Hugo Award

From Academic Kids

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 Hugo Award itself was co-designed by longtime SF fan and booster Benedict Jablonski who based the trophy on a rocket-shaped hood ornament from an Oldsmobile 88.



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. The controversy may have had more to do with the novel's publication as a category juvenile; roughly twenty formal fantasies had previously been nominated for best novel. At least a half dozen genre fantasies had taken awards for shorter lengths, as well as several genre-bending works by Harlan Ellison.

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 – both those authors have substantial genre backgrounds; whatever controversy Rowling's win caused probably had as much to do with her lack of genre roots as with the nature of the novel itself.

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.

Award categories

Related awards

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.)

See also

External links

de:Hugo Award eo:Premio Hugo es:Premio Hugo fr:Prix Hugo he:פרס הוגו it:Premio Hugo ja:ヒューゴー賞 nl:Hugo Award pl:Nagroda Hugo ru:Премия Хьюго sv:Hugopriset


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