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Retro Hugos

Bestowed upon classics sf books for years in which there was no formal Hugo Award, the retro Hugos are now being planned to honor the best science fiction from 1953. Locus has an interesting article of potential candidates. In the article, Richard horton knocks one of the books I really enjoyed, and one I thought deserved the Hugo, They’d Rather Be Right (a.k.a. The Forever Machine)

About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

2 Comments on Retro Hugos

  1. What really worries me, when people look back and say “that 1953 winner didn’t deserve a Hugo, better works were overlooked”, is this:

    Will future generations laugh at the books/media that won Hugos just recently? Will readers in 2040 say “How could they have overlooked Mark Geston, the jury was corrupt or stupid,” etc.

    Maybe awards are overrated, except for marketing purposes. Or their function is purely ritual, like a priesthood giving their annual blessing to a member of the flock, thus reinforcing a sense of community…

    Then again, the Retro Hugos may be a kind of “hipper-than-thou” mind game: “While you lot were reading STARSHIP TROOPERS, I found this brilliant-but-forgotten book by a writer who died penniless — now, he really suffered for the art!”

    Of course, many good writers were overlooked… but I’m not going to mention them, it just sets off the whole status-craving name-dropping frenzy. Let people find them themselves.


  2. Awards are fun but not necessarily an indication of quality. It’s all realtive. What if any given year produced only mediocre work? Then the “best of the year” is only mediocre. Conversely, what if there were dozens of absolutely outstanding pieces? Only one would get the award. Then there is the question of whether a particular story is of any interest to my particular tastes. And the process is in question, too. How many judges are able to read every book that is reelased? Many good books may go unnoticed because they get lost in the crowd.

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