?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Best Series Retro Hugo 1943

This year's Worldcon, Worldcon 76, has decided to award Retro Hugos for 1943 (celebrating work of 1942) as well as the regular Hugos for 2018. For the first time, this means that we voters will be nominating Retro Hugos in the Best Series category, since it was added to the permanent list by last year's Business meeting.

The Best Series category is defined as follows:
3.3.5: Best Series. A multi-installment science fiction or fantasy story, unified by elements such as plot, characters, setting, and presentation, appearing in at least three (3) installments consisting in total of at least 240,000 words by the close of the previous calendar year, at least one (1) installment of which was published in the previous calendar year, and which has not previously won under 3.3.5.

3.3.5.1: Previous losing finalists in the Best Series category shall be eligible only upon the publication of at least two (2) additional installments consisting in total of at least 240,000 words after they qualified for their last appearance on the final ballot and by the close of the previous calendar year.
Obviously, since this category has not been awarded before, the strictures on previous winners and finalists are not relevant. But even so, the pickings are very slim. There are a number of series which started in 1942 but had not published 3 installments by the end of the year (eg Asimov's Foundation). There are other series with many installments which however do not amount to 240,000 words (eg the Via and Adam Link sequences by Otto Binder, and I think also the Professor Jameson stories by Neil R. Jones). What I am left with is the following rather brief list:

  • Oz, by L. Frank Baum, Ruth Plumly Thompson and John R. Neil, qualifying installment is Lucky Bucky in Oz by John R. Neil. This series was long past its glory days by 1942.

  • Pellucidar, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, qualifying installments "Return to Pellucidar", "Men of the Bronze Age" and "Tiger Girl", all published in Amazing Stories and collected much later in Savage Pellucidar. Again, a series that had been going for decades.

  • Amtor / Venus, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, qualifying installment "War on Venus", published in Fantastic Adventures, which later became the last part of the fourth book of the series, Escape on Venus.

  • The Ki-Gor series, by John Peter Drummond, qualifying installments "Blood Priestess of Vig N'Ga" / "Slaves for the Renegade Sultan" / "The Cannibal Horde" / "The Devil's Death Trap", which were the twelfth too fifteenth stories in the series. The first three collected Ki-Gor volumes, the thrid of which includes three of the above stories (but not "The Devil's Death Trap") total almost 1100 pages, so it surely qualifies on length.

  • Captain Future, by Edmond Hamilton, qualifying installments Quest Beyond the Stars / 10 Outlaws of the Moon / The Comet Kings / Planets in Peril. These are the ninth to twelfth installments of the series, each of them about 80 magazine pages; so they may fall short of the required word count

  • The James Armitage trilogy, by Franklyn Kelsey, qualifying volume The Prowlers of the Deep. Total pagecount well over 800, which probably means it qualifies on length.

  • Edited to add: oops, forgot The Lensman series, by E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith, qualifying installments parts 3 and 4 of Second Stage Lensmen as first published in Astounding. Again, pagecount for Galactic Patrol, Gray Lensman and Second Stage Lensman is over 800 so it’s probably OK.

  • Edited again to add: someone else points out the eligibility of Doc Savage, whose 107th-118th installments were published in 1942; it certainly satisfies the length criteria.

  • Edited once more to add: An anonymous commenter below suggests the following additions, which all have sfnal elements, though I feel some only barely scrape into being sf:
    • The Shadow by William Walter B. Gibson: Qualifying installments: The Room of Doom\The Book of Death\Vengeance Bay. I believe this was around the 16th novel length Shadow story
    • The Avenger by Paul Ernst: Qualifying installments: The Green Killer\The Happy Killers\The Black Death\The Wilder Curse. I believe this is the 24th novel length Avenger story
    • The Spider by Grant Stockbrige: Qualifying installment: Death and the Spider. This had around 30 novel length installments by this point as well as various pieces of short fiction so should be eligible.
    • Jules de Grandin by Seabury Quinn: Qualifying installment: Stoneman's Memorial. This had around 50 installments (mostly novelette length) by this point so I think this is fine.
    • Jorkens by Lord Dunsany: Qualifying installments: The Khamseen\ The Welcome\ On the Other Side of the Sun. There were around 67 pieces of short fiction by this point, probably reaching around 1000 pages by the size of the collections.

