Guest of Honor

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Synonyms: GOH, celebrity guest
See also: Fan Fund, Convention
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"Rent These People," a 1976 blunt reminder from the 1976 Equicon program book that the days of the casual fancons had waned, and getting celebrity guests of honor at your con was big business
1986 flyer for Eccentricon, click to read

The Guest of Honor at a smaller, fan-run convention is a person that other fans would like to meet.

Procon conventions have paid celebrity guests which may, or may not, be referred to as a GOH. Larger, for-profit conventions also may have Fan Guest of Honors in attendance, as well as the paid guests. Bjo Trimble and Joan Winston were often fan-GOHs of the bigger conventions.

The comcon of smaller, fan-run conventions is who decides on who is to be a GOH; much rarer is a contest designed to decide who the GOH should be. See attached image for the Eccentricon con in 1987.

Sometimes the fan-GOH is asked to be on a number of panels and/or do a presentation of some sort, and sometimes the fan-GOH is simply expected to mingle.

Examples of Use

  • "Sharon and I organized a con in 1974 in Kalamazoo called KWest*Con and we got Harlan Ellison as our pro GOH [professional guest of honor] speaker. We had to pay for his flight and room and board, but we didn't have to pay an honorarium... We brought Harlan to Sharon's house and fed him a chicken dinner." [1]
  • "The good news was that we had TWO guests of honor, for Wilmar Shiras (author of 'In Hiding'...) turned up and MZB and Jacqueline both spent time at her feet, since it turns out both had been strongly influenced by her." [2]
  • The programming tends to be more focused on the literary and scientific aspects of science fiction, as opposed to Arisia's focus on fan culture and the fan community. The writer Guest of Honor often holds a book launch on site through NESFA's publishing arm, NESFA Press; while the Guest of Honor artist generally has pieces up for auction at the art show.[3]
  • for one Guest of Honor's description of his experience, see David Gerrold's 1984 UFP Con Report


  1. ^ from an interview with Paula Smith in a 2010 interview for Transformative Works and Cultures
  2. ^ a fan recounts a 1977 gathering at Marion Zimmer Bradley's house in Friends of Darkover #4
  3. ^ a fan describes Boskone