Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Hugo Nomination Recommendations: 1958

Potential Hugo nominations for the 1958 Hugos (stories from 1957)

I made a post on Facebook about possible Hugo nominations for stories published in 1957 -- a year that was not well represented in Hugo history, due to the vagaries of changing Hugo eligibility rules, radically different Hugo categories from year to year, including no fiction Hugos in 1957, and a generally cavalier attitude towards the whole process. That post engendered a lot of productive comments, and I figured I'd make an updated version to preserve it on my blog. Thanks to Andrew Breitenbach, David Merrill, Gary Farber, Piet Nel, and Paul Fraser (among others) for suggestions for further stories, and for productive suggestions for more details about Hugo history.

Wandering through the history of the Hugos in the 1950s -- a chaotic time, with no well established rules, with constantly changing award categories, with a con committee, in one case, refusing to give fiction awards at all ... I realized that no stories from 1957 won a Hugo. (The 1958 Hugo for short story went to "Or All the Seas With Oysters", by Avram Davidson (Galaxy, May 1958) and the Hugo for -- get this -- "Novel or Novelette" went to "The Big Time", by Fritz Leiber, a novel (albeit very short) that was serialized in Galaxy, March and April 1958. In 1957, no Hugos for fiction were given.

I note as well that Richard A. Lupoff's excellent anthology What If?, Volume 1, selected "alternate Hugos" for the years 1952 through 1958, and his choice from 1957 was "The Mile-Long Spaceship", by Kate Wilhelm.

So, what the heck -- here's my list of proposed fiction nominees from 1957. I use the categories Novel, Novelette, and Short Story.


Citizen of the Galaxy, by Robert A. Heinlein

The Black Cloud, by Fred Hoyle

Wasp, by Eric Frank Russell

On the Beach, by Nevil Shute

The Midwich Cuckoos, by John Wyndham

and you know what -- in many ways the most significant -- and commercially successful -- SF novel of 1957 was:

Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand

(By the way, The Naked Sun, by Isaac Asimov, is often cited as a 1957 novel, but its serialization in Astounding ended in December 1956. The same is true of Heinlein's The Door Into Summer, serialized in F&SF.)

Note that four of my suggested novel nominees (all except Heinlein) were born and raised in the UK (Shute moved to Australia in 1950.) Had this nomination list been real (unlikely) and had the Heinlein been replaced by Atlas Shrugged (even more unlikely) all five nominees would have been born and raised outside the US. (Rand immigrated from the Soviet Union at the age of 21.)


"Call Me Joe", by Poul Anderson (Astounding, April)

"The Queer Ones", by Leigh Brackett (Venture, March)

"The Dying Man" aka "Dio", by Damon Knight (Infinity, September)

"Omnilingual", by H. Beam Piper (Astounding, February)

"It Opens the Sky", by Theodore Sturgeon (Venture, November)

("The Last Canticle", by Walter M. Miller, Jr. (F&SF, February) would also have been a worthy nominee, but I left it off because I think of the novel (A Canticle for Leibowitz) first.)

Short Story:

"Hunting Machine", by Carol Emshwiller (Science Fiction Stories, May)

"Journeys End", by Poul Anderson (F&SF, February)

"The Men Return", by Jack Vance (Infinity, July)

"The Man Who Traveled in Elephants", by Robert A. Heinlein (Saturn, October)

"Manhole 69", by J. G. Ballard (New Worlds, November)

"Affair with a Green Monkey", by Theodore Sturgeon (Venture, May)

(I could also have mentioned Kate Wilhelm's second sale, "The Mile-Long Spaceship" (Astounding, April), a strong early story that, as noted above, was Richard A. Lupoff's choice for an alternate Hugo this year.)

My votes? Citizen of the Galaxy, "The Queer Ones", "The Men Return". In no case are those votes easy choices, mind you.

I note, too, that the "Big Three" (Astounding, Galaxy, F&SF) are represented only by two novelettes and one short story. (And, to be fair, one novel.)

Other notes about 1958: it was the only year of the Hugos in which the winners did not get a rocket ship -- the award this year was a plaque. Also, 1958 was the last year in which there was not a codified process by which a fan vote selected a set of nominees, followed by a general vote for the Hugo. 


  1. Also in 1958: the Air Force loses an H-bomb; Alaska is hit by a megatsunami; the Cod Wars (Britain vs Iceland) begin; Velcro is TM'd; & the Smurfs, NASA, the Chipmunk Song, Barbie, S. T. Joshi, Kevin Bacon, & the John Birch Society are born. Coincidence? O you sweet summer child

  2. Very interesting. For the novelette, I’d go with Call Me Joe", by Poul Anderson. I remember being wow’s by the cover when that issue came in the mail.