Sun
Mar 13 2011 10:02am

Hugo Nominees: 1974

1974 Hugo Award trophy

The 1974 Hugos were awarded at Discon II in Washington DC. The best novel award went to Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous With Rama. This is the first of the Big Dumb Object books, about a mysterious and huge alien object that comes into the solar system and is explored by some men from Earth. I have always felt that it was one of Clarke’s weaker books. It has the poetry of space and of huge alien artifacts, and something of the puzzle of archaeology, when you’re trying to make sense of something incomprehensible without enough clues. But I remember wishing it would get on with it when I read this when I was fourteen, and I was frankly bored when I reread it when I was twenty-five. It’s slow and I couldn’t hazard a guess at the names of the characters even if you offered me large amounts of cash. I haven’t read the sequels and I haven’t reread it for a long time. It’s in print and in the library in both langauages. I think it’s an acknowledged classic that everybody likes except me, so it was probably a good winner even though I don’t care for it.

There are four other nominees and I have read all of them.

David Gerrold’s The Man Who Folded Himself is a novel-length variation on the theme of Heinlein’s “All You Zombies.” It’s not in print, it’s not in the library and it seems to be pretty well forgotten—I haven’t heard anybody talk about it in a long while.

Poul Anderson’s The People of the Wind is about a planet settled by both humans and wonderful flying aliens with a weird culture who live in complex co-existence until the Terran Empire wants to annex the planet, causing complications. It’s great in a typical Poul Anderson kind of way. It’s not in print and it’s not in the library.

Larry Niven’s Protector is set in his Known Space setting. It’s one of the best of the books set there—an alien Pak comes to the solar system looking for a lost colony of his own kind, and finds instead humanity, who are like the sub-sapient breeder Paks, but with our own intelligence. Contains a re-creation of a Surrealist painting in space. I haven’t reread it recently but I remember it fondly. It’s in print but it’s not in the library.

And the last nominee is Robert A. Heinlein’s Time Enough For Love, which is a long book of many parts about the very long life of Lazarus Long. It’s sloppy and self-indulgent, it’s full of embarrassing incest, it doesn’t really have a plot so much as a set of meandering reminiscences in a frame that doesn’t work, but bits of it are absolutely marvelous. I reread it more often than anything else in this list, and although parts of it make me wince, other parts of it bring tears to my eyes. It’s late Heinlein at his most characteristic—you can’t condemn it without throwing very valuable babies away with very dirty bathwater. It is in print. It is in the library in English.

So, five books by men, all except the Gerrold very traditional science fiction, with spaceships and other planets. They’re a pretty solid lot, but not very exciting. What else might they have picked?

SFWA also gave the Nebula to Rendezvous With Rama. Their other nominees are identical except that in place of Protector they have Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. (People are very strange, and SFWA are very strange even for people.)

Moving swiftly on, the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for hard SF was given jointly to the Clarke and to Robert Merle’s Malevil, which I not only haven’t read, I’ve never heard of it. The runners up are Ian Watson’s first novel The Embedding, and Peter Dickinson’s The Green Gene, both of which I have read and neither of which I’d call hard SF.

The Locus Awards also recognised Rendezvous With Rama. (I’d think I should read it again if I hadn’t just been burned with The Gods Themselves.) Their non-overlapping nominees are Trullion: Alastor 2262, Jack Vance, “The Far Call,” Gordon R. Dickson  To Die In Italbar and Today We Choose Faces both Roger Zelazny, The Cloud Walker, Edmund Cooper, Relatives, George Alec Effinger, Herovit’s World, Barry N. Malzberg, Hiero’s Journey, Sterling Lanier, The Doomsday Gene, John Boyd.

The Mythopoeic Award went to Mary Stewart’s The Hollow Hills, the second of her Merlin books. Other nominees were Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising, Anne Labenthal’s Excalibur, Katherine Kurtz’s High Derynni and Poul Anderson’s Hrolf Kraki’s Saga. At last some women to counteract the rather male lean to this set of lists!

There’s nothing in any of this that might plausibly have been nominated for a Hugo, or that seems to me clearly better than the five solid nominees we have.

Was there anything all of these missed?

Using ISFDB, there’s Jerry Pournelle’s A Spaceship for the King, Clifford Simak’s Cemetery World, J.G. Ballard’s Crash, Brian Aldiss’s Frankenstein Unbound, Michael Coney’s Friends Come in Boxes and Syzygy, Doris Pischeria’s Mister Justice, John Brunner’s More Things in Heaven and The Stone That Never Came Down, Hal Clement’s Ocean on Top, Alan Graner’s Red Shift, D.G. Compton’s The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe and William Goldman’s The Princess Bride. Wouldn’t it have been lovely to have had Goldman on the ballot?

My general feeling looking at all this is that we had a solid representative ballot, and if it wasn’t the five best books of the year there weren’t any egregious gaps either.

Other Categories

NOVELLA

  • “The Girl Who Was Plugged In,” James Tiptree, Jr. (New Dimensions 3) 
  • “Chains of the Sea,” Gardner Dozois (Chains of the Sea)
  • “Death and Designation Among the Asadi,” Michael Bishop (If Feb 1973) 
  • “The Death of Doctor Island,” Gene Wolfe (Universe 3)
  • “The White Otters of Childhood,” Michael Bishop (F&SF Jul 1973)

Okay, the novella award was won by one of the best novellas of all time, so that’s alright. The others were pretty strong stories, but I can’t imagine anything but the Tiptree winning.

NOVELETTE

  • “The Deathbird,” Harlan Ellison (F&SF Mar 1973)
  • “The City on the Sand,” Geo. Alec Effinger (F&SF Apr 1973)
  • “He Fell Into a Dark Hole,” Jerry Pournelle (Analog Mar 1973)
  • “Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death,” James Tiptree, Jr. (The Alien Condition
  • “Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand,” Vonda N. McIntyre (Analog Oct 1973)

I’d have given that one to the Tiptree as well. And I didn’t know it was written the year after The Gods Themselves.

