Sun
Jan 23 2011 10:15am

Hugo Nominees: 1967

1967 Hugo Awards trophyThe 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.

32 comments
john mullen
1. johntheirishmongol
I have read all the nominees except for the Swann book. I think the right book won, its certainly the way I would have voted. While I liked Babel 17, I never thought of it as one of the great novels, but then again, Delaney never was one of my faves. I don't know how many times I have read Moon is a Harsh Mistress, but I am sure it's a lot. Some of my favorite Heinlein characters are in this book and I would share a beer with them.

The Lord Darcy books are fun and entertaining and I would read anytime, but not quite to the quality of the other two.

I may be the only person who find Flowers for Algernon annoying and pointless. I didn't like the premise, hated the ending, and didn't even like the movie.

The Witches of Karres is a fun romp that has a couple of iconic ideas in it. I recently reread it and was more disturbed about the age of the kids in it than I was previously, so tastes do change over years.

I read all the Nebula books and my personal choice for a nominee from that list would have been World of Ptaavs, which was smart, well-written and still holds up and is a strong part of the Known Worlds universe.

It was just about this time that I started getting Analog on a subscription, which I kept til I joined the USAF in '71. I was a terrible kid because I would go to the library in the morning and check out books and read them in all my classes instead of paying attention. It's an addiction that stays with me still.

I once saw a bumber sticker that read "He who dies with the most books wins" and I always that it was perfect for me.
Steve Oerkfitz
2. Steve Oerkfitz
Not a big Heinlein fan but The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is probably his best book. Loved Babel-17. Enjoyed The Witches of Karres when I first read it as a teenager but when I tried to reread it a few years ago I couldn't get past the first 30 pages. I remember liking Thomas Burnett Swann when I read in back in the late 60's but don't remember the books well. He seems to be largely forgotton now. I agree with the selection of The Last Castle-one of my favorite stories by one of my favorite writers. Altho the Zelazny selections are quite good. Preferred Larry Niven at short story length. His writing always struck me as a bit flat and was more of a problem at longer lengths. I would have picked the Bob Shaw or the Aldiss at the shorter length.
David Levinson
3. DemetriosX
I've read five of the six nominees. Swann is unknown to me, though I may have read some of his short work in an anthology. I see this as essentially a 2 book race, TMiaHM and Babel-17. Either is a worthy winner. My vote would probably depend heavily on my mood at the time I cast it. Algernon had already won and really works better as a novella. I love Lord Darcy, but it really isn't Hugo material. My reaction to Witches was "meh". Schmitz seems to be one of those authors you either love or are indifferent to. (And can somebody please tell me WTH the joke is with Nikkeldepain? In 35 years I've never figured it out.)

They kind of went overboard on the nominees for short fiction. Most of the novelettes are just titles to me, so I can't really offer an opinion. For the short stories, I really like "Neutron Star", but "Light of Other Days" should have won. (Maybe "Man in His Time".) I wonder if what we're seeing here and in the novel voting is a bit of resistance/backlash to the New Wave. There's a fair amount among the nominees, but the winners seem to be more traditional SF. A NY con would have had a high proportion of the old guard, I would think. Makes me wonder.

I'm somewhat baffled by the dramatic presentation. The three Trek episodes are not necessarily the best to be shown in 1966. Both "Shore Leave" (by Ted Sturgeon) and "Balance of Terror" should have been eligible. And "The Menagerie" wins? A cobbled together remix of the pilot? I just don't see it.

Only other things of note: It's unfair that Jack Gaughan won both pro and fan artist. His fan nomination was withdrawn in 68 and he won the pro again. We also see Jeff Jones in the fans. S/He (not sure of the protocols, she was a he at the time) soon became a popular cover artist, doing the Fafhrd & Mouser collections. We also see Alexei Panshin winning the fan writer. He was also about to go rpo.
James Davis Nicoll
4. James Davis Nicoll
's also fantasy, and I think this is the first time an outright fantasy has been nominated.

