Pixel Scroll 5/16/20 The Diversity Of Pixels Prove That Scrolls Evolved From Files

(1) BEFORE GENESIS. Kim Huett begins a deep dive into Hugo history in “A Different View of the Early Hugo Awards (Part 1.)” at Doctor Strangemind.

…First of all the Eleventh World Science Fiction Convention committee called them the First Annual Science Fiction Achievement Awards and not the Hugo Awards. Officially they continued to be called the Annual Science Fiction Achievement Awards for many decades. It wasn’t until 1993 that they were officially renamed the Hugo Awards. Exactly when fans began giving the awards the nickname of Hugo I can’t be entirely sure. However, the earliest mention of the practise I’m aware of appeared in the 1955 Clevention’s Progress Report #4. In an article about the physical aspects of the award appears the following comment:

A great deal of hard work, money and time went into the project of making this “Hugo”, as some people have already dubbed the trophy.

Just who was using the term and how widespread the practise was by this point isn’t made clear in this article. It could be that committee members were aware of the nickname being used elsewhere but I suspect such usage was confined to the committee itself. After all, given that at this point the awards had only been given once and then were seemingly discontinued it seems a bit unlikely that fandom at large had decided to give something they couldn’t be certain would ever be seen again a nickname. Moreover, given that the awards are then continually referred as Hugos in the rest of the article I rather suspect some or all of the committee had not only adopted the term but also wanted to push the idea of calling it that as one way to put their stamp on the awards idea. All speculation of course but it does make for an interesting theory.

(2) BEFORE NUMBERS. And Galactic Journey’s Hugo headline deals with news that’s only a tad more recent — “The 1965 Hugo Ballot Is Out!” They also invite fans to join them for an online discussion on May 23.

… Since the Journey has covered virtually everything on the list, we’ve created a little crib sheet so you can vote in an educated fashion.

Also, we’ll be talking about this ballot on May 23rd at 1PM PDT on a special broadcast of KGJ Channel 9 — so please tune in and join us in the discussion!

(3) AN EPISODE RECAP – SPOILERS? I’M NOT SURE. [By Martin Morse Wooster.] In the May 10 episode of Supergirl, Kara Zor-El and her friends were trying to track down bad guys who called themselves Leviathan.  They went to the “United States Congressional Library” which eerily resembles a Canadian public library to talk to a librarian who was a “symbologist”–you know, like the guy in The Da Vinci Code.  The symbologist explained that he tried to search for “leviathan”–but all of searches were blocked!  Scary! 

So they decided to visit “special collections,” which of course was the vault in the basement where The Good Stuff is kept and can only be seen by people with the secret passcode,  But just as our hero punches the buttons, the bad guys start shooting at them.  How these guntoters managed to get past the security guards is not explained, possibly because the “United States Congressional Library” doesn’t have any security guards.

Any resemblance between the “United States Congressional Library” and the Library of Congress is nonexistent.

(4) YOU ARE NUMBER SIX. Den of Geek boasts the cover reveal for the next installment in Martha Wells’ series: “The Murderbot Diaries: Fugitive Telemetry Cover Reveal”.

…While Fugitive Telemetry may be the sixth installment in the series, it is something new for this world: a murder mystery. The novella follows Murderbot as it discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, and sets about assisting station security to determine who the body was and how they were killed. Fugitive Telemetry takes place after the events of novella Exit Strategy and before the events of novel Network Effect, and is slated for an April 2021 release.

(5) WHO SUPPORTS THEM. The Doctor Who Companion points fans to a fundraising video: “Peter Capaldi Reads Story By Frank Cottrell Boyce For National Brain Appeal’s Emergency Care Fund”.

Actor Peter Capaldi, shows his support for The National Brain Appeal’s Emergency Care Fund – set up in response to the Covid-19 crisis. We’re raising money for staff on the frontline at The National Hospital – and those patients who are most in need at this time. He reads from The Runaway Robot by Frank Cottrell Boyce.

(6) SOUND ADVICE. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Katherine A. Powers, who reviews audiobooks in the Washington Post, has a piece about the problems of bad audiobooks. “Don’t let a bad reader ruin your audiobook experience. Here are recordings to savor — and to avoid.”  She writes:

Any devoted audiobook listener can attest:  Spending nine hours (or more) in the company of a terrible reader–a shrieker, mumber, droner, tooth whistler, or overzealous thespian–is an experience that can truly ruin a book.  A narrator’s voice is not merely a delivery system, an element extraneous to the text, but an integral one–fulfilling, enriching, injuring, or sinking a book.”