SHORT STORY

  • “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” Ursula K. Le Guin (New Dimensions 3)
  • “Construction Shack,” Clifford D. Simak (If Feb 1973)
  • “Wings,” Vonda N. McIntyre (The Alien Condition)
  • “With Morning Comes Mistfall,” George R. R. Martin (Analog May 1973)

Another good decision, or one with which I entirely agree. I like the Martin, but “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” is an enduring classic that people are still arguing over.

DRAMATIC PRESENTATION

  • Sleeper
  • “Genesis II”
  • “The Six Million Dollar Man”
  • Soylent Green
  • Westworld

Another year I’d have voted for “no award.” But I do that in this category most current years.

PROFESSIONAL EDITOR

  • Ben Bova
  • Terry Carr
  • Edward L. Ferman
  • Robert Silverberg
  • Ted White
  • Donald A. Wollheim

PROFESSIONAL ARTIST

  • Frank Kelly Freas
  • Vincent Di Fate
  • Frank Frazetta
  • Jack Gaughan
  • John Schoenherr

AMATEUR MAGAZINE (tie)

  • Algol, Andrew Porter
  • The Alien Critic, Richard E. Geis
  • Locus, Charles Brown & Dena Brown
  • Outworlds, Bill Bowers & Joan Bowers

FAN WRITER

  • Susan Wood
  • Laura Basta
  • Richard E. Geis
  • Jacqueline Lichtenberg
  • Sandra Miesel

FAN ARTIST

  • Tim Kirk
  • Alicia Austin
  • Grant Canfield
  • Bill Rotsler
  • Arthur Thomson

JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER (not a Hugo)

  • Spider Robinson
  • Lisa Tuttle
  • Jesse Miller
  • Thomas F. Monteleone
  • Guy Snyder

Not such a good lineup as the year before. The two winners have gone on to become major writers, so they were definitely the right choices. Monteleone has become a major horror writer, but I’m not aware of anything significant from Snyder or Miller.


Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published two poetry collections and nine novels, most recently Among Others, and 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.

65 comments
David Levinson
1. DemetriosX
I can live with Rama winning. Sure, it's mostly a travelogue and doesn't answer any questions at all, but it is very typical Clarke. I wonder if this might also be a case similar to Asimov's win the previous year. Clarke had only had one other novel on the ballot (A Fall of Moondust, back in 1963) and only 2 short stories. Maybe there's a bit of acknowledgement of his life's work here. Also, wouldn't Ringworld have been the first BDO?

Of the other novels, I've read all but the Anderson. You characterized the Gerrold pretty well. Protector is pretty good, and Time Enough for Love would have been incredible if there had been an editor who could have made RAH make some changes. There's actually like 3 or 4 novels in there and if you got rid of the Oedipal stuff, it would be even more of a classic than it is.

Novella: I can't really say much. I've never been able to get into Tiptree, though I've tried a couple of times. The only thing that really stood out to me is that Michael Bishop has been around for about 10 years longer than I thought.

Novellette: Another winner I can live with. It's one of Harlan's most enduring stories.

Short story: The winner is a definite classic. I might have voted for the Simak, though. It's a classic in its own right, although Simak is slowly being forgotten, it seems to me.

Dramatic: I guess I can accept Sleeper as the winner. It's probably the best of Woody Allen's early period and is reasonably sfnal. "Genesis II" is a failed Roddenberry pilot. He would try a couple more times with similar elements, never succeeding, but a lot would eventually wind up in "Andromeda". "The Six Million Dollar Man" was awful and even as a kid, I knew that you didn't lift with just your legs and arms. Still, I knew people who went into bioengineering because of the show. Soylent Green is something of a classic, but it has many of the problems inherent in all films from this period. Westworld is fun and better than the 2 TV offerings, but it doesn't really belong here, either.
john mullen
2. johntheirishmongol
I am in 100% agreement with you about Rama. It's slow, cumbersome and boring. I thought it was another body of work award. I tried the followup and never finished it and I read anything! I would have gone with Protector. It is one of my favorite Niven books and I do reread it every few years. My second choice would have been Time Enough for Love. It may be self indulgent but it has some of my favorite characters, and it introduced me to my wife (since she introduced herself to me because I was reading it) and we are coming onto our 30th anniversary.

By this point, I had pretty much given up on novellas and short stories and I doubt I have read any of them.

I disagree with you about this years dramatic presentation. I wouldn't have not voted but I certainly wouldn't have voted for Sleeper, although it is funny and good Woody Allen (before he became self indulgent too), I do think there were a couple of pretty decent flicks. Soylent Green still has a pretty good impact when you watch it. Chuck Heston is always watchable, Edward G Robinson is one of my all time faves and the twist at the end was great, even if you knew it was coming. I also think Westworld was good scifi for the time. Took a good little scary story and put it together nicely, with almost no tech needed, and Yul Brenner as the Gunfighter is just too fun.

BTW, I did read Malevil, its a french book translated and post apocolyptic novel with some pretty good stuff in it. It is nowhere near as good as Alas Babylon which is the same subgenre.
manglar
3. manglar
I think I would have nominated The Embedding, one of the best SF novels about linguistics, and Frankenstein Unbound, one of Aldiss's most interesting novels and a fictional exploration of his ideas about the origin of science fiction.
Paul Eisenberg
4. HelmHammerhand
I remember liking "Rama" quite a bit as a young teenager, but on a re-read a couple of years ago I almost couldn't finish it out of boredom. I got through Rama II as a kid and stopped halfway through the third book in the series.
manglar
5. joelfinkle
"Rendezvous with Rama": Meh. As someone pointed out, it's travelog. Pretty, but touristy, no real meat to it except a couple Macguffins. A lot of ACC is like that -- his spiritual literary heir is Robert Charles Wilson (actually, Wilson's characters are terrific, I just wish his plots had something to do with the Big Dumb Objects and not just a backdrop).

I adore 'Protector", so long as I don't think too much about the archaeological record :)

"The Man Who Folded Himself" is the best time travel paradox story out there... until "Corrupting Dr. Nice" came out.

