Sun
Apr 3 2011 10:38am

Hugo Nominees: 1977

1977 Hugo Award trophy

The 1977 Hugos were awarded at SunCon in Miami Beach, Florida. The best novel Hugo was won by Kate Wilhelm’s Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang. It’s great to see another win for a woman, making three so far. It’s an odd elegaic book about cloning and the end of humanity. I’ve read it, but not for a long time. I can remember the tone and the characters much better than the plot. It also won the Locus Award and took third place in the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. It’s in print in the U.K. in the Gollancz Masterworks list and in the U.S. in the Orb line, and it’s in the Grande Bibliotheque (hereafter “the library”) in English and French. This meets my standards for having lasted, but it seems to me nevertheless that this is a little-read and little-discussed book.

There are four other nominees, and again I’ve read them all.

Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune is the third in the Dune series. I said in my post about Dune (post) that each sequel is half as good as the one before, and I stand by that, though some people think that this is better than book two, Dune Messiah. It’s in print, and in the library in both languages. The Dune sequels and the later prequels by other hands are popular and continue to sell, but not to me.

Frederik Pohl’s Man Plus is a classic. It won the Nebula, and took second place in the John W. Campbell Award. It thoroughly deserves its place on this Hugo list. It’s about changing a man to survive on Mars instead of transforming the planet. It’s an up close personal story about becoming a cyborg, but that’s just where it starts. This is one of Pohl’s best books. It’s in print and it’s in the library in English only.

Joe Haldeman’s Mindbridge has colonization of other planets, aliens and telepathy. I was disappointed in it after The Forever War (post). It’s not in print and it’s in the library in French only.

Shadrach in the Furnace is another excellent science fiction vision from Robert Silverberg—he really was producing at least one amazing book every year. This one is about the overstimulated future in which the dictator of the world is seeking to extend his life in a new body, and the present owner of the new body in question has his own opinions about this. It’s in print and it’s in the library in both languages.

So this is a pretty good set of books. I think the Herbert is a weak spot, but overall, these are good nominees and a good snapshot of what people were writing at the time.

What else could they have chosen?

Eligible and non-overlapping Nebula nominees were Marta Randall’s Islands, and Samuel Delany’s Triton (post) one of my favourite books of all time and which I think should definitely have been on the Hugo list.

The World Fantasy Award has no overlap with either list. It was won by William Kotzwinkle’s Doctor Rat. Other nominees were John Steinbeck’s The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights, Karl Edward Wagner’s Dark Crusade, Ramsay Campbell’s The Doll Who Ate His Mother, Gordon R. Dickson’s The Dragon and the George and Michael Moorcock’s The Sailor on the Seas of Fate.

The John W. Campbell Memorial Award was won by Kingsley Amis’s alternate history The Alteration.

Other non-overlapping nominees for the Locus Award were Larry Niven’s A World Out of Time, Arthur C. Clarke’s Imperial Earth (post), Ben Bova’s Millennium, probably Bova’s best book and certainly my favourite of his, Roger Zelazny’s The Hand of Oberon, C.J. Cherryh’s Brothers of Earth, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Shattered Chain (post), Jack Vance’s Maske: Thaery, Algis Budrys’s Michaelmas, Kate Wilhelm’s The Clewiston Test, Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong, Pamela Sargent’s Cloned Lives, Michael Moorcock’s The End of All Songs, Cecelia Holland’s Floating Worlds and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s The Time of the Fourth Horseman.

The BSFA Award went to Michael Coney’s Brontomek, which somebody should reprint with Syzygy, to which it is a sequel. The two of them would be the size of one modern book.

So, is there anything notable all of these missed? Yes, lots. Using the ISFDB again, I find M.J. Engh’s Arslan, Dick and Zelazny’s Deus Irae, Tanith Lee’s Don’t Bite the Sun (post), C.J. Cherryh’s Gate of Ivrel, the first of the Morgaine books (post), Peter Dickinson’s King and Joker (post) and The Blue Hawk, Octavia Butler’s Patternmaster (post), Spider Robinson’s Telempath, and Ira Levin’s The Boys From Brazil.

Overall this year this wouldn’t have been my ideal list from what’s available, but it’s pretty good.

Other Categories.