She explains this is particularly true with books in the public domain.  She notes that Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd comes in a dozen versions. including a superb one by John Lee and readings by Nathaniel Parker and Joe Jameson “are excellent if a little fast.” But “excruciating performers” of hardy’s novel include “a drawling old fogy; a governess on an elocution bender; a sprinter whose words tear along in a blur; and a man who seems to be recording inside a tin can.

This doesn’t have much to do with sf except that she says that Neil Gaiman is a very good reader of his own fiction (I agree).  But I thought she made some good points.

(7) PEOPLE WHO KNEW PKD. “The Penultimate Truth About Philip K. Dick” on YouTube is a 2007 Argentine documentary, directed by Emiliano Larre, that includes with Dick’s ex-wives Kleo Mini, Anne Dick, and Tessa Dick, his stepdaughter Tandie Ford, and authors K.W. Jeter, Ray Nelson, and Tim Powers.

(8) WILLARD OBIT. Comedic star Fred Willard, who appears in the forthcoming show Space Force, died May 15 at the age of 86. He gained fame in a long career that included roles in Best in Show, This Is Spinal Tap, Everybody Loves Raymond and Modern Family. More details at People.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born May 16, 1891 Mikhail Bulgakov. Russian writer whose fantasy novel The Master and Margarita, published posthumously, has been called one of the masterpieces of the 20th century. The novel also carries the recommendation of no less than Gary Kasparov. If you’ve not read it, a decent translation is available at the usual digital sources for less than a cup of coffee. (Died 1940.) (CE)
  • Born May 16, 1917 – Juan Rulfo.  Author, photographer.  In Pedro Páramo a man going to his recently deceased mother’s home town finds it is populated by ghosts; translated into 30 languages, sold a million copies in English.  A score of shorter stories; another dozen outside our field.  Here are some photographs and comment.  (Died 1986) [JH]
  • Born May 16, 1918 – Colleen Browning.  Set designer, illustrator, lithographer, painter.  A Realist in the face of Abstract Realism and Abstract Expressionism, she later turned to magic realism blurring the real and imaginary. See here (Union Mixer, 1975), here (Mindscape, 1973), here (Computer Cosmology, 1980s), and here (The Dream, 1996).  (Died 2003) [JH]
  • Born May 16, 1920 – Patricia Marriott.  Cover artist and illustrator, particularly for Joan Aiken (1924-2004); 21 covers, 18 interiors.  See here and here.  (Died 2002) [JH] 
  • Born May 16, 1925 – Pierre Barbet.  French SF author and (under his own name; PB is a pen name) pharmacist.  Towards a Lost FutureBabel 3805; space opera, heroic fantasy, alternative history.  In The Empire of Baphomet (translated into Czech, Dutch, English, Hungarian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish) an alien tries to manipulate the Knights Templar; in Stellar Crusade the knights go into Space after him; 72 novels, plus shorter stories, essays.  (Died 1995) [JH]
  • Born May 16, 1928 – Burschi Gruder.  Romanian pioneer and prolific illustrator of children’s books, textbooks, comic books; cover artist; reprinted in East Germany, Moldova, Poland, U.S.S.R., Yugoslavia.  See here and here.  (Died 2010) [JH]
  • Born May 16, 1937 Yvonne Craig. Batgirl on Batman, and that green skinned Orion slave girl Marta on “Whom Gods Destroy”. She also appeared in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.The Wild Wild WestVoyage to The Bottom of the SeaThe Ghost & Mrs. MuirLand of the GiantsFantasy Island and Holmes and Yo-Yo. (Died 2015.) (CE)
  • Born May 16, 1942 – Alf van der Poorten.  Number theorist (180 publications; founded Australian Mathematical Society Gazette; Georges Szekeres Medal, 2002) and active fan.  One of “Sydney’s terrible twins”.  Reviewer for SF Commentary.  (Died 2010) [JH]
  • Born May 16, 1944 Danny Trejo, 76. Trejo is perhaps most known as the character Machete, originally developed by Rodriguez for the Spy Kids films. He’s also been on The X-FilesFrom Dusk till DawnLe JaguarDoppelgangerThe Evil WithinFrom Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood MoneyMuppets Most Wanted and more horror films that I care to list here. Seriously, he’s really done a lot of low-budget horror films. In LA he’s even better known for donuts – i.e., he owns a shop with his name on it. (CE)
  • Born May 16, 1953 – Lee MacLeod.  Four dozen covers, plus interiors, among us.  Lee MacLeod SF Art Trading Cards.  BatmanHoward the DuckPocahontas (i.e. Disney’s).  Air Force Art Program.  Here are two covers for The Mote in God’s Eye from 1993 and 2000.  For his fine art e.g. plein air, see here.  
  • Born May 16, 1962 Ulrika O’Brien, 58. A Seattle-area fanzine fan, fanartist, con-running fan, and past TAFF winner. Her list of pubished fanzines according to Fancyclopedia 3 is quite amazing — FringeWidening Gyre and Demi-TAFF Americaine (TAFF Newsletter). Her APAzines include Mutatis Mutandis, and APAs include APA-LLASFAPAMyriad and Turbo-APA. (CE)
  • Born May 16, 1968 Stephen Mangan, 52. Dirk Gently in that series after the pilot episode which saw a major reset. He played Arthur Conan Doyle in the Houdini & Doyle series which I’ve heard good things about but haven’t seen. He did various voices for the 1999 Watership Down, and appeared in Hamlet as Laertes at the Norwich Theatre Royal. (CE)
  • Born May 16, 1969 David Boreanaz, 51. Am I the only one that thought Angel was for the most part a better series than Buffy? And the perfect episode was I think “Smile Time” when Angel gets turned into a puppet. It even spawned its own rather great toy line. (CE)


