Welcome to Hugo, A History

Thanks for joining me! Hi, my name’s Matt, and this is Hugo, A History. A blog that will chronicle my endeavor to read and discuss all of the Hugo award-winning written prose. Since I was young, I loved everything sci-fi and fantasy. I consumed every book, comic, movie, you name it, about robots, space, magicians, alternate universes, and vampires—yes, vampires! In my ravenous consumption, I never took the time to consider where it all began. How did what we know as science fiction and fantasy get to where it is today? Who were the great writers that paved the way for the likes of J. K. Rowling or N. K. Jemisin? With this blog, I hope to finally find these answers and begin to develop connections within these diverse genres.

So enough about me, let’s go back to the Hugos. Considered one of the top awards for science fiction and fantasy works, the Hugo Awards, named after the founder of Amazing Stories, Hugo Gernsback, started back in 1953. The World Science Fiction Society presents the awards annually at the convention, Worldcon. For more detailed information, I encourage you to visit the official homepage of the Hugo Awards. You can find the link in the Blogroll to the left for your convenience. 

I plan to read all the winning written prose awarded a Hugo. It’s important to understand that since it’s inception in 1953 with the single category, “Best Novel,” the Hugo Awards introduced and retired many different categories. The current iteration in 2019 awarded works across 18 categories (including a 2019 specific one).

Yes 18, but thankfully, this blog isn’t looking at all of them. Instead, it will detail only 7:

  • Best Short Story – fiction stories with less than 7500 words
  • Best Graphic Story – fiction stories in a graphic form
  • Best Novelette – fiction stories between 7500 and 17500 words
  • Best Novella – fiction stories between 17500 – 40000 words
  • Best Related Work – non-fiction works
  • Best Novel – fiction stories with more than 40000 words
  • Best Series – a series of works

The goal is to cover an award year each month, but of course, some I’ll need leeway. For instance, while the awards began in 1953, subsequent Worldcons introduced the “Retro-Hugo,” awarding works before 1953. Also, several years featured tied award winners or no winners in a category. Again, I encourage you to visit the official site for a better understanding of the voting and awarding procedures.

I don’t intend this blog as a commentary upon the prestige of the Hugo Awards or the winners. Criticism exists out there about who won or who should have one. The Hugos are just one in a series of awards highlighting speculative fiction. This blog isn’t to put the Hugos on a pedestal. I’m using the awards strictly as a roadmap to structure my journey. My analyses and discussions will feature my honest thoughts and opinions. And like any good roadmap, there might be some detours along the way. Perhaps I’ll look at these other awards one day or look back at the fellow nominees to determine what I would have chosen.

I think that about covers it. If you have a comment or a question, please leave it in the space below. And please join me this Monday as I look into the first award year, 1939.

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