NOVELLA (tie)

  • “By Any Other Name,” Spider Robinson (Analog Nov 1976)
  • “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?,” James Tiptree, Jr. (Aurora: Beyond Equality)
  • “Piper at the Gates of Dawn,” Richard Cowper (F&SF Mar 1976)
  • “The Samurai and the Willows,” Michael Bishop (F&SF Feb 1976)

I don’t know the Bishop, but those are three terrific novelllas. I’d have voted for the Tiptree.

NOVELETTE

  • “The Bicentennial Man,” Isaac Asimov (Stellar #2)
  • “The Diary of the Rose,” Ursula K. Le Guin (Future Power)
  • “Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance,” John Varley (Galaxy Jul 1976)
  • “The Phantom of Kansas,” John Varley (Galaxy Feb 1976)

Gosh, how on Earth (or any other planet) could Asimov have won? All three of the others are better stories. This is inexplicable. Had they read the Varleys? Had they read the Le Guin? I think I’d have voted for “Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance,” but however, I’d have put the Asimov last.

SHORT STORY

  • “Tricentennial,” Joe Haldeman (Analog Jul 1976)
  • “A Crowd of Shadows,” Charles L. Grant (F&SF Jun 1976)
  • “Custom Fitting,” James White (Stellar #2)
  • “I See You,” Damon Knight (F&SF Nov 1976)

Oddly enough, in a year where I know nearly all the other short fiction, I don’t remember any of these.

DRAMATIC PRESENTATION

  • no award
  • Carrie
  • Futureworld
  • Logan’s Run
  • The Man Who Fell to Earth

Yes! We could still do this. We could do this this year....

PROFESSIONAL EDITOR

  • Ben Bova
  • Jim Baen
  • Terry Carr
  • Edward L. Ferman
  • Ted White

PROFESSIONAL ARTIST

  • Rick Sternbach
  • George Barr
  • Vincent Di Fate
  • Steve Fabian

AMATEUR MAGAZINE

  • Science Fiction Review, Richard E. Geis
  • Locus, Charles Brown & Dena Brown
  • Mythologies, Don D’Ammassa
  • Outworlds, Bill Bowers
  • The Spanish Inquisition, Suzanne Tompkins & Jerry Kaufman

Bites tongue on obvious joke.

FAN WRITER (tie)

  • Richard E. Geis
  • Susan Wood
  • Don D’Ammassa
  • Mike Glicksohn
  • Don C. Thompson

FAN ARTIST

  • Phil Foglio
  • Grant Canfield
  • Tim Kirk
  • Bill Rotsler
  • Jim Shull

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

  • C.J. Cherryh
  • Jack L. Chalker
  • M. A. Foster
  • Carter Scholz

Well, not much doubt that they made the right call there—Cherryh has gone on to win Hugos and to have a long distinguished career, with two whole shelves on my bookshelf and getting into a third with the publication of the new Atevi book in a few weeks. First female winner of the Campbell, too. Chalker was also a major writer. Foster I like a great deal, he produced seven novels and a collection and seemed to just stop writing sometime in the eighties. People are still asking about him and his two trilogies were recently reprinted, so I think he was a good nominee. I’m not familiar with Scholz, but he had a Hugo and Nebula nominated novelette in 1978 and has continued to publish short work, some of it in collaboration with Jonathan Lethem.


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.

34 comments
Rich Horton
1. ecbatan
I am duty bound, given my livejournal (and Tor.com) handle, to mention Michael Bishop's And Strange at Ecbatan the Trees. (Bishop and I are both quoting Archibald MacLeish's magnificent poem "You, Andrew Marvell".) Bishop's novel (paperbacked by DAW under the infinitely less interesting title Beneath the Shattered Moons) is nice stuff, but not his best.

Besides Gate of Ivrel, Cherryh published Brothers of Earth in 1976, which I also like a lot.

I like Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang and Man Plus a lot, and also Algis Budrys's Michaelmas, but my personal choice at the time for best novel was Cecelia Holland's Floating Worlds. I'm not 100% sure it holds up -- and the science is kind of silly -- but it is very good. It was shortlisted for the Nebula and withdrawn by the publisher, supposedly in favor of the paperback (as allowed by Nebula rules), but I always assumed because they didn't want the stink of association with SF. I doubt that was Holland's doing -- she's familiar with the genre, has written several other SF or Fantasy books and stories, and writes occasional reviews for Locus.