I wrote a high school term paper on "Time Enough for Love" (mainly to spite the SF-hating teacher, for all the good that did me). I still think on it fondly, with a bit of nausea.
jon meltzer
6. jmeltzer
Not a good year for novels. The Anderson, Gerrold and Niven are okay but not exceptional. The Clarke and Heinlein have real SF gosh-wow moments but are flawed: the Heinlein is too long, the Clarke doesn't have any real characters. I suppose we'd be arguing more about the Heinlein, and not in a positive sense, if it had won, so I can live with Rama, I guess. And there are no sequels.

The thought of "Princess Bride" winning, though ...
lake sidey
7. lakesidey
I liked Rama well enough when I read it (I hated the sequels though. They were painful to read, and I actually read them all the way through in the hope that some pearl might emerge from a rotten oyster. Well, I'd just read 2010, which I loved, so I had good reason to think that Clarke could write good sequels!)

Protector is my favourite among all those listed above, though. Like "World of Ptavvs", it had a lot of fun stuff happening as well as a fair bit of plausible "science". (I loved the Ringworld too, so much fun trying to imagine the scale of things!) I'd probably have given it an award or three...

@5 Joel: Heh, in college I once mentioned the concept of Bussard Ramjets - and solar sails - in a class presentation on Space Technology (I was in Aerospace Engineering), just to irritate the professor.... worked quite well.

~lakesidey
manglar
8. ecbatan
I have little to add to the novel discussion. In what seems a bit of a down year for novels, the choice of Rendezvous with Rama, about which I feel much as Jo does, doesn't seem ridiculous, though I personally enjoyed Protector more.

Of the other potential nominees, my personal choice from those published withing the field would be The Embedding, which I really was impressed by on reading it back in 1975 or so. And of all the novels mentioned, the one I love the most is of course The Princess Bride. So a Hugo to either of those would have been nice.

One note: many American readers will know D. G. Compton's The Continuous Katherine Mortonhoe better as The Unsleeping Eye.

And as to the nomination of Gravity's Rainbow -- I haven't read that book, or anything by Pynchon. (I have copies of GR, V, and The Crying of Lot 49 on my bookshelf making me feel guilty.) But it is very highly regarded, and it is apparently SF, if somewhat marginally. Jonathan Lethem, a decade or more back, wrote an article, in the Village Voice I believe, lamenting the failure of SFWA to give the Nebula to Gravity's Rainbow, arguing that that would have led to a greater engagement with mainstream literature, etc. etc.

A couple more novels maybe worth a look -- this seems to have been the year the Strugatski's Hard to Be a God was translated into English. J. G. Ballard's Crash, arguably not really SF, was also published thsi year. And Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions (which I dislike).
--
Rich Horton
David Goldfarb
8. David_Goldfarb
DemetriosX@1: Like it or not (and I don't) the Oedipal stuff in Time Enough For Love is integral to the book. The entire book is all about exploring various things that could be thought of as incest: Lazarus Long and his adopted daughter; LL and his clone sisters/daughters; the "twins who weren't". It's just that up until the end, all of the situations are so science-fictional that they don't really trigger a squick -- or, at least, they didn't for me when I first read it. But you can't say that the actually squicky stuff at the end is something tacked on; it's of a piece with the preceding themes and situations.

Jo: High Deryni, with one n.
manglar
9. James Davis Nicoll
not in print and it’s not in the library.

Actually it is in print but not necessarily obviously: it's in Rise of the Terran Empire, available both in a Baen edition and an SFBC edition.

For me, Protector is fatally flawed by the claim that humans are not, as all the evidence indicates, of terrestrial origin but from some other world. Even in Known Space this makes no sense; humans and Kzin are very distantly related (because both worlds of origin were seeded by the Slavers); the connection was well before multicellular life evolved and the two species' bauplans evolved in very different ways. Humans on the other hand come with a standard tetrapod bauplan - obviously we're related to all the other tetrapods on Earth, from the noble mammals to despicable archosaurs, a lineage that goes back hundreds of millions of years (and beyond but the fossil record gets really patchy).
manglar
10. Sanagi
Time Enough For Love is all about breaking taboos when rationality tells you it's okay to do so, which is a good theme. But the dark side of writing about sex is always Enjoying It Too Much, which is where the book gets uncomfortable.

The Man Who Folded Himself is the only novel I've read that describes what it would really be like to spend one's life as a time traveler: Less about adventure and more about endlessly spiraling self-reflection.

I think I liked Rendezvous With Rama but now that you mention it, I can't remember any of the characters either...
Steve Oerkfitz
11. Steve Oerkfitz
Rendezvous With Rama may be slight Clarke but I find it better than the other offerings in a weak year for novels. Not a big fan of Niven(too weak with characters and dialogue). Could never make it thru Time Enough for Love-just hated it. The Anderson and Gerrold were okay but nothing exceptional.
Good year for short fiction. Love the Tiptree, but the Micheal Bishop and Gene Wolfe offerings are also strong.
manglar
12. Bruce A.
Back when TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE first came out, I made the observation that it was less than the sum of its parts. If the book had been broken up and various sections published independently, as short story, novella, novelette, Heinlein might have managed to pull off a clean sweep of the Hugos. As a novel, it didn't work well.

Hmm, several people mention the squicky incest in TEFL, but not the similar element in THE MAN WHO FOLDED HIMSELF, where the time-travelling protagonist has sex with himself at multiple points in the convoluted timeline. (Giving rise to the book's nickname as "The Man Who Fondled Himself".)

If I'm remembering Brunner's THE STONE THAT NEVER CAME DOWN correctly, it has one of the most depressing endings ever.
manglar
13. ecbatan
Now to the short fiction.

The novella nomination list is quite remarkable. I have to confess that "The Girl Who Was Plugged In" impresses me, but I don't love it. (And don't get me wrong, I truly love a lot of Tiptree.) I can't argue with its award, but my vote back then would surely have gone to "Death and Designation Among the Asadi", which was mindblowing stuff for me back then. I'm not sure it entirely holds up, however.