Fantasy that was published in Analog, as I recall. Maybe that gave it SFnal street cred.
Walter Underwood
6. wunder
Flowers for Algernon is my canonical example of a story that works best in short form. Experiencing his arc in one sitting multiplies the impact.

It has also been adapted as a play -- we did that in high school.
Clark Myers
7. ClarkEMyers
The Darcy cross-over with Wolfe likely helped people inclined to like mysteries to feel fond of the whole book.

Count me as another fan of Karres though not the sequels as the vatch and other such work well in small - expanded they are more ex machina than deus.

I've always thought Moon is a Harsh Mistress to be the most conventional of Heinlein's major works. I'd say this gave the book more conventional critical esteem - the Huck Finn ending and such - than the book really deserved in a field that included writings more more original or less derivative if you will. I've been tempted from time to time to join the folks using Brass Cannon as a name for their business.

I kibitzed the neighbor children writing a high school paper on Flowers about 20 years ago - interesting to watch a broader audience comment on is and ought to be.
David Goldfarb
9. David_Goldfarb
Lord Darcy was published in Astounding / Analog under the pretext at least that the magic was really psi. (As you note, it's certainly treated very mechanistically in the series.)
James Davis Nicoll
10. Doug M.
Fan writer: this is the year that Alexei Panshin won for _Heinlein in Dimension_.

The original plan was for Panshin to write a short critical biography. Alas, Heinlein -- for reasons that have been chronicled elsewhere -- took a violent distaste to him. Panshin fell back in confusion at first, but then decided to publish a series of critical / analytical essays about Heinlein's writing. Thes were published in fanzines over the course of a year or two, then eventually collected as _Heinlein in Dimension_.

I wouldn't call _HiD_ a towering masterpiece of the critic's art, but it's a thoughtful book that makes a number of trenchant observations and even dares to make some predictions about Heinlein's future writing. At least one of these proved to be precisely correct. (Panshin noted that, over the last decade or so, Heinlein had been writing more and longer scenes with characters just sitting around exchanging witty dialogue intended to show how clever they were. So he predicted that, if Heinlein lived long enough, he'd eventually write a book that consisted almost entirely of such scenes. Point, Panshin.)

The astonishing thing is, it's been 45 years since then and we still don't have a critical biography of Heinlein. Go figure.


Doug M.
James Davis Nicoll
11. Doug M.
Novelette: wow, what a great year. "The Last Castle" is a truly wonderful story -- Vance at the top of his game, with a race of overcivilized dandies suddenly facing an unexpected reckoning. You can read it as a Vancian romp, but it's got a solid and rather grim SFnal substrate: what happens when a key resource of your society suddenly turns against you?

The Zelazny's are great too, and _For a Breath I Tarry_ is one of Zelazny's best shorts. The posthuman world of robots has been done many times, before and since, but never better. ("Go away! Go crush ore!")

Neutron Star is indeed a brilliant story, despite a couple of fairly huge flaws. (Nobody not knowing what tides are is pretty darn unlikely when you think about it, and also Niven didn't even try to get the math right -- Shaeffer would have been shredded by millions of gravities, not hundreds.) It's just perfectly crafted at every level -- you read it and you can't find a word or sentence to add or take away. Just a gem.

The 'what are /you/ doing in here' entry for this category is "Mr. Jester". All I can think is that some voters suddenly woke up and realized that Fred Saberhagen had been doing all these spiffy Berserker stories, and this was the only one eligible in that particular year.


Doug M.
James Davis Nicoll
12. James Davis Nicoll
As I recall, '67 to about '69 cover what turned out to be misleadingly productive bursts of notable work from a number of authors; Panshin, for example, published Rite of Passage, Star Well, Thurb Revolution and Masque World over the course of 1968 and 1969; after that he wrote one final novel years later (with his wife).

