2004 Hugo Awards and Retro Hugo Awards

For a similar page, without annotations, click here. Hugo Ballot is here; Retro Hugo ballot here. Deadline is July 31.

The Hugo awards are the most prestigious fan-voted awards in the science fiction and fantasy world. The awards, first given in 1953, are named after Hugo Gernsback, editor/publisher of the first science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories.  The final ballots for the 2004 Hugo Awards (for achievements in 2003) and Retro Hugos (for 1953) were announced April 10 and follows.  Links have been added where stories are available for reading on the internet; if you'd like to add a link, email me.  Also, I have various comments and category definitions interspersed throughout the ballot.  Voting deadline for the Hugo and Retro Hugos is July 31.  Winners will be determined by instant-run-off voting (aka Australian rules or preferential balloting; see IRV explained with Muppets).  Winners will be announced Saturday, September 4, 2004, for the Hugos, and the previous evening for the Retro Hugos. 


Best Novel (462 ballots) (a novel is 40,000+ words long)

Best Novella (215 ballots) (a novella is 17,500 to 40,000 words long)

Best Novelette (243 ballots) (a novelette is 7500 to 17,500 words long)

FW Comments: This is believed to be the first time that one of the winners of the prestigious Writers of the Future contest wound up being a nominee for the Hugo.  Jay, who is also a nominee for the Campbell award for best new writer, won first prize for his story. 

Best Short Story (310 ballots) (a short story is less than 7500 words long)

Best Related Book (243 ballots)

Comments: I find it interesting that the Lambshead book made the final ballot.  It is a hilarious work, collecting brief descriptions by various writers of fictitious diseases.  A fictional anthology making the ballot under Best Related Book is exceedingly rare.  Unlike, f'rinstance, the World Fantasy Awards or the Locus awards, there is no Hugo for "Best Anthology" (by multiple authors) or "Best Collection" (one author).  Indeed, in 2002, the 17th annual Writers of the Future anthology earned enough nominations to make the final ballot, but the Hugo administrators denied it a spot.  The reasoning (from the ConJose website): 'The Hugo rules state that a Related Book must be "...non-fictional, or, if fictional, is noteworthy primarily for aspects other than the fiction text." The ConJosι Hugo administrators felt that, under this rule, the 17th annual Writers of the Future anthology did not qualify for this category.'  Maybe the administrators thought that the anthology was noteworthy primarily for the (admittedly very clever and unique) central conceit. 

Best Dramatic Presentation — Long Form (363 ballots) (long form is >90 min long)

Best Dramatic Presentation — Short Form (212 ballots) (short form is <90 min long)

Best Professional Editor (319 ballots)

Comments: Gardner, who has won this Hugo every year since 1988 (except for two), recently announced his retirement from Asimov's.  Instead of getting a new editor post, he'll be concentrating on his writing career - he did win two Nebulas for stories in 1984 and 1985.  I can imagine the other nominees breathing a big sigh of relief, though, for his work this year, he can still be a nominee in the 2005 Hugos.  Interesting, one of the two people who beat Gardner was Ellen Datlow, in 2001 (the other was Kristine Kathryn Rusch in 1993).  Two stories Ellen selected for the website SciFiction.com won Nebulas this year - thus beating out the standard competition of Analog, Asimov's and F&SF, represented by Schmidt, Dozois, and Van Gelder.  We'll see how this plays out at the Hugos this year.

Best Professional Artist (241 ballots)

Comments: Once again, we see the mighty Michael Whelan, who's won 15 Hugos between 1978 and 2002, absent from the ballot.  Again, this is probably because he's been doing a lot more personal "gallery" work and fewer book covers.  David Cherry, who replaced Whelan on the ever-so-slowly changing slate of noms in this category, is this year replaced by Frank Frazetta.  Frazetta won this category in 1966, but hasn't been a nom since 1974, so his return is unexpected but delightful.  While 30 years might seem to be a long gap between Hugo nominations, it's not quite the record.  That's held by Steve Stiles, a Hugo nom for best fan artist in 1968 and then not again until 2003 (35 years). 

