San Jose and Dublin Worldcons To Award 1943, 1944 Retro Hugos

Worldcon 76 in San Jose and Dublin 2019: An Irish Worldcon have jointly announced they will present Retro Hugo Awards for the 1943 and 1944 years in addition to their regular Hugo Awards.

Worldcon committees have long had the option under WSFS rules of awarding Retrospective Hugo Awards for past Worldcon years where they had not been presented 25, 50, or 100 years prior to the contemporary convention. This summer, however, a rules change was ratified allowing Retro Hugos to be presented for the World War II years when the con was on hiatus, by a convention held some multiple of 25 years later.

That opened the way for Worldcon 76 in San Jose and Dublin 2019: An Irish Worldcon to give the 1943 and 1944 Retro Hugo Awards, as each convention will occur 75 years after the relevant date.

Worldcon 76 in San Jose will hold its Retro Hugo ceremony on the evening of August 16, 2018, and celebrate works from the eligibility year 1942.

Dublin 2019, An Irish Worldcon is planning a First Night extravaganza, combining Opening Ceremonies and the Retro Hugos for works published in 1943, celebrating the past, present and future of both the genre and Worldcon.

During those tumultuous years, there was no shortage of speculative fiction, including the introductory versions of works destined to become classics. Live and animated cinematic works of all lengths provided escape to people around the world.

See cover art and movie posters for some of those works in these videos:

34 thoughts on “San Jose and Dublin Worldcons To Award 1943, 1944 Retro Hugos

  1. Donovan’s Brain is a contender. And in Graphic Novels, we have Tintin – The Shooting Star.

    Note: Should check out Flash Gordon and Prince Valiant.

  2. Flash Gordon:
    S016 – “Return to Earth” (7/6/41 to 12/28/41)
    S017 – “Queen Desira” (1/4/42 to 6/14/42)
    S018 – “The Jungles of Mongo” (6/21/42 to 11/1/42)

  3. I wonder what non-feasant but later-famous people will be recognized for the overall awards (best editor, fan {artist,writer}, pro artist) these times?

  4. 1943 was a year when Ray Bradbury began to make a significant breakthrough. His short story “King of the Gray Spaces” (later re-published as “R is for Rocket”) appeared that year, and should be a contender for the short story Retro Hugo.

    But I realise there were a lot of classic shorts by other writers published in that year.

    I wonder how flexible voters/nominators will be. Bradbury’s “The Crowd”, “The Wind” and “The Scythe” all appeared in 1943, all classic stories of speculative fiction. But none too scientific…

  5. I wonder what non-feasant but later-famous people will be recognized for the overall awards (best editor, fan {artist, writer}, pro artist) these times?

    The Retro Hugos are a great idea, but they have become a joke in recent years, due to voters not knowing their SF history. They really need to be juried awards (or at least the finalists need to be juried).

  6. wrt the overall awards, the retro-Hugos were always a joke — cf Silverberg (fan writer) and Freas (pro artist) winning for 1950 (awarded in 2001), when by their statements at the time they had done nothing in those fields that year. (Fancyclopedia lists 1 cowritten Silverberg FAPAzine in 1950; isfdb.org lists 1 genre cover for Freas.) IMO the awards for individual work are mostly harmless — although (especially wrt short fiction) I don’t know how many eligible nominators actually have access to 75-year-old magazines. The MITSFS has a solid collection and is open ~40 hours a week, but that’s one library — how many other libraries have those magazines?

  7. I will stay away from all fan categories, just as I did last time. And my guess is that I will be swearing loudly about what wins in the graphic novel category, but at least it will be fun to try to check what was printed that year.

