Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

Retro Hugos in detail

  • Full statistics here.
  • 521 votes cast.
  • Tie in Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form! The first ever tie in the Retro Hugos.
  • Close results also in Best Novelette (6 votes) and Best Fanzine (9 votes)
  • Crushing first round victories for John W. Campbell and Margaret Brundage
  • "City" wins Best Novelette despite fewer first preference votes than "No Woman Born"
  • Disqualifications:
    • "Old Man in New World", by Olaf Stapledon (Novella),
    • The Book of Thoth, by Aleister Crowley (Related Work)
    • Foundation by Isaac Asimov and Venus Equilateral by George O. Smith (Best Series)
    • The Best Dramatic Presentation Long Form category
  • Won the award despite being last to qualify at nominations stage:
    • "I, Rocket" (Short Story)
    • "The Science-Fiction Field" by Leigh Brackett (Related Work)
    • The Canterville Ghost (Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form - tie)
    • Fritz Leiber (Best Fan Writer).

Best Novel

"Shadow Over Mars" was 13 votes ahead on the first count and finished 43 votes ahead of Sirius, winning by 165 to 122. "The Winged Man" came third, The Golden Fleece came from behind Land of Terror to take fourth place by only 4 votes, Land of Terror fifth and The Wind on the Moon sixth.

Sirius was well ahead at nominations stage, with the winner, "Shadow over Mars", a strong second. The Wind on the Moon and "The Winged Man" were the last to qualify with 11 votes and 4.33 points each; Land of Terror had only 10 votes but 4.75 points. The nearest miss was Renaissance, by Raymond F. Jones, which needed another 4 votes or in excess of 2 more points to qualify.

Best Novella

"Killdozer!" was far ahead on the first count and won on the fifth, with 172 votes to 93 for "The Jewel of Bas" and 68 for "The Changeling". "The Jewel of Bas" came a strong second, "The Changeling" third, "Trog" fourth (by 19 votes), "A God Named Kroo" fifth and "Intruders from the Stars" sixth. No Award actually had the fourth highest number of first preferences, but "A God Named Kroo" and "Intruders from the Stars" gained enough transfers to beat it.

"Old Man in New World", by Olaf Stapledon, got enough votes to qualify for the final ballot, but it is only 8,200 words in length, which is far too short for this category (and it received no votes in the more appropriate categories), so it was disqualified, and "A God Named Kroo" took the place on the ballot. "Killdozer!" was far ahead of the crowd, "The Jewel of Bas" far ahead in second place and "The Changeling" very clear of the others. "Wanderers of the Wolf Moon", by Nelson S. Bond, would have qualified with 2 mote votes or in excess of 0.67 more points.

Best Novelette

"City" started 11 votes behind "No Woman Born", but picked up transfers especially from "The Big and the Little" and "Arena" to squeak a win by 6 votes, 176 to 162. "No Woman Born" won second place substantially; "Arena" (which I must admit I had assumed would win before the votes came in) took third by 20 points. "When the Bough Breaks" took a strong fourth. "The Children's Hour" and "The Big and the Little" tied for fifth; not the only tie in the Retros, as we shall see.

"No Woman Born" topped the nominations poll, "Arena" a close second, and the eventual winner, "City" clear third. The last to qualify was "The Children's Hour"; "The Veil of Astellar", by Leigh Brackett, needed 5 more votes or 1.2 more points to qualify.

Best Short Story

"I, Rocket" was well ahead from the start and eventually beat "Desertion" by 177 to 138. "Desertion" took a strong second place, "Huddling Place" (which was 5th on first preferences) took third by 20 votes ahead of "The Wedge", "The Wedge" took fourth place by 5 votes ahead of "And the Gods Laughed", and "And the Gods Laughed" took fifth place by 5 votes ahead of "Far Centaurus", which came sixth. There was a strong bloc of Simak voters.

The two Simak stories topped the poll at nominations stage, "Desertion" first and "Huddling Place" second. "I, Rocket", the eventual winner, was the last to qualify, and one more vote for "The Lake", also by Ray Bradbury, would have kept it off the ballot; one more vote for "Catch that Rabbit" by Isaac Asimov would have displaced "The Wedge" from the ballot, and "Kindness" by Lester Del Rey would likely also have made it with one more vote..

Best Series

Cthulhu was far ahead at the first stage and won by 173 to 84 for Pellucidar and 74 for Doc Savage. Pellucidar took second place by 13 votes ahead of Doc Savage; Doc Savage won third very clearly; The Shadow took fourth even more clearly; Captain Future came fifth and Jules de Grandin sixth. No Award got 24 first preferences here, its highest score.

The Foundation series by Isaac Asimov (which topped the poll) and the Venus Equilateral stories by George O. Smith both got enough votes to qualify but neither is eligible - both were some way short of the qualifying length (250,000 words) by the end of 1944. That enabled Jules de Grandin and The Shadow to take their places on the final ballot. The City series, by Clifford D Simak, was the last to be eliminated, but would surely also have been well short of the qualifying length. Both Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon would have qualified with 1 more vote.

Best Related Work

"The Science-Fiction Field" started only one vote ahead of Fancyclopedia, but picked up enough transfers to win by 124 to 104. Fancyclopedia beat "The Works of H.P. Lovecraft" by 9 votes for second place, and "The Works of H.P. Lovecraft" beat Rockets: The Future of Travel Beyond the Stratosphere for third place, also by 9 votes. Rockets beat '42 to '44 handsomely for fourth place, and Mr. Tompkins Explores the Atom beat '42 to '44 by 1 vote for fifth place; '42 to '44 came sixth.

