Sun
Feb 6 2011 10:28am

Hugo Nominees: 1969

1969 Hugo Awards trophyThe 1969 Hugo Awards were presented at St Louiscon in St Louis, MO. (For earlier posts in this series, see Index.) The best novel award went to John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar, one of my favourite books, and Brunner’s absolute best. Brunner decided to write four books each set fifty years ahead and each extrapolating different trends of the present forward. Stand on Zanzibar is overpopulation and sexual freedom, The Sheep Look Up is environmental devastation and domestic terrorism, The Jagged Orbit is racial tensions and weapon enthusiasm, and The Shockwave Rider is computers and organized crime. Stand on Zanzibar is the best of them. It’s a mosaic novel, using ads and music and news reports and different characters to build up the world and the story, in the style of Dos Passos. It’s a really good story, absolutely full of cool stuff, a great world and interesting characters. It’s about to be reprinted by Orb, it’s been pretty solidly in print ever since 1968 and it’s definitely a classic. It’s in the library in French only.

There are four other nominees and I’ve read three of them.

Samuel R. Delany’s Nova is so wonderful that I’ve written about it here twice. I love it. It’s in print, and it’s in the library in both languages. Not only a classic, but still exciting.

Alexei Panshin’s Rite of Passage is another book I’ve written about. It’s in print, but not in the library.

I’ve read Clifford Simak’s The Goblin Reservation but I don’t own it and I haven’t re-read it in a long time. It has aliens and time travel and matter transmission, it’s gently funny and it’s on an odd border between science fiction and fantasy. I remember it as being fairly slight. It’s not in print, and it’s in the library in French only.

I haven’t read R.A. Lafferty’s Past Master, despite having heard good things about it, because Lafferty’s short stories tend to be things where I can’t read more than one of them at a time, so a whole novel seems intimidating. It’s not in print, but it’s in the library in English.

So, we have a novel of near-future Earth written in the style of Dos Passos, an elegant space adventure spanning three galaxies with an interest in class and art and economics, a juvenile set on a starship and distant planet about what growing up really means, a strange gentle story about aliens technology and goblins, and a tall tale. What a range, within genre! Again, we see that the fans were happy to embrace New Wave experimental works, and also keep on nominating traditional writers like Simak—and for that matter like Rite of Passage. I think the voters made the right choice, but if Nova or Rite of Passage had won I’d have been just as happy.

So, looking elswehere, this seems to be the year of “How could they miss that?”

SFWA gave the Nebula award to Rite of Passage, and they had six other nominees. Stand on Zanzibar and Past Master overlap. The others are James Blish’s Black Easter, Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Robert Silverberg’s The Masks of Time, and Joanna Russ’s Picnic on Paradise. First question—what happened with Nova? After that, well, Black Easter is brilliant but very strange and close to being horror, I wouldn’t expect to see it on a Hugo ballot. I have read Do Androids and I suspect it’s better thought of now than it was then because of the Ridley Scott movie. The Masks of Time could have been on the ballot, but it isn’t a scandal that it isn’t. Russ’s Picnic on Paradise though, that’s a classic. That shouldn’t have been overlooked.

There was another award instituted in 1969, the Ditmars, for Australian SF. The winner was A. Bertram Chandler’s False Fatherland. They also had a category for “International SF,” and the winner there was Thomas M. Disch’s Camp Concentration (post). This is definitely a case where the Ditmars honoured a book the Hugos missed—certainly a classic, certainly influential. Their other international nominees were Aldiss’s Cryptozoic and Harness’s The Ring of Ritornel. I think it’s interesting that there’s absolutely no overlap with the Hugos or the Nebulas.

Looking at the ISFDB:

Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Paint me amazed this wasn’t nominated. It should have been. SoZ should still have won, but... wow.

Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea (post). Now back then, fantasy was much less likely to be nominated, and YA much much less likely to be nominated. But in a universe where we gave a Hugo to a Harry Potter book, we should have at least nominated A Wizard of Earthsea while we had the chance for goodness sake.

