Back to the Hugos: 1975!

The Hugo Awards are this weekend! But time-travel Hugos are much more fun! So let’s go back to the Hugos: 1975!

The member vote for Best Novel:


Le Guin wins, but I can’t believe Inverted World placed last. That’s insanity.

My pretend, retro Hugo ballot:


I’m having a hard time deciding between the anarchic experiment The Dispossessed and the mind-bendy Inverted World as a first pick. Both are delicious; I love them so much. Maybe they should tie. In comparison, Flow my Tears and Fire Time are pretty forgettable, with misplaced identity and Middle East allegory being the only things I much remember about them. (And for those who haven’t read either, I’ll let you guess which is which.) And people, I know you LOVE the Moties, but it’s lame and stiff and boring, and I don’t think readers-of-color would appreciate the all-too-familiar social hierarchy of Larry and Jerry’s alien society. That ain’t no racial commentary, it’s just lazy characterization. *aggressively shakes finger at Larry and Jerry*

Not that anyone is keeping score or anything, but there are three well-known conservative authors on this list. (And who knows about Dick. We didn’t study the politics of the fifth dimension in my comparative politics classes, but I’m pretty sure that’s where that dude resides.) However, both books by those conservative authors can easily be classified as “message fiction,” with Fire Time advocating land sharing between hostile groups, and The Mote in God’s Eye addressing unsustainable population growth… with a rather severe Malthusian solution, permeated by an ugly anti-immigrant message. And let’s not talk about the “good girls don’t use birth control” message.

Message fiction: a favorite technique of SF writers from all political persuasions! (Not that anyone is saying otherwise. Because that would be dumb and nonsensical.)

Did you know: Manufactured controversy = Free advertising

See you tomorrow for *shock* and *gasp* a year I just might almost agree with… 1985!

19 thoughts on “Back to the Hugos: 1975!

  1. I loved the Mote in God’s Eye.


  2. I agree with your retro ballet, and mine would probably have been the same. It’s a tough call between Inverted World and Dispossessed but I’d have to give it to LeGuin—but man, I really really liked what Chris Priest did with that one. Not Dick’s best + not Anderson’s best + eh NivPourn. Eh. I’d take this over the ’55 Hugos any day.


    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      I think I’d give it to Le Guin, too. I even love Dispossessed more than Lathe of Heaven. But it’s hard to edge out Priest like that.

      As for ’55, I will reread about golden-hearted prostitute Mabel running around naked any day before I ever read The Mote in God’s Eye again.

      (Did you see MarzAat’s comment about ’55? He said there’s audio floating around of Malzberg and Silverberg arguing about that book. Would love to hear that.)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved Mote – forgot mostly all about it since it was so long ago, but I remember I loved it, and I remember the non-symmetrical aliens.


    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      As much as I keep hearing that from people, I’m surprised Mote didn’t at least do better than Fire Time on this list. I hated it, but it has devoted fans.


  4. GOOD GIRLS DON’T USE BIRTH CONTROL MESSAGE?! Ugh. Kill me now. Oh wait, I can just never read that book. That’ll do.


    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      A good solution! And you know I’ll keep you updated on further Larry and Jerry collaborations. Thank goodness for blogging and the vicarious reading of sketchy books! 😉


      • Here here. Your secondary blog tagline in my head is something like “Reading ALL the Vintage SF so you don’t have to.” (And can still talk about it like you have.)

        Also, I continue to be excited about Emergence and not get to actually reading it. Wait, that was something I meant to write in my comment on your more recent post. Ah well.


  5. Anton says:

    I actually didn’t like Inverted World, so I have to agree with Le Guin winning this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. […] the Hugo Awards. (Although we already know that, one, you cannot hijack your own plane, and two, conservative, non-literary books have always appeared on Hugo shortlists, and three, conservative, non-literary books have always appeared on Hugo […]


  7. […]           1975          1985             1995               […]


  8. John Stephen Walsh says:

    While LeGuin deserves the award, I wouldn’t weep if Inverted World one. The book really pulled me along entirely because of the situation–I wanted to see how the IDEA of a place with different physical rules would play out. That’s something you only find in science fiction.

    From my reading of a couple of biographies of PKD he had all the correct beliefs except regarding abortion, which he wrote about in his intro to “The Pre-Persons.” That’d be enough to get him kicked out of scifi today, and I suspect many of his fans just choose to say, “Ah, he was crazy!” when such stuff comes up. (I think the evidence is in that he wasn’t crazy, and many of his chemical issues were of the presecription variety, so whether he can be judged as nuts or just having the wrong beliefs for the SF club is up to you.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      Yes! I had the same experience with Inverted World! And it being structured as a commentary on the Hard SF subgenre made it even better.

      From what I’ve read, PKD is a shifty fella. I’m not particularly interested in his political opinions. I like his short stories, and I’m working my way through his novel catalogue. He is very SF.


  9. Larry & Jerry’s The Mote in God’s Ice Cream. Sorry, that was really bad.

    Also: “And who knows about Dick.” I think that’s the name of a new feature for you, “You Don’t Know Dick,” in which you deconstruct PKD’s books.


    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      Larry & Jerry’s Ice Cream comes in three flavors: vanilla, double vanilla, and vanilla with vanilla swirl.

      I’m stealing “You Don’t Know Dick.” Stealing it.

      Liked by 1 person

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