Announcing the Winners of the 1939 Retro Hugo Awards!

The Hugo Awards have been given since 1953, and every year since 1955, by the annual World Science Fiction Convention (the “Worldcon”). The first Worldcon occurred in New York City in 1939, and Worldcons have been held annually since then, except during World War II.

The Retro Hugo Awards celebrate the works that attendees would have known at the time of the very first Worldcon, held in New York in 1939. These prestigious awards recognise the best in science fiction, fantasy, and fandom from 1938.

This year, the Retro Hugo Awards were co-presented by Mary Robinette Kowal and Rob Shearman at LonCon3 in London, England.

1939 Retro Hugo Award Winners

Below is a list of the nominees for the 1939 Retrospective Hugo Awards. 233 valid nominating ballots were received and counted from the members of LoneStarCon 3, Loncon 3 and Sasquan. (226 Electronic and 7 Paper.) Winners appear in bold.

BEST NOVEL (208 ballots)

  • The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White (Collins)
  • Carson of Venus by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Argosy, February 1938)
  • Galactic Patrol by E. E. Smith (Astounding Stories, February 1938)
  • The Legion of Time by Jack Williamson (Astounding Science-Fiction, July 1938)
  • Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis (The Bodley Head)

BEST NOVELLA (125 ballots)

  • “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell/Don A. Stuart (Astounding Science-Fiction, August 1938)
  • Anthem by Ayn Rand (Cassell)
  • “A Matter of Form” by H. L. Gold (Astounding Science-Fiction, December 1938)
  • “Sleepers of Mars” by John Wyndham (Tales of Wonder, March 1938)
  • “The Time Trap” by Henry Kuttner (Marvel Science Stories, November 1938)

BEST NOVELETTE (80 ballots)

  • “Rule 18” by Clifford D. Simak (Astounding Science-Fiction, July 1938)
  • “Dead Knowledge” by John W. Campbell/Don A. Stuart (Astounding Stories, January 1938)
  • “Hollywood on the Moon” by Henry Kuttner (Thrilling Wonder Stories, April 1938)
  • “Pigeons From Hell” by Robert E. Howard (Weird Tales, May 1938)
  • “Werewoman” by C. L. Moore (Leaves #2, Winter 1938)

BEST SHORT STORY (108 ballots)

  • “How We Went to Mars” by Arthur C. Clarke (Amateur Science Stories, March 1938)
  • “The Faithful” by Lester Del Rey (Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1938)
  • “Helen O’Loy” by Lester Del Rey (Astounding Science-Fiction, December 1938)
  • “Hollerbochen’s Dilemma” by Ray Bradbury (Imagination!, January 1938)
  • “Hyperpilosity” by L. Sprague de Camp (Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1938)


  • The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. Written by Howard Koch & Anne Froelick; Directed by Orson Welles (The Mercury Theater of the Air, CBS)
  • Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne. Written & Directed by Orson Welles (The Mercury Theater of the Air, CBS)
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Written & Directed by Orson Welles (The Campbell Playhouse, CBS)
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker. Written by Orson Welles and John Houseman; Directed by Orson Welles (The Mercury Theater of the Air, CBS)
  • R. U. R. by Karel Capek. Produced by Jan Bussell (BBC)


  • John W. Campbell
  • Walter H. Gillings
  • Ray Palmer
  • Mort Weisinger
  • Farnsworth Wright


  • Virgil Finlay
  • Margaret Brundage
  • Frank R. Paul
  • Alex Schomburg
  • H. W. Wesso

BEST FANZINE (42 ballots)

  • Imagination! edited by Forrest J Ackerman
  • Fantascience Digest edited by Robert A. Madle
  • Fantasy News edited by James V. Taurasi
  • Novae Terrae edited by Maurice Hanson
  • Tomorrow edited by Doug Mayer

BEST FAN WRITER (50 ballots)

  • Ray Bradbury
  • Forrest J Ackerman
  • Arthur Wilson “Bob” Tucker
  • Harry Warner Jr.
  • Donald A. Wollheim

Special Committee Award

  • Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster

This year’s Worldcon is LonCon 3, which is held from August 14 through 18 in London, England.

Hugo and Retro-Hugo Award finalists are selected by members of the previous Worldcon and of the upcoming one; winners are selected by members of the upcoming one. All Attending and Supporting members of LonCon 3 can vote on the final ballot. For more information about voting in the Hugo Awards, or becoming a member of LonCon 3, please click here.


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