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Discussion for the 1943 Retro Hugo Awards

(34 posts)

  1. Ron

    This thread is to discuss the 1943 Retro Hugo Awards. The 1943 Retro Hugos for works first published in 1942 will be awarded in a ceremony to be held on August 16, 2018 at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose CA.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  2. Ron

    "Runaround" by Isaac Asimov.

    The goodreads blurb for this story says: ""Runaround" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov, featuring his recurring characters Powell and Donovan. It was written in October 1941 and first published in the March 1942 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. It appears in the collections I, Robot (1950), The Complete Robot (1982), and Robot Visions (1990). Runaround is notable for featuring the first explicit appearance of the Three Laws of Robotics, which had previously only been implied in Asimov's robot stories."

    I read the story years ago and remember liking it. I might re-read it.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  3. Ron

    Here's another story: "The Weapon Shop" is a science fiction short story by Canadian writer A. E. van Vogt, originally published in the December 1942 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. It is developed from a much shorter 1941 story, "The Seesaw". It was, in turn, used as the basis for a portion of the 1951 fix-up novel The Weapon Shops of Isher. (Source: Wikipedia)

    Posted 2 years ago #
  4. dolphintornsea

    I had a quick look at the stories in my library to see which ones, published in 1942, might be in contention. Please remember that fantasy stories are eligible for the Hugos.

    In the novella category, Heinlein's "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag", Lester del Rey's "Nerves", and Anthony Boucher's "The Compleat Werewolf".

    For novelette, Asimov published "Foundation" and "Runaround", and there's Van Vogt's "The Weapon Shop".

    The only short story I can think of right now is Fredric Brown's "The Star Mouse".

    The Del Rey and the Van Vogt were in the SCIENCE FICTION HALL OF FAME anthologies, and that was a very thorough and authoritative exercise in retrospective recognition, so logically they should be front runners.

    Logic doesn't always prevail, of course. For instance, Lester del Rey's "Helen O'Loy" was in the SF Hall of Fame, but in the 1939 Retro Hugos it lost to an obscure amateur piece by Arthur C. Clarke.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  5. Ron

    "Funes the Memorious"—original Spanish title "Funes el memorioso"[1]—is a fantasy short story by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986). First published in La Nación of June 1942, it appeared in the 1944 anthology Ficciones, part two (Artifices). The first English translation appeared in 1954 in Avon Modern Writing No. 2.

    "Funes the Memorious" is the tale of one Ireneo Funes, who, after falling off his horse and receiving a bad head injury, acquired the amazing talent—or curse—of remembering absolutely everything. (Wikipedia)

    Posted 2 years ago #
  6. Dr. Caligari

    "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" is very obscure Heinlein, but it is one of my personal favorites. Along with his short story "They," it shows that Heinlein could speculate not only about technology and politics, but also about the nature of reality itself. I wouldn't be surprised if Philip K. Dick learned from it.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  7. dolphintornsea

    I'm not much of a Heinlein fan, but "They" is my favorite story by him. Pity that it's not from the year under consideration. It's one of those works that's assumed to be fantasy, but imho it could just as easily be read as SF. It's also one of those story ideas (rather like Heinlein's "All You Zombies—" that can really be done only once.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  8. Dr. Caligari

    dolphin, if you like "They," you should also read "The Unpleasant Profession..." (assuming you haven't).

    Posted 2 years ago #
  9. dolphintornsea

    Dr. Calgari, I don't know what makes you think I haven't read "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag", given that I mentioned it in my post above — but you're right: I haven't.

    I labored through THE PAST THROUGH TOMORROW last year, and I also have THE FANTASIES OF ROBERT HEINLEIN. Of the latter book, all I've read is "They" and "My Fair City". I started "Hoag" once, but it was too long for the time I had available. I'll promote it in the "To Read" bundle!

    (Edit: I just looked at the TOC of THE FANTASIES again. I have also read "-And He Built a Crooked House" and "All You Zombies ...")

