Howard DeVore

Finally, a picture of our Toastmaster, taken at the first Midwestcon in 1950! Howard is on the left, and on the right is E.E. "Doc" Smith, author of the Lensman and Skylark series. We all know Howard as a perennial book dealer and storyteller, but here's a little bit of history:

"I am not now and never have been a member of the Michigan Science Fantasy Society." - Howard DeVore.

"I don't care what Howard says as long as he pays his club dues." - Fred Prophet

The Detroit worldcon of 1959 began with the apparent corpse of Howard DeVore being dragged across the stage (Howard had said there would be a worldcon in Detroit over his dead body). [1]

Detroit fandom of the 1940s was mostly centered around the Detroit Hyperborean Society, which existed from the war years in the middle of the decade until 1948. By the end of the decade, the Michigan Science-Fantasy Society (MSFS), nicknamed The Misfits, rose from the ashes of the DHS, formed by fans who outlasted the club -- these included Martin Alger, Ed Kuss, Ben Singer, Art Rapp, Howard DeVore, and George Young. [2]  Howard and George are still involved in Michigan Fandom today, and the Misfits still get together regularly for bowling.

The decade of the 1950s was a golden age for Detroit fandom. DSFL members Roger Sims and Ed Kuss were half of the foursome who hosted the legendary Room 770 party at the 1951 Worldcon. In 1959, after several years of bidding, Detroit fans succeeded in hosting a Worldcon, the Detention. Howard was a member of the concom, in charge of Publicity. It was also around this time that George Young, while visiting Ray Nelson in Cadillac, Michigan, purchased a propeller beanie, which Nelson went on to popularize in fandom. Howard boasted the largest and most impressive beanie ever, made out of an airplane propeller attached to a steel helmet.

In 1966, Detroit fandom, along with Cincinnati and Cleveland fans, joined forces to host another Worldcon, called TriCon, held in Cleveland. Howard served as the Detroit Associate ConChair.

A young "Howie", as his World War II bomber jacket proclaims, served his country as a member of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, riding a full tour of duty as a belly gunner in a B-17 Flying Fortress over Germany. This was at a time when the 8th AF had the highest casualty rate of all US forces - the B-17 crews had a one in four chance of getting home alive, and the belly gunner had the scariest job, hanging below the plane, curled up in a foetal position to fit into the tiny ball turret. [3]  After the war, Howard worked at GM and the US Post Office in Dearborn, while maintaining his interests in science fiction, especially collecting and selling the old pulp magazines. Howard has been a longtime member of various APAs and contributor and publisher of fanzines, and his Guide to the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards was published by Advent in 1998. Copies can also be ordered directly from him, and he still sells SF books and magazines out of his home.

Howard DeVore
4705 Weddel
Dearborn, MI 48125

[1] Mimosa 16, "But, again, that's another story" by Roger Sims, p.34
[2] "Fandom in the 60s" by Richard Lynch, chap3d
[3] "Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress" by Joe Baugher, chap8
Last update November 23, 1997
Go back to the ConFusion page
Chad Childers /