(11) DISNEY’S NEXT PLANS FOR THE STAGE. The Washington Post’s Peter Marks not only reports the demise of Frozen on Broadway, but that Disney Theatrical Productions president Michael Schumacher announced several musicals in development, including The Princess Bride, Jungle Book, and Hercules. “Citing the pandemic, Disney puts Broadway’s ‘Frozen’ permanently on ice”.

Schumacher also used the letter to detail other projects in the works — notably, a stage musical version of the 1987 cult movie favorite “The Princess Bride,” with a book by Bob Martin and Rick Elice and a score by David Yazbek, and an expanded stage version of the “Hercules” that debuted last summer in Central Park. Book writer Robert Horn, a Tony winner for “Tootsie,” will be added to the songwriting team of Alan Menken and David Zippel.

(12) PRINCEJVSTN’S FINEST. Best Fan Writer Hugo finalist Paul Weimer’s “Hugo Packet 2020” is available from an unlocked post on his Patreon page. (I have the right URL here but can’t get it to open from the Scroll, which is why I am also including Paul’s tweet).

(13) WIGTOWN FLIPS. Hey, I read it right here — “Wigtown book festival makes online switch”.

Scotland’s national book town has decided to take its annual festival online.

The Wigtown event will still run from 25 September to 4 October with the themes of resilience and connection.

Creative director Adrian Turpin said a key aim would be to raise the town’s profile while looking forward to a time when the region could welcome visitors.

He said nobody had wanted the situation but it might help the event to reach new audiences.

A number of link-ups with other book towns around the world will feature as part of the festival.

As well as live online speaker events, the 2020 festival will feature its usual mix of art exhibitions, film events, music and performance.

The Magnusson lecture – in honour of Magnus Magnusson – will also go digital for the first time and be delivered by historian Rosemary Goring.

(14) VASCO II. BBC reports “Facebook to build internet cable ‘circumference of Earth'”.

Facebook is teaming up with telecoms companies to build a 37,000km (23,000-mile) undersea cable to supply faster internet to 16 countries in Africa.

Its length – almost equal to the circumference of the Earth – will make it one of the longest, it said.

It is part of a long-running bid by Facebook to take its social media platform to Africa’s young population.

Ready for use by 2024, it will deliver three times the capacity of all current undersea cables serving Africa.

“When completed, this new route will deliver much-needed internet capacity, redundancy, and reliability across Africa, supplement a rapidly increasing demand for capacity in the Middle East, and support further growth of 4G, 5G, and broadband access for hundreds of millions of people,” said Facebook in a blog.

Africa lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to internet access, with four in 10 people across the continent having access to the web, compared with a global average of six in 10.

(15) NEEDED ONE MORE GHOST. Yahoo! Movies UK quotes the actor from a TV interview: “Bill Murray missed Harold Ramis and Rick Moranis on ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife'”.

Bill Murray really missed working alongside Harold Ramis and Rick Moranis while filming the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

The legendary comedian admitted as much during his recent interview with Ellen DeGeneres, saying that the pair were “greatly missed for so many reasons,” adding, “They were so much a part of the creation of [Ghostbusters] and the fun of it.”

(16) TOASTS OF THE TOWN. At the #OrbitTavern on Instagram, Creative Director Lauren Panepinto interviews an author about their upcoming book Ann Leckie and Laura Lam in one session) —and teaches viewers how to make the perfect cocktail to pair it with! Replays of their live shows are also available on Orbit’s website.