    Posted 2 years ago #
  10. CarlGlover

    My nominees:

    Novel: "Beyond This Horizon" - Heinlein*
    "The Stranger" - Camus
    "The Screwtape Letters" - C. S. Lewis

    Novella: "Recruiting Station" - van Vogt
    "Barrier" - Boucher
    "Waldo" - Heinlein*
    "Nerves" - del Rey
    "The Compleat Werewolf" - Boucher
    "Jonathan Hoag" - Heinlein
    "Hell is Forever" - Bester
    "Asylum" - van Vogt

    Novelette: "Foundation" - Asimov
    "The Weapon Shop" - van Vogt*
    "Goldfish Bowl" - Heinlein
    "Compliments of the Author" - Kuttner
    "The Elixir" - Jane Rice
    "The Twonky" - Lewis Padgett
    "Runaround" - Asimov
    "QRM - Interplanetary" - George O. Smith

    Short Story: "Proof" - Clement
    "The Idol of the Flies" - Jane Rice*
    "Not Only Dead Men" - van Vogt
    "Robot AL-76 Goes Astray" - Asimov
    "Etaoin Shrdlu" - Fredric Brown

    Editor: John W. Campbell, Jr.

    Novel: "The Weapon Makers" - van Vogt
    "Gather, Darkness!" - Leiber
    "The Fountainhead" - Ayn Rand
    "Perelandra" - C. S. Lewis*
    "The Book of Ptath" - van Vogt
    "Earth's Last Citadel" - Kuttner & Moore
    "Conjure Wife" - Leiber
    "The New Adam" - Weinbaum

    Novella: "Wet Magic" - Kuttner
    "We Print the Truth" - Boucher*
    "One-Way Trip" - Boucher
    "Attitude" - Clement
    "Clash by Night" - Lawrence O'Donnell
    "Fifty Million Monkeys" - Raymond F. Jones

    Novelette: "The Angelic Angleworm" - Kuttner
    "The Golden Bridle" - Jane Rice
    "Greenface" - James H. Schmitz
    "Elsewhen" - Boucher
    "The Proud Robot" - Padgett
    "Time Locker" - Padgett
    "Symbiotica" - Eric Frank Russell
    "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" - Padgett*
    "The World is Mine" - Padgett

    Short Story: "They Bite" - Boucher
    "The Refugee" - Jane Rice
    "QUR" - Boucher
    "Paradox Lost" - Fredric Brown*
    "Conscience, Ltd." - Williamson
    "Whom the Gods Love" - del Rey
    "The Iron Standard" - Padgett
    "Robinc" - Boucher
    "Nothing But Gingerbread Left" - Kuttner
    "Death Sentence" - Asimov

    Editor: John W. Campbell, Jr.

    *My pick for the Hugo.

    I read most of these during my Golden Age, in back issues and anthologies, and not since; my opinion now might be different.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  11. Mark Pontin

    CarlGlover wrote: 'I read most of these during my Golden Age, in back issues and anthologies, and not since; my opinion now might be different.'

    You might find that the best of Kuttner and Moore is actually _better_ than you remember.

    The two were tremendously productive during the war years when Heinlein, Asimov, and Hubbard became mostly unavailable to Campbell, and not all of their output still reads that well by modern standards. Kuttner, particularly, was too facile, with material like EARTH'S LAST CITADEL.

    On the other hand, Kuttner-Moore material like 'Vintage Season' in 1946 -- which everybody knows and which is, IMO, the first adult lit produced by American magazine SF -- and 'The Children's Hour' in 1944 -- which almost nobody remembers, but is as good as 'Mimsy' -- and some other stories by the couple presage the more adult SF that appeared in GALAXY and F&SF in the 1950s. Especially, I don't think Philip K. Dick would have been possible without the Kuttners.

    I note that Amazon has 35 second-copies of the big 2004 Nesfa publication TWO-HANDED ENGINE: THE SELECTED STORIES OF HENRY KUTTNER AND C.L. MOORE going for as little as $6.43. It collects thirty-seven Kuttner-Moore tales of all kinds.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  12. Mark Pontin

    Also: not incidentally, Alec Neva-Lee has a big history/multiple biography called ASTOUNDING: JOHN W. CAMPBELL, ISAAC ASIMOV, ROBERT A. HEINLEIN, L. RON HUBBARD AND THE GOLDEN AGE OF SCIENCE FICTION coming out a little later this year from Harper-Collins.

