Rob Latham: A Crucial Link

I grew up in South Florida, not far from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, where Bob Collins launched ICFA in 1980. I knew about the conference from reports in Locus magazine and elsewhere, but I didn’t attend until 1987, when the conference was held in Houston. By that time, I had begun working for Fantasy Review magazine, which Bob published out of his FAU office, eventually working my way up to Reviews Editor.

In Houston, I met a host of folks who had done yeoman service for me as reviewers: Mike Levy, Brian Attebery, Bernadette Bosky, Nick Ruddick, Jan Bogstad, and many more-most of whom remained stalwart supporters of the conference when it returned to South Florida the following year. Indeed, that’s the way I tend to think of the event: as a place where you really get to know the people with whom you’ve only had professional interactions, a venue that puts a big smiling face on the otherwise faceless exchanges that tend to define academic discourse.

Even as the conference has grown and diversified, it still seems to me a very intimate event, a setting for warm conversations with friends and colleagues, a crucial link in the ongoing-intense, challenging, yet fundamentally decent-collaboration that makes our field so special. For two decades, ICFA has been a unique and beckoning oasis. Let’s keep the party Bob Collins started in 1980 going for another thirty years at least!

Bob Collins's office at FAU; photo courtesy of FAU Special Collections, Robert A. Collins Collection Peter Malekin and Nick Ruddick

Peter Malekin and Nick Ruddick; photo courtesy of FAU Special Collections, Robert A. Collins Collection Mike Levy and Brian Attebery

Photo courtesy of FAU Special Collections, Robert A. Collins Collection Mike Levy and Brian Attebery

ICFA regulars poolside; photo courtesy of David G. Hartwell

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