Other things they might have looked at but it doesn’t matter that they didn’t: John Wyndham’s Chocky, Robert Sheckley’s Dimension of Miracles, Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight, Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn, John Boyd’s The Last Starship from Earth, Lloyd Biggle Jr.’s The Still Small Voice of Trumpets (post), Larry Niven’s A Gift From Earth (post). The other thing I’m noticing is that so much more SF is being published now than in earlier years, where I could list almost everything without my hands falling off. If you look at that ISFDB link above, there’s a lot there.

So this is a year where I’m happy with the winner but where the five nominees definitely don’t seem to me to be the five best books published that year or the five books that showed where the field was in 1969.

Other Categories

NOVELLA

  • “Nightwings,” Robert Silverberg (Galaxy Sep 1968) 
  • “Dragonrider,” Anne McCaffrey (Analog Dec 1967, Jan 1968) 
  • “Hawk Among the Sparrows,” Dean McLaughlin (Analog Jul 1968)
  • “Lines of Power,” Samuel R. Delany (F&SF May 1968)

The Nebula went to McCaffrey. It seems to me that there’s a perception that the Hugo was more “popular” and the Nebula more “literary,” and it seems to me that for the years so far this perception is what’s technically known as “wrong.”

NOVELETTE

  • “The Sharing of Flesh,” Poul Anderson (Galaxy Dec 1968) 
  • “Getting Through University,” Piers Anthony (If Aug 1968)
  • “Mother to the World,” Richard Wilson (Orbit 3)
  • “Total Environment,” Brian W. Aldiss (Galaxy Feb 1968)

Nebula: “Mother to the World.” Both good stories.

SHORT STORY

  • “The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World,” Harlan Ellison (Galaxy Jun 1968)
  • “All the Myriad Ways,” Larry Niven (Galaxy Oct 1968)
  • “The Dance of the Changer and the Three,” Terry Carr (The Farthest Reaches)
  • “Masks,” Damon Knight (Playboy Jul 1968)
  • “The Steiger Effect,” Betsy Curtis (Analog Oct 1968)

Nebula to Kate Wilhelm’s “The Planners.”

DRAMATIC PRESENTATION

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Charly
  • The Prisoner: “Fall Out”
  • Rosemary’s Baby
  • The Yellow Submarine

So we ignored the book but honoured the movie? Oh well, it’s a pretty good movie. But really, a category ought to have lots of worthy nominees to be worth having.

PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE

  • F&SF, Edward L. Ferman
  • Analog, John W. Campbell, Jr.
  • Galaxy, Frederik Pohl
  • If, Frederik Pohl
  • New Worlds, Michael Moorcock

PROFESSIONAL ARTIST

  • Jack Gaughan
  • Vaughn Bodé
  • Leo & Diane Dillon
  • Frank Kelly Freas 

FANZINE

  • Science Fiction Review, Richard E. Geis
  • Riverside Quarterly, Leland Sapiro
  • Shangri L’Affaires, Ken Rudolph
  • Trumpet, Tom Reamy
  • Warhoon, Richard Bergeron

FAN WRITER

  • Harry Warner, Jr.
  • Richard Delap
  • Banks Mebane
  • Ted White (nomination withdrawn)
  • Walt Willis

White withdrew because he won the year before, as Panshin did. It’s nice to see a tradition like that being revived recently.

FAN ARTIST

  • Vaughn Bodé
  • George Barr
  • Tim Kirk
  • Doug Lovenstein
  • Bill Rotsler

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.

37 comments
Raskolnikov
1. Raskolnikov
Rite of Passage doesn't stack up that highly for me. I admire what Panshin was trying to do and liked the subversive ending a lot--the good guys vote to commit mass murder--but the story throughout didn't engage enough, and it came across as a bit flat when I read it last year.