Maske: Thaery is another favorite of mine, and The Alteration is an excellent alternate history novel.

Brian Aldiss's The Malacia Tapestry also dates to 1976.

As for the Campbell, Cherryh is an outstanding choice, obviously. Carter Scholz, by the way, is a first rate writer, though not very prolific. He has a story in the current (or just about to appear) issue of F&SF.

Tanith Lee was on the original shortlist, but had to be withdrawn because a couple of children's books had appeared in the UK prior to the two year eligibility period. She would have graced the list as well.

But some major writers were omitted. A couple because they had only published rather minor short stories -- Nancy Kress and Geoff Ryman. And Tim Powers's first two novels had appeared from Laser, The Skies Discrowned and one I've forgotten. Lots of fun, but easy to see why he was missed.

However, John Crowley published The Deep in 1975 and Beasts in 1976, which are excellent novels (I should have mentioned The Deep last time). He would have been a very worthy nominee.

--
Rich Horton
David Levinson
2. DemetriosX
A decent novel winner, but if Triton had been on the ballot, that's where my vote would have gone. I recently reread Children and while it still has measurable values of good, the homeopathic process is well underway. Part of the problem is that each sequel takes the most sympathetic character from the previous book and turns them into a monster. Man Plus was the main motivation for all the bioengineering students I knew who weren't motivated by the Six Million Dollar Man. (I was apparently unique in that I wanted to grow up to build the first autodoc.) Mindbridge was rather weak. I also find Shadrach to be rather mediocre Silverberg.

Novella: The only one I know is the Tiptree. As I think I've mentioned before, I've never been able to get into her stuff.

Novellette: The only one I've read is the Asimov, but it really isn't all that great. But it also won the Nebula. Was this more of a "Hooray, Asimov is writing again!" award?

None of the short stories that I may have read have stuck with me.

Dramatic Presentation: Carrie is only marginally SF thanks the Campbellian inclusion of psychic powers in the genre. Futureworld is a very weak sequel that got most of its impact from a character giving someone the finger. Those were more innocent days. Logan's Run was pretty bad when you get right down to it. The only thing I can say for it is that it gave me the final push into puberty. The Man Who Fell to Earth is confused and confusing. In many ways, it fits most of the American stereotypes of a European film. The Nebulas also included a recording of Harlan reading his own work. Definitely a "no award" year.
David Levinson
3. DemetriosX
Oh, right, the Campbell. Although, I don't much care for a lot of her work, Cherryh was definitely the best pick. I'm a little surprised it didn't go to Chalker, since he had been very active in fandom for many years. I'm not familiar with Foster. Scholz has mostly written short fiction, but also coauthored Palimpsests, which was one of the Ace SF Specials in the mid-80s.

Ecbatan, the other Powers novel was Epitaph in Rust. Unfortunately, both it and Skies Discrowned are real potboilers that show none of what he would become.
Jon Evans
4. rezendi
I think the victories of "Bicentennial" and "Tricentennial" could be put down to a fit of American patriotism.

I second the mention of Crowley's BEASTS - it's a great book.
Stefan Mitev
5. Bergmaniac
Can anyone explain why Ballard never got even a nomination for a Hugo? My guess is that he was English and the posterboy for the New Wave, and the old Campbellian guard must've hated him with a passion for all of his literary experimentations and the way he treated technology in his work.

This year, for example, he had a number of really good story, one of which - "The Smile" - is one of my all time favourites.

Anyway, I like both "Man Plus" and "Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang", so it's one of the years I have no problem with the novel category in the Hugo and Nebulla.
Michal Jakuszewski
6. Lfex
I am not very fond of both Wilhelm and Pohl novels and wouldn't vote for them. I agree with Floating Worlds being probably the best novel of the year. Yes, I am not sure how well it stood the test of time, but still Floating Worlds takes first place, IMHO. I also liked Gate of Ivrel, Triton, and Children of Dune as well (even if I am in a minority regarding the last), so these three novels would probably make my ballot back then.