    I read a first draft and I recommend it.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  13. Ron

    This is from a website called SF Timeline (

    1942 Isaac Asimov: "The Foundation Trilogy" the greatest novels of all
    science fiction? Fall of vast galactic empire
    1942 L. Sprague de Camp & Fletcher Pratt: "Land of Unreason"
    1942 Lester del Rey: "Nerves" early novelette of atomic reactor accident
    1942 Ellen Glasgow, "In This Our Life", Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
    [not SF, but here for context]
    1942 Edmond Hamilton: "The Comet Kings"
    1942 Robert A. Heinlein [as Anson MacDonald]: "Beyond This Horizon"
    1942 Vita Sackville-West: "Grand Canyon" -- incorrectly forecast
    victory by Nazui Germany
    1942 E. E. Smith: "Second Stage Lensman"
    1942 Olaf Stapledon: "Darkness and the Light" (London: Methuen) Future history
    of Russia versus China with "religious communism" in Tibet caught
    in between
    1942 Clark Ashton Smith: "Out of Space and Time" (Sauk City WI: Arkham
    House) His first collection, 20 astonishing and poetic stories
    1942 George O. Smith: "Venus Equilateral" solar-powered interplanetary
    space stations
    1942 Phil Strong [editor]: "The Other Worlds" (Garden City Press),
    anthology of 25 stories, some science fiction, mostly fantasy
    1942 Peter Vansittart: "I Am The World" dictatorship satire
    1942 Austin Tappan Wright: "Islandia" (New York: Farrar & Rinehart)
    Vast utopian novel of progress versus organic harmony

    Posted 2 years ago #
  14. Ron

    Further down on that website I came across this:

    1942 Gordon A. Gile's (Otto Binder)'s "Via Jupiter" in "Thrilling Wonder",
    Richard Lupoff contends that this should have won the Hugo Award for best
    short story, if the award had existed then, and if there had been a
    Worldcon that year (there was not, because of World War II)

    Posted 2 years ago #
  15. CarlGlover

    Thanks for the info, Ron.

    Several of the novels you list for 1942 I was unaware of and have never read (Glasgow, Sackville-West, Vansittart). It'll be interesting to see if any of them land on the final ballot.

    Neither "The Land of Unreason" nor "Second Stage Lensman" would be eligible, since they were both published in magazine form in 1941. I would not have considered the de Camp, since it is not one of his better efforts, but the Smith would certainly have merited consideration.

    "Via Jupiter" is bylined Eando Binder (not Gordon A. Giles) in the Feb 1942 TWS. It is listed as a "complete novel" but appears to be of novella (not short story) length. I had not previously read it, but did so on Lupoff's recommendation. It's a fairly good 1930s-style pulp effort, but would not have made the cut for my nominees list. But, who knows, maybe I would have loved it during my Golden Age!

    Posted 2 years ago #
  16. No biggie, but Fredric Brown's "The Star Mouse" is a novelette, not a short story as mentioned above. First pubbed in the Feb. 1942 Planet Stories.

    And a story no one has mentioned yet is "Lewis Padgett's" "The Twonky" also from the September 1942 Astounding along with the aforementioned Del Rey's "Nerves." "The Twonky" has always been a favorite of mine, though I read it so long ago all I recall are the barest of outlines of it.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  17. dolphintornsea

    Dave, Bill Contento's Index to Science Fiction Anthologies and Collections lists "The Star Mouse" as a short story. I do see that ISFDB has it as a novelette, and after looking at the page counts in the books I have, that's probably correct. It's marginal, though.

    Ron, I've often referred to the SF Timeline site which you also seem to have discovered. I believe the webmaster was Jonathan Vos Post, who seems to have stopped updating it.

    I also found the recommendations of Richard A. Lupoff fascinating, but I've been unable to establish where, if at all, they were published. I actually tried to contact mr. Lupoff anout this, without success. There is, of course, a series of three anthologies called WHAT IF? in which Lupoff collects his imaginary Hugo winners, but the SF timeline site suggests that he made selections for a much longer period than that covered by the anthologies.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  18. CarlGlover

    "The Star Mouse" is listed on the contents page of the Spring, 1942, "Planet Stories" as a short story, and is about 12 double-column pages of fairly small print, with illustrations. Maybe by stretching the definition it could be called a short novelette. But it would probably be officially categorized for Hugo purposes as a short story. It may well appear on the final ballot, so we'll see.

    "The Twonky" is also one of my all-time favorites and I've listed it in the novelette category, above. "Nerves" is also listed.

