Robert Bloch
Milwaukee 3, Wis.

Dear Lee,

The first thing I'm doing as I sit at my office desk this morning upon my return, is to get out a brief note to you ... for various reasons.

FIRST, I want to congratulate you upon that magnificent hoax you pulled at the Convention. Naturally, I couldn't say anything at the time without being overheard, but I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated the stunt. The idea of getting some girl to impersonate you and claim to be you at the Convention was positively sensational! I don't suppose anyone else caught on, but of course I knew it from the first. It was amazing, astounding, fantastic, and also galaxy. How in the world you thought of the idea ... how you ever managed to get so pretty a female (and she was some dish, too!) and so intelligent a one to do the job, I'll never know. ((It wasn't easy)) She even managed to talk the way you write ... and her interview with the press was fine stuff indeed. Whoever she is and whatever her name is, she deserves a lot of the credit.

SECONDLY, about that annish. I was so damnably bewitched, bothered, bewildered, blotto, etc., at the con proper (or improper) that I had to abstain (or avoid) reading it until afterwards, on the train. I salute you. A most exceptional job, particularly the Caesarian operation. And tell poor Shelby for me that I did, finally, get around to examining the puffins ... he asked me about them up in Bill Morse's room and I'm afraid I neglected to answer. It is a real achievement, that issue, and I'm in hopes it will stimulate some of the other laggard fan-mags to improve both in quality and quantity.

I told that girl (who even draws like you, a bit) that I was awaiting a QUANDRY report on the Con and I know that hundreds of others are too. If she was hep, she probably got a lot of new readers for you.

Wish I could have spent more time with her ... but there are always a thousand things to do ... and I had to spend almost 1/3 of Con time with some guests from Baton Rouge who came down to see me and my wife ... another 1/3 was wasted either with or waiting for the press. Poor Harry gave me the job and unfortunately there was nothing to work with, so I made the mistake of filling the reps with story material for leads. Result was that they used my name entirely too damned much ... and I assure you, I asked them not to, but to quote the stuff as coming from the Con speakers. I regret having my name in the papers; it can't do me any good as I have no books out or pending, and some of the others do. Fortunately, during most interviews there were others present who will bear me out when I say that I did my best to shift the spotlight but I'm afraid some of the fen who weren't aware of circumstances may accuse me of seeking publicity. At that I'm thankful for one thing; the Con got a good press throughout, and for the first time -- if you've seen our usual reaction in the papers in former years, the contrast is terrific.

I'm sure you got enough highlights and sidelights on events to do a swell job in QUANDRY on your own reactions to the Con: you had a nice gang to work with ... people like Tucker, Mari-Beth, Ned McKeown, Millard, Grant, the Korshaks, Fred Brown, the Niebers, Harry Moore, Shelby, the Seattle contingent, the Frisco delegation, Singing Sam Moskowitz, EEE, and so many, many more -- all of them interesting, all of them friendly, all of them constituting the reason why I personally enjoy a Convention.

I'm aware that there's always 10 times as much going on as any one individual can possibly cover: I missed the "underground" reaction to both Dianetics session and to the 20th Century Fox newsreel but I'll bet a lot of the purists objected violently to both. There has never been a convention yet where a lot of the purists didn't violently object to something .... but they keep coming back for more! Personally I talked to several of the Dianetics group in private and found what they had to say interesting and instructive and above all, sincerely motivated; their attitude towards their self-declared "Mortal enemies" in the fan-group was a lot more charitable than the attitude of the fans. As to the publicity stunt, I feel that far from constituting a sell-out to the commercial interests, it's the first big step towards cooperating with the very people (film, TV, magazines) whom fandom needs if it wants to grow and if it wants to play a part in shaping the policies of science-fiction for mass-presentation. I say if we're not willing to go along and publicize a picture, why should any film company bother to consider our wishes and please us?

But that's my opinion as a hardened old pro, and you're going to get some radically different reactions.

Anyhow, have fun on the report. And next year, why not plan to attend the convention in person?

But send that gal along, too. I like her!

-[ Bob ]-

Data entry by Judy Bemis

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