As for short fiction, I would probably chose Cowper in novella category. I am not sure about two other categories. I agree both "The Bicentennial Man" and "Tricentennial" were rather average stories and not really an award material.
Doug M.
7. Doug M.
Cherryh was the first Campbell winner to have written no short works: the award was given entirely on the strength of her first two novels, Gate of Ivrel and Brothers of Earth. Very different from the typical Campbell winner of that period. (In recent years there's been a shift towards novels, probably because the short story markets have shrunk in relative size.)

She's also noteworthy for having almost nothing to do with fandom before she started writing... that's not unique, but it's a little unusual. Unlike (for instance) previous winners Pournelle or Reamy, Cherryh had never edited a fanzine, participlated in fanac, or even attended a convention. She was a public school teacher in Oklahoma City,
writing in her spare time.

-- I have a purely subjective, completely non-verifiable suspicion that Cherryh's Campbell prospects got a major boost from the gorgeous Michael Whelan cover for _Gate of Ivrel_. This was back when nobody knew about Whelan, so DAW was able to hire him cheap. Whelan was young and still finding his talent -- if you google up that cover, it shows a very strong Frank Frazetta influence, especially in the kneeling swordsman. But it's still great stuff, and stood out with particular force at the time; this was back in the middle '70s, when SF paperback covers were generally, well, bad.

Anyway. Cherryh has written -- take a deep breath, now -- almost 40 science fiction novels, about 15 fantasy novels, and four collections of short work. That's fifty books in thirty-five years, and I'm not counting odds and ends like the "Lois and Clark" adaptation. I think that makes her the most prolific Campbell winner ever.

Losers: Well, Jack L. Chalker went on to have a long and active career. He ended up outdoing even Cherryh: he wrote *fifty-nine* SF and fantasy books plus two collections plus co-authoring the annually updated Science Fantasy Publishers reference work. That's about a book every six months, nonstop for nearly 30 years.

I used to read Chalker's stuff regularly but gave up somewhere on the Well of Souls. He was a solid midlister who never won a lot of awards. Still, he had some fun and good work; I would reread _And The Devil Will Drag You Under_, for instance, or _Dance Band on the Titanic_.

He died of a heart attack several years ago, age 50 -- R.I.P.

M.A. Foster we've already discussed. Carter Scholz is an interesting dude... he's stayed in and around SF but has also dabbled in mainstream fiction, essays, reviews, and TV writing. Low-key, but he's produced a decent body of short fiction and a three or four novels, including Radiance (which got very good reviews as a work of mainstream liteary fiction) and Kafka Americana with Jonathan Lethem.

I think this year wins the prize for "most stuff written by the nominees as a group". Heck, Cherryh or Chalker alone probably outweigh most years' classes.


Doug M.
john mullen
8. johntheirishmongol
This was not a great year for novels. I don't hate any of the nominees but I don't really like any of them either. Certainly not enough to have on my reread list.

I think the 3rd Dune book is considerable better than the 2nd though.

Cherryh probably deserves the best new author award but adding the H to the end of her name has always struck me as being a bit pretentious.

On film, I agree that no award is probably best. But I did hear that they are making a remake of Logan's Run. Hopefully, they go to source material and not the first film (which I hated).
jon meltzer
9. jmeltzer
Triton should have been nominated, and should have won. I can only attribute its absence to an anti-Dhalgren backlash.

Of the nominees I'd pick Man Plus.

At least "Bicentennial Man" was better than "Gold", possibly the worst Hugo novelette winner ever.
Rich Horton
10. ecbatan
More on the Campbell:

Add Tanith Lee to the list of nominees for the Campbell, and the collective prolificity of the group becomes even more impressive -- I count roughly 70 novels from her, and lots and lots of short fiction.

Jack Chalker was 60, not 50, when he died. I enjoyed the first one or two novels I read by him, but quickly grew tired of his stuff and didn't read anything more after about his fourth novel.

I'm not much of a fan of Epitaph in Rust (by Tim Powers, and thanks for the reminder of the title, DemetriosX), but I actually quite like The Skies Discrowned. (I thought his later revision, Forsake the Sky, a mistake -- yes, it was better written, but it seemed to drain energy from the story.)

As for the Cherryh spelling, I thought it was a Don Wollheim suggestion, to make her name more exotic. Wollheim may have also suggested "C. J." instead of "Caroline" -- making her arguably the last female SF writer to be nudged into a name change to avoid people thinking she was a woman. (I admit for quite a while I thought M. A. Foster was female, jumping to conclusions about the use of initials.) It seems to me, though, that everyone knew Cherryh was a woman from the getgo.