Everybody but the wonderful Donato Giancola nominated in this category has won at least once over the years. 

Best Semiprozine (199 ballots)

Best Fanzine (211 ballots)

Best Fan Writer (260 ballots)

Best Fan Artist (190 ballots)

Comments: This slate is exactly identical to last year's.  The first three nominees on the list have won this award over the years.  To see sample of these artists' work, click on the links above, or check out this site.

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (192 ballots)

Note: This award is not a Hugo; it is sponsored by Dell Magazines.

Three of the nominees - Lake, Levine and Pratt - were at the Wiscon convention in Madison, WI, over Memorial Day and had a Campbell award smackdown, complete with Uniformed Referee and Death by Styrofoam Noodle.

Pratt v. Lake v. Levine; Levine v. Pratt v. Lake.  Fotos by Aynjel Kaye and/or Celia Marsh. The final challenge was rock/papers/scissors, which Levine won with "scissors." More smackdown fotos are at Janet Chui's site here.

For more on the smackdown, click here: SMACKDOWN.


Retrospective Hugo Awards for work done in 1953

Below are nominations in 10 categories for the best work of 1953. Three categories were dropped for insufficient nominees: Best Dramatic Presentation — Long Form, Best Semiprozine, and Best Fan Artist.

Best Novel of 1953 (113 ballots)

Comments: This is an unbelievably strong slate of novels.  Any one of them deserves to win, though my personal favorite is Childhood's End, one of my favorite novels of all-time.

Best Novella of 1953 (67 ballots)

Best Novelette of 1953 (66 ballots)

Best Short Story of 1953 (96 ballots)

Comments: This is also a fascinating category, with many strong contenders.  "It's a Good Life" might have an inside track, as many are familiar with the storyline at least from a Twilight Zone episode and its sequel (both starring Bill Mumy as a kid with crazy powers).  "The Nine Billion Names of God" is also deservedly famous.  But my favorite in this category is Robert Sheckley's "The Seventh Victim."  This was the basis of the film "The Tenth Victim" with Ursula Andress, but also the inspiration for the game "Assassin."  And I think Robert Sheckley after all these years is completely overdue for a Hugo. 

Best Related Book of 1953 (21 ballots)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, of 1953 (96 ballots)

Comments: The two big contenders in this category are War of the Worlds and Duck Dogers.  If voters go for serious, the former wins, if they go for funny, then the Duck wins.  Either would be spectacular, which I can't say about the other noms.

Although all but one of the nominees were released as feature length films, they are all lumped together into the "Short Form" dramatic presentation category (generally used nowadays for TV show episodes).  This is perhaps due to a overally literal reading of the rules (the boundary between short and long forms is 90 min., and the movies clock in at about 81 to 85 min. or so).  Also, there were few if any Hugo-worth TV episodes from 1953.

Best Professional Editor of 1953 (49 ballots)

Anthony Boucher (penname of William Anthony Parker White) was, with J. Francis McComas, a founding editor of F&SF, and sole editor from 1954 to his retirement, due to ill health, in 1958; he won the 1957 and 1958 Hugos for Best Pro Magazine.  Campbell, most famous as a writer for the story "Who Goes There?" (filmed twice as The Thing), was editor of Astounding (renamed Analog in 1960) from 1937 to his death in 1971.  Campbell is credited with discovering Asimov, Del Rey, Heinlein, Sturgeon and Van Vogt.  Asimov's most famous story, "Nightfall,"was based on Campbell's idea, and the two devised the Three Laws of Robotics together at a meeting on 23 December 1940.  Because Campbell was so supportive of new writers, the new writer award is named after him. Campbell has already won two retro-Hugos (given in 1996 for 1945, and 2001 for 1950), plus he took his magazine's Hugo for best pro magazine 8 times from 1953 to 1965.  In 1953, he tied with H.L. Gold, founder of Galaxy magazine in 1950 and its editor until 1961. 

