Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Hugo Reflections: Part 3 - 1973 to 1982

I went to my first convention in 1976, which if my memory serves me correctly was called Lunicon, where I saw Arthur C. Clarke talk, amongst other things (the editors of White Dwarf were there and I bought a subsciption to the magazine).  It was a tiny one day, and I mean really tiny as an event held in one room.  From there it was one small step to take my first step into UK SF fandom, and I attended Skycon in 1978, which was the British national SF Eastercon, which as it's name suggests is traditionally held over the Easter weekend.  The next year I attended my first Worldcon, Seacon.

This I guess marks my entry to SF Fandom, rather than just being a fan of SF.

I remember going to at least one of the Albacon's in Glasgow, but can't remember if it was the 1980 or 1983 one.  I certainly went to Yorcon 2 in Leeds 1981, and I think Channelcon in Brighton 1982.  But apart from attending conventions, reading any fanzines I got given, I wasn't particularly active in fandom, for example producing a fanzine or helping to run conventions.

Though, as I'm writing this down I remembered I did start a fan group with my friend Dave Harwood, an under appreciated comic artist, while I was living in Southend-on-Sea.  It was really David and Ashley go drinking and talk about SF books, films and comics.  Alex Stewart aka Sandy Mitchell was a regular attendee, driving all the way down from Colchester, and usually bringing friends with him like Susan Francis and John Murphy.

Those were the days when we were young and full of energy, and would do crazy stuff like drive to Wales for the chance to attend a party.  Anyway, again I've put the link for the Hugo Wikipedia page here.
Third Decade 1973 to 1982 

There were ten winners during this period, and forty-one other novels that were nominated. I've read eight of the ten winners, and twenty-three of the forty-one runners up.  The only year where I read all the contenders was 1975.

The two Hugo winners I've not read were: Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre, and The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge. Both of these rather shocked me, because again I remember reading other books from both these authors, which only goes to illustrate that one doesn't necessarily read everything by a given author or remember what you've read. In this case I've read a lot of Vonda N. McIntyre's tie in novels, being a big Star Trek fan who wanted to read well written books in this universe. The only book I've read by Joan D. Vinge was her Star Wars tie in novelization.

Of the runners up the one's I haven't read are: There Will Be Time by Poul Anderson, The Book of Skulls, and Dying Inside (two nominations in one year) by Robert Silverberg, A Choice of Gods by Clifford D. Simak, The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold, The Stochastic Man by Robert Silverberg, and Shadrach in the Furnace also by Robert Silverberg, The Forbidden Tower by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Dying of the Light by George R. R. Martin, The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey, Blind Voices by Tom Reamy, Titan by John Varley, Jem by Frederik Pohl, Harpist in the Wind by Patricia A. McKillip, On Wings of Song by Thomas Disch, Lord Valentine's Castle by Robert Silverberg, Wizard by John Varley, The Many-Colored Land by Julian May, Project Pope by Clifford D. Simak.

Clearly I haven't read as much  Robert Silverberg or for that matter as much Clifford D. Simak as I thought I had, or at least what I've read didn't make the Hugo shortlist;  I did check and I guess I must have mostly read their shorter works.  I'm surprised by the inclusion of the David Gerrold story, and while I've read a fair bit of Anne McCaffrey I stopped reading the dragon books after the second novel in the series.

Of these I think I will try to get hold of a copy of  Blind Voices by Tom Reamy, who I've never heard of, and when I checked the link on the wiki I discovered this was his first and last novel.  He died just before publication, slumped over the first seven pages of his next novel. The review suggests he was a promising writer who may have had a substantial career in the genre.

So not only can you not win, but you can win and not see that you've won.  It sucks sometimes, and sometimes it really sucks.

Part four link.


  1. I've read:

    There Will Be Time (found it a bit dreary)
    The White Dragon (good enough if that's what you want I suppose)
    Titan (ooh look I'm rebellious)
    Wizard (ooh look I'm still rebellious)
    The Many-Colored Land (should have been much more fun than it was)
    Project Pope and A Choice of Gods (all the Simaks blur together)

    None of these is much of a recommendation, I'm afraid.

    1. The only Simak's that stick in my mind are City, The Cosmic Engineers, both of which I enjoyed. I've red other Simak's in my time, but as you say they tend to blur together.