--
Rich Horton
Rich Horton
11. ecbatan
Now the short fiction. In the novella category, I admit to not being a big fan of "Houston, Houston, Do You Read?", largely on the grounds that I don't really approve of stories that seem to call for my extermination. (I grant that that's an unfair reading of the story, which is subtler than that, but it still bothers me.) I can't deny its power, however. I'm not a big fan of the Spider Robinson novella (though I think I enjoyed it back then): of the Hugo nominees I'd probably go for the Cowper, though the Bishop story is also excellent.

However, the best novella of 1976 was -- I'm sure this will be a shock to everybody! -- by Gene Wolfe -- "The Eyeflash Miracles" (which did appear on the Nebula shortlist). I guess I'm a broken record about Wolfe and especially his novellas, but his record at that length throughout his career is astonishing, and particularly so in the middle and late '70s.

There were a lot of really good novelettes in 1976. The award to "The Bicentennial Man" is, in my opinion, the result of a mixture of patriotic feeling, sentimentality, and love for the writer. Of the Hugo nominated novelettes -- all very good -- I'd lean towards "The Phantom of Kansas" for the award.

From the Nebula shortlist one can add the excellent alternate history novelette "Custer's Last Jump", by Steven Utley and Howard Waldrop.

Varley had two more very good novelettes in 1976: "Overdrawn at the Memory Bank" (which became a movie that got the MST3K treatment, a bit unfairly, as I thought it an OK effort), and "In the Bowl".

Larry Niven's novel A World Out of Time was quasi-serialized in Galaxy, and one part of that was a good standalone novelette, "Rammer".

Galaxy also published a Cordwainer Smith story, "Down to a Sunless Sea", apparently "finished" by Genevieve Linebarger. I think it pretty minor in the Smith canon.

Two good Alice Sheldon stories, one as by Tiptree: "The Psychologist Who Wouldn't Do Awful Things to Rats", and one as by Raccoona Sheldon, "Your Faces, O My Sisters! Your Faces Filled of Light!"

Two early Kim Stanley Robinson stories, both of which if I recall correctly (which I may not) became part of his novel The Memory of Whiteness: "In Pierson's Orchestra" and "Going Back to Dixieland".

But my two favorite novelettes of 1976 were first, one by Fred Saberhagen, normally not a favorite of mine: "Beneath the Hills of Azlaroc", which appeared in the first issue of Roger Elwood's shortlived SF magazine Odyssey. (Not to be confused with the later UK 'zine that Liz Holliday edited and I wrote for. (And Jo published a story in.)) That story blew me away on first reading, though it seemed less impressive when I reread it two or three years ago.

And finally, my true favorite 1976 novelette, which I think really should have won an award, was Christopher Priest's astonishing "An Infinite Summer". It was apparently first slated for The Last Dangerous Visions, then withdrawn by Priest and placed in Peter Weston's UK original anthology Andromeda 1. (This history became controversial when Priest published The Last Deadloss Visions, criticizing Ellison's failure to publishe TLDV. I have to say, that if Ellison is keeping stories as good as "An Infinite Summer" from publication, I resent that -- no comment on author's rights is intended, just a reader's desire to read great stories.)

In short story, I must say that I don't think "Tricentennial" that impressive a winner, though it's OK work. Howard Waldrop's "Mary Margaret Road Grader", a Nebula nominee, would have been a good choice, though I think any of the following three stories, not on either shortlist, would have been better:

"My Boat", by Joanna Russ
"The Death of Princes", by Fritz Leiber
"When I Was Ming the Merciless", by Gene Wolfe.

BUT, the best short story of the year did appear on the Hugo shortlist. I'd have given the Hugo to "I See You", by Damon Knight, one of the great "Time Viewer" stories. (One of my favorite sub-sub-genres actually, with such other great stories as "The Dead Past", "E for Effort", "Private Eye", and "In the Western Tradition".)

