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I've done some more delving into the fiction eligible for the 1941 Hugos, helped in the first place again by Meredith and in the second by the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. On the basis that the most memorable stories of 1940 are likely to be those which have been most frequently picked up for anthologies and collections (and therefore also most likely to have been read by subsequent generations of fans), I did a naked-eye scan of the listings to pick up those which have been republished more than once (novellas) or more than twice (novelettes and short stories) since first publication. This does of course skew the odds towards those authors who lived long enough to have many different collections of their own stories published, but I suspect that will also be reflected in the voting.


We run immediately into a couple of edge cases with the novellas: as fishlifter discussed in a comment to my last post, the two parts of the book now known as The Incomplete Enchanter - "The Mathematics of Magic" and "The Roaring Trumpet" - were published separately in 1940, with no notion that they would eventually be published as a single work. They might therefore each be eligible separately as novellas rather than jointly as a novel. Ther are also questions about the length of "Fear" by L. Ron Hubbard and "If This Goes On-" by Robert A. Heinlein. Putting those aside, the other 1940 novellas that have been anthologised more than four times since original publication, with links to the ISFDB pages, are:

"Coventry", by Robert A. Heinlein
"The Wheels of If", by L. Sprague de Camp
"Magic, Inc.", Robert A. Heinlein and
"The Mound", by H. P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop (written years before but published only in 1940).

Others that I found in two or three anthologies or collections as well as their original publications:
"But Without Horns", by Norvell W. Page
"Darker Than You Think", by Jack Williamson
"Death's Head Face", by Richard Foster
"The Green Lama", by Richard Foster
"The Man Who Wasn't There", by Kendell Foster Crossen
"Mistress of the Blood-Drinkers", by Ralston Shields
"Nopți la Serampore", by Mircea Eliade
"The Sun Maker", by Jack Williamson


There is one clear front-runner which has appeared in more anthologies and collections than any other 1940 short fiction. It is:
"It", by Theodore Sturgeon

After that there are another three stories which are well ahead of the field. They are:
"Blowups Happen", by Robert A. Heinlein
"Farewell to the Master", by Harry Bates (the story that The Day The Earth Stood Still was based on) and
"Vault of the Beast", by A. E. van Vogt

Another 20 novelettes have appeared in three, four, or five anthologies and collections apart from their original publication. They are:
"Butyl and the Breather", by Theodore Sturgeon
"Cargo", by Theodore Sturgeon
"City of Singing Flame", by Clark Ashton Smith
"Dr. Cyclops", by Henry Kuttner
"The Exhalted", by L. Sprague de Camp
"Fruit of Knowledge", by C. L. Moore
"The Gryb", by A. E. van Vogt
"Half-Breed", by Isaac Asimov
"The Hardwood Pile", by L. Sprague de Camp
"I, Spy!", by Eric Frank Russell
"Into the Darkness", by Ross Rocklynne
"The Living Mist" / "We, The Mist", by Ralph Milne Farley
"The Red Death of Mars", by Robert Moore Williams
"The Sandwin Compact", by August W. Derleth
"Seven Seconds of Eternity", by Robert H. Leitfred
"The Smallest God", by Lester del Rey
"The Stars Look Down", by Lester del Rey
"Till Doomsday", by Richard Sale
"The Voyage That Lasted 600 Years", by Don Wilcox and
"The Wonderful Day", by Robert Arthur

Short Stories

Two short stories lead the field here, exceeded only by the Sturgeon novelette. Neither is terribly surprising and I think both must be considered pretty certain to make the final ballot. They are:
"Requiem", by Robert A. Heinlein and
"Strange Playfellow", by Isaac Asimov

Another seven stories appear in ten or more anthologies or collections - but four of them are by an author not closely identified with sf who published a number of different collections of his own works over the years. They are:

"Another American Tragedy", by John Collier
"The Chaser", by John Collier
"Evening Primrose", by John Collier
"Thus I Refute Beelzy", by John Collier
"The Song of the Slaves", by Manly Wade Wellman
"When It Was Moonlight", by Manly Wade Wellman and
"The Bleak Shore", by Fritz Leiber, Jnr.

