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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.
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 email@example.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.