Friday, July 3, 2020

1944 Retro Hugo Award Longlist (awarded in 2019)

Looking through the Retro Hugo information to create the 2019 Retro Hugo Longlist brings to my mind the question that I always have about the Retro Hugos: Why do these exist?

One justification that could be raised is that the Retro Hugos are intended to honor the finalists and winners, giving them the kudos they deserve for their contributions to the genre, but that seems like a fairly flimsy rationale to me. I have not checked to see for certain, but I am reasonably confident that everyone who either is on this longlist or was involved in the creation of a work appearing on this longlist is now dead. They are beyond caring what is done to honor them for their work.

Another justification that might be raised is that the Worldcon members feel the need to express their admiration of the people and works nominated - sort of the flip side of the first rationale, but with the people being gratified being people who are living current Worldcon members rather than artists, writers, and editors who have passed away. Given the level of participation that the Retro Hugos engender, this seems like a weak rationale as well. Some people have criticized the Hugo Awards as having an unrepresentative voting base, but at the very least one can say that the bulk of the attending and supporting Worldcon members participate in the process that results in those awards. In contrast, only a tiny fraction of the Worldcon members bother with the Retro Hugos.

So few people participate in the Retro Hugos, that entire categories are routinely left off of the ballot due to a lack of nominations for finalists. In 2019, Best Related Work, Best Semiprozine, Best Long Form Professional Editor, Best Fancast, Best Fan Artist, and Best Art Book all failed to garner enough support to even appear on the ballot. For some of these categories, such as Best Fancast, the reason is obvious, while for others it seems that voters just couldn't be bothered to come up with appropriate nominees. The number of people participating the the nominating process is minuscule - some of the longlisted nominees on this list got their by virtue of a single nominating vote, many more with two or three nominations. The number of nominators topped out at about six dozen for the most nominated novel. The number of Worldcon voters who participated in the actual vote to determine the Retro Hugo winners was only marginally higher.

In addition to this apparent lack of interest, it seems that many who do participate in the Retro Hugo process don't actually have any idea what they are supposed to be nominating. Two potential finalists were disqualified because they were not published in 1943. When I was going through the longlist to fill out the incomplete data about the nominees, it became apparent that many of the longlisted works were also ineligible due to being published in a year other than 1943. One person even cast a nominating ballot for Exit Strategy, a novella that was published in 2018.

One might think this confusion would lead to an interesting array of nominees being put forward, and that might be a reason for the Retro Hugos - to put a spotlight on people and works that otherwise might be forgotten. The reality, however, is that the nominees seem to be drawn from the relatively small pool of options that have endured the test of time. Most of the fiction nominees were written by the same handful of well-known authors, the same holds true for the artist and editor categories - the same handful of people get nominated over an over again. Functionally what this means is that figures like Fritz Leiber, Robert A. Henlein, John W. Campbell, Leigh Brackett, and A.E. van Vogt dominate the resulting lists of nominees. Do these people really need more recognition?

The potential honorees are dead, almost no Worldcon members participate, those that do seem to be frequently confused about what is eligible, and the nominees are largely people who who were already weighted down with honors during their lifetimes. So, the question remains: Why do the Retro Hugos exist? What purpose do they serve?

Best Novel

Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber [winner]
Earth’s Last Citadel by C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner
Gather, Darkness! by Fritz Leiber
Das Glasperlenspiel (The Glass Bead Game) by Hermann Hesse
Perelandra by C.S. Lewis
The Weapon Makers by A.E. van Vogt

Longlisted Nominees:
The Black, Black Witch by Kenneth Robeson
The Book of Ptath by A.E. van Vogt
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H.P. Lovecraft
Fog Magic by Julia L. Sauer
Judgment Night by C.L. Moore
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
Malpertuis by Jean Ray
Mary Poppins Opens the Door by P.L. Travers
Ravage/Ashes Ashes by René Barjavel
Sirius by Olaf Stapledon

Best Novella

Attitude by Hal Clement
Clash by Night by C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath by H.P. Lovecraft
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry [winner]
The Magic Bed-Knob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons by Mary Norton
We Print the Truth by Anthony Boucher

Longlisted Nominees:
Exile to Centauri by Ross Rocklynne
Exit Strategy by Martha Wells
Genie of Bagdad by William P. McGivern
The Giant Atom by Malcolm Jameson
The Great Brain Panic by Don Wilcox
Hell Hath Fury by Cleve Cartmill
Killdozer by Theodore Sturgeon
The Lost Warship by Robert Moore Williams
One-Way Trip by Anthony Boucher
Opposites-React! by Jack Williamson
The Robot Master by Walter B. Gibson
The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag by Robert A. Heinlein (reviewed in The Fantasies of Robert A,. Heinlein)
Wings of Icarus by Ray Cummings

