by Gideon Marcus
It’s that time of the year, again, when hundreds of sf fans (or ‘fen’) converge from around the world. Their goal is not just to converse upon matters science and fictiony, but to determine the genre’s brightest stars. Yes, it’s Hugo time!
This year, some three hundred fen gathered in Seattle Hyatt House Hotel for the 19th Annual WorldCon (appropriately dubbed “SeaCon” this year) over Labor Day weekend. Wally Weber organized the shindig, and the silver/acid-tongued Harlan Ellison served as Toastmaster. It’s a convention I should have, by all rights, been able to have attended given my frequent travels to that jewel city of the Northwest. A family wedding got in the way, however, so details of this, the year’s most important sf fan event, had to be gotten second-hand. Luckily, I got them via phone and some photos via ‘fax for you all to enjoy!
Sam Moskowitz on the far left, Alan Nourse’s back to us, then Poul Anderson; I can make out Robert Heinlein and Doc Smith in the back in profile; the fellow with the striped shirt is fan Ed Wood (not the director)
The guest of honor was the great Robert Heinlein, who gave a doom n’ gloom speech about how he thought a good third of the population would soon be dead from wars and survivalist raids (or perhaps from boredom trying to get through his latest book).
As usual, there was a Masquerade Ball, with attendees sporting outlandish, sf-themed costumes:
Stu Hoffman and Sylvia Dees
Joni Cornell, Superfan Forrest Ackerman, and a fan I don’t recognize
Ellie Turner and Karen Anderson
Bill Warren as The Invisible Man
There was a Dealer’s Hall where hucksters, amateur and professional, sold their wares. There was also an art show with some lovely pieces on display.
But most importantly, for the purposes of this article, at least, the attendees of SeaCon exercised their solemn right to choose the best genre titles for the year 1960. Let’s look at what they decided and how their choices compare to the ones I gave at the end of last year.
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller [J. B. Lippincott, 1959]
The High Crusade by Poul Anderson [Astounding Jul,Aug,Sep 1960]
Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys [F&SF Dec 1960]
Deathworld by Harry Harrison [Astounding Jan,Feb,Mar 1960]
Venus Plus X by Theodore Sturgeon [Pyramid, 1960]
My three favorites made the list, as well as Sturgeon’s book (which, if not amazing, was certainly innovative) and Budrys’ short novel, first published in F&SF. Apparently, a number of fans felt it should have won the prize. I, personally, found it to be the one entry that didn’t deserve to be here.
The Longest Voyage by Poul Anderson [Analog Dec 1960]
The Lost Kafoozalum by Pauline Ashwell [Analog Oct 1960]
Open to Me, My Sister by Philip José Farmer [F&SF May 1960]
Need by Theodore Sturgeon [Beyond, 1960]
Poul Anderson and his Hugo
Of course, my presentation is a bit different – I break down my short fiction into smaller categories. Anderson’s story wasn’t a finalist in my novella category, but I did give it four stars. I’m very glad to see that the Ashwell (which was a finalist for a Galactic Star) was in close contention for the Hugo. I hated the Farmer (though, I suppose, that’s a matter of taste), and I never read the Sturgeon. I wasn’t aware that Beyond was back in print; it died back in 1955.
Best Dramatic Presentation
The Twilight Zone (TV series) by Rod Serling [CBS]
Village of the Damned [MGM] Directed by Wolf Rilla; Written by Stirling Silliphant and Wolf Rilla and Ronald Kinnoch
The Time Machine [Galaxy Films/MGM] Directed by George Pal; Screenplay by David Duncan; based on the novel by H. G. Wells
Once again, The Twilight Zone gets the prize. I would have given it to George Pal’s film, though to be fair, I haven’t seen Village.
Best Professional Magazine
Astounding Science Fiction ed. by John W. Campbell, Jr.
Amazing Science Fiction Stories ed. by Cele Goldsmith
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction ed. by Robert P. Mills
I suppose this isn’t too surprising. While I feel F&SF was better than Analog last year, the difference was not tremendous. As for Amazing, well, I’m not qualified to judge. It’s not currently among my subscriptions.
Best Professional Artist
Frank Kelly Freas
(This is virtually the same list as last year!)
Who Killed Science Fiction? a one shot edited by Earl Kemp got the Hugo this year. The rules were promptly changed so that, in the future, one-shots won’t be eligible.
Discord ed. by Redd Boggs
Fanac ed. by Terry Carr and Ron Ellik
Yandro ed. by Robert Coulson and Juanita Coulson
Habakkuk ed. by Bill Donaho
Shangri L’Affaires ed. by Bjo Trimble and John Trimble
As usual, I don’t read the ‘zines (who has time), but I do tip my hat to the Trimbles, whom I met at a convention earlier this year, and who are the nicest people.
Of course, I’m always hopeful that my ‘zine will someday win a Hugo. Perhaps next year, with your help, it shall!