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Essays

The Wonderful Thrill

Randall D. Larson


It is a wonderful thrill to meet a professional whom you've admired; there's a warm feeling of excitement tinged with nervousness as you talk with the person. It's always been a goal of mine to meet the professionals whom I admire most, authors, directors, performers, and gradually I have been able to meet some of my favorites.

Robert Bloch, of course, is one of my very favorite authors, stemming from the first time I read a little known novel of his called Psycho. Though I knew very little about him, I wrote him and asked for a short interview for a fanzine I was working on. One can imagine my glee as I received a speedy reply and several pages of answers, which eventually materialized in Fandom Unlimited #1. Learning from his comments in that interview, I quickly assembled a library of his work and, through what I read, became completely enthralled with a form of literature called weird-horror. Ironically, it was Robert Bloch, a student of H.P. Lovecraft, who turned me on, indirectly to the fantasy world in which Lovecraft reigns.

The first time I met Robert Bloch was in 1971, at Bill Crawford's Witchcraft and Sorcery convention, which frankly wasn't much of a meeting; we exchanged hellos, he signed some books for me, and that was about it. I was still new to fandom and the thrill practically made me a vegetable for the duration.

We had been corresponding off and on for a few months prior to the convention, and gradually, to my utter delight, the correspondence became more regular. Robert Bloch had mentioned a bibliography that Graham Hall did in 1964; I asked him what the possibilities were of doing a current bibliography, an idea which eventually materialized into a publication I take great pride in, The Robert Bloch Fanzine. And on top of the enthusiasm I had in doing a magazine on this author, was the pleasure of working with Mr. Bloch himself, who was very cooperative and made the whole project a completely rewarding experience, as far as personal satisfaction and achievement goes.

A month and a half after T.R.B.F. first saw print (the original mimeograph edition of 1972), I met Mr. Bloch attain, at Filmcon 1 in Los Angeles, with his wife. This was a brief, but very memorable experience for me. Robert Bloch is a very warm, friendly man; not only is he an outstanding writer whom I admire immensely but a person whose opinions and humanity I hold great deal of respect for. The main thing that makes this meeting, and others with other professionals, memorable is that I was able to appreciate Robert Bloch not on the level of fan-to-pro, or admirer-to-admiree (although that was there), but more on the level of person to person, human to human. And that's what makes it so wonderful. It's a great personal triumph as well, to know that I was able to accomplish such a goal. Of course it's trival when compared to the whole essence and grandeur of life, but since my whole life is intertwined around those things which I am interested in, it means a lot to me.

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The former editor/publisher of CinemaScore, CineFan, and Threshold of Fantasy magazines, Randall D. Larson has written 8 books and more than 200 articles for fantasy, fire service, public safety, cinema, and motion picture music periodicals, books, CD booklets, and Web sites. Larson is currently the editor of 9-1-1 Magazine (public safety communications and response), and a senior editor for Soundtrack magazine. Avoiding spare time at all costs, Larson is also a writer for mania.com while maintaining a full-time career in the field of emergency services communications.

Larson is also the author of three of the major reference books on Robert Bloch and his writings -- a book of collected interviews, a readers' guide, and a detailed bibliography, all as discussed on the FAQ page. These books may be ordered from Larson directly.

Mr. Larson can be contacted at larsonrdl@aol.com.

This essay previously appeared in The SF Echo of the Moebius Trip Library 20 (1974), is 1974 by Randall D. Larson, and is reprinted here with his permission. The webmaster wishes to express his thanks to Mr. Larson for his continuous generosity.