Philip José Farmer and Robert Bloch

May 17, 2017 by

Back in early April, we noted the 100th anniversary of the birth of Robert Bloch, best remembered for his novel PSYCHO. 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. At this year’s convention, we’ll be celebrating “100 Years of Robert Bloch” with a number of presentations.

One of our Bloch presentations will feature FarmerCon founder Michael Croteau, creator of Philip José Farmer’s Official Home Page and the publisher at Meteor House. Mike will be discussing Robert Bloch’s relationship with Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José Farmer. In addition to being accomplished writers, both men were frequent guests and attendees at various science fiction and fantasy conventions. It was at the 1952 World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago that they struck up their long-lasting friendship.

Bloch — who was well known for his tongue-in-cheek sense of humor — often served as the toastmaster at convention banquets. At the 31st World Science Fiction Convention, held in 1973 in Toronto, Ontario, Bloch quipped:

“Then of course we have Philip José Farmer, one of the greatest innovators in our field, who stripped away much of the prudery and phoney taboos. More than twenty years ago Philip José Farmer dared to do what no one had ever done before. He wrote ‘The Lovers,’ a story in which a man had sexual relations with an insect. You might call it science fiction’s first case of buggery.” Greeted by groans from his audience, Bloch continued, “You hear that, Phil? That’s how the public is. Last year they give you a Hugo; this year they boo your name.”

Using photographs and other materials from the Farmer estate, Michael will regale PulpFest evening programming attendees with tales of the friendship between these two writers of science fiction and fantasy. Please join us on Friday, July 28, at 7:30 PM for “Philip José Farmer and Robert Bloch,” featuring FarmerCon‘s Michael Croteau. It’s all part of PulpFest 2017 and FarmerCon XII at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” of Pittsburgh. To register for both conventions, please click the Register for 2017 button just below the PulpFest home page banner. To book a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton — our host hotel — click one of the Book a Room buttons likewise located on the PulpFest home page.

Start planning now to attend PulpFest 2017 and FarmerCon XII and join hundreds of pulp fiction and Philip José Farmer fans at the pop-culture center of the universe. You’ll have a maddening time, especially if you’re planning to stay at the DoubleTree! We look forward to seeing you from July 27 – 30.

(Not only did Farmer and Bloch cross paths at science fiction conventions, they sometimes met up in the pages of books and magazines. Although he rarely submitted a truly “weird tale,” Farmer’s “The Freshman,” originally published in the May 1979 issue of THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, owes a substantial debt to H. P. Lovecraft, who mentored Robert Bloch as a writer. In that same issue is Bloch’s short story, “Freak Show.” It concerns a traveling side show that appears unexpectedly at the Goober City Fairgrounds. David Hardy contributed the issue’s cover. An artist and illustrator from the United Kingdom, his work has appeared in ANALOG, IF, GALAXY SCIENCE FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION MONTHLY, VISION OF TOMORROW, and many issues of THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION.)