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1957:
The First UK Worldcon
Rob Hansen

ISBN 978-1-387-90612-3 (trade paperback)
ISBN 978-1-913451-88-2 (ebook)

Print edition now released! This ebook title is now also available as a trade paperback: 169 pages, 67,000 words. All proceeds from sales go to the TransAtlantic Fan Fund.

Rob Hansen compiled this history of the 1957 London Worldcon from contemporary fanzine accounts, so that once again the complex story emerges from the participants’ own words. The action stretches over several years, from the initial inspiration to bring Worldcon to the UK, via the fan politics of promoting and winning the bid, to detailed coverage of the convention itself – and its aftermath, including a lawsuit.

From Rob Hansen’s Foreword

So why the 1957 Worldcon? Because it was a singularly significant and important event in the history of fandom. Not only was it the first Worldcon to be held outside North America, it was in many ways the first true world convention, pulling in as it did fans from more countries than had ever attended a single convention before. It was also the first time that UK and US fans met en masse. Yes, a handful of US and Canadian fans had been posted to the UK while serving in their armed forces during WW2, contacting local fans while over here, but these meetings had been individual and sporadic. And in terms of legacy, LONCON started the tradition of there being a British Worldcon once every calendar decade (1957, 1965, 1979, 1987, 1995, 2005, 2014, 2024). That’s three in London, three in Glasgow, and two in Brighton, with the longest gap between Worldcons being fourteen years, and the shortest being eight.

As well as firsts, the 1957 Worldcon is also notable as a last, being the final SF convention held before the start of the Space Age: Sputnik launched a few weeks afterwards.

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1957 front cover

Ansible Editions, July 2022

Cover photo: The three Hugo Awards presented, held by E.J. (Ted) Carnell, editor of New Worlds (best British prozine), John W. Campbell Jr, editor of Astounding (best American prozine), and John Victor Peterson representing Science-Fiction Times (best fanzine, formerly Fantasy Times).