Robert Bloch — Renaissance Man of the Fantastic

May 22, 2017 by

This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Robert Bloch. The author of more than 200 stories, nearly thirty novels, and a large number of non-fiction articles, screenplays, and teleplays, Bloch got his start as a writing professional in the pulp magazines that are celebrated each summer at PulpFest.

During a long and productive career, Robert Bloch received a Hugo Award, the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award, the World Science Fiction Convention Special Lifetime Career Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award. He also served as the president of the Mystery Writers of America in 1970 – 71. He was also the first Guest of Honor at a World Science Fiction Convention outside the United States, and the Guest of Honor at the first Bouchercon and the first World Fantasy Convention. Along with Hugh B. Cave, Robert Bloch was the Guest of Honor at Pulpcon 12.

When asked what he considered to be the highlights of his career, Robert Bloch replied: “My first sales — of a short story, of a novel . . . the sale of PSYCHO to films and its subsequent success. But the most satisfying and memorable moments have come with the conventions where I was invited to appear as guest of honor, the winning of various awards . . . the continuing interest of fans . . .”

Following Bloch’s death in 1994, the late Frank Robinson wrote: “He was a journeyman writer and entertainer, and had more experience in various writing forms — from political speeches to advertising to short stories, novels, articles, teleplays, and film scripts — than probably any other genre writer. But all of his stories, all of his movies, and all of his teleplays didn’t account for the feelings of affection that both fans and writers felt for him. . . . Robert Bloch was a man without malice. Almost everyone who met him sensed that, and almost everybody who met him loved him for it. It was impossible not to.”

Beginning at 8 PM on Friday, July 28, PulpFest 2017 will pay tribute to Robert Bloch. Join Professor Garyn G. Roberts for “100 Years with the Author of PSYCHO,” an illustrated survey of the life and times of Robert Bloch. This presentation will showcase many landmark events in the life of this writers’ writer, and will provide some little known details about this master of the pulpwoods and other popular media. Though he never met the author in person, Professor Roberts maintained a prolific, ongoing correspondence with Bloch until writer’s passing in 1994.

In Garyn’s words: “The story of our relationship via the mail means a great deal to me.  Though we never met in person, Mr. Bloch and I kept up a voracious correspondence to the point that I think I can call him a ‘friend.’ Particularly in the last months of his life, Mr. Bloch approached me and said that he wanted to send me some unique materials that I could incorporate into a book about him. I was tremendously honored that he chose me for this privilege, based on my previous publications of biographic history. He sent photos from Hollywood, unpublished writings, answers to interview questions and more, including an introduction for the book. He had also cleared all the rights for reprinting these for me. I am convinced that no twentieth century writer was more loved than Robert Bloch. Though under-appreciated in his time, many of us love him to this day. More than a very talented writer, Robert Bloch was a good man and a dear friend.”

Garyn G. Roberts, Ph.D., is a college and university professor. He holds multiple literary and teaching awards. Roberts was born in northern Wisconsin, 100 miles north of Plainfield, where serial killer Ed Gein’s atrocities occurred. When Gein’s activities were discovered in late 1957, Roberts’ father was hunting. To this day, Roberts’ mother recounts how frightened she was at home alone in the Wisconsin woods — a 23-year- old newlywed — when the news from Plainfield broke. Robert Bloch’s classic novel, PSYCHO, was inspired by the Ed Geins murders.

PulpFest 2017 will take place from Thursday evening, July 27, through Sunday afternoon, July 30, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just nineteen miles north of the city of Pittsburgh. You can book your room directly through the PulpFest website. Just click the “Book a Room for 2017” link on our home page or call 1-800-222-8733. Be sure to mention PulpFest in order to receive the convention rate.

Start making your plans now to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of PSYCHO author Robert Bloch at the “pop culture center of the universe” called PulpFest 2017.

(Two of Robert Bloch’s major pulp markets were WEIRD TALES and the Ziff-Davis magazines, including AMAZING STORIES and FANTASTIC ADVENTURES.