Best Novelette

Citadel of Lost Ships by Leigh Brackett
The Halfling by Leigh Brackett
Mimsy Were the Borogoves by C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner [winner]
The Proud Robot by Henry Kuttner
Symbiotica by Eric Frank Russell
Thieves’ House by Fritz Leiber

Longlisted Nominees
Angelic Angleworm by Fredric Brown
The Beast by A.E. van Vogt
The Cave by P. Schuyler Miller
Daymare by Fredric Brown
Elsewhen by Anthony Boucher
Greenface by James H. Schmitz
Message from Mars by Clifford Simak
The Storm by A.E. van Vogt
Thralls of the Endless Night by Leigh Brackett
Time Locker by Henry Kuttner

Best Short Story

Death Sentence by Isaac Asimov
Doorway into Time by C.L. Moore
Exile by Edmond Hamilton
King of the Gray Spaces (aka R is for Rocket) by Ray Bradbury [winner]
Q.U.R. by H.H. Holmes
Yours Truly – Jack the Ripper by Robert Bloch

Longlisted Nominees
The Crowd by Ray Bradbury
The Devil Is Not Mocked by Manly Wade Wellman
The Geezenstacks by Fredric Brown
The Gremlins by Roald Dahl
The Iron Standard by Lewis Padgett
Nothing But Gingerbread Left by Henry Kuttner
The Secret Miracle by Jorge Luis Borges
The Scythe by Ray Bradbury
They Bite by Anthony Boucher
The Wind by Ray Bradbury

Best Graphic Story

Buck Rogers: Martians Invade Jupiter by Philip Nowlan and Dick Calkins
Flash Gordon: Fiery Desert of Mongo by Alex Raymond
Garth by Steve Dowling
Nelvana of the Northern Lights and the Ice-Beam by Adrian Dingle [ineligible]
Plastic Man #1: The Game of Death by Jack Cole
Le Secret de la Licorne (The Secret of the Unicorn) by Hergé
Wonder Woman #5: Battle for Womanhood written by William Moulton Marsden, art by Harry G. Peter [winner]

Longlisted Nominees:
All-Star Comics #18 written by Gardner Fox, art by Joe Gallagher, Sheldon Moldoff, Pierce Rice, Arturo Cazeneuve, Bernard Baily, Howard Sherman, and Stan Aschmeier
Brick Bradford: On the Throne of Titania written by William Ritt, art by Clarence Gray
Buck Rogers: Mechanical Bloodhound written by Flint Dille, art by Dick Calkins
Captain America Comics written by Stan Lee, Otto Binder, and Ray Cummings, art by Al Avison, Harry Sahle, Don Rico, Ed Asch, Syd Shores, Bob Oksner, Guy Blythe, Carl Pfeufer, Jack Alderman, Paul Reinman, Vince Alascia, Carmine Infantino, Al Fagaly, Al Bellman, Sid Greene, Al Gabriele, Jimmy Thompson, Ken Bald, and Mike Sekowsky
Donald Duck: The Mummy's Ring by Carl Banks
Donald Duck: The Victory Garden by Carl Banks
Green Lantern #7: The Wizard of Odds written by Bill Finger, art by Martin Nodell
Green Lantern #10: The Man Who Wanted the World written by Alfred Bester, art by Martin Nodell
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Mandrake the Magician: Baron Kord written by Lee Falk, art by Phil Davis
Many Moons written by James Thurber, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
Otomox written by André Mavimus, art by Roger Roux
The Phantom: The Phantom's Engagement written by Lee Falk, art by Wilson McCoy
Le Rayon U by Edgar P. Jacobs
Submariner and The Green Island Menace art by Carl Pfeufer
Tintin: The Crab with the Golden Claws by Hergé
Tintin: Red Rackham's Treasure by Hergé

Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form

Batman written by Victor McLeod, Leslie Swabacker and Harry L. Fraser
Cabin in the Sky written by Joseph Schrank
A Guy Named Joe written by Frederick Hazlitt Brennan and Dalton Trumbo
Heaven Can Wait written by Samson Raphaelson [winner]
Münchhausen written by Erich Kästner and Rudolph Erich Raspe
The Phantom (serial) written by Morgan Cox, Victor McLeod, Sherman L. Lowe, Leslie Swabacker, Lee Falk, and Ray Moore [ineligible]
Phantom of the Opera written by Eric Taylor, Samuel Hoffenstein and Hans Jacoby