Similarly to the Tiptree, the Nebula winner for novella, "The Death of Dr. Island", is a great story by one of my most favorite writers ever that I still don't quite love. It's hard to know why. The Nebula shortlist, just like in novel, has the four stories the same as for the Hugo, with the new one being a good Jack Dann story, "Junction".

Oddly, the reason the Tiptree didn't make the Nebula shortlist is that it was listed as a novelette for those awards (and it did make that shortlist). A quick and dirty wordcount suggests that it's about 16,000 words, technically a novelette, but by current rules eligible for the Hugo nomination in either category depending on where the nominations fell. (As it's within 10% of the boundary.) For that matter I don't know what the Hugo rules, or boundaries, were back in 1974.

Other potential novella nominees:

Two stories from a very good "three novella" anthology edited by Terry Carr, An Exaltation of Stars:

"'Kjwalll'kje'k'koothaïlll'kje'k", by Roger Zelasny
"The Feast of St. Dionysius", by Robert Silverberg

(The third story from that book as a very good long novelette, "My Brother Leopold", by Edgar Pangborn.)

Also:

"Brothers", by Gordon R. Dickson
"In the Problem Pit", by Frederik Pohl

Novelettes:

I rather liked "The Deathbird" at the time, and I don't think it's a bad Hugo award. That said, I definitely would have given the Hugo to "Love is the Plan, the Plan is Death", a far more powerful and different story.

But speaking of Tiptree, she published a much more important story historically in 1973, that it now seems odd wasn't on award ballots -- "The Woman Men Don't See". I personally prefer "Love is the Plan, the Plan is Death", but an award for either of them wouldn't have gone amiss. ("The Woman Men Don't See" appeared in the December F&SF, which may account for its absence from in particular the Nebula ballot.)

The Novelette Nebula went to Vonda McIntyre's "Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand", a nice story (that became her novel Dreamsnake), but no patch on the Tiptree stories, that's for sure. The other potential novelette nominees are a couple of Edgar Pangborn pieces, "My Brother Leopold" and "The Freshman Angle".

In Short Story, again a Tiptree story was in a shorter category for the Nebulas, and "Love is the Plan, the Plan is Death" won*. I like it better than LeGuin's "Omelas", but both stories are excellent and it's nice they both won awards.

(*For what it's worth, my quick and dirty estimate of "Love is the Plan, the Plan is Death"'s wordcount is 7500, exactly on the borderline between short story and novelette.)

Le Guin had two more short stories I like, "Field of Vision" and "Imaginary Countries". The latter is a story I love, actually, though only marginally SF -- it's the final story in Orsinian Tales. (It appeared in 1973 in the Harvard Advocate. I suspect most SF readers didn't see it until the book came out a few years later.)

My other favorite 1973 short story is Gene Wolfe's "La Befana". Other enjoyable stories from that year include Ed Bryant's "The Legend of Cougar Lou Landis", Damon Knight's "Down There", Terry Carr's "They Live on Levels", P. J. Plauger's "Epicycle", R. A. Lafferty's "The World as Will and Wallpaper", and Alfred Bester's "Something Up There Likes Me".

Anyway, I think the Hugo/Nebula split between the Le Guin and Tiptree stories is pretty just, though I wouldn't have complained if "La Befana" got an award too. But Wolfe did finally get his Nebula this year ...

Another significant factor in 1973 is that this was the first year of the Roger Elwood explosion of original anthologies. (Elwood had been publishing anthologies for a few years, but in 1973 he suddenly put out a ton of books, which continued in 1974 then diminished, and he was gone from the field before long.) It's often repeated that Roger Elwood "killed" the original anthology for a time, but that's simply not a true statement. He was undoubtedly a bad editor (though he did publish Pangborn's "The Freshman Angle", which I quite liked), but a look at the number of original anthologies published in the 1970s showed that without Elwood's books the number of anthologies per year increases fairly steadily throughout the decade. Things are obscured because in 1973 and 1974 the numbers jump a great deal -- but only because of Elwood's books. The market for non-Elwood anthologies was essentially unaffected.

--
Rich Horton
Rich Horton
14. ecbatan
And I forgot to mention how much fun Gene Wolfe's "How I Lost the Second World War and Helped Turn Back the German Invasion" is. I think it was Wolfe's first story in Analog (Bova again!). It's not as serious as many of Wolfe's stories, but it is tremendous fun.
manglar
15. Doug M.
Pretty much /all/ the science in _Protector_ is broken, right down to the minor details (swelling joints will not give you a greater moment arm and more strength). It's still a neat and fun idea anyway.


Doug M.
manglar
16. Doug M.
So, the Campbells. Spider Robinson, age 26; Lisa Tuttle age 22 (!). Tuttle remains the youngest writer ever to win a Campbell.

(The other nominees were Jesse Miller, Thomas F. Monteleone, and Guy Snyder. Miller and Snyder seem to have left SF. Monteleone went on to be a modestly successful horror writer, edited a series of anthologies -- the "Borderlands" books -- and I understand has written criticism and nonfiction too. Still not exactly a household name, but credit where it's due.)

Personal bias on the table. I used to like Spider Robinson's stuff a lot. Then, somewhere around the time I got out of college, I lost interest. When I went back some years later I found him unreadable. I mean, literally unreadable. It would be physically painful to me to read Spider Robinson today. It would be like eating sand.

That said, I can't deny his real achievements. He's beenconsistently prolific, with 35 novels in print, plus short story and essay collections. He has a solid base of readers. He was chosen to write _Variable Star_ in sort-of collaboration with Heinlein, which is a hell of a thing even if the book turned out to be, shall we say, disappointing. He has won two Hugos and a Nebula. He is still writing and is probably good for years to come. So, whether you like his stuff or not, you can't say the Campbell voters made a mistake here.

Lisa Tuttle: much better writer than Spider IMO, but somewhat neglected. Odd, because while she hasn't been as prolific, she hasn't slacked either: fifteen novels and several collections. Maybe it's because she drifts across genres and doesn't write series? Her books don't seem to have big print runs.