  8. Eligible works not in the video for 1942:
    Isaac Asimov not only published the first two Foundation stories in 1942, but also “Runaround”, the story where the three laws of robotics were first explicitly formulated, as well as “Victory Unintentional” and “Robot AL-76 Goes Astray”, which show the funny side of Asimov. Particularly “Victory Unintentional” is hilarious
    Leigh Brackett had two novelettes (The Sorcerer of Rhiannon and Child of the Sun) and a short story (Out of the Sea) in 1942.
    “The Twonky” by Lewis Padgett a.k.a. Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore
    For dramatic presentation, there is the movie serial The Perils of Nyoka, one of the inspirations behind Indiana Jones, as well as Arabian Nights starring Maria Montez, Jon Hall and Sabu
    For best series, Captain Future, The Spider, The Shadow, Doc Savage and The Avenger are all contenders

    Eligible works for 1943 not in the video:
    “Clash by Night”, a novella by C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner
    “Mimsy were the Borogroves”, short story by Henry Kuttner (and probably Moore)
    “Thralls of the Endless Night”, short story by Leigh Brackett
    For dramatic presentation long: Münchhausen, German movie from 1943, Erich Kästner wrote the screenplay under a pseudonym, definitely worthy of consideration, even though it was made in Nazi Germany
    For dramatic presentation short: the unfortunately titled White Savage, another Maria Montez, Jon Hall and Sabu adventure movie
    “Red Hot Riding Hood”, cartoon by Tex Avery
    Also eligible for 1943 is the most famous (and the only one worth watching) of the Warner Bros “Censored Eleven” cartoons, “Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarves”, Bob Clampett’s parody of Disney’s Snow White. This one is problematic, because on the one hand, it is a great cartoon with fabulous jazz music. On the other hand, it’s also really, really racist.
    For best series, the same contenders as before (except for The Avenger, which ended in 1942) would be eligible.

  9. @Kevin Standlee: I don’t think preventing competition with North American Worldcons was the intent when the NASFIC started in the 1970’s; given my doubts about the US supporting a national convention, I’m not convinced that such competition is an issue now. I’m also sympathetic to internationalists who feel that it’s inappropriate to include one country’s national convention in the Worldcon rules — especially as we get more and more outside-NA Worldcons. (IIRC, Dublin was a major step in this, being the first outside-NA Worldcon selected at another outside-NA Worldcon; the next level will be two seriously-qualified outside-NA bids going head-to-head.) But I’m not likely to be arguing this where it will be decided.

  10. My main worry about the Retro-Hugos is, as ever, when we will read the stuff, given that the actual Hugos and related awards have become more demanding in recent years, with Best Series, the YA not-Hugo, and indeed the new style of novella.

    (I suppose there will now be a Retro-Hugo for Best Series – though not for YA, following the precedent that there is no Retro-Campbell.)

    I don’t think there was anything strikingly odd in the last set of Retro-Hugos – later reputation had an effect, of course, but there weren’t any awards for people who had done nothing in the year concerned. I’m guessing that the problems in the 50-year Retro-Hugos arose from the desire to honour people who are still around, which won’t apply in the same way to 75-year Retro-Hugos.

    The 1938 Retro-Hugos were a bit odd – the win for Clarke in Short Story was especially improbable – but I think there was a real shift between then and 1940, with the Golden Age getting started in earnest between those two years, and so the 1940 awards had a lot more familiar material in them. Presumably this will continue to be true.

  11. Chip Hitchcock: (IIRC, Dublin was a major step in this, being the first outside-NA Worldcon selected at another outside-NA Worldcon; the next level will be two seriously-qualified outside-NA bids going head-to-head.)

    Actually, the 1987 Worldcon in Brighton (UK) voted in the 1990 Worldcon in The Hague (Netherlands). And there were two legitimate outside-NA bids (Australia and Copenhagen) in the mix for 1983, although the Baltimore bid won. (See http://fancyclopedia.org/1983-site-selection-results).

  12. I had forgotten about Brighton -> The Hague; thanks. However, I specifically said two “seriously-qualified” bids, not “legitimate”; from my perspective 36-38 years ago, the Copenhagen Clowns were at most one step above the what-year-are-we-for? Zagreb bid, and maybe not even that. The Nippon-in-2017 bid didn’t make obvious fools of themselves but were … unimpressive. (I had to deal with them directly, as I laid out the space they were in at Sasquan.)