For example, a couple of days ago they celebrated World Cocktail Day with Alix Harrow.

(17) NESFA PRESS SALE. NESFA Press has announced a 20% discount good through June 14, 2020  on all NESFA Press physical books — with some exceptions. This does not include E-Books, ISFiC books (including the Seanan McGuire Velveteen books), and the following limited-edition books: Stan’s Kitchen by Kim Stanley Robinson and A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison (limited, boxed edition).

To take advantage of this discount, go to the NESFA Press online store: http://nesfapress.org/, select the titles you wish to purchase, and during checkout enter “COVID-19” in the coupon text field. The 20% will be automatically deducted from the book price.

(18) LIFESIZED ORRERY. “What It Would Look Like If All The Planets Orbited Between The Earth And The Moon” – this video has been out for awhile but it was news to me – a very exotic view!

[Thanks to JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, John Hertz, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kevin Harkness.]

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50 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/16/20 The Diversity Of Pixels Prove That Scrolls Evolved From Files

  1. (17) Book sale!!!

    “Book sales are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”

  2. (17) I have a question about the NESFA Press Roger Zelazny short story collections. The first 2 books are listed as Third Edition, the last 4 as Second Edition. Does anyone know why the new editions? I wonder if there were significant changes in any of these books, or just subtle errata corrections.

  3. 2) Do sign up for the online event. It’s free and you can watch James Davis Nicoll, Gideon Marcus, Rosemary Benton, Jason Sacks and me blather about the 1965 Hugos.

  4. (9) I’m trying to remember if we discussed this before. (I didn’t see it in last year’s entry.) David Boreanaz’s father David Thomas Boreanaz, who went by the professional name Dave Roberts, was a weatherman on WKBW and one of his side jobs was hosting a kids show called Rocketship 7. (WKBW was on channel 7.) If you look at the stills they have up on its wikipedia entry, Rocketship 7 could pass as a close relative of MST3K. The show is mentioned in an episode of Bones where Agent Booth, played by David Boreanaz, says he watched every episode.

    Also it’s Kevin McDonald’s birthday. He co-founded Kids in the Hall and was Almighty Tallest Purple in The Invader Zim cartoon. Lots of other voice work and a part in Sky High which I thought really could have become a decent movie franchise or at least the TV series that was in discussion at one time.

    The Pixel of Ultimate Darkness

    Edit: Fifth. Five looks a little like Evil! backwards.

  5. @11: a musical version of The Princess Bride? I just can’t see it (outside of nightmares…); I know there are dramatic musicals, but they were written to have music — and tPB rides the thin line between drama and spoof.

    The BBC and NPR report the death of Astrid Kirchherr, who photographed (and indirectly provided the haircuts of) the early Beatles.

  6. (7) OGH, how is it that you learned of this PKD documentary after 13 years? Has it been on YouTube all this time? (Interesting that these Argentinian filmmakers/interviewers would borrow the title of his relatively obscure novel The Penultimate Truth, one major plot element of which – the series of fake documentary movies – would later turn out to be of use to the writers of Amazon’s Man in the High Castle series.)

    [edit: I see that it’s been there for a number of years, but not 13.]

  7. gottacook: Martin Morse Wooster sent me the link. It didn’t seem familiar, and appears well done, so I counted it as “news to me”.

  8. 9) BBC SF comedy series Hyperdrive was a bit hit and miss, but Stephen Mangan guest-starred in one of the better episodes – the bit where he sings agnostic hymns with Miranda Hart is priceless.

  9. @18
    What strikes me is that–if this were actually our daily experience (of course it isn’t possible), this would seem to us ho- hum hum-drum by the time we were 10 years old. Ain’t life bland!

    Surely a deep fanzine dive could settle this question without resort to “interesting theories.” It was my understanding they were referred to as Hugos pretty much from the start due to the whole Oscars thing, as the link provided by Rich Lynch above illustrates.

  10. (17) I have a question about the NESFA Press Roger Zelazny short story collections. The first 2 books are listed as Third Edition, the last 4 as Second Edition. Does anyone know why the new editions? I wonder if there were significant changes in any of these books, or just subtle errata corrections.

    David G. Grubbs (editor of the Zelazny series) says:

    Readers send in corrections and we find a few errors ourselves on rereading. These can be simple typos or more complicated problems that change stories, footnotes, or pieces of the six-part “Literary History” (which its author refers to as “The Monograph”.)

