Let’s Go Back to the Hugos! 1976!

It’s Hugo Week! And it’s not that big of a deal! So you know what that means… it’s time to go… Back to the Hugos!

Hugo Year: 1976

1976 saw the beginning of the end of Apartheid, the Viking probes landed on Mars, and Nadia Comeneci stole the hearts of Olympics viewers worldwide.

Meanwhile, the FIRST MidAmeriCon was held in Kansas City, hosted by Wilson Tucker.

The list:

Screenshot 2016-08-13 at 9.03.44 PM

The Winner: THE FOREVER WAR by Joe Haldeman, followed by: DOORWAYS IN THE SAND by Roger Zelazny, INFERNO by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle, THE STOCHASTIC MAN by Robert Silverberg, and THE COMPUTER CONNECTION by Alfred Bester

My retroactive ballot:

Screenshot 2016-08-13 at 9.04.03 PM

Links to my reviews:

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman – A candid retort to Robert Heinlein’s facile militarism in Starship Troopers, Haldeman draws from his own experiences in the Vietnam War to portray the psychological toll of combat, the alienation of military life, as well as the psycho-social effects of time dilation due to space travel. A worthy “Best Novel” winner!

Doorways in the Sand by Roger Zelazny – The tied winning author from the decade before, Zelazny is nominated again for this psychedelic sci-fi inversion of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which involves yet another Holden Caulfield-esque character who quips and shirks, and stops just short of calling everybody “phonies.” The prose is gorgeous, though.

The Stochastic Man by Robert Silverberg – A man with– not really, but kind of– precognitive skills is put to work for a political campaign, but a wealthy old man and the onset of new visions convince him that he may be supporting a future demagogue. Silverberg likes dance along the dangerous lines of brash, blunt, and inconsiderate, which could alienate millennial readers, yet his books are hard to put down. Even so, this particular novel’s treatment of a woman of Indian descent is extremely uncreative, to say the least.

Inferno by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – A science fiction writer (heh heh) goes to a science fiction convention (heh heh) and gets drunk (heh heh heh) and falls (har har har) and dies (hardy har har) and winds up in hell (HAR har har har har har). AND IT’S LIKE DANTE’S INFERNO BUT THE SCI-FI WRITER IS TOO DISTRACTED BY HOW THINGS WORK TO NOTICE THAT HE’S IN HELL! GUFFAW! (I mean, who the hell writes their own fan fiction?)

The Computer Connection by Alfred Bester – I’m just going to copy my lines about Silverberg from above and revise them a bit: “Bester likes stomp all over the dangerous lines of brash, blunt, and inconsiderate, which will definitely alienate millennial readers because he doesn’t understand subversiveness, and this book is hard to give a shit about. This particular novel’s treatment of all things and all peoples is extremely atrocious.” To say the least.

Well, ACTUALLY, this is my 1976 retroactive ballot:

Screenshot 2016-08-16 at 6.44.22 PM

How can you ignore Joanna Russ’ The Female Man and Katherine MacLean’s Missing Man? (I add two women and it still includes a lot of “man.”)


For an better alternate list of titles, THAT INCLUDES WOMEN WRITERS, check out SFWA’s LONG list of Nebula nominees from the same year.

That’s it for Back to the Hugos: 1976! See you tomorrow for… oh… 1986…

3 thoughts on “Let’s Go Back to the Hugos! 1976!

  1. I’m not really praising Heinlein,but he had a better writing style,full of gaity,that made “Starship Troopers” readable,no matter what you thought of the social and political context.That it was supposed to glorfy combat,was lost on me then.The military life portrayed,seemed harsh to me as I recollect it.Hadelman in writing TFW,showed little artistry or zip.

    I read “Starship Troopers” forty years ago.I don’t own a copy now,or I’d read it again,just for the fun of finding out what it was like.TFW I only read about four years ago,but it was soon forgettable.It lacked spice to give it that necessary tang.

    I’ve said something similar about this before,I think you’re recall,but I’m just stating this to reinforce a point


    • Yeah and I remember you saying it and I still think you are wrong ;-P


      • I only read a few Heinlein books before I got tired of him.Last year I couldn’t finish “Methuslah’s Children”.The necessary themes weren’t explored at all,and it rambled.

        It’s so long ago that I read “Starship Troopers”.I don’t know what I’d think about it now,but I’d probably be negative.He had positive virtues and faults that have made him crucial historically and a literary leper in SF.He was both a guiding light to authors who grew-up on the “pulp magazines”,and a far less luminous figure to those,such as the radical Michael Moorcock,who had only followed SF outside generic limits.

        I might be wrong about TFW,but it just doesn’t appeal.It’s ideological views are probably right,but perhaps they are too overtly spoken for me to have found it a readable text.It was workmanlike,but lacked sharp zest.


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