Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Hugo Award is given every year for the best science fiction or fantasy stories of the previous year, and for related areas in fandom, art and dramatic presentation. The award categories have changed over time, as the field of science fiction has grown and evolved. The winners are voted on by science fiction fans, and the awards are handed out at the annual World Science Fiction Convention ("Worldcon"). The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories.
Retrospective Hugo Awards (normally abbreviated Retro Hugos) are also presented. These are given at Worldcons held 50, 75, or 100 years after a Worldcon was held at which no Hugos were awarded. Once Retro Hugos for a given year are awarded, no further awards for that year are permitted.
The first World Science Fiction Convention was held in New York City in 1939. While "bests" had been voted upon at all conventions there were no awards until the 11th Worldcon (Philadelphia, 1953) and this was, at the time, considered a one-time event. However for the 13th Convention (Cleveland, 1955) it was decided to make the physical awards a permanent feature.
The 11th convention awards were the idea of Hal Lynch . The awards were hand-machined by Jack McKnight and consisted of a finned steel rocket on a circular wooden base. At the 13th Convention a new design, capable of "mass" production, was made by Ben Jason , it was largely similar to the first design but on a square base. It became the standard design for most of the following conventions.
At first the award was known as the "Annual Science Fiction Achievement Award", with "Hugo Award" being an unofficial name, but certainly the more well known. Since 1993, the nickname has been adopted as the official name of the award.
While the World Science Fiction Society rules state that the award is for works of science fiction and fantasy, in practice it has until recent years almost always gone to science fiction works. This precedent contributed to complaints when the 2001 Hugo for best novel was given to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, a fantasy novel by J. K. Rowling aimed at young adults. However, there has been far less controversy about the two fantasy novels that have since won the best novel award – American Gods by Neil Gaiman in 2002 and Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold in 2004 – though both the latter authors are also known for science fiction works.
The awards also sparked controversy in 2004 when the prize for Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form was given to a joke awards show acceptance speech featuring Gollum from Lord of the Rings over acclaimed episodes of Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Smallville.
- Hugo Award for Best Novel
- Hugo Award for Best Novella
- Hugo Award for Best Novelette
- Hugo Award for Best Short Story
- Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (awarded since 1961)
- Hugo Award for Best Non-Fiction Book (awarded 1980 to 1998)
- Hugo Award for Best Related Book (awarded since 1999)
- Hugo Award for Best Fanzine
- Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist
- Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer
- Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine
- Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist
- Hugo Award for Best Professional Editor
There are other science fiction awards. The Nebula award is given by fellow writers, voting as a group. The World Science Fiction Convention also awards the John W. Campbell Award for the Best New Writer in Science Fiction. This award is sponsored by the publishers of Analog, the magazine Campbell edited. Although presented at the same ceremony at the Worldcon it is not a Hugo. (Nor should it be confused with the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, a jury-selected prize not associated with the Worldcon at all.)
- Hugo Award official site
- Original proposal of the award in Philcon II
- About the Hugo Awards in Locus magazine
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