  13. Chip Hitchcock: The Nippon-in-2017 bid … unimpressive.

    I wasn’t even aware that there was one — and I was at Sasquan.

    They would have been pretty hard-pressed to successfully convince people that there would not be a repeat of 2007. The last I heard, that one still owes money, despite numerous subsequent Worldcons having given a huge amount of surplus funds toward their $100,000 deficit.

  14. Chip Hitchcock: I specifically said two “seriously-qualified” bids, not “legitimate”;

    I know you did, and if we were discussing this 10 years ago I might have gone a different direction, but I live in a timeline where there’s an unopposed New Zealand in 2020 bid that probably isn’t any stronger than Copenhagen in ’83, so that’s where I set the bar.

  15. ULTRAGOTHA: I never did hear how they managed to lose so much money.

    Looking at the financial report linked in the File 770 report I linked, they spent $42,000 on GoH hotel, flights and food, which seems way excessive to me.

    Onsite Convention Office for 10 days + party rooms, $62,000?

    $105,000 to print Programs, Souvenir Books and Progress Reports For 5,000 members??? (postage not included)

    And $61,000 for “Transport Charges”??? WTF.

  16. I saw that but how did that happen? Insufficient budget oversight? Right hand not knowing what the left was doing? Are the costs in Japan just that high? Did they go with familiar printers, for example, instead of shopping around? Or what?

  17. I’ve done some superficial searching, but could not find a prelim budget for Nippon 2007. I wonder if one exists somewhere that’s retrievable. I’m sure that there would have been some SMOFs asking hard questions as soon as that horrendous deficit became known — which was apparently not until 5 years later. It sounds as though Vince Docherty, who the 2017 bid brought in as financial advisor, might have some understanding of what happened.

  18. @JJ: I am surprised anyone could miss Nippon; one of the problems with them was that they kept spilling from their tables, pinching access to the Dealers Room — and to the site-selection tables….

    @OGH: I admit I haven’t been a steady Worldcon goer recently (three of the last eight), but I haven’t even heard reports back of the NZ bid making drunken oafs of themselves anywhere (as Copenhagen did in Brighton in 1979). And are you allowing for the relative convention sizes when you weigh competence? Based on attendance trends at the respective times, Copenhagen would have had at least twice as many people as NZ will have, which means they’d have 2-4x as many problems — and Copenhagen’s behavior would have made people outside their area less willing to pitch in.

  19. I’m a bit puzzled about why we are discussing non-US Worldcons in this thread. It seems to begin with a reply to Kevin Standlee, but Kevin’s comment isn’t here. Did it migrate from somewhere else?

  20. Chip Hitchcock on December 4, 2017 at 9:03 am said:

    @Kevin Standlee: I don’t think preventing competition with North American Worldcons was the intent when the NASFIC started in the 1970’s; given my doubts about the US supporting a national convention, I’m not convinced that such competition is an issue now.

    It may not have been then, but every time the subject has come up (and it has been introduced before the Business Meeting as a kill-the-NASFiC motion), keeping it under WSFS control for that reason has been the primary argument against killing it.

    I’m also sympathetic to internationalists who feel that it’s inappropriate to include one country’s national convention in the Worldcon rules — especially as we get more and more outside-NA Worldcons.

    There’s nothing stopping anyone from introducing a similar “continental convention” rule for the other continents, other than, say, Eurocon and the Australian NatCon complaining that they already exist and don’t need WSFS sanction and other local fan groups on other continents not being all that interested in the subject.

  21. Hampus: Yes, it seems so. So what is the right thread?

    More generally: I get the sense that, while the Golden Age was well and truly going by the years in question, it still hadn’t reached novels. I notice that several of the novels featured in the videos are from outside the community. Checking, it seems that Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke and Bradbury all published their first novels later than this.

    (Why does my computer recognise Asimov but not Heinlein?)

    I’m guessing Le Petit Prince would be a novella?

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