Other hand, two Hugos and three Nebulas. Plus she's the only person ever to have turned down a Nebula, so really two Hugos and four Nebulas. And since she was the youngest person ever to win a Campbell, she's only in her late 50s now, so we might not have seen the last of her -- though she's tapered off in recent years, with no new novels and just a few short stories since 2006.

So, two winners, both solid. You could argue this was the best year for the Campbells ever.


Doug M.
manglar
17. Doug M.
Finally, _Malevil_ is a post-atomic-war novel. It's not great, but it's interesting. It's French. It's set immediate post-catastrophe, the war and the first few years after, and it's set in and around a dilapidated medieval castle that ends up becoming a refuge and local strong point.

No gunning down of cannibal hordes, though. It's more like the French version of a cozy catastrophe, with threatened traditional British upper middle class values replaced by threatened traditional French rural values. IMS (and it's been a while) there's the same faint whiff of "while this is certainly a horrible catastrophe, at least Those People are out of the picture now."


Doug M.
Rich Horton
18. ecbatan
Definitely a quite reasonable year for the Campbell, but another year in which the eligibility rules impacted things. Michael Bishop published five minor stories in 1970/1971, took 1972 off, and then exploded in 1973, with the two Hugo-nominated novellas ("Death and Designation Among the Asadi" and "The White Otters of Childhood") plus the very fine future Atlanta story, "The Windows in Dante's Hill". He surely seemed like a new writer at that time, and IMO he did better work in 1973 than either Tuttle or Robinson, and has had a better and more significant career than either. But he wasn't eligible.
manglar
19. Bruce A.
My wife tried reading MALEVIL when it first came out, and bogged down fairly quickly. Too many words, not enough story, was her judgment.

But then she came across a volume in the Readers Digest Condensed Books series, which included an abridged version of MALEVIL. The abridged version she found to be much faster-moving and enjoyable.
Clark Myers
20. ClarkEMyers
Anything I could say about Malevil the text is covered by cozy catastrophe and as a post nuclear exchange story it came late to the market.

There was a little play in the retreat to the Rogue River style survivalist market. As I recall, IIRC, there was nothing about the paperback to say genre. Though of course today most of the books faced as SFF at a paper based bookstore have a medieval style castle - and a sword - on the cover

Mostly as I recall it was very much marketed as literature, French literature.

I seem to recall that Rendezvous with Rama was one of a select few that found a place for bicycles in space ships but I've certainly found no cause to reread the original or read any sequels - insert joke about incomprehensible things coming in at least threes? - so likely enough I don't remember the book at all.

As with the Asimov tale from the previous year I suspect but don't at all know that the voters skewed much younger than they would today - some of the same people I expect - that is having read mostly SF the voters tended to like books with (sensawunda) SF ideas by beloved writers regardless of strictly literary qualities.

Another year where the smaller works are I think the greater works.
manglar
21. RobinM
I found the incest aspect of Time Enough for Love squingy when I first read it in high school and still do today. I enjoy the characters of Lazerus Long and his grandpa. I thought To Sail Beyond the Sunset was a better book with the same characters .
manglar
22. Gardner Dozois
A weak year for novels. I kind of have a sneaking fondness for RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA, although all the flaws that have been pointed out in it are valid--still, I don't see anything else here which is obviously and unambiguously stronger, so I'd probably let the win ride. Parts of TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE were good, particularly the stuff on the frontier planet, and parts of it were Really Awful; on balance, it's probably one of the most self-indulgent SF novels ever written, and badly needed an editor to cut at least a third of it away, perhaps more. David is right that the incest theme is integral to the book--EVERYONE here wants to fuck Lazurus Long and have his babies, even the computer, who has itself put into a clone body for just this purpose. It's amusing to me that here on the downslope of the War of the New Wave (which pretty much faded away over the next few years, the combatiants having battered themselves into exhaustion), the icon of the Old Guard, Robert A. Heinlein himself, published a book that was MUCH DIRTIER, and much kinkier, than anything the loathed New Wavers had produced--Spinrad's BUG JACK BARRON was held up at the time as the dirtiest and most morally objectionable SF book ever written, a book so loathsome that it had irreversibly polluted SF's precious bodily fluids all by itself, and yet, although it's got plenty of four-letter words in it, all of the sex portrayed is conventional one man-on-one woman heterosexuality, and NOBODY SLEEPS WITH HIS MOTHER--or has her give him a lock of her public hair as a love token, either.

Most of the other novels are minor, although some are pleasant enough. The Vance is entertaining, as almost all Vance is, but it's not major Vance. The two Zelaznys are minor Zelazny. Anderson's PEOPLE OF THE WIND is a bit more substantial, but not among his very best, either. I didn't like THE MAN WHO FOLDED HIMSELF at the time, and it's now totally forgotten. The Sterling Lanier is an entertaining postapocalyptic picturesque, but not Hugo material. I liked Mary Stewart's book, but thought that the first book in the series (which definitely has fantasy elements, by the way) was stronger.

I'm in disagreement with almost all of the shorter fiction winners. I liked "The Girl Who Was Plugged In," but it wasn't the best Tiptree published that year; I would have given the award to Gene Wolfe's "The Death of Doctor Island"--not as strong as "The Fifth Head of Cerberus," but still stronger than most everything else published in that category that year. Never much liked "The Deathbird," and the rest of the stories in that category, including the other Tiptree, strike me as somewhat weak. The award in novelette should have gone to a story that wasn't even on the ballot, Tiptree's "The Women Men Don't See." Short story is the weakest category. Although it's now regarded as a classic, I was never all that fond of Le Guin's "Omelas." Of the stories on the ballot, I guess I'd have given it to Martin, although he would later write much stronger stories (I was sitting next to George at the table when the award was announced, by the way, after the second most boring Toastmaster gig I've ever had to suffer through). Guess I would have been okay with "La Benfana," out of the stories mentioned, although it wasn't as strong as "The Death of Doctor Island.

Lisa Tuttle didn't win two Hugos and four Nebulas. She only won one Nebula, and, just as she was the youngest Campbell finalist, she is, I believe, to this day the only person ever to refuse to accept a Nebula. Nor has she disappeared--two of my recent anthologies have stories by her in them.