No dispute on Stand oin Zanzibar as the winner, hindsight makes his accomplishment even more impressive. The others in the 'four future works' are also pretty great, in a way that unfortunately Brunner never delivered before or after that point.
Picnic on Paradise and A Wizard of Earthsea should definitely have been shortlisted. Do Androids Dream as well, I feel, it's considerably better controlled and more inventive in the setting than Blade Runner, and it centers a debate on the environment, artificial intelligence and identity in a way that few authors have been reached.

Not much thought on the short fiction but I think overall Ellison got more than his share, I've never found him that good an author. Flashy as opposed to meaningfully subversive, for one thing.
David Levinson
2. DemetriosX
A much less pessimistic year than the one before.

Novels. I've only read 2 that were on the ballot. I would probably have voted for Nova, but certainly won't complain about the winner. It's just as worthy. Of the other eligible works, Black Easter is interesting, but I'm not sure it's quite award material. Do Androids was pretty well received before Bladerunner, although The Man in the High Castle was generally considered the THE PKD novel. Camp Concetration should also have been on one of the ballots. I've never much cared for Cryptozoic. Maybe 2001 didn't get a nod, because it was perceived as a novelization; much of what's there is more Kubrik than Clarke. Generally, a good winner and Nova would have also been a decent choice.

Novella: I've read at least 3 of the 4. I've probably read the Delany, but the title doesn't really tell me much. "Nightwings" probably deserved the win, but I have a soft spot for "Hawk Among the Sparrows".

None of the novellettes stir any memories for me.

Short story: Hard to argue with the winner. "All the Myriad Ways" is good, but falls a little short of what it's trying to do, in my opinion. The Terry Carr story can be found on-line. I tried to read it, but just couldn't get into it at all.

Dramatic presentation: I don't really have a problem with 2001 winning. Charly is good, but I think the voters may have been getting a little tired of Flowers for Algernon. This is the fourth time it's been on the ballot in some form. The Prisoner episode is the somewhat controversial finale. Rosemary's Baby is pure horror; I'm not sure what it's doing here. And Yellow Submarine? WTF?

Other stuff: This is the first appearance by the Dillons on the artist ballot. They're probably best known as children's illustrators. Vaughn Bodé was a comic artist, best known for Cheech Wizard.
john mullen
3. johntheirishmongol
I was fine with Stand on Zanzibar as a winner, but Goblin Reservation is one of my favorite books of all time. It has so much heart and great characters. I would have voted for it.

How does Planet of the Apes not get a nomination? It came out in '68 and was a better movie than 2001.
Ken Walton
4. carandol
I wonder whether the lack of attention Picnic on Paradise received might have something to do with the overwhelming male domination of SF at the time? On a quick check, it seems like only six women have been nominated for Hugos up to this point: Marion Zimmer Bradley, Anne McCaffrey, Pauline Ashwell, Zenna Henderson, Katherine Maclean and Andre Norton. Starting next year Ursula Le Guin starts winning awards left right and centre. It might be interesting to chart the rise of women writers in the awards nominations.
René Walling
5. cybernetic_nomad
How does Planet of the Apes not get a nomination? It came out in '68 and was a better movie than 2001.

?!?!?! that's a statement that boggles my mind.
Planet of the Apes was nominated for and Oscart for best costume design and the "ape-men" of 2001 where much better. So I guess it evens out.
john mullen
6. johntheirishmongol
@5 Watch them today and see what you think. 2001 is pretty but no plot and totally confusing, even today. Whereas, even today, Chuck Heston is fun to watch, the movie stands up and, even though everyone knows the ending, it still has a pretty good impact. The best scene in 2001 is walking around the space wheel, and seeing HoJos
Steve Oerkfitz
7. Steve Oerkfitz
Have to agree with the novel choice but Nova would be a close second. Would have liked A Wizard of Earthsea on the ballot instead of The Goblin Reservation-I just reread it last month and its probably Simak's worst novel. Interesting to see Anne McCaffrey getting nominations every year. I had almost forgotten she had done some good work early on in her career before turning out hackwork.
Michael Walsh
8. MichaelWalsh
Glad to see Stand on Zanzibar being reissued! Go Orb!
Rich Horton
9. ecbatan
I can understand and even support Stand on Zanzibar winning -- a tremendous accomplishment, an influential book, an enjoyable read, one of the best truly extrapolative works of SF. The most direct contemporary comparison, it occurs to me, is the recent novels of Ian McDonald.

