Revisiting the Hugos

Hugo Nominees: 1967

The 1967 Worldcon was Nycon III, in New York, and the Hugo Awards were presented there. (For earlier posts in this series, see Index.) The best novel award was given to Robert A, Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (post) a story of a revolution on the moon and a computer becoming a person. It’s definitely a classic, it’s in print, and it’s in my library in English and French.

There are five other nominees, of which I have read three. There’s Samuel Delany’s Babel 17 (post) which is utterly brilliant and well ahead of its time. It’s amazing and I can’t summarize it in a line, read the post. It’s in print, and in the library in both languages, so it has also lasted.

Then there’s the novel version of Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes. I think it’s slightly inferior to the novella version, which already won the Hugo. I wonder if people were reluctant to vote for it for that reason, because it had already won? It’s about a man with the IQ of a small child who goes through a process that makes him more intelligent and then wears off. It’s more thoroughly in print and in the library than anything else I have checked, and it now appears to be a set book for reading in high school.

Randall Garrett’s Too Many Magicians is a Lord Darcy novel, and it doesn’t seem to belong in the same list as the others—it’s much more old fashioned. It’s also fantasy, and I think this is the first time an outright fantasy has been nominated. It’s an alternate history where Richard I doesn’t die on crusade and comes home and discovers the laws of magic, which are very scientific. The stories are all mysteries with the magic carefully integrated. Too Many Magicians is fun, but not really of the quality of the other nominees so far. It’s in print in an omnibus. It’s not in the library.

I haven’t read The Day of the Minotaur by Thomas Burnett Swann. I’ve never come across it. It seems to be historical fantasy. It isn’t in print, but it’s in the library in French.

I also haven’t read James H. Schmitz’s The Witches of Karres, but I know more about it. It’s science fiction adventure, and for many people it’s a beloved classic. I tried to read it a few years ago when it was reissued and many people were talking about it, but it seemed to me one of those books where you had to be twelve, I just couldn’t get into it. No doubt this is my failure. It’s in print, in an edition edited by Eric Flint, but not in the library.

So of the four I’ve read, we have three excellent novels and one good one, a revolution on the moon, a complex future and alien languages, the nature of intelligence, and a magical mystery. What a lot of ground science fiction covers!

The Nebulas, SFWA’s award for 1967 were given to Babel 17 and Flowers For Algernon, with The Moon is a Harsh Mistress also nominated; so a total overlap of nominees. I’m glad Babel 17 won something.

What else might they have considered, and did they miss anything?

Well, Delany also published Empire Star (post) one of my favourite books of all time, and well worthy of a nomination in my opinion. Harry Harrison’s Make Room! Make Room! is a significant book that’s still being talked about. It’s somewhat gonzo but also brilliant, so how about Robert Sheckley’s Mindswap? Le Guin published Planet of Exile  and Rocannon’s World (post on both books). Van Vogt published The Players of Null-A, and Larry Niven World of Ptaavs.

So were the six books on the shortlist the best and most lasting of 1967? Some of them definitely were. But there were also some odd choices and definite omissions, so I think on the whole for this year I’d say not.

Other Categories

NOVELETTE

  • “The Last Castle,” Jack Vance (Galaxy Apr 1966)
  • “The Alchemist,” Charles L. Harness (Analog May 1966)
  • “Apology to Inky,” Robert M. Green, Jr. (F&SF Jan 1966)
  • “Call Him Lord,” Gordon R. Dickson (Analog May 1966)
  • “The Eskimo Invasion,” Hayden Howard (Galaxy Jun 1966)
  • “For a Breath I Tarry,” Roger Zelazny (Fantastic Sep 1966)
  • “The Manor of Roses,” Thomas Burnett Swann (F&SF Nov 1966)
  • “An Ornament to His Profession,” Charles L. Harness (Analog Feb 1966)
  • “This Moment of the Storm,” Roger Zelazny (F&SF Jun 1966)

Look, two short fiction categories! And about time too. I’d have had a hard time choosing between the Zelaznys here. The Nebula also went to “The Last Castle,” with the Harness and Avram Davidson’s “Clash of the Star Kings” also nominated.

SHORT STORY

  • “Neutron Star,” Larry Niven (If Oct 1966)
  • “Comes Now the Power,” Roger Zelazny (Magazine of Horror #14 Winter 1966/67)
  • “Delusions for a Dragon Slayer,” Harlan Ellison (Knight Sep 1966)
  • “Light of Other Days,” Bob Shaw (Analog Aug 1966)
  • “Man In His Time,” Brian W. Aldiss (Who Can Replace a Man?)
  • “Mr. Jester,” Fred Saberhagen (If Jan 1966)
  • “Rat Race,” Raymond F. Jones (Analog Apr 1966)
  • “The Secret Place,” Richard McKenna (Orbit 1)

Wow. “Neutron Star” is a brilliant story, but both “Light of Other Days” (post) and “Who Can Replace a Man?” are part of the furniture of my brain. That would have been a really hard choice. The Nebula went to “The Secret Place,” with “Who Can Replace a Man,” and “Light of Other Days” also listed.

DRAMATIC PRESENTATION

  • Star Trek: “The Menagerie”
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • Fantastic Voyage
  • Star Trek: “The Corbomite Maneuver”
  • Star Trek: “The Naked Time”

PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE

  • If, Frederik Pohl
  • Analog, John W. Campbell, Jr.
  • Galaxy, Frederik Pohl
  • New Worlds, Michael Moorcock

This shows the impression the New Wave has having already, even though none of the nominees are from New Worlds, what we see here is a British magazine being nominated as best magazine at an American worldcon.

PROFESSIONAL ARTIST

  • Jack Gaughan
  • Frank Kelly Freas
  • Gray Morrow
  • John Schoenherr

The fan categories have also burgeoned into the three categories we have today:

FANZINE

  • Niekas, Edmund R. Meskys & Felice Rolfe
  • Australian SF Review, John Bangsund
  • Habakkuk, Bill Donaho
  • Lighthouse, Terry Carr
  • Riverside Quarterly, Leland Sapiro
  • Trumpet, Tom Reamy
  • Yandro, Robert Coulson & Juanita Coulson

FAN WRITER

  • Alexei Panshin
  • Norm Clarke
  • Bill Donaho
  • Harry Warner, Jr.
  • Paul J. Willis

FAN ARTIST

  • Jack Gaughan
  • George Barr
  • Jeff Jones
  • Steve Stiles
  • Arthur Thomson

Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published two poetry collections and nine novels, most recently Among Others. If you liked this post you will like it. She reads a lot, and blogs about it here regularly. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are more varied.

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