For Niven you have to include 1966 but I don't think any other three year period in his career shows the same level of skill and output as '66 though '69: included are Eye of an Octopus, The Warriors, World of Ptavvs, How the Heroes Die, Neutron Star, At the Core, At the Bottom of a Hole, A Relic of the Empire, The Jigsaw Man, The Handicapped, The Soft Weapon, Flatlander, The Ethics of Madness, Safe at Any Speed, The Adults, Wait It Out, Grendel, Neutron Star, The Deceivers, There Is a Tide, A Gift from Earth, Death by Ecstasy, Not Long Before the End, Passerby, The Flight of the Horse, Wrong-Way Street, For a Foggy Night, All the Myriad Ways, By Mind Alone, One Face, Bordered in Black, The Long Night, The Deadlier Weapon, Dry Run, Like Banquo's Ghost, and The Meddler.
Rich Horton
13. ecbatan
To the list of potential novel nominees I'd only add a couple of marginal cases, perhaps: Edgar Pangborn's The Judgement of Eve, which I haven't read but which I am sure is worthy of a look; Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49, which again I haven't read, but seems to be well regarded (not sure if it's really SF, mind you); a decent but not brilliant Jack Vance novel, The Blue World; and a pretty good Tom Disch book, Mankind Under the Leash (aka The Puppies of Terra). I'd also like to add a mention of a novel I enjoyed by a writer I like a lot, but not really a worthy Hugo candidate: Tom Purdom's The Tree Lord of Imeten. Purdom's novel, by the way, was backed with Delany's Empire Star. For that matter, Disch's Mankind Under the Leash was backed with Le Guin's Planet of Exile.

As for Empire Star, at 29,000 words it is technically a novella, and should have been nominated there (as Davidson's similarly long Ace Double, Clash of Star Kings, actually was, for the Nebula).

I enjoyed The Moon is a Harsh Mistress immensely, and have no argument with its win, though I also loved Babel-17, and I'm glad it got a Nebula. I agree that Flowers for Algernon isn't quite as good a novel as it was a novelette, though it's still mighty good.

Of the other nominees, Too Many Magicians is great fun, but no, not quite a Hugo worthy book. It's no better than tied for first Fantasy to be nominated for the Novel Hugo (a fantasy, Bloch's "That Hell Bound Train", had already won for short fiction, of course), because Day of the Minotaur is also outright fantasy -- much more so than Too Many Magicians, really, as it has no Analog veneer of "magic = psi". But at any rate, wasn't Vercors's Sylva, nominated a couple of years previously, also a fantasy? (To say nothing of borderline cases such as Glory Road and Witch World.)

I have read Day of the Minotaur (I believe I've read the complete works of T. B. Swann, or at least nearly so), but I don't remember it well, I think it's a fairly minor work. And I loved The Witches of Karres when I first read it, but I was 14, so you are probably right that it's the sort of book you might need to encounter at the right age.

--
Rich Horton
Rich Horton
14. ecbatan
Okay, to the novellas/novelettes. (I suspect it was the Nebula addition of novella as a category that led to the widespread use of that as a category. Most older magazines that I've seen usually just listed "Novelettes" (often defined as stories over 10,000 words, though that varied); and sometimes "Short Novels" for stories over about 20,000 words.)

I think it's a pretty strong couple of nomination lists. Don't know why they were so long, perhaps a reaction to the long nomination lists for the Nebula the year before? (Oddly, the Nebula shortlists were really short, only three deep in most cases.)

For novella/novelette, "The Last Castle" is perhaps my favorite Vance shorter work, and it's a good choice for the award. But my gosh, so too would have been either Zelazny story -- both "For a Breath I Tarry" and "This Moment of the Storm" are wonderful. He also published "The Keys to December" in 1966, which is almost as good. And a similarly brilliant short story, "Divine Madness".

"Call Him Lord", the Nebula winner for Best Novelette, is very fine work, though I wouldn't have given it a Hugo over the other contenders. Hayden Howard's "The Eskimo Invasion" is also good stuff. I haven't read Green's story. I'm a big Charles Harness fan, and both of Harness's nominees are strong stories, though again not better than the Vance or Zelazny stories.

The one real contender, besides Vance and Zelazny, among the nominees, is Thomas Burnett Swann's "The Manor of Roses", which is just stunning. It's Swann's best story, by far, great work, and not well enough remembered. (He later expanded it to a novel, not as good, The Tournament of Thorns (1976).)