    Good to see such interest in these great stories of long ago. What a time it must have been to be a fan!

    Posted 2 years ago #
  19. dolphintornsea

    OK, here's dedication for you.

    I copied and pasted the text of "The Star Mouse" into an MS Word document, and then scanned through the document to remove irrelevant bits. The result (assuming this is very close to accurate) is 7776 words.

    So it's a novelette, but close enough to a short story for no one to make a fuss if it ends up on the ballot as a short story.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  20. Chris DeVito

    My list.

    Beyond This Horizon, by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, April, May)
    The Undesired Princess, by L. Sprague de Camp (Unknown Worlds, Feb.)
    Solomon’s Stone, by L. Sprague de Camp (Unknown Worlds, June)
    The Sorcerer’s Ship, by Hannes Bok (Unknown Worlds, Dec.)

    The Push of a Finger, by Alfred Bester (Astounding Science-Fiction, May)
    Waldo, by Robert A. Heinlein [as Anson MacDonald] (Astounding Science-Fiction, Aug.)
    Nerves, by Lester del Rey (Astounding Science-Fiction, Sept.)
    The Barrier, by Anthony Boucher (Astounding Science-Fiction, Sept.)
    The Compleat Werewolf, by Anthony Boucher (Unknown Worlds, April)
    Hell Is Forever, by Alfred Bester (Unknown Worlds, Aug.)
    The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag, by Robert A. Heinlein [as John Riverside] (Unknown Worlds, Oct.)

    Abyss of Darkness, by Ross Rocklynne (Astonishing Stories, Dec.)
    We Guard the Black Planet! by Henry Kuttner (Super Science Stories, Nov.)
    Mechanistria, by Eric Frank Russell (Astounding Science-Fiction, Jan.)
    There Shall Be Darkness, by C. L. Moore (Astounding Science-Fiction, Feb.)
    Medusa, by Theodore Sturgeon (Astounding Science-Fiction, Feb.)
    Goldfish Bowl, by Robert A. Heinlein [as Anson MacDonald] (Astounding Science-Fiction, Mar.)
    Runaround, by Isaac Asimov (Astounding Science-Fiction, Mar.)
    Foundation, by Isaac Asimov (Astounding Science-Fiction, May)
    The Star Mouse, by Fredric Brown (Planet Stories, Spring)
    The Twonky, by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore [as Lewis Padgett] (Astounding Science-Fiction, Sept.)
    The Weapon Shop, by A. E. van Vogt (Astounding Science-Fiction, Dec.)
    Piggy Bank, by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore [as Lewis Padgett] (Astounding Science-Fiction, Dec.)
    Design for Dreaming, by Henry Kuttner (Unknown Worlds, Feb.)
    Compliments of the Author, by Henry Kuttner (Unknown Worlds, Oct.)
    The Hag Séleen, by Theodore Sturgeon and James H. Beard (Unknown Worlds, Dec.)

    Short Stories:
    Child of the Green Light, by Leigh Brackett (Super Science Stories, Feb.)
    Proof, by Hal Clement (Astounding Science-Fiction, June)
    Deadlock, by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore [as Lewis Padgett] (Astounding Science-Fiction, Aug.)
    Etaoin Shrdlu, by Fredric Brown (Unknown Worlds, Feb.)
    The Sunken Land, by Fritz Leiber (Unknown Worlds, Feb.)
    Jesus Shoes, by Allan R. Bosworth (Unknown Worlds, April)
    The Idol of the Flies, by Jane Rice (Unknown Worlds, June)
    The Hill and the Hole, by Fritz Leiber (Unknown Worlds, Aug.)
    Letter to an Invisible Woman, by Hannes Bok (Unknown Worlds, Oct.)
    Crisis! by C. M. Kornbluth [as Cecil Corwin] (Science Fiction Quarterly, Spring)
    The Phantom Slayer, by Fritz Leiber (Weird Tales, Jan.)
    Masquerade, by Henry Kuttner (Weird Tales, May)
    The Hound, by Fritz Leiber (Weird Tales, Nov.)

