Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

My #RetroHugos1941 votes: Best Novelette - revised

When I reviewed the finalists for Best Novelette, I queried the inclusion of “Darker Than You Think” by Jack Williamson as it seemed to me too long for the category. This year's Hugo Administrators have concurred, and the story has been replaced by "Vault of the Beast" by A.E. van Vogt, which you will easily find in the widely available collection edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg, and published under three different titles: The Great Science Fiction Stories: Volume 2, 1940 (1979); Isaac Asimov Presents The Golden Years of Science Fiction (second half, 1983); and Great Science Fiction Stories of 1940 (2002). It includes also two of the other novelette finalists (the two that aren't by Heinlein) and one of the short story finalists (Asimov's "Strange Playfellow").

"Vault of the Beast" is actually rather similar to "It!" by Theodore Sturgeon; I'm marking it down slightly for dodgy gender stereotypes, but still above No Award. So my revised ballot in this category is:

6) “Blowups Happen” by Robert A. Heinlein
5) No Award
4) "Vault of the Beast", by A.E. van Vogt
3) “The Roads Must Roll” by Robert A. Heinlein
2) “It!” by Theodore Sturgeon
1) “Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates

For completeness, the second paragraph of "Vault of the Beast" is:
It crept along the corridor of the space freighter, fighting the terrible urge of its elements to take the shape of its surroundings. A gray blob of disintegrating stuff, it crept, it cascaded, it rolled, flowed, dissolved, every movement an agony of struggle against the abnormal need to become a stable shape.
The full text is available here.
Tags: hugos 2016, retro hugos 1941, writer: ae van vogt
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