Back to the Hugos: 1985!

The Hugo Awards are this weekend! But time-travel Hugos are much more fun! So, let’s go back to the Hugos: 1985!

The member vote for Best Novel:

The Winner: Just a little book called Neuromancer. 


My pretend, retro Hugo ballot for Best Novel:


Hugo voters, we actually almost agree! Neuromancer is tops, now that I’m accustomed to the wacked out, cyber megatext, and Gibson’s shifty show-don’t-tell-wait-don’t-even-show style. And Emergence became an instant favorite of mine, thanks to the insane plot twists, and despite the Russian-commies-are-evil gag. (Eh, it’s the eighties.)

As for the bottom of the ballot, all three books were just okay. I enjoyed The Integral Trees for those sexy sex scenes– haha, just kidding, those sex scenes were awkward as hell, but the weird physics and flying whales were pretty cool. The Peace War is a story I could easily picture on FX or USA or Lifetime television networks, and you can interpret that however you like.

I would probably No Award Heinlein. If I had grown up reading him, I’d be ready to tell him to fuck off by ’85. Probably sooner. (Definitely sooner.)


According to some Schmuck Fuppy commentary I’ve seen around, 1985 was the death knell of the Hugo Awards– the final year that Hugo voters recognized deserving fiction, and just before the bleeding-heart libs Affirmative Actioned the fun out of science fiction, while the snooty lit-crits meta’d themselves. ‘Twas the year that Pew-Pew-Space-Cadet died… so many sadz…

But so many wrongz.

Pew-Pew-Space-Cadet died decades before 1985, and if anything is dead in the eighties, it’s the (liberal) (wild) (metatastic) New Wave movement, which left behind a great, big stink of drab, commercial fiction, and a regular rotation of reliably conservative authors (and some equally drab, commercial, liberal authors, let’s be honest). 1985 is certainly a conservative-heavy list, but that is more likely to repeat after 1985, rather than before.

So what are the Schmucks actually mourning after 1985? Is it an arbitrary, made up date, or, perhaps, is this misdirected sadness because they just happen to miss Neuromancer‘s “particular flavor”?

WARNING: Conservative enjoyment of Neuromancer may indicate latent liberal tendencies. Side effects include being sad, manufacturing controversy, and avoiding space opera throwbacks because feminine pronouns are scary.

16 thoughts on “Back to the Hugos: 1985!

  1. thebookgator says:

    I’m loving your retrospective–funny and insightful. What 80s movie didn’t have the “evil Russian commies” antagonists?? You made me giggle with that one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      That’s exactly how I pictured the commie Russian in Emergence, too. That one guy. Wasn’t it the same tan, blonde, no-neck actor who played the Russian evildoer in all of those ’80s movies?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Did you ever watch Rocky and Bullwinkle? With the evil Russian villians Boris and Natasha?

    I, too, love these retro Hugos. I mean, it is obvious that the flapping suppies are wrong about a lot of things, but it is nice to see it all laid out like this and you keep making me laugh. Shit knows there is little other reason to laugh about em.

    Liked by 1 person

    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      Lol… the Russian guy in Emergence might actually be named Boris. I think. Can’t remember right now.

      Glad you enjoy!


  3. Jesse says:

    Have you seen Jo Walton’s survey of the Hugo awards on (I believe they even collected her thoughts in a book whose title escapes me at the moment.) The reason I bring it up is that it is in most senses the anti-FC2M Hugo review. At some point Walton comes to the conclusion that the Hugo’s didn’t always but most often got it right. (I paraphrase, but the sentiment matches.) Laying about left and right with her opinion stick (I love, I hate…), she casually shrugs off KSR and other intelligent writers while championing some of the most mediocre stuff I’ve ever read (e.g. Vinge, Connie Willis, McMaster-Bujold, et al.)

    How to get your posts on to straighten people out? (Ha-ha-ha!!)


    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      I run into Jo Walton’s reviews at Tor every once in a while, and I am sometimes told about her review collection, (which I often read as: “You know, somebody’s done this already.” But I’m sure I’m the thousandth person to do this and I’m doin’ it anyway!) I guess I haven’t noticed the slights to KSR (blasphemy!) or the “Hugos got it right” message. I tend to the find the comments section of her reviews the most helpful. Lots of old-timers tend to respond and that’s always interesting.

      Tor, Tor, Tor. You and I have discussed Tor before.That’s some powerful kool-aid over there. It was amazing to watch the typically outspoken liberal authors clamp up this summer. A quick protest, followed by a sudden vacuum of opinion, followed by an outpouring of support. I thought I was watching an episode of The Twilight Zone where the past keeps changing and nobody remembers a thing. I still can’t believe it.


  4. Anton says:

    Oh Neuromancer. My nemesis. I cannot get through it. Maybe I have Puppy tendencies. Wait, that’s not it. I respect Gibson, but his style and I are not buds.


    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      Haha! I can relate! It was, unfortunately, one of my first vintage novels for this blog. It was a struggle because I was such a noob to SF. But then I read Virtual Light, which I loved, which is a completely different style, but it helped me to understand his approach. And I also loved The Peripheral, so now Gibson and I are like total besties and I want to read all the Gibsons.


  5. I knew this was going to happen, but they’re getting worse again…

    Neuromancer is one of my all-time favorites, and I’m eager to get to Emergence after your review. The others? Meh, I’ll pass except for Integral Trees because I have a copy for some reason. And you won’t see me reaching for it anytime soon…


    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      “I knew this was going to happen, but they’re getting worse again…”

      Just wait until you see ’95. Oh, but you don’t have to wait! It’s posted 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. […] and two, conservative, non-literary books have always appeared on Hugo shortlists, and three, conservative, non-literary books have always appeared on Hugo shortlists.) But let us take a look […]


  7. […] voters, we almost agree again! That’s twice! In six […]


  8. […]           1975          1985             1995               […]


  9. John Stephen Walsh says:

    Is the actor you’re trying to think of Dolph Lungren (sp?)? He was the evil Russian in some Rocky flick. (When they needed an evil American, they just cast an American, they were all evil back then against the peace-lovin’ Soviets, right? 😉 )


    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      Yes, I think that’s the guy! And I don’t think anybody would ever say the Soviet Union was peace-lovin.’ I get your sarcasm, but my criticism is sound.


  10. Pew-Pew-Space-Cadet. I like that.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to admiral.ironbombs Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s