Between 1935 and 1952, Bloch published nearly seventy stories in “The Unique Magazine,” including “The Cheaters” in the November 1947 issue. It featured cover art by Matt Fox. A cartoonist, illustrator, comic book and advertising artist, watercolorist, painter, and graphic artist, with lithographs, woodcuts, and etchings to his credit, Fox painted eleven covers for WEIRD TALES and also contributed interior illustrations to the magazine. He also worked for Marvel Comics during the 1950s.

After Robert Bloch published “The Man Who Collected Poe” in the October 1951 issue of FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES, he was asked to complete Poe’s unfinished story, “The Lighthouse.” Published in the January 1953 issue of FANTASTIC — with cover art by Robert Frankenberg — Bloch was extremely proud that very few people could tell where Poe left off and he began.)

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PulpFest Specials

Jul 29, 2015 by

2015 FlyerIn just over two weeks, PulpFest 2015 will begin its celebration honoring the 125th anniversary of the birth of celebration of H. P. Lovecraft as well as its salutes to WEIRD TALES and the Thrilling Group of pulp magazines. The convention begins on Thursday afternoon, August 13th, at 4 PM. That’s when you’ll have four hours to pick up your registration materials or, if you have yet to register for convention, sign up to become a member. We’ll also have dealers’ room set-up taking place from 4 to 11 PM on Thursday, August 13th. Click our red schedule button to see our complete schedule.

As we did during our 2014 convention, PulpFest will be offering early-bird shopping in the PulpFest dealers’ room on Thursday, August 13th, from 6 PM until 10 PM. To reward loyal attendees who help to defray the convention’s substantial costs by staying three nights at our host hotel – the Hyatt Regency in the heart of Columbus — PulpFest 2015 will be providing free early-bird privileges. Thanks very much for your support.

Unfortunately, the Hyatt has been completely booked for about a month. So although you can no longer take advantage of our free early-bird offer, you can still partake in early shopping. If you prepay for your membership, Thursday night shopping will cost an additional $25 over the regular membership fee. Early-bird shopping privileges will cost $30 if you pay for them at the door. Advance registration will be available through Monday, August 10th. Please click the red registration button on our home page and you’re on your way. You can pay for your membership using the Paypal link that’s located under “Payment Instructions” on our registration page. Only staff, dealers, and early-bird shoppers will be allowed into the dealers’ room during Thursday evening, August 13th. Please realize that due to travel conditions and other contingencies, PulpFest cannot guarantee that each and every registered dealer will be available during our early-bird hours.

But free early-bird shopping isn’t the only way that we’ll be thanking those who stay three nights at the Hyatt Regency. On Saturday, August 15th, PulpFest will be holding a drawing at the close of our annual business meeting for two full membership fee refunds. Two lucky convention attendees who have prepaid for their membership, booked a room for three nights at our host hotel, and have chosen to attend our business meeting will receive full refunds of their membership fees to PulpFest 2015. You must provide proof of your stay at the Hyatt Regency Columbus and be present at the drawing to receive your free membership refund.

Please remember that PulpFest will be sharing downtown Columbus with Matsuricon in August. Therefore, we are urging all of our members to book their hotel rooms for PulpFest 2015 as soon as possible! If you have not yet booked your room for PulpFest 2015, there are still some rooms available at nearby hotels. Please click here and you’ll find a link to a list of hotels to choose from. If you are not from the Columbus area and want to attend PulpFest 2015, we urge you to book your room now and not later. Rooms that are relatively close to PulpFest are disappearing fast during the time frame of our convention. So what are you waiting for? Book a room for three nights and register now for “Summer’s Great Pulp Con.”

(Join us August 13th – 16th at PulpFest 2015 for a celebration of H. P. Lovecraft and WEIRD TALES and a salute to the Thrilling Group of pulp magazines. Our flyer for this year’s convention features Matt Fox’s cover art for the November 1944 issue of WEIRD TALES. The cover story for the issue is August Derleth’s “The Dweller in Darkness,” a story that even S. T. Joshi — one of the author’s fiercest critics — has suggested “. . . is perhaps Derleth’s one relatively successful Mythos tale,” citing the Wisconsin setting and “effective atmosphere of cumulative horror.” Also featured in the issue are stories by Robert Bloch, Hannes Bok, Ray Bradbury, Manly Wade Wellman, and others.)