It was an embarassment that Jesse Miller was on that ballot. He'd only had one really bad story in ORBIT, perhaps the worst thing ORBIT ever published, and never published anything again, as far as I can remember. I've had my own problems with some of Spider Robinson's stuff, but he probably makes the most sense, looking back over his career retrospectively.
Rich Horton
23. ecbatan
Miller had a story in Analog in 1974, one more story in Orbit 16 in 1975, and his last story (according to the ISFDB) was in 1979, in the New Voices II anthology, which was of course a guaranteed sale. I don't remember a single one of those pieces, mind you.

Bruce A. @ 12: I don't think I've read The Stone That Never Came Down, but Brunner's Total Eclipse, also from the '70 sometime, is very very depressing. And quite good.

(Fred Pohl's JEM is also very depressing. For some reason I associate it in my head with Total Eclipse.)
manglar
24. James Davis Nicoll
When I reread Malevil a few years ago, I discovered that it had a recurring pattern I missed reading it as a teen; the men would become concerned with some issue (there being a lot fewer women than men was one, I think) and have a Very Serious Discussion amongst themselves to Decide What Was Going to Be Done, which the women would then completely ignore.

I am not 100% sure we ever learn what set France on fire. It didn't seem to act much like a nuclear war.
manglar
25. James Davis Nicoll
Bruce A. @ 12: I don't think I've read The Stone That Never Came Down,

The Stone That Never Came Down is actually a pretty upbeat novel about the transformative effect on society of a chemical that enhances memory.

If I recall correctly, it was a cited influence on James Alan Gardner's Vigilant.
manglar
26. ofostlic
I remember when I read Rama I really liked the 'Big Brother is Ignoring You' aspect -- the aliens aren't here to help us or invade us or welcome us to galactic civilisation or eat us. But Jo is right -- that's about the only thing I remember and it's not enough.

And I agree with Doug M about Protector. The science is wrong, but it's still a good story. The Pak are made out of balonium, but it's high-grade balonium. That's true of quite a lot of Niven: "The Ringworld is unstable/ Yes, the Ringworld is unstable/ Did the best that he was able/ and it's good enough for me".
j p
27. sps49
I didn't dislike Rama, and I remember some characters- the commander, the girl, and the Kid with the sky-bicycle who overflew most of the surface solo. Never read the sequels, but I never read the 2001 sequels either- although I have read The Sentinel.

I remember that D&DatA was good, but I don't remember much. I remember Construction Shack better, and enjoyed it.

"high-grade balonium"- yup!
Nancy Lebovitz
28. NancyLebovitz
I liked a few things about Rendezvous with Rama (lightning whipping around one end of the interior of the spaceship, the flying bicycles, the punchline "Ramans do everything by threes"), but I wouldn't read it again, either.

It would have been interesting if the relationship between Lazarus Long and his mother had been on stage. After all, she's his mother, but he's lived thousands of years and knows the culture they're living in. And they're both very strong-willed.

The New Wave was more about presentation than content, I think. Zelazny was counted as New Wave, but his content wasn't wildly unusual.

Spider Robinson has gone from must-read to guilty pleasure to won't-read for me. I got tired of his "you can identify the good people by their taste in jazz" (Running Jumping Standing Still is excellent, and I'm so annoyed with Robinson that I resent liking it) and the sadism (underlined in Very Bad Deaths but present in his earlier work).
Rob Munnelly
29. RobMRobM
I have to confess I really enjoyed Time Enough for Love, even if self indulgent and squicky, if only for the aphorisms collected within it.

I recall reading Rama back in the day and not liking it all that much. Too dry and sciency - not enough blood or fire.

I re-read Omelas last year and it did not hold up as well as I had expected. One thing though - it ia great thought experiment to help teach the moral imperative of helping the less fortunate. Too darned didactic though.

As I'm reading Martin's Dreamsongs, Mistfall is very fresh in my mind. Agree it is strong but not as good as some of what comes later (especially Lya, which blew me away).

Rob
S Cooper
30. SPC
I'm really surprised at everyone mentioning The Man Who Folded Himself as forgotten. When I read it in high school (in the 90s) I somehow thought it was a classic. It disturbed me thoroughly, but in that great sci-fi way that has me still thinking about it 15 years later.

I like Time Enough For Love less every time I read it, so I don't read it anymore. The comment about babies and bathwater is spot on.
manglar
31. Gardner Dozois
The relationship between Lazarus Long and his mother IS on stage. She gives him the lock of her public hair as a love token just before he goes off to fight in World War I.

Almost every other aspect of RAMA is "ehh"--characters, action, plot--but it does do an excellent job of delivering those big Sense of Wonder travelog moments--"Wow! Look at THIS!"--which is one reason that people read SF in the first place, and I do like the fact that the aliens ignore us; they're not interested in humanity at all, that's not why they came here. Because of that, considering the weakness of the competition, I think I'd stick with RAMA here. If I had to give it to something else, it would be the Vance.

Stay away from the sequels--they're very bad.

As an aside, "Chains of the Sea" was as close as I'd come in the '70s to winning a major award--the SFWA official who counted the votes told me that I'd lost the Nebula by one vote. Ironic, since in those days I was too idealistic to vote for myself.
manglar
32. flippypog
RAMA I remember as having no real resolution - alien artifact for alien artifact's sake. MAN WHO FOLDED HIMSELF was best novel on the ballot but GRAVITY'S RAINBOW was best SF that year period.

GIRL WHO WAS PLUGGED IN was nowhere near as good as either one of the Bishops but split vote probably lost it for him. LOVE IS THE PLAN, THE PLAN IS DEATH, however, was the best of that year or any other year, a classic for all time.
E M
33. herewiss13
I hadn't realized that The Man Who Folded Himself was forgotten either. I loved it when I first read it (in the early 90s), and remembered it fondly enough to acquire for my own collection when it was reissued in 2003. Amazon shows it still in print.