  • Edited yet again to add: Cora, below, alerts me to G-8 and His Battle Aces, a WWI aviation pulp with plenty of SFF and horror elements such as zombies, sentient gorillas, ray guns, masked masterminds, etc... The 100th issue was published in 1942, featuring a Japanese scientist who had found a way of making planes invisible.

The Heirs and Assigns series by [James] Branch Cabell includes the 1942 novel The First Gentleman of America: A Comedy of Conquest and appears to meet the length criteria, but apparently the stories are not really fantasy but straightforward historical novels. The ISFB listing of the Green Ghost stories by G.T. Fleming-Roberts seems incomplete, but I suspect that even if it were complete, there would be insufficient word-count for 1942.

My anonymous commenter below proposes another two that I think do not qualify - Torminster by Elizabeth Goudge: 1942 Installment: The Blue Hills/Henrietta’s House, which I don’t think has sufficient word count (and the series as a whole appears to be insufficiently sfnal), and the Cthulhu Mythos, where the only potential 1942 instalment is “The Black Bargain” by Robert Bloch, a story that refers to the book De Vermis Mysteriis but not to any of the Elder Gods, which I think makes it only marginally part of the Cthulhu series.

That's not a lot - if my count is right, only six seven eight eligible series for six available ballot places, with two of them (Ki-Gor and James Armitage) distinctly obscure, and the best-known of them (Oz) well past its best-before date.

I don't envy the decision of this year's Hugo administrators on whether or not to go ahead with the ballot in this category.

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
kalimac
Feb. 11th, 2018 08:28 pm (UTC)
Although I haven't read Cabell's The First Gentleman of America, I have read his discussion of this novel in his non-fiction book Let Me Lie, and he states that it was definitely his intent to write an accurate-to-known-history historical novel.

Based on my own experience administering the 1946 Retro Hugos, I'd suggest the administrators list the categories and then just drop them if the nominations turn out to be too anemic, admittedly a potentially subjective decision. We dropped Related Work, Semiprozine, and the already hazardous Original Artwork from the final Retro ballot for simple lack of nominees.
WobbuPalooza
Feb. 11th, 2018 09:35 pm (UTC)
Lensmen?
Excellent list--thanks! Do you think the Lensmen series might also qualify, or was it excluded, e.g. on the basis of word count? The qualifying installment would be Second Stage Lensmen, the final part of which appeared in Astounding in Feb. 1942--I think making it eligible for both Best Novel and the latest installment of Best Series under section 3.2.4. I wouldn't know for sure that the series amounted to 240k words by then, particularly given that Triplanetary hadn't been retconned yet, but the three texts that I think might count seem to add up to ~284k in their book forms. Not sure though.
nwhyte
Feb. 12th, 2018 02:54 am (UTC)
Re: Lensmen?
Thanks - I had somehow missed it. I think the first three books must be in the zone (NB that the 240,000 limit is arguably really 192,000), and have added them to the list.
WobbuPalooza
Feb. 12th, 2018 02:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Lensmen?
Thank you for looking into it! I sympathize with how hard it is to find all the possibilities, and I think maybe there's another popular option: on reflection, it occurred to me Doc Savage might count too.
nwhyte
Feb. 12th, 2018 03:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Lensmen?
Indeed - up to 118 installments by end of 1942!
drplokta
Feb. 12th, 2018 03:16 pm (UTC)
If a series has been running for over 75 years, and has previously been a finalist for a Best Series Hugo, is it eligible or ineligible to be a finalist for a Best Series Retro Hugo? There will obviously have been no new publications in the series compared with its previous shortlisting for a year that was many decades later.
nwhyte
Feb. 12th, 2018 03:30 pm (UTC)
If I was making the ruling, I'd say that Retro Hugos are awarded under 3.14 of the Constitution and regular Hugos under 3.3, so winning one doesn't exclude you from the other.
kjn
Feb. 12th, 2018 03:21 pm (UTC)
Would the 5% flex in word count apply to the Best Series Hugo as well? Here, it'd push the requirements down a non-trivial 12,000 words, to 228,000.
nwhyte
Feb. 12th, 2018 03:32 pm (UTC)
At present it's not 5% but the lesser of 5000 words or 20% - which is obviously 5000 words in this case. But if my amendment is ratified next year, the 5000 words will go and the 20% will remain!
kjn
Feb. 14th, 2018 11:43 am (UTC)
Ah, should've looked up the statutes myself. I must have mixed it up with the old 5% rule from nominators to be put on the shortlist.
(Anonymous)
Feb. 12th, 2018 09:42 pm (UTC)
A few others I would suggest may be eligible:

The Shadow by William B. Gibson: Qualifying installments: The Room of Doom\The Book of Death\Vengeance Bay. I believe this was around the 16th novel length Shadow story

The Avenger by Paul Ernst: Qualifying installments: The Green Killer\The Happy Killers\The Black Death\The Wilder Curse. I believe this is the 24th novel length Avenger story

The Spider by Grant Stockbrige: Qualifying installment: Death and the Spider. This had around 30 novel length installments by this point as well as various pieces of short fiction so should be eligible.

Jules de Grandin by Seabury Quinn: Qualifying installment: Stoneman's Memorial. This had around 50 installments (mostly novelette length) by this point so I think this is fine.

Jorkens by Lord Dunsany: Qualifying installments: The Khamseen\ The Welcome\ On the Other Side of the Sun. There were around 67 pieces of short fiction by this point, probably reaching around 1000 pages by the size of the collections.

Torminster by Elizabeth Goudge: Qualifying Installment: The Blue Hills. This is the final installment in the series but the page counts I can find for the books seem to vary wildly. It may be a marginal case.

Cthulhu Mythos by Various: This is a bit of a debatable one. The Black Bargain by Robert Bloch was published this year which does not include the elder gods but includes Mysteries of the Worm which feature in all his other Cthulhu stories. It features in the collection "Mysteries of the Worm: Early Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos" so personally I am inclined to include it. I think by this point there should be enough stories to qualify for length.
(Anonymous)
Feb. 13th, 2018 06:42 pm (UTC)
Same Anonymous Commentor
Thanks for adding, clarifying and fixing (can't believe I accidentally called Walter B. Gibson, William). Good to know your thoughts on these.
If one day I can actually get back into my LJ account again, I will comment unanimously :)
(Anonymous)
Feb. 14th, 2018 05:21 pm (UTC)
I'm doubtful, in any case, whether the Torminster series is SFF. As far as I can remember, nothing non-realistic happens in A City of Bells, and it's open to doubt whether anything non-realistic happens in Henrietta's House - a fact which is actually commented on in the text - though it is meant to evoke a fairy-tale atmosphere.

Andrew M.
nwhyte
Feb. 15th, 2018 07:35 am (UTC)
From what I’ve read about it, Henrietta’s House leaves enough room for manoeuvre that it probably does slip into the genre basket. But you’re right, I don’t see any such strong evidence for the other two books in the trilogy.
CoraBuhlert
Feb. 15th, 2018 01:25 pm (UTC)
Another eligible series you're missing is G-8 and His Battle Aces by Robert J. Hogan. It's a WWI aviation pulp with plenty of SFF and horror elements such as zombies, sentient gorillas, ray guns, masked masterminds, etc... The pulp series had been going since 1933. By 1942, the issue numbers were in the 90s, so it should definitely qualify based on length. 1942 titles include Raiders of the Death Patrol, Wings of the Grey Phantom, etc...
nwhyte
Feb. 17th, 2018 04:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks - definitely fits the bill.

I do wonder if anyone will actually nominate many of these!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

May 2018
S M T W T F S
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by yoksel