    Hannes Bok
    Edd Cartier
    Virgil Finlay

    Posted 2 years ago #
  21. Carl and dolphintornsea, I was just using the length the ISFDB had "The Star Mouse" as being. No biggie. Another source for good 1942 stories is the 1942 volume of DAW's The Great SF Stories: 1942, ed. Asimov & Greenberg. The series began with 1939, so the '42 volume is cover listed as #3, fwiw. I love that entire series.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  22. Chris DeVito

    Here are my "votes":

    Best Novel:
    The Sorcerer’s Ship, by Hannes Bok (Unknown Worlds, Dec.)

    Best Novella:
    The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag, by Robert A. Heinlein [as John Riverside] (Unknown Worlds, Oct.)

    Best Novelette:
    The Twonky, by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore [as Lewis Padgett] (Astounding Science-Fiction, Sept.)

    Best Short Story:
    The Sunken Land, by Fritz Leiber (Unknown Worlds, Feb.)

    Best Artist:
    Hannes Bok, Edd Cartier, Virgil Finlay (3-way tie)

    Posted 2 years ago #
  23. dolphintornsea

    Here's the TOC of THE GREAT SF STORIES 4 (1942), ripped from the Contento index:

    The Great SF Stories 4 (1942) ed. Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg (DAW 0-87997-570-9, Oct ’80, $2.50, 448pp, pb); also in The Golden Years of Science Fiction, Second Series.

    7 • Introduction • Martin H. Greenberg • in

    11 • The Star Mouse [Mitkey] • Fredric Brown • ss Planet Stories Spr ’42 [but probably a novelette]

    32 • The Wings of Night • Lester del Rey • ss Astounding Mar ’42

    50 • Cooperate-Or Else! [Rulls] • A. E. van Vogt • nv Astounding Apr ’42

    77 • Foundation [Foundation] • Isaac Asimov • nv Astounding May ’42

    110 • The Push of a Finger • Alfred Bester • na Astounding May ’42

    150 • Asylum [William Leigh] • A. E. van Vogt • nv Astounding May ’42

    205 • Proof • Hal Clement • ss Astounding Jun ’42

    222 • Nerves • Lester del Rey • na Astounding Sep ’42

    295 • Barrier • Anthony Boucher • na Astounding Sep ’42

    347 • The Twonky • Lewis Padgett • nv Astounding Sep ’42

    369 • QRM—Interplanetary [Venus Equilateral] • George O. Smith • nv Astounding Oct ’42

    403 • The Weapon Shop [Isher] • A. E. van Vogt • nv Astounding Dec ’42; given as “The Weapons Shop”.

    442 • Mimic [as by Martin Pearson] • Donald A. Wollheim • ss Astonishing Stories Dec ’42

    Posted 2 years ago #
  24. Ron

    Hey, I read _The Sorcerer’s Ship_ by Hannes Bok. Its a fantasy story that takes on an oceanic world. Amusing at times, I found it a pleasant read.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  25. Marian

    Official list of nominations:

    Posted 2 years ago #
  26. CarlGlover

    Thanks, Marian. A good representative list of nominees. But my original understanding was that the 1944 Hugos would also be awarded, which is why I listed them too. Not so? Does anyone know?

    Posted 2 years ago #
  27. dolphintornsea

    Carl: Yes, the 1944 Retro Hugos will be presented---next year at Dublin.

    The announcements were made simultaneously, but the presentations are a year apart.

    I wish they'd loosen up the Retro Hugo Rules even more. Two key years have already been skipped (publication year 1939 and publication year 1941), just because the Worldcons in question did not decide to present them. Now we have to wait decades to celebrate those years (under present rules).

    Posted 2 years ago #
  28. CarlGlover

    Thanks, dolphin. Guess I'll just save my list for next year.

    Agree with you re the rules restrictions. '39 and '41 were vintage years and deserve to be celebrated soon.

    "Second Stage Lensman" is nominated even though it began as a serial in a 1941 issue of ASF and concluded in 1942. I'm assuming there is a rule defining the date of the last serial part as the year of publication for eligibility purposes. I would have thought the opposite.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  29. dolphintornsea

    It makes sense to me that a work can be nominated only in the year when the last part appears. "Second Stage Lensmen" (that was the original title) was an incomplete work at the end of 1941, so it doesn't seem right to consider it as part of that year. Just my ten cents.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  30. Dr. Caligari

    What strikes me about the official list is that nearly every nominee in every short-fiction category (novella/ novelette/ short story) was published by Campbell (either in Astounding or in Unknown).

    Posted 2 years ago #

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