My favorite part is that it almost completely separates the time travel from history itself. Most time-travel novels are historical novels with a twist...this one wasn't.
Rob Munnelly
34. RobMRobM
I should note Gravity's Rainbow is my personal Moby Dick - started it three times and haven't come anywhere near that sucker yet. It also has weird kind of SF elements, including a guy who sleeps with women and then German bombs invariably land on their houses the next day a form of pre-cocknition, so to speak. LOL.

Rob
Michal Jakuszewski
35. Lfex
I also can live with Rendezvous with Rama winning. It is certainly not a great novel, but it does sense of wonder very well, and this was evidently really bad year for novels. I think Protector and Time Enough For Love were awful for the reasons mentioned above, and People of the Wind was nice but not really the award level. Haven't read Gerrold. As for other novels, am I the only one who liked Herbert's Hellstrom's Hive? I know, it was just another bizarre Frank Herbert novel, but I have fond memories of it for some reason. I am not sure how it would fare in a reread, but I think I would put it above Rama.

In short fiction categories I would vote for "Death of Doctor Island", "Love Is the Plan, the Plan Is Death" and "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas", but all of those were very strong ballots (unlike novel category), and I can live with the actual winners.
manglar
36. James Davis Nicoll
Am I risking my JAMES HATES EVERYTHING cred if I admit that not only do I still have some fondness for the Clarke but I reread it from time to time? There should be a place in SF for the admiration of grand vistas.

The sequels are, of course, complete garbage but he did not write those.

The pieces that bother me aren't the human characters - anyone who has read Clarke knows that he's not really the go-to guy for distinctive characters - but the super-chimps, the genetically engineered slave race (which come to think of it mirror some elements of what we see in Rama; hrm).



Really, Tor? Greek letters (????) in the captcha? What's next, Langfordian basilisks?
manglar
37. James Davis Nicoll
In the original draft, the ???? were the four Greek letters I saw; beta, epsilon, tau and pi, IIRC.
Eli Bishop
38. EliBishop
I haven't read Gravity's Rainbow in a long time, so maybe I'm just forgetting one or two of the 10,000 subplots, but as far as I remember there's really only one SF premise in it: Slothrop's unconscious sexual response to V2 attacks in the near future. The explanation for this is pretty hilarious and definitely not an extrapolation of any real science-- it's more of an R.A. Lafferty-style tall tale. There are other things in the novel that feel SFnal but they're all either red herrings-- i.e. the quest for the "black device" and the Imipolex-G plastic, which turn out to be mundane (if very twisted)-- or jokes/dreams/hallucinations like the story of the living lightbulbs.
David Levinson
39. DemetriosX
I suppose I ought to weigh in on Gravity's Rainbow, since everyone else is. I read and really enjoyed The Crying of Lot 49 so I had certain expectations for GR. I made it all the way through, but that's about all I can say. Not only have I never tried to reread it, it put me off so much I have never touched another Pynchon book. And I've read Dhalgren at least 3 times.
manglar
40. Doug M.
There's balonium, and there's also sloppiness. A fusion drive capable of moving even a small starship at a gee of acceleration would be naked-visible from tens of millions of miles away; Pssthpok shouldn't have an "oh crap" moment with the monopoles. And how have those roots in the cargo hold managed to last a thousand years without spoiling? (The seeds are frozen, but the roots are not.)

And I still have a soft spot for it. Go figure.


Doug M.
manglar
41. Doug M.
"naked-eye visible".

Pssthpok would know that we were aware of him. With /today's/ technology, we'd have spotted him before he was past the Kuiper Belt.


Doug M.
manglar
42. Bruce A.
I think ebatan at 23 is correct in regard to my post at 12: I was actually thinking of Brunner's TOTAL ECLIPSE, rather than THE STONE THAT NEVER CAME DOWN, as having a horribly, horribly depressing ending.
Eli Bishop
43. EliBishop
Lfex, you're not the only one who liked Hellstrom's Hive. I'm not sure where I would even start in trying to compare it with Rama-- they have just about nothing at all in common (except in the negative: neither has particularly interesting characters). H.H. is certainly way more perverse... but it's not my favorite of Herbert's creepy little thrillers; that would be The Santaroga Barrier.
Jo Walton
44. bluejo
Bruce: Gosh, yes, Total Eclipse is depressing. But I like The Stone etc.

Gardner: But you have the moral victory.

Flippypog: Votes don't get split in the Hugos, it's not first past the post, votes accumulate. And I think the Tiptree is wonderful, presaging cyberpunk well ahead of its time.
Michael Walsh
45. MichaelWalsh
@13 "For that matter I don't know what the Hugo rules, or boundaries, were back in 1974."

The rules the voters in 1974 went by were probably pretty much not too different from the 1971 rules: http://www.timill.co.uk/smofs/cons1971.htm
manglar
46. Bob B
I wrote a long post that , I guess, got eaten up by the computer due to my incompetance but I"ll only say the two most imortant things from that last writing,
1. Gardner Dozois's "Chains of the Sea" is one of the best peices of fiction the genre has ever published. All the others that were nominated, and others not named were terrific, too, but "Chains of the Sea" wins over them all. I re-read it often and each time I am caught by the throat each time. It's poignancy and power put it into the same rarified atmosphere as "The Fifth Head of Cerberous" by Gene Wolfe, or "Born With the Dead" by Robert Silverberg.
2. Likewise, the novellete choice has many really fine contenders but "The Deathbird" is without compare to me. It may surprise Mr. Ellison that this story brought me closer to my Christian faith than almost anything I have ever read. It made me question, and question rather deeply, what my beliefs were built upon. So I worked hard to understand and eventually came back to the fact that Jesus truly is loving and I must therefore love as simply and truly as He did. Very important story in my life. No one can ever tell me that "Sci-Fi" is purely escapist fantasy, any more.
I love this year's short fiction, but there was a poor choice of novels.
jon meltzer
47. jmeltzer
I remember thinking when reading The Stone that Brunner must have wanted to write something with a happy ending for a change, as his previous three were Stand on Zanzibar, The Jagged Orbit, and The Sheep Look Up ...
manglar
48. Gardner Dozois
"Gardner: But you have the moral victory?"