--
Rich Horton
Doug M.
12. Tansy Rayner Roberts
Talk about making the right call for longevity - it's cool to see Phil Foglio up as Best Fan Artist considering his future in the Hugo Graphic Novel category...
Clark Myers
13. ClarkEMyers
#8 -

Johntheirishmongol: What I heard was that she added the H to her name because there was a romance writer called C. Cherry and her publishers wanted her to be clearly distinguished from her. I think it does say something about how good she is at thinking like an alien that her response was to think of adding an H.


from Bluejo

or from Mamselle de Cerise:
The extra h was my publisher Don Wollheim's idea: he was afraid I'd get shelved with the romances.
Clark Myers
14. ClarkEMyers
Judging by jacket copy and reviews Arslan deserves more mention but has been little noticed. I sometimes wonder why?
Rich Horton
15. ecbatan
Arslan has always been a difficult novel to deal with, because of its subject matter. Read Abigail Nussbaum's recent review, and the comments to it, at her blog Asking the Wrong Questions.
Jo Walton
16. bluejo
Clark: I think Arslan is a brilliant novel, but I'd find it really difficult to write about. It's not just the rape, it's the extinction of humanity, combined with the vivid up close style.
Doug M.
17. reaeverywhereelse
For a book that everyone says is brilliant, Arslan bears aa surprising resemblence to Red Dawn.
j p
18. sps49
Gate of Ivrel is excellent; I have a copy I read and a spare for in-case. But I haven't read Brothers of Earth at all. And for some reason, I thought Downbelow Station was her first novel.

I hope she starts writing something besides her Atevi series, though.

I think it was around '77 or '78 that I first saw Phil Foglio's work in Dragon magazine. I had no idea he was a Hugo winner!
steve davidson
19. crotchetyoldfan
well, I'll try this again since my first comment (which I recall was originally at #3) is no where to be found.

And I can't remember everything that I said, but the salient points were:

I read everything that year since it was the first worldcon I'd be attending, and doing so as a committee member. I ran the Hugo Banquet that year (earning my official cat herder license; assigned seating for SF fans is a big 'no-no').

If I recall, I enjoyed the Wilhelm, but voted for Man Plus.

I also mentioned satisfaction at seeing Geis win - the rivalry for years was between Locus (serious) and Alien Critic (gonzo) and, while I read both, I was definitely in the Geis camp.

I also mentioned that this was the first year that Jack Chalker was eligible for the Campbell; the following year he lost out also, which I believe was a major blow to his career. It seems that in 1978, a lot of folks who would have voted for him never got their ballots in time. I know Jack felt rejected (I met Jack on the committee for Suncon and got to read his first novel in advance) by his friends and I believe that, had he won either year, we'd have seen a lot more and different from him.

I was also very proud of the con's members for voting 'no award' on the movies, as everything the previous year was undeserving, though we did give a special award to Star Wars.
Paul Weimer
20. PrinceJvstin
Tricentennial was in the Road to Science Fiction #3...which is where I first encountered it.
Nathaniel Gulick
21. PresN
Oddly enough, I saw "Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang" the other day in the Seattle Barnes and Noble- it's been reprinted, it's was in the "new paperback releases" section.
Doug M.
22. Eva Whitley
I also mentioned that this was the first year that Jack Chalker was eligible for the Campbell; the following year he lost out also, which I believe was a major blow to his career. It seems that in 1978, a lot of folks who would have voted for him never got their ballots in time. I know Jack felt rejected (I met Jack on the committee for Suncon and got to read his first novel in advance) by his friends and I believe that, had he won either year, we'd have seen a lot more and different from him.

In 1978, I was living in a small town in Pennsylvania. We were all big fans of Jack, as he was the Guest of Honor at our local convention, and none of us received ballots that year. I do have to wonder how many votes he lost that way, and whether the voting results were skewed by having a western states author nominated at a Worldcon held in a western state.
Rich Horton
23. ecbatan
At the risk of seeming to speak ill of the dead, I have to say that the notion that Chalker deserved the Campbell either year he was eligible seems quite wrong to me, at least from this remove.

Mind you, I don't doubt he was a great guy, and I did enjoy the first couple of novels of his I read -- he was surely worthy of a nomination.

But he lost to C. J. Cherryh and Orson Scott Card. Granted that hindsight is 20/20, but it surely seems the voters got those right!

