Back to the Hugos: 1956

It’s Hugo Week! And I’m barely aware of what’s been nominated this year! So you know what that means… it’s time to go… Back to the Hugos!

Hugo Year: 1956

Sixty years ago. The year that ushered in the start of the Cuban revolution, Eurovision, and Pele’s career was also the year that established Bob Heinlein’s long career of undeserved Hugo best novel nominations and wins. This WorldCon was hosted by Robert Bloch at NyConII in New York City. Also of note, some kid named Robert Silverberg won the “Most Promising New Author” award.

The list:

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Left to right: WINNER- DOUBLE STAR by Robert A. Heinlein, followed by NOT THIS AUGUST by CM Kornbluth, THE END OF ETERNITY by Isaac Asimov, THE LONG TOMORROW by Leigh Brackett, & THREE TO CONQUER by Eric Frank Russell

My retroactive ballot: Continue reading

The Long Tomorrow (1955) by Leigh Brackett

Len Colter sat in the shade under the wall of the horse barn, eating pone and sweet butter and contemplating a sin [7].

That’s a killer first line. And now I want some cornbread.

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With its bucolic setting and unsophisticated characters, as well as some rambunctious river moments with two growing boys, it’s as though The Long Tomorrow invites the tradition of Mark Twain into the realm of SF, supporting the success of Ray Bradbury’s nostalgia stories and setting the stage for Clifford Simak’s pastoral entreaties for peace in the following decade. (Yes, I know Twain wrote sci-fi. I saw that episode of Next Gen, too.)

An excellent example of a post-WWII attempt at post-apocalyptic fiction, a tradition that has endured and endured and endured. I often wonder if, after we finally suffer the apocalypse that humanity seems to crave, will we then sit around the campfire telling gripping stories about copy machines, fast food tacos, and skyscrapers. Continue reading