Fancyclopedia topped the poll at nominations stage, with The Future of Travel Beyond the Stratosphere a strong second. "The Science-Fiction Field" only qualified because the administrators disqualified The Book of Thoth, by Aleister Crowley, as it is not sufficiently related to the field of science fiction, fantasy, or fandom to be eligible in this category. H.P. Lovecraft's Marginalia would have taken the last place if it had received 1 more vote.

Best Graphic Story or Comic

Superman: "The Mysterious Mr. Mxyztplk" won with 141 votes to 87 for Donald Duck: "The Mad Chemist" and 51 for The Spirit: "For the Love of Clara Defoe". Donald Duck: "The Mad Chemist" came second, The Spirit: "For the Love of Clara Defoe" came third, and Buck Rogers: "Hollow Planetoid" crushed the two Flash Gordon stories for fourth place. Flash Gordon: "Battle for Tropica" came fifth and Flash Gordon: "Triumph in Tropica" sixth.

Donald Duck topped the (very low) poll at nominations stage, with Superman not far behind. Flash Gordon: "Battle for Tropica" was the last to qualify, with Plastic Man: "The Gay Nineties Nightmare" one vote off the final ballot.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

The administrators determined that there were not enough votes for a ballot in the Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form category and transferred those nominations that were transferable to Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. However, voters determined that there should be two Best Dramatic Presentation awards anyway, as The Canterville Ghost and Curse of the Cat People tied for first place, on 129 votes each. Curse of the Cat People had started 9 votes behind, but made up the difference on transfers. Donovan's Brain beat It Happened Tomorrow by 14 votes for third place, It Happened Tomorrow beat House of Frankenstein by 13 votes for fourth place, House of Frankenstein came fifth and The Invisible Man Returns came sixth.

At nominations stage (once transfers had been made) Curse of the Cat People topped the poll and the other winner, The Canterville Ghost, was the last to qualify. Beware of Tomorrow would have qualified with only 1 more vote, and several others were very close as well.

Best Editor, Short Form

John W. Campbell secured one of two first-round victories in this category, with 151 votes to 52 for Dorothy McIlwraith, 39 for Mary Gnaedinger, 18 for No Award, 12 for Raymond A. Palmer, 2 for Oscar J. Friend and 1 for W. Scott Peacock. The other placings were all pretty convincing if not quite so overwhelming, Dorothy McIlwraith coming second, Mary Gnaedinger third, Raymond A. Palmer fourth, Oscar J. Friend fifth and W. Scott Peacock sixth. No Award got the third highest number of first preferences in the counts for first and second place, and the second highest in all the other rounds. This was also No Award's best performance in the runoff, in both numerical and relative terms.

John W. Campbell was also far ahead at nominations stage. W. Scott Peacock was the last to qualify (though Mary Gnaedinger had fewer votes). The next in line, Babette Rosmond, was a long way behind (by Retro Hugo standards anyway).

Best Professional Artist

Margaret Brundage achieved a crushing victory on the first count, with 151 votes to 22 for Earle K. Bergey, 21 for No Award, 18 for Boris Dolgov, 11 for William Timmins, 10 for Paul Orban and 5 for Matt Fox. Earle K. Bergey beat Boris Dolgov by 13 votes for second place, Boris Dolgov beat Paul Orban by 2 votes for third place, Paul Orban won fourth, William Timmins fifth and Matt Fox sixth.

Nominations stage was a bit different, with William Timmins top and Margaret Brundage close behind. Matt Fox was the last to qualify; Laurence Stevens would have made the ballot with 1 more vote, and Chesley Bonestell, Virgil Finlay and Harry Lemon Pankhurst were all close behind.

Best Fanzine

Voice of the Imagi-Nation was ahead at all stages, winning by 88 votes to 79 for Le Zombie. Le Zombie crushed the opposition to take second place; Futurian War Digest was six votes ahead of The Acolyte for third place; The Acolyte was 18 votes alead of Shangri L'Affaires for fourth place, Shangri L'Affaires took fifth place and Diablerie sixth. No Award got the highest proportion of first preferences in any category here.

At nominations stage, The Acolyte had the most votes but Futurian War Digest the most points, with Voice of the Imagi-Nation very close on both. Diablerie was the last to qualify, with Sam Moskowitz's Fantasy Times one vote off the ballot (and a couple of others in the zone).

Best Fan Writer

Fritz Leiber crushed the opposition, with 140 votes to 59 for Bob Tucker, 51 for Morojo/Myrtle R. Douglas and 17 for Harry Warner. Bob Tucker came a clear second, and Morojo/Myrtle R. Douglas a clear third. Jack Speer beat Harry Warned for fourth place by 9 votes, Harry Warner beat J. Michael Rosenblum for fifth place by 15 votes, and J. Michael Rosenblum came sixth.

It was a very different story at nominations phase, where Jack Speer and Bob Tucker topped the (very low) poll, and Fritz Leiber was the last to qualify. Last eliminated were Russell Chauvenet and, rather oddly, David Langford - who would have needed to be rather precocious to qualify in this category for work published a number of years before he was born!
Tags: hugos 2020

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