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:

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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: Continue reading

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The Stochastic Man (1975) by Robert Silverberg

TheStochasticManA mathematical and political twist to the predictable oracular tale, the 1976 Hugo- and Nebula-nominated The Stochastic Man at first sight appears to be Robert Silverberg’s effort to legitimize one of SF’s favorite tropes, though he’s certainly not the first to try. Portraying telepathy as random probability forecasting in a political setting explains away many of the fanciful notions that might hinder the believability of yet-another SF work about preknowledge and predestination, but, considering earlier SF writers explored the same ideas with a similar conceit of logic, Null-A, and psychohistory, which, as Max Cairnduff cleverly reminds us in his review, is now called consulting, the attempt to blend superpowers with real-world reasoning is neither new nor fresh. What makes The Stochastic Man different from its pseudoscience ilk, aside from a gritty ‘70s essence, is that Silverberg draws from far older inspirations, adding a decidedly Faustian framework to this tale. Continue reading