There were some worthy novellas and novelettes not nominated for the Hugo. We've already mentioned Empire Star, which is wonderful, of course, though I confess I'd not have given it the award over any of Vance, Zelazny, or Swann. There's also the Nebula nominee Clash of Star Kings, by Avram Davidson. It's good work, but not my favorite Davidson. It's best for its description of life in Mexico for an expatriate American. (Schockingly enough, at the time Davidson was living in Mexico.) Davidson called it Tlaloc, but predicted that Don Wollheim would change to the title to something like
Aztec Goddesses from Outer Space with Big Boobs -- Wollheim's eventual title wasn't that bad, but it certainly was going in that direction!

Some other novellas/novelettes worth a look (I'm guessing as to the length, in many cases):

"Bookworm, Run", by Vernor Vinge
"Door to Anywhere", by Poul Anderson
"We Can Remember it for you Wholesale", by Philip K. Dick

--
Rich Horton
Rich Horton
16. ecbatan
Now to the short stories.

In the first place, while I love "Neutron Star", I do think there was another clearcut choice, my definite favorite this year, and one of my favorite stories of all time, and that's "Light of Other Days". (And no, I don't care that it has a science error at least as egregious as Niven's screwup about the tides.)

Of the other nominees, I think "Man in His Time" by Aldiss is brilliant. And perhaps we should clear up some confusion. "Who Can Replace a Man?" aka "But Who Can Replace a Man?" is another short story by Aldiss, first published back in 1958. It's very good, mind you. It is the title story of the collection in which "Man in His Time" was first published in the US.

I'm not that familiar with the other short story nominees. "The Secret Place", the Nebula winner, is good, but not nearly as good as "Light of Other Days", nor as good as the Aldiss or Niven stories.

There was one other 1966 story that is pretty much on that very top level, though, and it's perhaps the most influential of them all. This is "Day Million", by Frederik Pohl. It was published in Rogue, which may explain with the nominators ignored it. It should have got a nomination, though, and it should have won in most years (but not against "Light of Other Days".)

A few more potential nominees:

"A Man Must Die", by John Clute (really, try it, it's great! Even you, James Nicoll!)
Three by R. A. Lafferty: "Among the Hairy Earthmen", "Nine Hundred Grandmothers", "Primary Education Among the Camiroi"
"Be Merry", by Algis Budrys (he also published an excellent non-SF story, "The Master of the Hounds", a crime story with a great last line)
"When I Was Miss Dow", by Sonya Dorman (who abandoned SF for poetry a few years later, and she was a damn good poet, too)

--
Rich Horton
Andrew Barton
17. MadLogician
We have several of the Swann books (Day of the Minotaur was his first novel), mostly DAW and Ace editions bought second-hand. They're fantasy and occasionally SF in mythical or historical settings. Others have done this sort of thing better since but in 1967 I can't remember seeing anything else like his work. I'd say they're still worth a read if you come across them but only worth hunting down if you have a historical interest.
James Davis Nicoll
18. Gardner Dozois
I liked BABEL-17, but it's not Delany's best book, while THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS probably IS Heinlein's best book (adult book, anyway), so I have no problem going with the Hugo for it. Although I also liked Le Guin's still-unread and underappreciated PLANET OF EXILE, and Vance's THE BLUE WORLD is fine work too. FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON didn't work anywhere as well as a novel as it did as a novelette. THE JUDGEMENT OF EVE is weak Pangborn, not even in the same league as DAVY, and THE DAY OF THE MINOTAUR is weak Swann (ironically, Swann's single best story, "The Manor of Roses," would come out that same year). TOO MANY MAGICIANS is good fun, but doesn't deserve a Hugo, and I'd say the same about THE WITCHES OF KARRES.

I have no problem with "The Last Castle" winning, although I like Zelazny's "This Moment of the Storm" almost as well (like it better, in fact, than the better-known "For a Breath I Tarry").

Short story is weaker. Of that list, I suppose "Light of Other Days" deserved to win, it being the only one of the list that still gets read and talked about much, although I never liked it as much as some people did. Like the suggestion that Lafferty's "Nine Hundred Grandmothers" or Budrys's "Be Merry" might have made good substitutes.