For many Hugo awards for people, and Retro Hugos in particular, some folks are clearly nominated for work they did outside the designated timeframe.  Frank Kelly Freas, f'rinstance, was still beginning his career in 1953, though justifiably famous later.  Fred Pohl did edit Star Science Fiction Stories in 1953; that year's edition included reprints of "The Nine Billion Names of God" by Clarke, "The Last Weapon" (a favorite of mine) by Robert Sheckley, plus stories by Asimov, Bradbury, del Rey and others - it was almost like Year's Best SF of its time.  However, his prime years as an editor were both before and after 1953 - Pohl edited Astonishing Stories  from 2/40 to 9/41, Assistant editor 11/41 to 4/43; Galaxy, Managing Editor 6/61 to 6/62, Editor 8/62 to 5/69, Editor Emeritus 7/69 to 6/70.  Star Science Fiction: Editor 1/1958. Super Science Stories: Editor 3/1940 to 8/1941, Assistant Editor 11/1941 to 5/1943. Worlds of Fantasy #1: Editor 1968. Worlds of IF: Features Editor 7/1959 to 1/1961, Managing Editor 5/1961 to 7/1962, Editor 9/62 to 5/69, Editor Emeritus 7/1969 to 7/1970. Worlds of Tommorrow: Editor 4/1963 to 5/1967. Ace Books: Executive Editor 12/1971 to 7/1972. Bantam Books: Science Fiction Editor 2/1973 to 3/1978. 

Starting in 1952, Wollheim was editor at Ace, where he published Double Novels, including first or early works by Brunner, Delany, Dick, Disch, Ellison, Le Guin and Silverberg.  Also in 1953, he chose the contents of Orbit Science Fiction magazine (1953-1954), not to be confused with Damon Knight's original anthologies of the same name from 1966 to 1980.  From 1965 he edited annual anthologies of The World's Best Science Fiction (under varying titles).  These were first published by Ace, then by Wollheim's own imprint, DAW, starting in 1972.  At DAW, Wollheim also published books by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Lin Carter, Michael Moorcock, John Norman and E.C. Tubb. 

Best Professional Artist of 1953 (68 ballots)

Comments: I was very disappointed that Frank R. Paul and Alex Schomberg and even Salvador Dali did not make the ballot.  Oh well.  I suspect that Frank Kelly Freas may win, even though his career was only just beginning in 1953; his famous early cover for Weird Tales (with the dancing satyr playing a flute) was from Jan. 1953.  Though, of course, I do have to hand it to my pal for being on both the Hugo and Retro Hugo ballots.

Emsh and Finlay were giants at the time; Finlay had won the 1953 Hugo for interior art, and Emsh (along with Hannes Bok), for cover art. 

Best Fanzine of 1953 (36 ballots)

Best Fan Writer of 1953 (38 ballots)

In addition to editing Sky Hook, Redd Bogg ran the fanzine Discord, which was nominated for a Hugo in 1961.  Redd Bogg's publishing house was called GAFIA Press, for Getting Away From It All, which used to mean escaping from the real world into fandom, but which now means escaping from fandom to the real world. 

Lee Hoffman (working name of Shirley Bell Hoffman) is mostly known in fannish circles as a fan writer and the editor of Quandry, FanHistory, and the longest continuously published fanzine with a semi-decenial schedule, Science Fiction Five-Yearly (1951-2001). She was the Fan Guest of Honor for the 1982 Worldcon, Chicon IV. And she is the author of over 25 novels, science fiction westerns, and historical romance, including a short novel, Telepower, followed by The Caves of Karst, Always the Black Knight and Change Song. Lee also did cartoons of the Lil Peepul and was a 2001 Retro Hugo nominee for 1950 for both Fan Writer and Fan Artist. 