    Also, we sometimes discover new relevant facts, or there are new events connected to something in the books, or in a couple of cases, we found new manuscripts for short works in an archive somewhere.

    Every time a printing runs out, the editors (of the books and for NESFA Press as a whole) think about whether the accumulated changes awaiting a new printing is large enough to warrant calling it a new “edition” or whether it is a new “printing” with minor corrections.

    It is admittedly arbitrary, but the main criterion I (as chief editor) use is that if all changes made in the new release can be looked at as corrections to exiting text we could have made in the first edition/printing, if we had noticed them, then it is a new printing. If any changes to the work have to be made because of new information, newly found manuscripts, corrections we could not have made in the first edition/first printing, or something that has occurred after the original release, we called it a new edition.

  11. We interrupt your regularly scheduled Pixel Scroll for this important announcement:

    Roger Zelazny’s Doorways in the Sand is now available on Kindle.

    That is all.

  12. Regarding “Hugo”, Wikipedia says:

    The nickname was accepted as an official alternative name in 1958, and since the 1992 awards the nickname has been adopted as the official name of the award.[14][23]

    Reference 14 is to The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction by Clute & Nicholls, p595. (23 is to the minutes of the business meeting from 1991.) If anyone has the EoSF, they could probably check the reference to see what (if anything) it says about 1958. But “official alternative name” certainly makes more sense than the idea that it was nothing but a fan nickname all that time, even though it was appearing on book covers and such. 🙂

  13. Xtifr: 1958 seems an odd year to settle on because Ted Johnstone’s report of that year’s business meeting says the only business taken care of was the selection of the 1959 Worldcon site, and a vote to petition WSFS Inc. to dissolve (the latter being an epochal moment in fanhistory).

  14. Just in case there’s anyone here unaware of it, the 1992 change (initially adopted 1991, ratified 1992) to change the official name to “Hugo Award” was because it proved impossible to register a service mark on “Science Fiction Achievement Award” because the US Patent & Trademark Office declared to to be merely “descriptive” and rejected the application. The MPC was able to register “Hugo Award,” and has gone on to also register it in the EU. I expect the MPC (through its non-profit corporation Worldcon Intellectual Property) will probably register it elsewhere along with “Worldcon” in other countries as the committee’s resources permit.

  15. (1) One of the things that struck me reading this was Huett’s idea that Worldcon should ‘return east’ after Denvention. Huett seemed to be really bothered that Worldcon would be held twice ‘in the west.’ Whereas, it seems to me that the first four Worldcons were well spaced across the US and LA seems more logical than ‘returning’ to the east. I doubt anyone was thinking of it that way at the time, but it seems very nice that the first four hit each of the time zones. And, to be geographically fair, a Worldcon in the south should have been next after LA instead of ninth. (Also to be fair, we shouldn’t have named it Worldcon if it was mostly going to happen in the US or North America.)

  16. 9) Danny Trejo has recently had a recurring role on The Flash TV show playing a character called Breacher. He pretty much always plays himself, but honestly, what more would you want from him?

  17. Thanks for the title credit.
    (18) That is a trippy video. I’d never seen it before, and the first thing I thought of was how weird the tides would be. Would gravitational attraction be enough to make other things move? Could there be sand tides and dirt tides? I know it would likely be a disaster of sprung fault lines, but getting gangs of Saskatchewan dirt surfers might be worth it.
    Cowabunga with real cows!

  18. @Mike: Perhaps it was decided in ’57, and took effect in ’58? Or perhaps Wikipedia and/or Clute & Nicholls got it wrong? I dunno. My memory of the era is a bit fuzzy, what with not having been born til ’59. 😉

    In any case, I looked at the minutes from ’91, which is when “Hugo” became the primary name, and the brief explanation of the amendment (item E2) says:

    WSFS’s awards are known universally by the name Hugo awards except in about half of the WSFS Constitution where the term “Science Fiction Achievement Award” is used. (The rest of the WSFS Constitution also calls them simply the “Hugo Awards”.)

    (Emphasis mine.) So the term “Hugo” was definitely in the constitution already at that point. Somehow.

  19. (1) I found it interesting that the ballot specified which person was to receive each award, in light of recent discussions about who exactly has the right to call themselves a Hugo Winner.

