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Remembering Bob Weinberg

chicon7_RGBBob Weinberg left us yesterday.  There may be many folks out there that don’t know the name, but I think you should.

Each year the committee hosting the Worldcon is authorized, should they choose to do so, to present a special award during the Hugos.  For Chicon 7 when we thought about who it might make sense to honor in such a fashion, Bob’s name was the only one ever seriously considered.  The included video here is of the Hugo ceremony that night.  At 17:00, you’ll get to see my ugly mug come up to present the award and Jane Frank come up to accept it on his behalf.

Bob’s health had not been the best for a while, we’d been working diligently to make sure he could attend the ceremony…never quite telling him why.  In the end, though, his health did not allow him to attend.

There are folks in our community who are truly renaissance men and women.  They do ALL the things.  One of the keystone examples of that in Chicago was Bob Weinberg.

Here’s the text of our committee award introduction, if you read it along with the video, you’ll get the opportunity to note the several places where I completely ate it during the presentation.

Each year, the Worldcon committee is entitled to recognize someone who has made a difference in our community. Someone who has made science fiction fandom a better place. This can be a fan, an author, a bookseller, a collector, a con-runner, or someone who fits into all those and more. This year, Chicon 7 is pleased to recognize someone who fits into all of those categories.

Robert Weinberg attended his first meeting of the Eastern SF Association in 1963, discovered the club offered something he liked, and became active, eventually becoming the club’s president in 1968. Maintaining an interest in the pulp magazines which formed so much of the basis for what we read today, Bob published fourteen issues of the fanzine, Pulp, from 1974 through 1980.

In 1968, Bob began publishing readers guides to the works of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, eventually expanding both to book length and publishing additional guides and books about the pulp magazines and the authors who wrote for them. 1973 saw his publication of WT50, an anniversary tribute to Weird Tales, a magazine to which Bob would acquire the rights in 1979 and help revive.

Bob is a collector of science fiction and fantasy art from the 40s, 50s, and 60s, working to preserve art which otherwise might have been lost. His interest in art collection also led to him writing A Biographical Dictionary of SF & Fantasy Artists, which served as a basis for Chicon 7’s Guest of Honor Jane Frank’s own A Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists.

Beginning in 1976, Bob began serving as the co-chairman of the Chicago Comicon, then the second largest comic book convention in the United States. He continued in that position for twenty years before it was sold to Wizard Entertainment. During that time, Bob also chaired the World Fantasy Convention when it came to Chicago on two different occasions and in 1978 he co-chaired the first major Doctor Who convention in the United States.

Bob has also written his own books, both non-fiction and fiction.. His first novel, The Devil’s Auction, was published in 1988 with more than a dozen novels and collections to follow. He worked with Martin H. Greenberg to edit and publish numerous anthologies beginning in the 1980s.

Not content to write his own books and monographs, run conventions, and collect art, Bob also, for several years, ran the mail-order Weinberg Books. Bob offered advice to Alice Bentley when she was setting up The Stars Our Destination, a science fiction specialty bookstore in Chicago from 1988 through 2003. In 1997, Bob sold his mail order business to Alice.

Bob’s long career as a fan, author, bookseller, collector, and con-runner has helped make science fiction the genre, and the community, it is today. Chicon 7 would like to recognize Robert Weinberg for his years of service and devotion given to advancing the field of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

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