Bob Tucker (penname of Wilson Tucker) was fan writer/editor of the fanzine Le Zombie, which lasted more than 60 issues from 1938-1975.  In his own fiction, Tucker became famous for using the names of fans and writers as characters - and these names later became known as Tuckerisms.  Tucker was twice subjected to fake obituaries in the genre magazines of the time, which might tell you something about him.  Tucker won the 1970 Hugo for best fan writer. 

James White, as a writer, is known for his Sector General stories, about a space doctor.  He also wrote The Watch Below, about the survivors of a sunken WWII ship, who live, reproduce and build a society in an air pocket.  White met the noted Irish fan Walter A. ("Walt") Willis (1919-99) -- both hunting for the same American sf magazines. They would help produce two of the most distinctive -- and collectable -- fanzines: Slant (1948-53) and Hyphen (1952-65: special one-off issue, 1987). Both titles featured fiction and non-fiction by such 'real' authors as John Brunner, A. Bertram Chandler, and fellow Ulsterman Bob Shaw (1931-96).  Like Lee Hoffman, White was nominated for 2001 Retro Hugos (for 1950) for both fan writing and art. 

In addition to editing and writing for Slant and Hyphen, Walt Willis wrote his column "The Harp That Once or Twice", perhaps his most famous series of articles, which appeared in Lee Hoffman's Quandry  in the early 1950s. He also wrote, with Bob Shaw, The Enchanted Duplicator (1954), an allegory of fan and fanzine activities.  Willis came to the U.S. from Ireland. in 1952 via one of the first fan funds.  His report on Chicon and ancillary trips "The Harp Stateside" has been considered the best fan report ever, and his voyage lead directly to the foundation of the TAFF (Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund) in 1954.


Nomination Details

Nomination details were not released by Noreascon.  These details generally tell us how many ballot forms had noms for these categories, the no. of nominations and no. of nominees, and the range of nominations that those on the final ballot received.

Who will win?

Winners will be announced at Noreason over the Labor Day holiday.  However, the Science Fiction Weekly usually runs a non-official, non-binding Hugo Award poll. The SFW Hugo Award Poll is interesting and fun, but the reader must be aware that it is not terribly effective at predicting who actually wins. The 2002 Poll only picked 7 winners out of 13 categories - 54% accuracy. The 2001 Poll was even worse, picking only 4 out of 12 or 25%.  In several categories in 2002 the award winner placed last in the poll. 

Who should win?

I'm not going to go there, seeing how I and a ton of my friends are on the ballot (notice how I carefully avoided the issue of "who should win" throughout this page).  Look for Cheryl Morgan, who's braver than me, to give a strong opinion on whom she thinks should win in her fanzine Emerald City.

Historical Hugo and Other Award information:

For 2003 Hugo nominees and winners, click here. For 2002 Hugo award nominees and winners, click here (info on all noms) or here (full nom figures) or here (final voting breakdown). For historical Hugo awards information, click here or here. For this information in graphical form, click here. George Flynn's analysis of Hugo voting is here

For a comprehensive and newly updated guide to every major SF and F award, check out Mark R. Kelly's Locus Index to SF Awards page.  Check out this page out for lists of who has won the most awards, which novels have won both the Hugo and Nebula, and other analyses.  For an old analysis (from 1996) of Nebula winners and winning, click here

For Nebula award winners presented in 2004 click here; for finalists, click here. For 2003 Nebula award winners click here; for finalists, click here; note, however, that because of differences in the nomination process, not all of this year's Nebula nominees are eligible for this year's Hugos.  Only items published in the calendar year 2002 are eligible for this year's Hugos. Note also that the Nebula awards given out in April 2004 are officially called the 2003 Nebulas (for the year in which most of the noms were published, not the year the awards are given - though, because publications are eligible for a 12-month period after being published, the year is sort of meaningless.)


If you would like to send me an email, please click here.