For fans of Tom Purdom's old Ace Double, TREE LORD OF IMETEN might be interested to know that Purdom just published a sequel to it, "Warfriends," in the December 2010 ASIMOV'S, 43 years later.
James Davis Nicoll
19. Michael F. Flynn
can somebody please tell me WTH the joke is with Nikkeldepain?

I always figured it was that people on weirdly named planets thought that Nikkeldepain was weirdly named.

I still find Witches of Karres a charming romp.

Too Many Magicians

It's not that the magic is psi. It isn't, though one must have the Talent to use it. It had an SFnal feel because the magic was material and lawful: you couldn't do just anything. In one of the short stories, Master Sean, the "forensic sorceror, uses magic to determine that a particular bullet came from a particular gun, but explains that the Law of Relevance means he can't likewise determine who fired the gun. It''s relevant to the bullet which gun fired it, for it would not be the bullet it is (the wear and tear) if it had not been fired from that particular gun. But it is not relevant to the gun who pulled the trigger, since the wear and tear was mechanical. It was that sort of scientificating of the magic that made it charming.
James Davis Nicoll
20. James Davis Nicoll
"A Man Must Die", by John Clute (really, try it, it's great! Even you, James Nicoll!)

I am fairly sure I didn't say Appleseed was bad, just that I'd rather be beaten with barbed wire than reread it.
James Davis Nicoll
21. Doug M.
It's interesting how much of later Vinge is already prefigured in "Bookworm, Run!".

"Day Million" does not read like a story from 1967! And while I hadn't thought of it, I suspect you're right -- it probably was rather influential, on everything from 1970s John Varley to early cyberpunk.

"Blue Planet", OTOH, reads like Vance from his Campbell period, 10-15 years earlier. I would not be surprised to hear that it was a steamer trunk book.


Doug M.
Rich Horton
22. ecbatan
The Vance novel from that year that I really think came from the trunk is Nopalgarth, aka The Brains of Earth, which is perhaps the worst of his novels, and which reads very much like a clumsy Red Scare concoction. (It's also flatly written, not at all like Vance's mature style.) It was published as an Ace Double backed with The Many Worlds of Magnus Ridolph (which of course is a collection of very early Vance stories).
Jo Walton
23. bluejo
I concur that The Judgement of Eve is weak Pangborn -- I looked for it for years and was disappointed when I found it.
James Davis Nicoll
24. Doug M.
_Nopalgarth_ has a fun high concept, but yes. Not only is the style very flat, but the whole thing is extremely Campbellian, from the clunky description of how psi powers work (see, there's this other universe) to the aliens who are technologically advanced but rather dull.

Vance has said in a couple of interviews that Campbell was a huge influence on him for a while, but that then he basically rebelled against his overbearing direction.

Campbell could turn a mediocre writer into a solid crafter of bestselling potboilers (McCaffrey), or train a midlister into producing an enduring classic (Herbert), but with a huge and unique talent like Vance's... well, there pretty much had to be a split at some point.

So maybe in the mid-1960s, having achieved critical success and financial independence, he started cleaning out the steamer trunk? Because if you look at these books, yeah, you'd guess that _Nopalgarth_ was from around 1952 and _Blue Planet_ just a few years later.

(The Jack Vance autobiography, alas, gives no clue. It's worth reading, but Vance doesn't spend much time discussing the details of writing and publishing.)

Doug M.
James Davis Nicoll
25. Gardner Dozois
I liked THE BLUE WORLD, which has an intricate and clever social structure, and delivers a classic SF "oppressive authoritarian religion is bad, you need to think for yourself and not believe what others tell you can't be done or what the world is like" message. Agree that THE BRAINS OF EARTH is not very good. The only other Vance novel in the same low range of quality is THE HOUSES OF IZAM, and at least that has the clever concept of the Houses in it. Even a potboiler like THE FIVE GOLD BANDS is more colorful and interesting.

Forgot about "Day Million," but I guess that would probably get my Hugo vote in the short story category. A clear precursor of all the "Posthuman" stories that came after it, years ahead of its time, and hugely influential on everything that came after it.
Paul Eisenberg
26. HelmHammerhand
I too remember reading "The Day of the Minotaur" as a youngster and liking it very much at the time - this was in the early to mid '80s.
James Davis Nicoll
27. James Davis Nicoll
I concur that The Judgement of Eve is weak Pangborn (...)

Isn't that the one that was said to have been ruthlessly edited by a hostile editor cool on Pangborn's approach to human relationships? Or do I misremember?
Pamela Adams
28. Pam Adams
As much as I love Lord Darcy and his universe, I have to agree- TMM is not Hugo-worthy. (Now if only it had been nominated for an Edgar.......)

I haven't read all the short work, but would concur in the Shaw over Neutron Star. It has that amazing kick-you-in-the-teeth ending. Niven was certainly on a roll with his short work though.
Bob Blough
29. Bob
The three novels nominated for both Hugo and Nebula were the three best that year (and the fact that all three got awards is one of the great justices in SF award-dom!) but others that should have been nominated could have been: The Crystal World by J.G. Ballard - probably my favorite of all his novels, Earthblood by Keith Laumer and Rosel George Brown - an important proto new wave story, The Night of Light , another favorite by Philip Jose Farmer, Eyes of he Overworld, the fixup novel by Jack Vance about Cugal the Clever, The Productions of Time by John Brunner which is outdated psychologically but still a favorite of mine set in a theater community, and The Ancient Gods by Poul anderson which was published in book form by another name I can't quite remember, now. These, including the ones already mentioned, The Blue World, World of the Ptavvs, Make Room! Make Room, Planet of Exile and The Witches of Karres were my favorites.

Too Many Magicians and The Days of the Minotaur are not unworthy but not, perhaps, the best choices of the year.
Bob Blough
30. Bob
The short fiction is wonderful as well. And I agree with the ideas of Ecbatan but I'd have to add another Lafferty for short story (All four of these mentioned could have been nominated as far as I am concerned - I love Lafferty) - "Golden Trabant" but my choices at this remove are "Day Million", "Light of Other Days' "Man in His Time" , "Delusion for a Dragon Slayer", "We Can Remember it For You Wholesale" and any or all of the Lafferty short stories.

The Novella/Novelletes would have to include the Vance, "Empire Star" by Delaney, the two Zelaznys (his Novelette "The Keys to December" another of his best from that year could not be nominated for the nebula until published in the US by Wollhiem and Carr in their Best of... series. Moorcock's "Behold theMan" was also published in New Worlds this year but was not eligable til after being published by Wollheim and Carr in the US. It won the Nebula the next year). The hugos (except for the nomination of New Worlds itself) seemed to ignore stories printed in that venue. Perhaps not enough could get their hands on them to read them. The Heydon Howard story, "The Eskimo Invasion" is good and shows up next year as a novel. Anyone know what happened to him? I'd like to read more. The Swann is top notch and "Apology to Inky" is very good, as are the two Harness stories and Dickson's, "Call Him Lord" As far as novellas, I would have to include Avram Davidson's "Clash of the Star Kings". I read it at the age of 15 and loved the SF part. Re-reading it last year I loved the parts about living in Mexico. Somehow it feels like a novel that didn't have the transitions needed to make it all work together. (perhaps writing to market length rather than to the length it really needed to be?) A wonderful failure, though!

Another great year for Sf, I think.
James Davis Nicoll
31. James Davis Nicoll
and The Ancient Gods by Poul anderson which was published in book form by another name I can't quite remember, now.

World Without Stars.
James Davis Nicoll
32. Gardner Dozois
"Anyone know what happened to him?"

He was killed by angry Eskimos.
Bob Blough
33. Bob
Gotta watch out for those Eskimos. Almost cannabalistic, I hear.
James Davis Nicoll
34. Gardner Dozoi
They had every right to be pissed.
jon meltzer
35. jmeltzer
I read the book thirty-some years ago ... I remember it as being "fluffy Yellow Peril".

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