Tuesday, April 26, 2016

1941 Retro Hugo Award Finalists (awarded in 2016)

Location: MidAmeriCon II in Kansas City, Missouri.

Comments: In general, I'm not particularly enthused about the Retro Hugo Awards, mostly because I think that the idea of giving awards to works fifty or more years after they were published is problematic at best. In the case of the 1941 Retro Hugo Awards, the awards are being recognized seventy-five years after they were originally published, which just exacerbates all of the problems with this sort of exercise.

This year, however, the Retro Hugos are somewhat reassuring when placed next to the trash fire that is the 2016 Hugo Awards. The Retro Hugos drew very little interest from the Sad Puppies, they only listed the Heinlein stories If This Goes On–, Requiem, and The Roads Must Roll on their recommendation list, and the Rabid Puppies appear to have completely ignored the Retro Hugos1. Given that Heinlein gained three other nominations without any Puppy help, it doesn't seem all that far-fetched that these stories could have made it to the list without any need to game the ballots. For The Roads Must Roll, which is one of the most famous stories in the history of science fiction, this is especially true.

In a larger sense, this year's Retro Hugo ballot more or less destroys all of the Puppy talking points from the last few years. More than one prominent Puppy leader has proclaimed that Heinlein couldn't be nominated for a Hugo by current voters - but without Puppy help he was nominated three times in addition to the Puppy-approved trio of his stories. Puppies frequently say that good old fashioned space opera can't get nominated for the Hugos, and yet Gray Lensman earned a spot on the Retro Hugo ballot. Up and down this ballot are finalists whose presence upon it shows that the entire Puppy campaign has been built on a rhetorical foundation made of sand.

Best Novel

Slan by A.E. van Vogt

Other Finalists:
Gray Lensman by E.E. “Doc” Smith
The Ill‐Made Knight by T.H. White
Kallocain by Karin Boye
The Reign of Wizardry by Jack Williamson

Best Novella

If This Goes On . . . by Robert A. Heinlein

Other Finalists:
Coventry by Robert A. Heinlein
Magic, Inc. by Robert A. Heinlein (reviewed in The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein)
The Mathematics of Magic by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt
The Roaring Trumpet by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt

Best Novelette


Other Finalists:
Blowups Happen by Robert A. Heinlein
Darker Than You Think by Jack Williamson [ineligible]
Farewell to the Master by Harry Bates
It! by Theodore Sturgeon
Vault of the Beast by A.E. van Vogt

Best Short Story

Robbie by Isaac Asimov (reviewed in I, Robot)

Other Finalists:
Martian Quest by Leigh Brackett
Requiem by Robert A. Heinlein
The Stellar Legion by Leigh Brackett
Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius by Jorge Luis Borges

Best Graphic Story

Batman #1

Other Finalists:
Captain Marvel: Introducing Captain Marvel by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck
Flash Gordon: The Ice Kingdom of Mongo by Alex Raymond and Don Moore
The Origin of the Spirit by Will Eisner
The Spectre: The Spectre/The Spectre Strikes! by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily

Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form

Fantasia written by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer

Other Finalists:
Dr. Cyclops written by Tom Kilpatrick
Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe written by George H. Plympton, Basil Dickey, and Barry Shipman
One Million B.C. written by Mickell Novack, George Baker, and Joseph Frickert
The Thief of Bagdad written by Lajos Bíró and Miles Malleson

Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form

Pinocchio written by Ted Sears

Other Finalists:
The Adventures of Superman: The Baby from Krypton written by George Ludlam
The Invisible Man Returns written by Joe May, Kurt Siodmak, and Lester Cole
Looney Tunes: You Ought to Be in Pictures written by Jack Miller
Merrie Melodies: A Wild Hare written by Rich Hogan

Best Professional Editor: Short Form

John W. Campbell

Other Finalists:
Dorothy McIlwraith
Raymond A. Palmer
Frederik Pohl
Mort Weisinger

Best Professional Artist

Virgil Finlay

Other Finalists:
Hannes Bok
Margaret Brundage
Edd Cartier
Frank R. Paul
Hubert Rogers

Best Fanzine

Futuria Fantasia edited by Ray Bradbury

Other Finalists:
Le Zombie by Arthur Wilson "Bob" Tucker
Novacious by Forrest J. Ackerman and Morojo
Spaceways by Harry Warner, Jr.
Voice of the Imagi‐Nation by Forrest J. Ackerman and Morojo

Best Fan Writer

Ray Bradbury

Other Finalists:
Forrest J. Ackerman
H.P. Lovecraft
Arthur Wilson "Bob" Tucker
Harry Warner, Jr.

1 I suspect that in both cases it is because those organizing and voting for the two lists have little familiarity with works of the 1940s. Despite the Puppy rhetoric about the "good old days" of science fiction, many Puppies seem to be almost completely ignorant about the works that were produced during the era with which they claim to be so very much in love.

Go to previous year's finalists: 1939 (awarded in 2014)
Go to subsequent year's finalists: 1943 (awarded in 2018)

What Are the Hugo Awards?

1941 Retro Hugo Award Longlist     Book Award Reviews     Home

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