(Chalker may have deserved to finish second in 1977 behind Cherryh. I'll be honest -- I'd have put him behind Foster and Scholz, but I can see a reasonable argument that he could have been second. But in 1978, besides Orson Scott Card, Bruce Sterling was a nominee! Now mind you, based on body of work to that point, things were closer. Card had published several short stories -- a couple very highly regarded, mind you. And Sterling had only published one obscurish short story and one novel. So Chalker's resume (perhaps three novels at the time of voting?) looks solid stacked up against those, though I think Card still a good choice. The other nominees were Elizabeth Lynn and Stephen Donaldson -- both impressive in their ways. I like Lynn's work, don't like Donaldson's, myself.)

Anyway, whatever you think of Chalker's worthiness to win the Campbell (as I indicate above, I think the voters' actual choices entirely correct, but I while I can't really see an argument for Chalker in 1977, I could entertain one in 1978, based only on body of work to that date), the notion that his career was ruined based on losing one award seems off base. If he let it affect him -- as a writer -- that badly, in the long term, shame on him. (In the short term, disappointment is only natural.)
Doug M.
24. Gardner Dozois
Not a particularly strong year, with no clear winner. Certainly WHERE LATE THE SWEET BIRDS sang is a good book, but I prefered the novella version, and, like you, what I mostly remember from it is the autumnal MOOD, not particulars of plot. MAN PLUS is also good, although I wondered by the end what the point of it all had been--they spend billions to alter one man so that he can live on Mars, but there's no program in place to produce more cyborgs, the price of which would be prohibitive, and obviously no hope of establishing a Mars colony. I think MICHAELMAS almost certainly deserved to be on the ballot, although the problem there is solved with dismaying simplicity; as I recall, basically the protagionist hits somebody over the head with his laptop. I probably would have added MASKE: THAERY, very entertaining, like all but a few of Vance's books, although not major work. IMPERIAL EARTH is weak Clarke, and the Zelazny was minor. I think that Aldiss's THE MALACIA TAPESTRY should have been on the ballot, and maybe even should have been the winner, although it's not strictly speaking science fiction; science-fantasy, maybe? At any rate, a richly textured, almost lushly textured, and atmospheric book. ARSLAN is a difficult novel--a technically briliant accomplishment (as long as you ignore the silliness of the basic set-up), but an unpleasant book to read; be prepared to be depressed for a couple of days afterward if you read it.

In the short fiction categories, I'm prejudiced, because I was the one who bought and published both Gene Wolfe's "The Eyeflash Miracles" and Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Diary of the Rose," which appeared in my original nthology with Jack Dann, FUTURE POWER. They were among the first stories I ever bought to appear in public in a market with my name on it, and I'm still proud of them.

I think that "The Eyeflash Miracles" probably should have been the winner in novella, although "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" is quite good too, as is "The Samurai and the Willows," although it might be a bit dated by now. I've always been lukewarm about "Houston, Houston, Do You Read?", which I think is a much misunderstood story. Alice Sheldon herself once told me that she considered it to be a "cautionary tale," NOT a wish-fulfillment Utopia (some day, we'll get rid of all the men!), as many people read it; you're not supposed to approve of what happens to the men in the story, the idea being that either sex having complete power over the other is not a good idea (the inverse would be "The Screwfly Solution," I guess).

In novelette, I think the winner should probably have been "The Phantom of Kansas," although "The Diary of the Rose" is a fine story too. In short story, my vote goes to either "Custer's Last Jump" or "Mary-Margaret Roadgrader," although Russ's "My Boat" is good too.

There really wasn't anything particularly good in Dramatic Presentation, as there really hasn't been here from the beginning, with the exception of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

I think to say that Jack Chalker losing the Campbell "destroyed his career" is a gross exaggeration. As I recall, Jack was selling just fine for years after the Campbell loss, and in fact was considered to be a strong seller, if not quite at the New York Times Bestseller List level. Declining sales of his novels in the '90s is what destroyed his career, coupled with declining health, if indeed it ever was actually "destroyed," which I don't think it was; I suspect that if he was still alive and writing today, he'd still be selling novels, although maybe not for Mega Advances.