But ... but ... but ... I have to vote for Nova. Nova is one of my most cherished SF novels ever. It's just a book I completely love, while I merely greatly respect Stand on Zanzibar.

I know it's much of the point of the book, and not necessarily endorsed, either, but for me the absolutely massively evil conclusion to Rite of Passage so damages it in my mind that I can't remember it with any affection. Once a society decides that the only solution for dealing with people you don't like and yet who are not an immediate threat is to kill them all, then I think the society is morally dead and needs complete reform itself. It's arguable, mind you, that that is a point the book is trying to make -- I can't really say not having read it in 35 years.

I'd have nominated Camp Concentration for sure, a magnficent novel. I think 1968 was a year with fully three novels completely deserving of a Hugo (or Nebula), while many years have none.

I like Picnic on Paradise, but I don't think it's truly at the leve of those other three books. It would have been a fine nominee, but I don't think it's a dreadful shame it wasn't nominated for the Hugo, given the available alternates that were nominated, not to mention The Last Unicorn, another favorite of mine; or the other Nebula nominees like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

Past Master, by the way, is an interesting book, but for the most part I don't get along with Lafferty as well at novel length than at short story. It may be my favorite of his novels, but that's partly because I actively dislike some others that are widely praised (like Fourth Mansions and especially The Devil is Dead).

By the way, I suspect 2001: A Space Odyssey wasn't nominated as a novel because it was regarded as "just a novelization", fairly or not.

--
Rich Horton
Rich Horton
10. ecbatan
As to the short fiction.

First, novella. Back in the day, I definitely would have chosen"Nightwings" among the nominees. "Dragonrider" is OK, and "Hawk Among the Sparrows" is fine work but not overwhelming. As for "Lines of Power", I suspect most people these days know it better by Delany's preferred title, "We, in Some Strange Power's Employ, Move in a Rigorous Line". It was Delany doing a Zelazny pastiche (complete with a character modelled on him), and I like it fine, but it's not Delany's very best work.

The Nebula nominees are the same set, with one addition: "The Day Before Forever", by Keith Laumer, which I don't think I've read. I have only one more potential nominee to suggest: Poul Anderson's "A Tragedy of Errors". In what seems a thinnish year for novellas, I'd say Silverberg's novella was then and remains the worthy winner.

Incidentally, I too have long thought that the Nebula's reputation as a "more literary" award was overblown. I will say that I did a study of the Hugos and Nebulas some years ago, and one thing I did was attempt -- at a very crude level -- to characterize the winners as more "literary" or more "popular", and, granted that such characterizations are profoundly subjective, I did find that more Nebula winners than Hugos were to the literary end of the spectrum, but not by a wide margin. (The recent several years, before the last couple, where in my opinion the Nebulas went through a bad bad stretch, may have changed those numbers even more.)

To novelette. As Jo says, both "The Sharing of Flesh" and "Mother to the World" are fine stories, worthy award winners. I admit I don't recall either the Aldiss or the Anthony novelette, so I can't comment on them. The Nebula nomination list includes the Wilson, Aldiss, and Anderson stories, plus some further interesting choices:

"Final War", by K. M. O'Donnell (really Barry Malzberg"
"The Guerrilla Trees", by H. H. Hollis
"The Listeners", by James Gunn
"Once There Was a Giant", by Keith Laumer.

All fine stories, each quite different from the next, none would displace the winners, in my mind.

One fine novelette from 1968 not listed is Vernor Vinge's "Grimm's Story", which of course soon became his first novel.

Katherine MacLean's "The Trouble With You Earth People" is also good work.

