Your Retro Jovian Award Winners

Brian Aldiss being serenaded with "Happy Birthday" at LonCon 3 in 2014.

Brian Aldiss being serenaded with “Happy Birthday” at LonCon 3 in 2014. Photo by Francis Hamit.

Jovian Awards were sent anonymously to the 2015 Hugo nominees who finished second to No Award (Pixel Scroll 12/17, item 14). Warren Buff, in a comment to Andrew Trembley on Facebook, said “Part of me would love to see them track down the equivalent data for the previous five No Awards and do the same there.”

I wondered how hard that would be. I began by looking at the years involved in my post “The Extremely Short History of No Award”.

All past No Awards occurred in years before the rules were changed to require a report of voting statistics, however, committees sometimes announced the ranking of the finalists.

1959 – SF or Fantasy Movie: No Award

The Long List of Hugo Awards for 1959 does not know the order of finish for the three finalists, which were

  • The Fly
  • The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
  • Dracula (from Hammer)

1959 – Best New Author: No Award

Somewhat inconsistently, the 1959 Worldcon committee did announce Brian W. Aldiss as the writer who finished second to No Award, and they gave him a plaque. (See Michael Ashley, in Transformations: The Story of the Science-fiction Magazines from 1950 to 1970.) Of course, Aldiss still could be given a Retro Jovian, and he might even enjoy it.

1963 – Dramatic Presentation: No Award

The Long List of Hugo Awards for 1963 also did not report how the finalists ranked in voting. They were:

  • Burn, Witch, Burn
  • The Day the Earth Caught Fire
  • Last Year at Marienbad
  • The Twilight Zone

1971 – Dramatic Presentation: No Award

Who finished second to No Award in 1971 needs to be resolved. The Long List of Hugo Awards for 1971 says it was Colossus: The Forbin Project – a film that is getting some love in the current SF Movie Bracket. But Tony Lewis, chair of the 1971 Worldcon, who also tallied the Hugo votes, told File 770 in 2009 that No Award got a majority of votes while Jefferson Starship’s Blows Against the Empire received the largest number of votes of any nominated work. Somebody should be able to reconcile these two answers.

1977 – Dramatic Presentation: No Award

According to the Long List of Hugo Awards for 1977 this was another year where the final rankings were not disclosed. The nominees were –

  • Carrie
  • Logan’s Run
  • The Man Who Fell to Earth
  • Futureworld

I leave the rest as an exercise for DIY trophy makers…

16 thoughts on “Your Retro Jovian Award Winners

  1. 1971: Just parsing the statements, my guess is that Jefferson Starship had more 1st place rankings than the other works, but got passed during the elimination process and ended up fifth. I.e. a similar situation as JCW’s “One Bright Star” had this year.

  2. It’s quite straightforward: if the work that finished second-ranked behind No Award cannot be determined. why not award the Jovian to *all* the works beaten by No Award?

    Wouldn’t that be the most inclusive & celebratory approach?

  3. I agree with Soon Lee, should any mysterious Jovians be waiting on multiple Filer approval. 🙂

  4. Huh, I seem to remember hearing that the Starship album came in second to no award in the final tally, but it’s been too many years to be sure where I heard that, or if it was from a reliable source, or anything.

    For those who don’t know, it was inspired by Heinlein’s Methuselah’s Children. In fact, Paul Kantner actually wrote to Heinlein and got permission to use his plot before proceeding with the project. (Heinlein commented that it was the first time anyone had asked before stealing one of his plots.) Kantner had also collaborated with John Wyndham (Day of the Triffids, etc.) on a Jefferson Airplane song a few years previously. The boy was a serious SF fan, even if SF fandom was a little uncertain about him! 🙂

  5. In 1971, some of us in the cheap seats (i.e. penniless young fen sitting in the balcony during the awards ceremony because we couldn’t afford tickets for the Banquet) were convinced that Firesign Theatre were going to win, and someone whose face I can somewhat remember, but whose name escapes me (Frank something, maybe?) was trying to organize us to start singing “Marching to Shibboleth” when the winner was announced. I recall stunned silence when the toastmaster announced “No Award”.

  6. Interesting post, Mike. I didn’t realize it had won a category this many times. Also, wow, 4/5 were for movie/dramatic presentation!

  7. I know it’s kind of silly and dated, but I always had a soft spot for Blows Against the Empire. Got me through through some bad times.

    And this may be a stupid question but how did Dramatic presentation get no awarded in 1977? Those are some legit classics right there.

  8. The Airplane track is “Crown of Creation” whose lyrics come from a couple of paragraphs of Wyndham’s “The Chrysalids”. I remember rereading the novel a couple of years after the album was released and thinking I had chanced upon a Cosmic Secret. Did Kantner get Wyndham’s permission? I’d always assumed that as San Francisco hippies they wouldn’t have bothered, but if they did I’d love to know.

  9. BGHilton, as I understand it, the usual assumption is that there was no Long-Form Dramatic Presentation (AKA, movie) Hugo in 1977, because they were voting on 1976 movies, and Star Wars had just come out and blown everything else out of the water. They looked at the choices they had; they looked at Star Wars, they decided that none of the nominees could hold a candle to SW and voted no award. Even though Star Wars wasn’t a contender that year, but the next.

  10. @Malcolm Edwards: Yeah, I discovered the collaboration in Crown of Creation the same way. And like you, for years, I thought it was simple stealing, but Kantner has apparently written that Wyndham was not only aware, but was an active and enthused participant in the process of writing the song.

  11. My understanding is that during the ’60s and ’70s, there were people who felt very strongly that non-prose works should never have been allowed into the Hugos in the first place.

    As for Long Form/Short Form, the split didn’t happen until 2003. Before that, everything regardless of length competed together. 1967-1968, several Star Trek episodes were nominated; a Prisoner episode was nominated in 1969.

  12. BGHilton, I’ve heard that, yes. My first Worldcon wasn’t until 1982, so I can’t verify from personal knowledge. But apparently (according to what I’ve heard) the voters took a look at their ballot, compared it with Star Wars, and said “all this is crap compared to Star Wars.” Which you might think wasn’t necessarily quite fair, since Star Wars wasn’t from that year, but it’s all up to the taste of the Hugo voters, after all.

  13. I was a 1976 Hugo voter and while I can’t speak for everybody else, I remember my own fannish biases being the reason why I voted as I did, not how the nominees compared to Star Wars.

    I wasn’t going to vote a Hugo to a horror movie, so Carrie was out. I didn’t see The Man Who Fell to Earth, so I didn’t vote for that. Futureworld struck me as dumb, far inferior to Westworld.

    I think I voted for Logan’s Run first — I’d been highly entertained by hearing William Nolan and George Clayton Johnson talk about their purpose in writing the book being to sell it to a studio for a lot of money, which they had. However, the movie itself wasn’t so good that I was horrified to see it finish behind No Award.

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