  20. @Lorien Gray: I’d hardly call Huett “bothered”; he points out that the bulk of US activity at the time was in the east and suggests that returning there would have seemed logical — but was outweighed by the fannish mass of LASFS. Note that returning to the east would also have imitated the 3-zone rotation system that in place for some decades, albeit in the opposite direction. And while it’s true that Denver was near the eastern edge of the western zone when the zone system was set up, there is a lot of not-much (other than scenery) between it and the west coast. The east was generally much more populated at that time; California didn’t overtake New York in population until after the 1960 census. And I’d say that the first Worldcon in the south being #9 was probably a reflection of who was bidding; AFAICT from scanning fancyclopedia.com, New Orleans’s bid for 1950 was the first from anywhere that could be called “the south” — and it lost to Portland (Oregon), which was also a long way from any previous Worldcon.
    (Also to be fair, we shouldn’t have named it Worldcon if it was mostly going to happen in the US or North America.) What you mean, “we”? IIUC that was a bit of rodomontade from the chair, Sam Moskowitz; I’ve read that his usual style of fanning was so grandiose that The Immortal Storm makes early fandom sound as important as World War II. (Not that he didn’t have bad examples for that naming; Worldcon was outside the US long before (e.g.) the World Series was.)

  21. (1) The (or maybe “a”) Hugo Award goes back to 1950: “The first annual ‘Hugo’ award will be made for literary merit in the s-f field.”

    The earliest I’ve seen a cover blurb for “Hugo Winning” is the 1962 edition of Stranger in a Strange Land.(There was a 1959 edition of The Demolished Man with “Prize Winning” on the cover.)

  22. This reminds me why I decided against writing the next Harry Warner-esque volume of fanhistory — because some of the people most interested in fanhistory, when they had a question, wouldn’t look up the answer in the volume of Warner that their very own club was selling.

    And here it’s even more pernicious — after Rich Lynch has posted a link to the article by the guy who first attached the Hugo name to the SF Achievement Award (http://www.jophan.org/mimosa/m30/madle.htm) fully explaining things, somebody still wants to treat it as a mystery.

    The impulse to name an award after Gernsback would have been on a par with Americans wanting to name things after Washington. That more than one person wanted to do it is to be expected.

  23. bill: The earliest I’ve seen a cover blurb for “Hugo Winning” is the 1962 edition of Stranger in a Strange Land.(There was a 1959 edition of The Demolished Man with “Prize Winning” on the cover.)

    The back cover of the 1961 Signet version of Starship Troopers says:
    “Starship Troopers, his most recent novel, won the coveted Hugo Award for the best science-fiction novel of 1959.”


  24. 7) there’s a DVD of The Penultimate Truth documentary from Kultur (2007) that I purchased online many years ago. The first time I watched it I thought the dramatization of Dick’s life as if it was a case being investigated by anonymous detectives was a bit dry. However, it has grown on me in subsequent viewings. There is some great stuff in here, particularly about PKDs druggie crash pad commune lifestyle, even though it is a bit dark…speed is a monster. They really try to figure out the ransacking incident, but with no conclusive finding. Fun movie!

  25. @JJ

    The back cover of the 1961 Signet version of Starship Troopers says:
    “Starship Troopers, his most recent novel, won the coveted Hugo Award for the best science-fiction novel of 1959.”

    Good find. I only looked at the cover images in ISFDB, which did not include back covers. Checking other pre-1961 award winners my find even earlier uses.

  26. bill: Good find.

    I got a giggle out of the Hugos going from being given for only the 2nd time after a gap of a year in 1955 to “coveted” just 6 years later. 😀

  27. @OGH: Madle’s story comes from half a century after the fact; ISTM that historians would classify it as folklore rather than confirmed observation. OTOH, Wikipedia’s cite of the SF Encyclopedia appears to be out of date; I don’t find anything backing up the cite in the online entry, which simply says “affectionately known as Hugos in honour of Hugo Gernsback” and references the 1991 change, without giving a date for first use of the then-nickname. (This is a lesson in the problem with secondary sources.) I also don’t see the text @bill reports being in the link; I may have missed something because it’s a scan rather than searchable text. Any correction to the page cite, or pointer to a specific paragraph, in SFNL, or discovery of words I missed in SFE, would be helpful, as I’m not 100% brained at the moment.
    BTW: if you were referring to NESFA (AFAIK the only club selling Warner’s memoirs), what active member do you think failed to go to a generally-closed clubhouse and dig up his comments (which at least are more timely than Madle’s) on the date?