Longlisted Nominees:
Calling Dr. Death written by Edward Dein
The Curse of the Cat People written by DeWitt Bodeen
Faustus Kelly written by Flann O'Brien
Flesh and Fantasy written by Ellis St. Joseph, Oscar Wilde, László Vadnay, Ernest Pascal, and Samuel Hoffenstein
The Insect Play (Rhapsody in Stephen's Green) written by Clifford Bax, Karel Capek, Nigel Playfair, and Paul Selver
The Leopard Man written by Ardel Wray, Edward Dein, and Cornell Woolrich
The Masked Marvel written by Royal K. Cole, Ronald Davidson, Basil Dickey, Jesse Duffy, Grant Nelson, George H. Plympton, and Joseph F. Poland
Shadow of a Doubt written by Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson, Alma Reville, and Gordon McDonell
Sherlock Holmes Faces Death written by Bertram Millhauser and Arthur Conan Doyle
The Tin Men

Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form

The Ape Man written by Barney A. Sarecky
Der Fuehrer’s Face story by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer
Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman written by Curt Siodmak [winner]
I Walked With a Zombie written by Curt Siodmak and Ardel Wray
The Seventh Victim written by Charles O’Neal and DeWitt Bodeen
Super-Rabbit written by Tedd Pierce

Longlisted Nominees:
Captive Wild Woman written by Ted Fithian, Neil P. Varnick, Jay Griffin, and Henry Sucher
The Mad Ghoul written by Brenda Weisberg, Paul Gangelin, and Hanns Kräly
La Main du Diable/Carnival of Sinners written by Jean-Paul Le Chanois and Gérard de Nerval
Meshes of the Afternoon written by Maya Deren
Momotarô's Sea Eagles written by Arishige Kurihara
The Underground World written by Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Jay Morton, and Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Silent Village by Humphrey Jennings
Son of Dracula written by Eric Taylor and Curt Siodmak
Red Hot Riding Hood written by Rich Hogan
The Return of the Vampire written by Jay Griffin, Kurt Neumann, and Randall Faye

Best Professional Editor: Short Form

John W. Campbell [winner]
Oscar J. Friend
Mary Gnaedinger
Dorothy McIlwraith
Raymond A. Palmer
Donald A. Wollheim

Longlisted Nominees:
Robert A. W. Lowdnes
Frank A. Munsey
Alden H. Norton
W. Scott Peacock
Frederik Pohl
Malcolm Reiss
Farnsworth Wright

Best Professional Artist

Hannes Bok
Margaret Brundage
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Virgil Finlay [winner]
J. Allen St. John
William Timmins

Longlisted Nominees:
Earle Bergey
Edd Cartier
Harold W. McCauley
Paul Orban
Frank R. Paul
Mervyn Peake
George Rozen
Alex Schomburg
A.R. Tilburne
Dorothy M. Wheeler

Best Fanzine

Futurian War Digest edited by J. Michael Rosenblum
Guteto edited by Myrtle R. Douglas
The Phantagraph edited by Donald A. Wollheim
Voice of the Imagi-Nation edited by Jack Erman and Myrtle Douglas
Le Zombie edited by Wilson “Bob” Tucker [winner]

Longlisted Nominees:
British Fantasy Society Bulletin by D.R. Smith
Chanticleer by Walt Liebscher
Cosmic Circle Commentator by Claude Degler (writing as Dan Rogers)
En Garde by Al Ashley and Abby Lu Ashley
Fanfare by The Stranger Club
Fantasy Fiction Field by Julius Unger
Fantasy News by James Taurasi and William Sykora
Horizons by Harry Warner, Jr.
Inspiration edited by Lynn Bridges
Light by Leslie A. Croutch
Madman of Mars #4 by Forrest J Ackerman
Nebula 6 by Larry Shaw and Rusty Barron
Shangri L’Affaires edited by Walt Daugherty, Arthur Joquel, and Phil Bronson
Sustainability Program by Jack Speer

Best Fan Writer

Forrest J. Ackerman [winner]
Myrtle Douglas
Jack Speer
Wilson “Bob” Tucker
Art Widner
Donald A. Wollheim

Longlisted Nominees:
Al Ashley
Helen Bradleigh
Lynn Bridges
Russ Chauvenet
Leslie E. Crouch
Walter J. Daugherty
E. Everett Evans
Harry Jenkins, Jr.
Francis Towner Laney
Don Rogers
J. Michael Rosenblum
Larry Shaw
William S. Sykora
Harry Turner
Julius Unger
Harry Warner Jr.
Douglas Webster

Go to previous year's longlist: 1943 (awarded in 2018)
Go to subsequent year's longlist: 1946 (awarded in 1996)

Go to 1944 Hugo Finalists and Winners

Hugo Longlist Project     Book Award Reviews     Home

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