AMAZING THINGS: Loncon3 Announced 1939 Retro Hugo Award Winners

75 years ago, science fiction fans held the first Worldcon in New York City. Today, we honor those who might have been nominated for a Hugo Award, if the award had existed back then.

The 1939 Retro Hugo Awards were announced yesterday at Loncon3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention.

The Retro Hugos are awarded at Worldcons that are quarter-century anniversaries of Worldcons that took place prior to the introduction of the awards (25, 50, 75 year marks).  Loncon3 had the enviable opportunity to present the Retro Hugo Awards for the first ever Worldcon that took place in New York in 1939 (now referred to as Nycon1).

Amazing Stories thinks that the nominators and voters did a fine job in selecting and awarding a fine, representative sample of works from 1938 (Hugo Awards are presented for works from the preceding calendar year).  Even though we were asked to supply a representative (the multi-talented Diane Severson) to accept the award on Ray Palmer’s behalf (he edited Amazing Stories from 6-38 to 12-49) should he win, and even though he lost to rival John W. Campbell of rival magazine Astounding Science Fiction, we still applaud the winners.

Congratulations to all of the winners, their descendants, their estates & representatives and their fans.  Without you and your works, there’d be no Worldcon.

You can watch the ceremony for the 1939 Retro Hugo Awards here on Ustream (some viewers report no audio, some no video).

A history of the Hugo Awards, including past winners and nominees (along with vote counts and additional information) can be found on the Hugo Awards website

Best Novel (208 nominating ballots)

  • The Sword in the Stone, T. H. White (Collins)
  • Out of the Silent Planet, C. S. Lewis (The Bodley Head)
  • Galactic Patrol, E. E. Smith (Astounding Stories, February 1938)
  • The Legion of Time, Jack Williamson (Astounding Science-Fiction, July 1938)
  • Carson of Venus, Edgar Rice Burroughs (Argosy, February 1938)

Best Novella (125 nominating ballots)

  • “Who Goes There?”, Don A Stuart [John W. Campbell] (Astounding Science-Fiction, August 1938)
  • “The Time Trap”, Henry Kuttner (Marvel Science Stories, November 1938)
  • “Sleepers of Mars”, John Beynon [John Wyndham] (Tales of Wonder, March 1938)
  • “A Matter of Form”, H. L. Gold (Astounding Science-Fiction, December 1938)
  • Anthem, Ayn Rand (Cassell)

Best Novelette (80 nominating ballots)

  • “Rule 18”, Clifford D. Simak (Astounding Science-Fiction, July 1938)
  • “Pigeons From Hell”, Robert E. Howard (Weird Tales, May 1938)
  • “Werewoman”, C. L. Moore (Leaves #2, Winter 1938)
  • “Hollywood on the Moon”, Henry Kuttner (Thrilling Wonder Stories, April 1938)
  • “Dead Knowledge”, Don A. Stuart [John W. Campbell] (Astounding Stories, January 1938)

Best Short Story (108 nominating ballots)

  • “How We Went to Mars”, Arthur C. Clarke (Amateur Science Stories, March 1938)
  • “Helen O’Loy”, Lester del Rey (Astounding Science-Fiction, December 1938)
  • “Hollerbochen’s Dilemma”, Ray Bradbury (Imagination!, January 1938)
  • “Hyperpilosity”, L. Sprague de Camp (Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1938)
  • “The Faithful”, Lester del Rey (Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1938)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form (137 nominating ballots)

  • The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. Written by Howard Koch & Anne Froelick; Directed by Orson Welles (The Mercury Theater of the Air, CBS)
  • R. U. R. by Karel Čapek. Produced by Jan Bussell (BBC)
  • Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne. Written & Directed by Orson Welles (The Mercury Theater of the Air, CBS)
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Written & Directed by Orson Welles (The Campbell Playhouse, CBS)
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker. Written by Orson Welles and John Houseman; Directed by Orson Welles (The Mercury Theater of the Air, CBS)

Best Editor, Short Form (99 nominating ballots)

  • John W. Campbell
  • Farnsworth Wright
  • Raymond A. Palmer
  • Mort Weisinger
  • Walter H. Gillings

Best Professional Artist (86 nominating ballots)

  • Virgil Finlay
  • Margaret Brundage
  • Frank R. Paul
  • Alex Schomburg
  • H. W. Wesso

Best Fanzine (42 nominating ballots)

  • Imagination! edited by Forrest J Ackerman, Morojo, and T. Bruce Yerke
  • Novae Terrae edited by Maurice K. Hanson
  • Tomorrow edited by Douglas W. F. Mayer
  • Fantascience Digest edited by Robert A. Madle
  • Fantasy News edited by James V. Taurasi

Best Fan Writer (50 nominating ballots)

  • Ray Bradbury
  • Forrest J Ackerman
  • Arthur Wilson “Bob” Tucker
  • Donald A. Wollheim
  • Harry Warner, Jr.

1,307 valid final ballots (1

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