It’s Hugo Week! And I’m just not that into it! So you know what that means… it’s time to go… Back to the Hugos!
Hugo Year: 1966
Fifty years ago: Muhammad Ali defied the draft, Indira Gandhi headed India, and the Miranda Rights were born (remember those?).
Meanwhile, Isaac Asimov announced a tie at Tricon in Cleveland when Hugo voters couldn’t decide between an ecological sand opera and a jaded god. (Also notable: A little story called “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” won the Hugo for Best Short Fiction. As much as I complain about Harlan Ellison, I do adore this story.)
My own time traveling ballot:
Links to my reviews:
This Immortal (…And Call me Conrad) by Roger Zelazny – I suspect most sixties guys enjoyed Zelazny because he made them feel smart and cool, but his words are a bit dated today. Still, there is something appealing about his Holden Caulfield-esque, DGAF voice that’s ideal for this long-lived demigod who’s seen and done it all, yet still has to deal with all kinds of tiresome crap, including ex-girlfriends, a modern post-apocalypse, and shady real estate deals with those pesky Vegans.
The Squares of the City by John Brunner – A small, unnamed South American nation recruits an American city planner to help with their traffic problem who soon discovers that the city’s obsession with chess is more than just a game. I like Brunner’s work, I like his politics, and I like the interesting way he approaches culture and gender. A more straightforward novel than his more popular and incendiary Stand on Zanzibar, some readers might find it boring, but I found it thoroughly intriguing.
Dune by Frank Herbert – But then there are other novels about political maneuvering based on egoism and sexism that I have little patience for. But it’s, like, everybody’s favorite, you know.
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert H. Heinlein – see above (oh, don’t worry Heinlein fans. Heinlein favoritism rules the Hugos, so this book will somehow get a second chance and a total win in ’67.)
Skylark Duquesne by E. E. Smith – Two rival inventors have to team up to stop an imperialistic alien race and ultimately decide to blow up an entire galaxy in order to get rid of them. Based on the writing style and pulpy aesthetics, this would be better suited for the bottom of a 1930’s ballot, but alas, the Hugos weren’t around yet and neither was this puerile book.
better alternate list of titles, check out SFWA’s long list of Nebula nominees from the same year.
That’s it for Back to the Hugos: 1966! Next up… 1976!