And there are two more Delany stories to consider. One is not all that well known, though I like it a lot: "High Weir". The other is very well known indeed -- in fact, it won the Nebula. But not until the next year, because it was published in New Worlds, and as such not eligible for the award until after it's Year's Best anthologization. This is "Time Considered as a Helix of Many Colored Stones", a lovely story, a worthy winner in its year, and probably would have been the worthy winner this year had it been nominated. (It's also, according to Adam Roberts, based on Wallace Stevens's great poem "The Emperor of Ice Cream".)

And short story. I'm not that big a fan of the Ellison story. I'm not sure to whom I'd have given the Hugo, because I think all three of the next nominees are excellent: "All the Myriad Ways", "The Dance of the Changer and the Three", and "Masks". (I don't recall Betsy Curtis's "The Steiger Effect".) Any one of those would have been a good winner, much better than "The Beast Who Shouted Love at the Heart of the World". "The Planners" is a good story, a good winner, but I'd also rank it behind the Niven, Carr, and Knight stories.

Besides "The Planners", the Nebula shortlist includes Carr's story, Knight's story, a Robert Taylor story that I don't know: "Idiot's Mate", an H. H. Hollis story that I recall as decent: "Sword Game", and an excellent Poul Anderson story, "Kyrie".

Other short stories to consider include Delany's "Cage of Brass", Zelazny's "Corrida", and the funny "The Egg of the Glak", by Harvey Jacobs. But I'd say the best five story nomination list would consist of "Kyrie", "The Planners", "Masks", "The Dance of the Changer and the Three", and "All the Myriad Ways".

I should also mention that 1968 saw the first publication of stories by "James Tiptree, Jr." (though of course Alice Bradley had a story in the New Yorker in the '40s). These were "Birth of a Salesman", "The Mother Ship" aka "Mamma Comes Home", "Fault", and "Pupa Knows Best" aka "Help". All interesting, but it was in 1969, seems to me, that it became obvious that Tiptree was truly something special.
Raskolnikov
11. Doug M.
"The Dance of the Changer and the Three" is a wonderful story. It's been OOP for a long time, which is a shame.

_The Last Unicorn_, in retrospect, probably should have been on at least one ballot. It's been in print nonstop, had a decent animated movie, and is currently coming out as a comic miniseries that will be packaged into a TPB / graphic novel. More to the point, it's just a damn good novel. I think this was retroactively recognized by the decision to honor its much less impressive sequel, "Two Hearts", a few years back.

That said, _Unicorn_ was a sleeper -- it didn't make much of a splash at first publication.

"All the Myriad Ways": great little story. Also the most depressing look at the implications of the many-worlds interpretation until... ohh, the rise of Greg Egan, almost 30 years later.

Notice that we're still in that brief period when Piers Anthony was writing serious SF and getting nominated for awards. It won't last much longer.


Doug M.
Andrew Mason
12. AnotherAndrew
Now back then, fantasy was much less likely to be nominated, and YA much much less likely to be nominated.

And I'd suspect that children's/YA fantasy was much, much less likely to be nominated. There is a strong tradition of children's fantasy, often dominating the field, and largely independent of the adult fantasy tradtion. As a result, while juvenile science fiction is seen as an extension of the adult genre, science fiction, juvenile fantasy is often seen as belonging to the genre 'children's book', and so as having nothing to do with SF.
Jo Walton
13. bluejo
AnotherAndrew: Then yes. Now, we've given the Hugo to Harry Potter and to Gaiman's Graveyard Book, both unquestionably fantasy aimed at kids.
john mullen
14. johntheirishmongol
@9 The book for 2001 was actually Childhood's End which was written in 1953. It may have been reissued with a 2001 title (and I think it was) but the book was the same. I wouldn't think changing titles would give it eligibility
Rich Horton
15. ecbatan
@14 johntheirishmongol -- No, Childhood's End is not in any way the source material for 2001. The original source material is a short story by Clarke, "The Sentinel", which first appeared in the obscure magazine 10 Story Fantasy, Spring 1951. (The rather juicy cover of that issue is reproduced here: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?10STRYSPRING1951)

Clarke and Kubrick worked together for quite some time on developing that material into a movie screenplay. Then Clarke wrote the novel from the screenplay.
Rich Horton
16. ecbatan
(I hope this doesn't turn out to be a duplicate.)