C.J. Cherryh was clearly the most deserving candidate there, and that has only been confirmed by 20-20 hindsight.
Doug M.
25. zvi999
I'm just going to put a word in praise of Haldeman's Mindbridge. Using the reportage/fake non-fiction method pioneered by Dos Passos (and wielded so brilliantly by Brunner in Stand on Zanzibar), he produces what, to me, is a short, gem-like, kalidescopic novel that implies more than it states and matter-of-factly presents a future both rigorously imagined (the mechanics of the souped-up space suits they wear to explore) and bizarre (telepathy and teleportation and god-like aliens). With enough room for a character portrait of a fairly difficult guy (Jacque, the protagonist). I like it; I still re-read it.

Gardner: The Eyeflash Miracles is one of my favorite Wolfe short stories, along with Forlesen.
Steve Taylor
26. teapot7
Agreed on Mindbridge being worthy. I was thinking the same earlier, but too lazy to say so.

For me, Mindbridge and All My Sins Remembered are the two big Haldeman novels.
J Wilson
27. bluestraggler
Damon's short story "I See You" is definitely worth a revisit. It's about a pervasive technology that basically lets anyone see anything at anytime. Everyone suddenly has the ability to be a sort of invisible time traveller. Quite well-realized for how short it is. That one really stuck with me.
William S. Higgins
28. higgins
1977 was my first Worldcon; it was in the extravagantly tacky Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach. I commuted from my parents' home in Coral Gables every day. And hated to go home each night...

Just before the Hugo ceremony, I had dinner with Phil Foglio, whom I had recently gotten to know. Seeing Phil win the silver rocket filled me with (unjustified) pride, and I clapped as hard as I could clap.
Doug M.
29. TomNTom
A late comment:

1977 was in a period when I didn't attend Worldcons, so won't comment on the nominees.

But the reason I've heard for Cherryh's name was to distinguish her from her brother David Cherry, the artist.
Kristen Templet
30. SF_Fangirl
I'm late to this party, but I just finished Where Late the Sweet Bird Sang. Wow, wonderful book. I am no longer perturbed that it beat out Man Plus which is quite wonderful too. If I had been reading in 1977 and could have voted I would have been very hard pressed to choose between these two. Nothing else on this list sounds to be of interest to me.

They're very different books, but oddly both are about a boy/man isolated from the rest of humanity by science. Both are fairly unique and didn't start a trend of similar books. I don't recall reading anything like either of them. And both are a bit dated as well. It didn't affect my enjoyment of the books at all, but the reader will have to make accomidations for it.
Doug M.
31. Alan Heuer
Here is how I voted in 1977:

Best Novel
1. Shadrach in the Furnace Robert Silverberg
2. Man Plus Frederik Pohl
3. Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang Kate Wilhelm
4. Mindbridge Joe Haldeman
5. Children of Dune Frank Herbert

Best Novella
1. "Houston, Houston, Do You Read?" James Tiptree, Jr.
2. "The Samurai and the Willows" Michael Bishop
3. "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" Richard Cowper
4. "By Any Other Name" Spider Robinson

Best Novelette
1. "The Diary of the Rose" Ursula K. Le Guin
2. "The Phantom of Kansas" John Varley
3. "Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance" John Varley
4. "The Bicentennial Man" Isaac Asimov

Best Short Story
I didn't vote in this category because I wasn't able to obtain all of the nominees in time.
Doug M.
32. Deadward
>BUT, the best short story of the year did appear on the Hugo shortlist. I'd have given the Hugo to "I See You", by Damon Knight, one of the great "Time Viewer" stories. (One of my favorite sub-sub-genres actually, with such other great stories as "The Dead Past", "E for Effort", "Private Eye", and "In the Western Tradition".)


Rich, I'm with you and Bluestraggler: 'I See You' is the overlooked miracle here. And thank you for gathering so many other instances of the subgenre, which I also adore. I've read the Sherred and the Kuttner, I own the Eisenstein (and will go root it out of my F&SF archive), and ... I'm blanking on the author of 'The Dead Past.'
Doug M.
33. (still) Steve Morrison
I'm blanking on the author of 'The Dead Past.'
Asimov. It's the first story in his anthology Earth is Room Enough. Malzberg did a sequel for Foundation's Friends called "The Present Eternal".
Doug M.
34. Cathy_sh
Thank you so much!! In your disussion you've answered my question. I thought a book I wanted was by Marion Zimmer Bradley but it's Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (whom I hear nothing about now, why?) I am so grateful to you, now I can buy/read it again!)
Cathy

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment