Kees van Toorn: Cancelled


Kees van Toorn: Cancelled

After our earlier announcement of Kees as our fan guest of honour at the first HSFCon, we now regret to bring you the news that he will not be attending. In his own words: “So, with pain in my heart, I have to withdraw from the convention. I will not be there. And unfortunately no-one has yet invented a duplication machine to allow me to be in two places at the same time.”

We will keep him posted, we support his Reunicon 2020 initiative with all our hearts and we hope our next attempt to have him HSFCon will be more successful. And should anyone manage to invent that duplicator in the meantime: please let us know!

Kees van Toorn discovered Science Fiction in the mid-1960s, after his father had given him the book Bram Vingerling: het Geheimzinnige Horloge (‘Bram Vingerling: the Mysterious Watch’) as a birthday present. It was around the same time that the Perry Rhodan phenomenon started in the Netherlands. Out of disappointment with the rate of publication, Kees soon found himself travelling to friends in Cologne, where there were plenty of second-hand bookshops that could meet the demand at home. After all, publications of Perry Rhodan in Germany were ahead of those in the Netherlands by a decade. It was in this fashion that Kees came to visit the first European SF Worldcon in Heidelberg in 1970. His (inter)national network of scifi friends grew rapidly, and thus SFANcons, Eastercons and also the next Worldcons in England became part of his regular visiting schedule. Very early on, he started his own semi-pro scifi magazine, called Orbit. Then, with the help of many of his good friends, he organised the Worldcon in The Hague: ConFiction. And since it’s very hard to let go, this year he’s organising Reunicon with those still standing, just to celebrate 30 years since ConFiction.

Kees is married with two children, and will probably keep working tirelessly until he dies, on translations, conventions at home and abroad… although his wife and children have already come up with his epitaph: no more translations!

Photograph: © Dick Lynch @ Dublin 2019