No, Childhood's End is not the source material for 2001.

The source material is a short story by Clarke called "The Sentinel", which first appeared in the Spring 1951 issue of a fairly obscure magazine, 10 Story Fantasy.

Clarke and Kubrick worked together to produce a screenplay, much extending the material of "The Sentinel". Then Clarke turned the screenplay into the novel.
Rich Horton
17. ecbatan
Also, I was amused by the cover for that issue of 10 Story Fantasy: here.

That's pulp for you!
Raskolnikov
18. etranger
@johntheirishmongol:
Actually, Childhood's End and 2001 are completely separate books. 2001 was originally based on the short story, "The Sentinel," and expanded into a novel concurrently with the making of the movie. Stanley Kubrick did consider filming Childhood's end, but decided on 2001 instead.
Raskolnikov
19. etranger
Oops. Sorry for the duplicate.
Raskolnikov
20. Gardner Dozois
Brunner's prescience was amazing (particularly in THE SHOCKWAVE RIDER, a cyberpunk novel well ahead of its time), but his writing could be clunky line-by-line. It's hard to deny that STAND ON ZANZIBAR is a classic, still influential to this day, but I would have voted for Delany's NOVA, one of my favorite novels. I'd still vote for it.

The other serious contenders were CAMP CONCENTRATION, probably Disch's best singleton novel (as opposed to a mosiac novel like 334), although I always thought the sudden "happy" ending was a bit forced and false, Le Guin's A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA, one of the cornerstones of modern fantasy and HUGELY influential right down to the present day, Dick's DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP, which I thought was much deeper and subtler than the movie, and PICNIC ON PARADISE, probably Russ's most accesible and purely entertaining novel. Nothing else here really comes up to the same level. PAST MASTER is stuffed with wild and lyrical stuff, but a bit abstract--on the whole, he was better at short fiction, although I love his little-known novel THE REEFS OF EARTH. RITE OF PASSAGE was refreshing for the way it overturned then-universal YA conventions, but not in the same league as the top novels above.

A strong year for novels. I'd still vote for NOVA. If for some reason I couldn't, probably go for A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA, although I'd be tempted by CAMP CONCENTRATION.

A weaker year for short fiction. Agree that Silverberg's "Nightwings" is probably the strongest of the novellas, although I would have voted for Delany's "Time Considered" over it if it had been eligable--between this and NOVA, this year probably represented the high point of Delany's considerable powers as a science fiction writer; after this, his focus would turn elsewhere. "Lines of Power" is a fun story, but nowhere near as strong. Don't think "Hawk Among the Sparrows" or the McCaffery were in the same league.

Novelette is a weaker category. Guess I'd go with either "The Sharing of Flesh" or "Total Environment." "Mother of the World" is a story that hasn't held up all that well, I fear.

In short story, my vote goes to "Masks," one of Damon Knight's most icily brilliant stories. Runner-up, "The Dance of the Changer and the Three."

I wasn't confused for a moment by 2001, and think it's a great movie, where about the most I'll say for PLANET OF THE APES is that it was campy fun.
Raskolnikov
21. James Davis Nicoll
Once a society decides that the only solution for dealing with people you don't like and yet who are not an immediate threat is to kill them all, then I think the society is morally dead and needs complete reform itself.

Although a non-completist might never know this, there's a story that links the Passage setting with the Villiers setting. I think it's "Sky Blue".