    @JJ: I got a giggle out of the Hugos going from being given for only the 2nd time after a gap of a year in 1955 to “coveted” just 6 years later. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a similar evaluation of the award even earlier; marketing language has about as much to do with reality as the work of lawyers in Operation Chaos. OTOH, I suspect public grumbles (i.e., covetousness) about lack of Hugos may have been a thing even before your discovery; e.g., it was part of Asimov’s schtick long before I got into fandom (according to contemporary accounts), although the first time he made noise about it may have been his first toastmaster gig (1959, say the longlist notes

  28. Chip Hitchcock: I didn’t say the NESFAn’s question that they wouldn’t look up in Warner was about who named the Hugos. For one thing, Warner doesn’t answer that question, which I’m surprised you don’t know. And what difference would it make to you if I named the NESFAn I have in mind?

  29. Chip Hitchcock: I also don’t see the text @bill reports being in the link; I may have missed something because it’s a scan rather than searchable text.

    I found it there.

  30. Yes, the origin of the name “Hugo” was documented at the very start of the thread. The only real question I’ve had is: when did “Hugo” cross over from nickname to official secondary monicker? That is to say, when did it first appear in the WSFS Constitution?

    The earliest copy I can find (the earliest one WSFS seems to have online) is 1975, and the term “Hugo” is all over it! The section introducing the awards is even titled “Hugo Awards”. Not “Science Fiction Achievement Awards”. So it was an official name by that point, even if it wasn’t the official name.

  31. Xtifr: Well, I can get you as far back as 1970 (Noreascon I) by consulting a paper copy of the Program Book. The copy of the constitution published in it states the awards are “nicknamed Hugos.”

  32. Xtifr: If you run searches at Fanac.org you may find what you’re looking for. Or not.

    For example, the 1960 Worldcon (Pittcon) in pre-convention Progress Report #3 published the rules under which the Business Meeting would be conducted, and the business which had already been submitted, which included a motion to standardize the Hugo Awards categories. https://fanac.org/fanzines/Pittcon/Pittcon1pr3-12.html The convention’s daily newzine also reports what the Business Meeting did, passing these rules with copious usage of the Hugo name. http://fanac.org/fanzines/Pittcon/Pittcon1nl3-02.html

    Whether your search is confined to the WSFS Constitution, or extends to all Worldcon business meeting activities, you may find an answer.

  33. Oh cool, thanks!

    Wow, so, in 1970, it was still officially designated as a nickname, but five years later, it was just mentioned as an another name, without qualification. <voice style=”spock”>Fascinating!</voice> More levels of subtlety than I expected. Now I’m not quite sure what to think.

    Checking fanac.org, I see that the word “nicknamed” was still present in 1974. So it was presumably dropped that year. And if it was a deliberate change, then it was presumably significant of…something. But there seem to have been a lot of changes happening at the time. There’s a comment from Ben Yallow on the 1975 page (Aussiecon) saying that “[t]he Discon II Constitution was removed by a 9-3 vote”. But somehow, in doing that, the word “nicknamed” was not restored. So I dunno.

    I guess nobody said researching fan history would be easy. I am now leaning towards “what Wikipedia says is not quite accurate”, but I’m definitely not at the “it should replaced with X” stage, since I have no idea what “X” should be. 😀

  34. Xtifr: The Aussiecon (1975) edition of the WSFS Constitution still indicated Hugo was a nickname. The MidAmeriCon (1976) edition, among the wholesale changes you allude to, uses the phrase “annual Science Fiction Achievement Awards (the Hugos)”.

  35. @Xtifr: a plausible step would be to remove the possibly-false (and definitely unsupported) data from Wikipedia (and possibly redirect the cite to the current version), and put in the correct data when it is confirmed.

    @OGH: I found it there. I repeat: which paragraph?

  36. Chip Hitchcock: The last one. Is there something I don’t know about your vision that makes it possible for you to find it if someone tells you which paragraph, but not otherwise?

  37. @Chip Hitchcock

    I also don’t see the text @bill reports being in the link;

    Bottom paragraph, right column. Or as Mike says, the last one.

    That one is mentioned by the OED SF project, and is from July 1950. The actual OED has an even earlier mention of this not-the-real-Hugo, in Apr 1950 (top of right column). (And if the Hydra Club newsletters could be searched, they might yield an even earlier example).

    The earliest in-print mention of “Hugo” in reference to the series of Worldcon Awards from 1953 onwards I can find is:
    “There is no official name for the Awards themselves. It seems the word got around that they were to be called ‘Hugos’ (after the father of science-fiction, Hugo Gernsback). That isn’t so. If the fans decide that ‘Hugos’ are the proper name for the Awards then they shall be called ‘Hugos’.”– Lyle Kessler, _Fantasy Times_ #184 2 Aug 1953, p. 2 (middle of right column)

  38. Given that last remark, it’s possible that SFE had some support for saying that “Hugo” wasn’t an “official alternate name” until 1958; the question is who in that year was being officious 😉 , and how, and what caused SFE to change its mind — all assuming the cite is correct, which nobody here has confirmed.