I do? My story's just as forgotten as most of the rest of the finalists, so a lot of good it did me!

Bob, thanks for the flattering words. I'm glad you liked it.

It was a year for depressing novels. As somebody said, JEM was pretty depressing too.
john mullen
49. johntheirishmongol
Just an add-on, since someone mentioned Hellstrom's Hive, I have to put it one of the best books that Herbert wrote, way before any of the Dune sequels. Slightly behind the Jorj McKie books (not sure of the spelling on that off the top of my head).

Just a note in general on reading scifi. I know a bunch of the science doesn't work if you try to apply it in real life. I know magic doesn't exist either. It doesn't stop me from enjoying a story. In fact, some of the scifi I have read gets so concerned with getting the science right and explaining all the details that it is amazingly dull. I would rather read a story with great characters and plot.
Luis Milan
50. LuisMilan
I've read Rendezvouz with Rama once, and liked it for the "Wow look at that!" factor, but haven't re-read it since.

Time enough for love is a dirty pleasure of mine, if only for the funny and intelligent quotes in it: "Never underestimate the power of human stupidity."

On a side note: I don't know if I'm alone in this, but I love reading TOR's forums and bumping into Big Names In Sci-Fi that also frequent this place. It's a pleasure to read you here, Mr. Dozois!
manglar
51. a-j
Well I loved Rendezvous with Rama and often re-read it. Yes the characterisation of the humans is sketchy or clichéd (and that's being kind) but it's not about them, it's about Rama. I loved it as a teenager and re-read it about once a year and I still reckon it has the best closing line of any SF novel. There was a good radio adaptation on the BBC a year or so ago. The sequels must be avoided at all costs.
manglar
52. Gardner Dozois
We're all basically "just" readers and fans here, or we wouldn't be here in the first place. I learned in the Army that even generals put their pants on one leg at a time.
Roger Silverstein
53. RogSS
Rich,
Glad to hear kind words for "The Freshman Angle", one of my favorite Pangborn stories. I never understood why Pangborn omitted "The Freshman Angle" from his Still I Persist in Wondering collection, perhaps it was too upbeat :)
Roger
manglar
54. James Davis Nicoll
Edgar Pangborn is someone I'd like to see get the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award nod.
Bob Blough
55. Bob
Ditto about Pangborn, James. I love him, and think the early seventies were some of his best years. "My Brother Lepold". "The Fresman Angle", "Mount Charity" and others all of them among the best ever in this genre. I would really love a whole collected works by him. I'd buy it in a heartbeat.
Jo Walton
56. bluejo
James: Old Earth Books have been republishing Pangborn in attractive hardcovers, They've done A Mirror For Observers and Davy and West of the Sun. Maybe they will do a collected shorts -- and I agree it would be great if they did.
manglar
57. Gardner Dozois
DAVY was one of my favorite books in the world at one point, and is still pretty damn high on the list.
manglar
58. Matt McIrvin
For some reason it surprises and shocks me that Ringworld predates Rendezvous with Rama. Just because Niven was a younger writer, I always assumed it was the other way around, that Ringworld was building on Rama's establishment of the BDO subgenre, without thinking about it too much or checking the publication dates.
Vicki Rosenzweig
59. vicki
A collection of Pangborn's shorter work would be excellent. I still have multiple copies of Davy and A Mirror for Observers, both on the theory that I might want to lend them to someone and don't want to worry about losing them if so. (This is less likely these days for purely practical reasons, fewer people dropping by, but I'm still going to keep the duplicates as we cull.)
manglar
60. mike shupp
"There’s nothing in any of this that might plausibly have been nominated for a Hugo..."

IMHO Gordon Dickson's THE FAR CALL would have made a perfectly respectable Hugo contender, and even a better than average Hugo winner. It's an astonishingly realistic account of a first manned expedition to Mars in the late 20th century, a multinational effort which flounders on international politics and inadequate funding, which bears about as much resemblence to traditional science fictional accounts as a My Lai Massacre court martial transcript. It's well worth reading as a cautionary tale, and as an example of what can be wrought within the science fiction field. It's also a rather startling illustration of just how good an author Gordon Dickson could be when he pulled the stops out.
manglar
62. Denny Lien
I don't think Jesse Miller stopped writing sf, but apparently he did stop managing to sell sf. He has a web page with links to his previous stories, plus a lot of web-only stories and articles. I ran across it years ago when his name came up on another list, and a quick search turns it up again:

http://jivagoswamidasa.com/interest.htm
manglar
63. Denny Lien
ofostlic quotes:
"
"The Ringworld is unstable/ Yes, the Ringworld is unstable/ Did the best that he was able/ and it's good enough for me".

Good heavens -- I wrote that. (As part of a welcome song for Larry Niven when he was GoH at a Minicon thirty or so years ago.) I didn't think it ever travelled beyond Minneapolis or that anyone remembered it. (Or of course it might be a case of parallel filk evolution.)
manglar
64. neroden
_Rama_ is not about characters and it's not about plot -- I can't remember either. If you're looking for either you're missing the point. The book is basically an extended piece of descriptive prose.

An ingenious and award-worthy piece of descriptive prose, capturing the essence of scientific *observation*. Nothing more nothing less.

I love it dearly. But I've found people who are looking for a story are gonna be disappointed, because it is not a story (even if it makes a flimsy pretence of being one). It's actually, in terms of literary style, *the* most unusual piece of work *ever* to win a novel award, being a travelogue and a mostly descriptive travelogue at that. Some people don't like descriptive prose and won't read it. I love it. If you find the text of old National Geographics boring, however, this is not a book for you.

The descriptive prose *is* the meat of the book, and anyone who missed that missed the point.
manglar
65. Alan Heuer
Here is how I voted in 1974:

Best Novel
1. The Man Who Folded Himself David Gerrold
2. Rendezvous with Rama Arthur C. Clarke
3. The People of the Wind Poul Anderson
4. Protector Larry Niven
5. Time Enough for Love Robert A. Heinlein

I didn't vote in the short fiction categories because I was unable to obtain all of the nominees for any of those categories by the voting deadline.

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