In any case, eventually the Ships lose control, the settled worlds develop industrial bases and the planet Nashua finds itself the capital world of an empire (IIRC, because nobody else wanted to do all the paperwork involved).
Rich Horton
22. ecbatan
@19 -- etranger: Our posts just crossed, posted almost simultaneously. My concern about a possible duplicate was a post of my own, which vanished when I hit post. So I reposted it -- the vanished one may yet turn up!
steve davidson
23. crotchetyoldfan
Camp Concentration absolutely belongs on the "re-read often" list. Brunner's series has always been towards to top of that list. So prescient that I often refer to it as a guidebook to the now: my god, Brunner chronicles the increase in asthma, meningitis, invasive species...mix them up with Pohl & Kornbluth's The Space Merchants, throw in a dash of Kornbluth's The Marching Morons and a pinch of Spinrad's Bug Jack Barron and you will see the 'now'.
Joe Romano
24. Drunes
Stand on Zanzibar was a good choice, but Nova would have been, too. Stand on Zanzibar has always been a favorite of mine, though, one I recommend to people just startng to read SF. Can't say I ever recommended a Delany book to a novice SF reader...

I continiue to enjoy Planet of the Apes more than 2001, but still think 2001 was a better pick. What I like best about it is it's portrayal of space travel as routine and tedious. That's probably not enough reason to win the Hugo, but it's certainly enough to guarantee a slow-paced movie... something Apes is definitely not!
Raskolnikov
25. a-j
No love for John Wyndham's Chocky? Not as influential as The Day of the Triffids but probably my favourite Wyndham for its understated account of first contact and a family in constant danger of dissolving.
Andrew Mason
26. AnotherAndrew
bluejo@13: Yes, but there was quite a lot of opposition to Harry Potter, and while some of it came from people who think the Hugos are for science fiction, whatever the rules say, I think quite a lot of it came from people who were worried because this was a Children's Book.

Gaiman seems to have had less trouble, partly, I guess, because Harry Potter had paved the way, but also because he's an established adult fantasy writer, who had already won once with an adult work.

There's also the fact that YA now exists as a classification in a way it din't then - at the time this kind of material was just called 'children's'. (And indeed much of it, if still in print, is still marketed as children's, even though it might be called YA if it were written today.)
Steven Halter
27. stevenhalter
I would certainly pick Stand on Zanzibar. It's a fantastic book. As a slight quibble with the post, I'd list The Shockwave Rider as my favorite out of the four Brunner novels, but that doesn't relate to this years Hugo's.
Nancy Lebovitz
28. NancyLebovitz
I'm putting in a nice word for Past Master. It's not as impressive as Nova or Stand on Zanzibar, but it's fine giddy stuff. (I'm surprised that SoZ's mosaic approach hasn't become a standard method for sf.)

If you need to treat each chapter of Past Master as a short story-- I think some of them might stand alone, but in any case a break for something resembling more normal fiction might be good-- it's worth it.

The ansels (who walk on four legs, or two, or none, and play fan tan) are worth it. The killing of the cyclops shines in memory like green volcanic glass, not to mention the rainfores which is too dense to get to the bottom of, nor is it possible to tell one tree from another.

And opening it at random, I just found the source of something I thought was ancient Greek:

"Then the bolts of white and gold fire began to whip from peak to peak. A bullwhip 38 kilometers long snapped from Corona Mountain to Magnetic Mountain with a crooked light that literally blinded them all for a while. Here was the mystery of motion, the old paradox solved, a whip of light going so fast that it was in more than one place at the same time. It was on every jag and crag at once, and yet it was but a single point of light, only a streak in being of simultaneous appearance. Or was it the empyrean itself, the infinity of blinding light that is everywhere in the outside but is seen only when the false sky is ripped open for the blinding moment?"

Typing it out phrase by phrase, it isn't quite as good as I thought-- too many repeated words and possibly some incoherence.... But still, really big lightning between the mountains and the world as shell with lightning behind it.

The book also has Programmed Mechanical Killers, and demons moving into their brains.
Raskolnikov
29. Gardner Dozois
It's pretty clear that either STAND ON ZANZIBAR or the original Dos Passo or both had a clear influence on much of Joe Haldeman's subsequent novel work, and, in fact, I think that he's admitted as much (although I believe he credits Dos Passo rather than Brunner).

