Friday, August 19, 2016

Retro Hugo report

There's a Worldcon going on, I hear, and the Retro Hugos were awarded last night. I'd joined to vote against the Rabid Puppies, but though they weren't relevant to the Retros, I cast a ballot on that too. Here's my comments, and, if you're keeping score, here are the finalists.

Novel: I only read Slan once, decades ago, and found it readable but ultimately trivial. Still, I don't doubt it would have won at the time, with only Doc Smith as real competition. I dared to vote first for T.H. White.

Novella: Heinlein's "If This Goes On ..." Yeah, I went along with that.

Novelette: I'm hardly surprised that Heinlein won again, and this is the story that represents him in The SF Hall of Fame, but I voted first for "Farewell to the Master", because it's a unique classic.

Short Story: A retrospective award if there ever was one, because nobody would have paid attention to this piece of fluff at the time, and Asimov wasn't a major author until "Nightfall" the following year. Still, I enjoyed this story, and don't mind it winning, although again I went out of field and dared to vote first for Borges.

Graphic Story: A little out of my field. The Spirit and Batman are the only ones I know, and I voted for them in that order.

Dramatic Presentation-Long: Fantasia stands out above all others. No contest.

Dramatic Presentation-Short: Why Pinocchio is short while Fantasia is long I'm not quite sure - while Pinocchio is nominally below the cut-off point, it's well within the grey zone, and they're both features - it still dominates. Disney was the master at the time, and the transformation scene scared me footless as a kid. "A Wild Hare" introduced the great Warner catchphrases ("Be vewy quiet, I'm hunting wabbits" and "What's up, Doc?") but the cartoon unit was just starting out and it doesn't cohere yet.

Professional Editor: If Disney was the master, so was Campbell. No contest.

Professional Artist: When I think visually of the SF of this period, it's Rogers covers that come to mind, so I voted first for him. But I can't argue with Finlay either.

Fanzine and Fan Writer: Bradbury is by far the most famous now, so of course he won, but in actually he was still a crude beginner. Ackerman was the towering fan then, not the out of touch figure he was in his last years, so I voted first for him.

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