suggested pseudo-lecture did not occur.


The Hugo Awards, named after Hugo Gernsback, are presented every year for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. Results are based on the ballots submitted by members of the World Science Fiction Society.[6]

Hugo Awards[edit]

Other awards[edit]

In fiction[edit]

S. M. Stirling's 2008 alternate history novel In the Courts of the Crimson Kings begins with a prologue set at this convention, in which a group of the science fiction authors in attendance watch a television broadcast of an American space probe as it lands on an inhabited Mars. Those present include Frederik and Carol Pohl, Poul Anderson, H. Beam Piper, Guest of Honor Theodore Sturgeon, Jack Williamson, Robert and Virginia Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Larry Niven, Isaac Asimov, L. Sprague and Catherine Crook de Camp, John W. Campbell, Frank Herbert, and Leigh Brackett. Heinlein mentions an idea for a novel about Mars he had had but set aside when "the preliminary orbital telescope reports" had come in. (In actual history the completed book, Stranger in a Strange Land, won the Hugo Award for Best Novel at the convention.) The authors comment as the broadcast from the probe reveals a Martian canal and wildlife and then, startlingly, the arrival of human-like Martians in a "land ship" who haul the probe off.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sturgeon, Theodore (2006). "Guest of Honor Speech". In Resnick, Mike; Siclari, Joe. Worldcon Guest of Honor Speeches. ISFiC Press. pp. 89–101. 
  2. ^ Lynch, Richard (March 29, 1996). "Chapter Eight: Worldcons of the 1960s". Fan History of the 1960s. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  3. ^ Kemp, Earl (1963). The Proceedings: Chicon III. Advent:Publishers. 
  4. ^ Cromie, Robert (September 16, 1962). "The By-stander". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. E6. Retrieved March 12, 2011. Rocket expert Willy Ley zoomed in and out of town a few days ago [...] to address the 20th annual convention of the World Science Fiction Writers association. 
  5. ^ a b Zvan, Stephanie (September 9, 2012). "We Don't Do That Anymore". Almost Diamonds. Retrieved March 20, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Hugo Award FAQ". The Hugo Awards. World Science Fiction Society. Archived from the original on May 7, 2011. Retrieved September 7, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
19th World Science Fiction Convention
Seacon in Seattle, United States (1961)
List of Worldcons
20th World Science Fiction Convention
Chicon III in Chicago, United States (1962)
Succeeded by
21st World Science Fiction Convention
Discon I in Washington, D.C., United States (1963)