Briliant, brilliant stuff in PAST MASTER, and some stunning set-pieces, but it's beginning to tremble on the verge of that erudite opaqueness that made his late novels almost impossible to read (for me, anyway).
René Walling
30. cybernetic_nomad
@26AnotherAndrew: I'm pissed off at Harry Potter winning because J.K. Rowling still doesn't list the Hugo as part of the awards she's gotten on her website. It's obvious she doesn't care.

Also, I don't know this, but I heard she didn't even bother to send an acceptor to the ceremony (I'd appreciate someone who was there confirming this either way).

In any case, she has done a great disservice to YA writers with regards to the Hugos, one it took Neil Gaiman to correct.
Bob Blough
31. Bob
What an embarrassment of riches this year. That novel list is superb - lead by Nova and Stand on Zanzibar - or is that Stand on Zanzibar and Nova? I'm never sure. I also love Silverberg's The Masks of Time and Disch's Camp Concentration, as well as The Last Unicorn, Picnic on Paradise, Past Master, Wizard of Earthsea and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? On the next level - good but not great is Rite of Passage and The Last Starship from Earth.

And then one of my favorite SF novellas of all time won the Hugo. That makes me happy. The novelettes are not so spectacular even the winners pale in my mind but the short story category is almost as chock full of goodies as the novel category. One that should have been in the running, as well is "Welcome to the Monkey House" by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. I like the Ellison story, though - so was not upset with the win.

I love reading all the comments on these blogs. You all enrich my memories. Thanks.
Jo Walton
32. bluejo
Cybernetic Nomad: I was there, and indeed she didn't. It was accepted on her behalf by a librarian who loves the books and has seen children love the books and made a sweet speech saying so, but Rowling herself sent no word.

This has happened with movies, but this is the only time I know about where a fiction winner hasn't cared enough to send a note to be read out.
Michael Walsh
33. MichaelWalsh
@Cybernetic Nomad: Nor has anyone bothered to mention it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._K._Rowling#Awards_and_honours

OTOH, on the discussion page for the novel, there's this comment: "Is there a particular justification for putting the Hugo award in the first paragraph? It isn't a well-know award (particularly not in the UK, where the Worldcon thing doesn't exist)." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Harry_Potter_and_the_Goblet_of_Fire#Hugo_award
Raskolnikov
34. ofostlic
All the Myriad Ways is memorable in part because it's so uncharacteristically creepy for Niven. I dislike it philosophically, but I think it's a good example of short-story SF for exploration of an idea.

Greg Egan has a less negative and more philosophically sophisticated version of the idea in The Infinite Assassin, in his Axiomatic collection.
David Dyer-Bennet
35. dd-b
I'm definitely more fond of both The Jagged Orbit (at least it's shorter!) and The Shockwave Rider which I re-read periodically. But those 4 are the books that really got Brunner attention, I agree.

I agree about Lafferty being better in short lengths. And I don't find I re-read him at all.

Really can't understand how anybody can rate Planet of the Apes up anywhere near 2001, but it takes all kinds I guess. I found PotA campy and somewhat embarrassing (as a representative of science fiction).
Rich Horton
36. ecbatan
One novel that appeared in 1968 that I forgot is nearly as good -- arguably quite as good -- as the three excellent novels we've been talking about. (That is to say, Stand on Zanzibar, Nova, and Camp Concentration.)

This is Pavane, by Keith Roberts. It's clearly one of the great Alternate History novels of all time. (I'd place three others with it off the top of my head: Dick's The Man in the High Castle, Amis's The Alteration, and Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union.)

Some may not consider it a proper novel, as it's a fixup of five shorter stories that all appeared in 1966. But I think it works beautifully as a unified work, and that does seem to me how it is usually thought of. At any rate, we ought to list it as one of the true best novels of 1968.
Jo Walton
37. bluejo
Ecbatan: If Pavane is 1968 then I'm with you, that shouldn't have been overlooked. It's going to be reprinted soon by Old Earth Books, and I've been thinking I'll wait until it's available to write about it.

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