Wednesday, April 4, 2018

1943 Retro Hugo Award Finalists (awarded in 2018)

Location: Worldcon 76 in San Jose, California.

Comments: I have written before about my philosophical reservations about the entire concept of the Retro Hugo Awards, and the list of finalists put forward this year just highlights those reservations. Both Heinlein and Asimov garnered four finalist slots each, and while they are both undeniably giants in the history of science fiction, I can't help but question whether those nominations were because of the quality of the works in question, or the fact that people remember the subsequent forty-some year careers that these men had. The same holds true for the nominations for Bester, del Rey, Leiber, and van Vogt: Were their stories nominated because they were actually the best stories from 1943, or were they nominated because they are the authors who had long careers that lasted for decades after 1943 and the Hugo electorate is familiar with them? The irresolvable nature of this question always haunts the Retro Hugo Awards, and in my opinion always makes the list of finalists suspect.

The difference in eras also shows up in other ways as well. Due to changes in popular media forms coupled with lack of interest among nominators in some categories, not all of the Hugo categories get a list of finalists, either due to a lack of candidates or a lack of sufficient numbers of nominations. This year, the Retro Hugos include a Best Short Form Dramatic Presentation category, but not a Best Long Form Dramatic Presentation Category. The oddity is that all of the Short Form finalists are feature films, a kind of media that usually fits into the Long Form Dramatic Presentation category. This oddness is due to the fact that the categories were defined in the modern era: To qualify for the Short Form category, a dramatic presentation must shorter than ninety minutes, and the Long Form entries must be longer. In recent years, this has meant that pretty much any feature length film will fall into the Long Form category, as almost all feature films are longer than ninety minutes. In the 1940s, on the other hand, movies were shorter - of the six finalists in the Dramatic Presentation category, only one, the Jungle Book, is longer than ninety minutes. This leads to the minor absurdity of a "Short Form" category filled with finalists of a type that the definition of the category was implicitly crafted to exclude. This is just one example of the awkwardness that ensues from taking categories meant to apply to the modern world of genre fiction and fandom and trying to apply them to the genre fiction and fandom from seven decades ago.

Best Novel

Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein

Other Finalists:
Darkness and the Light by Olaf Stapledon
Donovan’s Brain by Curt Siodmak
Islandia by Austin Tappan Wright
Second Stage Lensmen by E.E. “Doc” Smith
The Uninvited by Dorothy Macardle

Best Novella

Other Finalists:
Asylum by A.E. van Vogt
The Compleat Werewolf by Anthony Boucher
Hell Is Forever by Alfred Bester
Nerves by Lester del Rey
The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag by Robert A. Heinlein (reviewed in The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein)

Best Novelette


Other Finalists:
Bridle and Saddle by Isaac Asimov
Goldfish Bowl by Robert A. Heinlein
The Star Mouse by Fredric Brown
There Shall Be Darkness by C.L. Moore

Best Short Story

The Twonky by C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner

Other Finalists:
Etaoin Shrdlu by Fredric Brown
Mimic by Donald A. Wollheim
Proof by Hal Clement
Runaround by Isaac Asimov (reviewed in I, Robot)
The Sunken Land by Fritz Leiber

Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form


Other Finalists:
Cat People
The Ghost of Frankenstein
I Married a Witch
Invisible Agent
Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book

Best Professional Editor: Short Form

John W. Campbell

Other Finalists:
Oscar J. Friend
Dorothy McIlwraith
Raymond A. Palmer
Malcolm Reiss
Donald A. Wollheim

Best Professional Artist

Virgil Finlay

Other Finalists:
Hannes Bok
Margaret Brundage
Edd Cartier
Harold W. McCauley
Hubert Rogers

Best Fanzine

Le Zombie edited by Arthur Wilson “Bob” Tucker

Other Finalists:
Futurian War Digest edited by J. Michael Rosenblum
Inspiration edited by Lynn Bridges
The Phantagraph edited by Donald A. Wollheim
Spaceways edited by Harry Warner, Jr.
Voice of the Imagi-Nation edited by Forrest J Ackerman and Morojo

Best Fan Writer

Forrest J Ackerman

Other Finalists:
Jack Speer
Arthur Wilson “Bob” Tucker
Harry Warner, Jr.
Art Widner
Donald A. Wollheim

Go to previous year's finalists: 1941 (awarded in 2016)
Go to subsequent year's finalists: 1944 (awarded in 2019)

What Are the Hugo Awards?

1943 Retro Hugo Award Longlist     Book Award Reviews     Home

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