The last of these is not the greatest of the Lankhmar stories - our heroes get ensorcelled and go on a journey to their likely deaths, and it lacks the usual banter which livens Leiber's prose. But I wouldn't be surprised to see it make the final ballot.

Another 43 short stories have been published between 4 and 9 times according to the ISFDB. They are:

“The Angel Was a Yankee”, by Stephen Vincent Benét
“At the Mountains of Murkiness”, by Arthur C. Clarke
“The Automatic Pistol”, by Fritz Leiber
“Beauty and the Beast”, by Henry Kuttner
“The Circular Ruins”, by Jorge Luís Borges
“Dark Mission”, by Lester del Rey
“Derm Fool”, by Theodore Sturgeon
“The Devil's Rescue”, by L. Ron Hubbard
“The Dwindling Sphere”, by Willard E. Hawkins
“Emergency Landing”, by Ralph Williams
“Escort”, by Daphne du Maurier
“Farewell Performance”, by H. Russell Wakefield
“The Fiddler's Fee”, by Robert Bloch
“Fisherman's Luck”, by Frank Belknap Long
“Footsteps Invisible”, by Robert Arthur
“The Great God Awto”, by Clark Ashton Smith
“Hermit of Saturn's Ring”, by Neil R. Jones
“Hindsight”, by Jack Williamson
“The Impossible Highway”, by Oscar J. Friend
“Inflexible Logic”, by Russell Maloney
“Jay Walkers”, by H. R. Wakefield
“John Duffy's Brother”, by Flann O'Brien
“Jorkens Consults a Prophet”, by Lord Dunsany
“The Last Pin”, by Howard Wandrei
“Let There Be Light”, by Robert A. Heinlein
“Lucky's Grove”, by H. Russell Wakefield
“Me and My Shadow”, by Eric Frank Russell
“Men of Iron”, by Guy Endore
“Philtered Power”, by Malcolm Jameson
“The Pipes of Pan”, by Lester del Rey
“Postpaid to Paradise”, by Robert Arthur
“Quietus”, by Ross Rocklynne
“The Sea Thing”, by A. E. van Vogt
“Song in a Minor Key”, by C. L. Moore
“Stepson of Space”, by Raymond Z. Gallun
“A Stitch in Time”, by Frank Belknap Long
“Successful Operation”, by Robert A. Heinlein
“Threshold”, by Henry Kuttner
“Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”, by Jorge Luís Borges
“Train for Flushing”, by Malcolm Jameson
“Vengeance by Proxy”, by John Wyndham
“Warm, Dark Places”, by H. L. Gold
“The Warrior Race”, by L. Sprague de Camp

The Flann O'Brien story is barely genre, concerning a man who briefly believes himself to have become a train, but I may give it one of my own nomination slots. I will certainly be giving a nod to “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”.

I'm afraid that's a rather male list, with one woman writer getting a story in each of the two shorter categories, and another sharing credit for a novella.

I'll do another post tomorrow looking at what anthologies and collections you might want to get if you want to sample the short sf of 1940.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 26th, 2015 06:00 pm (UTC)
"But Without Horns" is a very strong entry.
Oct. 27th, 2015 04:48 am (UTC)
Your post's title says 1941; the text says 1940. Which? Or reconcile.
Oct. 27th, 2015 05:44 am (UTC)
Oct. 27th, 2015 06:24 pm (UTC)
Pedantically, I don't think there's really a 'question' about the length of 'If This Goes On --'. According to an article on the Heinlein Society website, the 1940 version is 33,800, well below the novel threshold. The version in Revolt in 2100 is rewritten and expanded to 57,300, but that wasn't published until 1953. I think the only question is whether the Hugo admins will accept it as a novel anyway if it gets enough nominations in that category. There is a precedent in 'The Legion of Time' which I think is also technically below the novel threshold.

-- Mark
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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