    @OGH: visual systems do not all process the same way; that’s a reason why there can be games involving picking out image differences — or why typos turn up that you admit not seeing. Reducing the field to be examined by over 90% also helps make anything easier to find.
    OBTW: I’m surprised you’re surprised I don’t have Warner memorized; I do look at bits of fan history, but I’m not Joe Siclari, Rob Hansen, or any of the other people who has made a great effort to prevent it from disappearing.

  39. Chip Hitchcock: OBTW: I’m surprised you’re surprised I don’t have Warner memorized;

    People who don’t have Warner memorized can look up information in their copy of his fanhistory. And honestly, no, it’s not surprising that you didn’t try that. In fact, I checked myself before making my comment.

  40. Why do you assume I have Warner on hand? Have I ever claimed to be a fan of deep history, as opposed to reporting what I saw myself?

  41. Chip Hitchcock: You’ve been working hard to make yourself the arbiter of this discussion, by making people point out documentation to you, and holding court over whether some obscure entry in the ESC can be documented. In the process you’ve generated a lot of static that people have to fight through who are interested in doing that deep level of work to answer Hugo history questions.

  42. I guess I should explain that when writing about any topic on Doctor Strangemind I prefer to confine my research to what I consider source material. That is material produced at the time of the event I’m writing about. Memories are too unreliable for me to use as a basis of fact and memories as old as those that appear in Robert Madle’s Mimosa #30 article strike me as especially unreliable. Of course it’s entirely possible that Robert Madle was the first one to suggest calling the Annual Science Fiction Achievement Awards the ‘Hugos’. Perhaps the ‘Inside Science Fiction’ column Madle mentions writing for an unnamed Robert Lowndes fanzines would contain evidence to back up this claim. In which case I would happily accept that Robert Madle was indeed the one who first called the awards ‘Hugos’ However, without having read the column in question I can only go by the source material I’m familiar with and in that material the awards are only ever referred to as the First Annual Science Fiction Achievement Awards.

    Oh, and for the record I’m perfectly happy to read that ‘Inside Science Fiction’ column (assuming I’m ever able to locate it) and make changes to my article if necessary but until then I see no reason to consider the Robert Madle claim as anything but unreliable memory.

    Also for the record Chip Hitchcock is right about me not being bothered about the decision to not send the worldcon back east at the Denvention. If I’m guilty of anything it’s over explaining the situation but I did that because it’s so easy to assume that the circumstances surrounding the worldcon and the attitudes towards it were more or less the same as they are today.

    This is not so as what seems logical now did not seem logical then. Keep in mind given how much science fiction fans of the time were earning, not a lot for most of them, if the worldcon was held too far away attendance was impossible. Thus for a lot of fans sending the worldcon to Los Angeles in 1942 was a real sacrifice because they couldn’t possibly hope to attend. And this was in an era when conventions of any sort were few and far between.

    In regards to the annual convention being called a ‘worldcon’ I’ve read in several places this was an attempt to ride on the coattails of the 1939 New York Worlds Fair. If this is true then I have no idea why the organisers thought this would be a good idea. But then as Chip Hitchcock has already pointed out, Sam Moskowitz did have grandiose tendencies.

  43. Kim Huett: Your articles are especially interesting because they review source material that was only available in inaccessible collections until people started scanning the material for Fanac.org and a few other sources. They popularize the idea that we could go look at this stuff ourselves, too.

    It would be too bad, though, to give into a tendency to mystify fanhistorical questions to which the answer is already known. Harry Warner Jr. writes on page 363 of A Wealth of Fable

    ‘Hugo’ as a nickname was devised by Bob Madle…

    P.S. And I was wrong when I said the other day he didn’t answer that question. Nuts to my eyesight, too.

  44. Well Mike, the situation as I see it is that at no point have I told others what they are allowed to believe. I’ve done my research and made my conclusions, hopefully making clear what I believe to be fact and what are speculations on my part. If people are willing to believe the unsubstantiated claims of Bob Madle and Harry Warner to be true then that is their prerogative. However I see no reason to include such unsubstantiated claims in my own material as I see doing so as reducing the quality of my work. To do that would make me unhappy. If you feel these unsubstantiated claims based on uncertain memory are worth believing then by all means do so. I won’t be offended if you think my work incomplete or inaccurate because of this stance.All I can do is write my articles in such a way as to satisfy my own standards.

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