Ask a Question

Do you have a question about the Hugos that is not covered in our FAQ? If so, please ask it here and we will endeavor to answer it for you.

Please note, however, that we cannot issue definitive rulings about Hugo Award eligibility. Each year’s Worldcon establishes a Hugo Awards Administration Subcommittee the manages that year’s Hugo Awards. The Hugo Awards web site is not responsible for administering the Awards and therefore can’t give definitive answers about eligibility. If you have a question about whether a specific work is eligible and in which category, please contact the current year’s Worldcon and their Hugo Awards Administrators.

368 Responses to Ask a Question

  1. What is the current/tentative entry deadline for the 2008 Hugo Awards?
    Thank you!

  2. admin says:

    Andrea: You do not “enter” works for the Hugo Awards. Read our FAQ List under the question “How do I submit my book (or story or movie) for nomination?” for more information about this.

    Generally, the nominating ballot is published around January 1, and members of the current and previous Worldcon have until sometime in March to make nominations. The final ballot is generally published in April, and final ballots are usually due in July. These dates change each year, based on specific requirements of each Worldcon and the dates on which the Worldcon is held. For example, the 2007 and 2008 Worldcons will be the first full weekend of August, and therefore the deadlines for both the nominating and final ballots will probably be several weeks earlier than when the convention is in early September.

    — Kevin Standlee

  3. Victoria says:

    I was told that only novels that are published with a publishers advance (hence not via independent publishers)can qualify for Hugo consideration.

    Some small publishers are fairly constrained in the amount of money they can advance for published works — is there a lower limit in the amount of the advance, so the book can qualify? I assume the minimum print run requirement holds, even for small presses?

    Victoria
    los angeles, CA

  4. admin says:

    Victoria:

    I’m don’t know who told you this, but whoever it was was wrong. There is nothing at all in the rules for the Hugo Award that say anything whatsoever about how much is paid for the work. Actually, you don’t have to be paid anything for a work to be considered eligible for a Hugo Awards. The work simply has to be published and enough members of the Worldcon have to nominate it.

    Also, there is no minimum print run requirement for the Hugo Award. There are word-length rules that place works in various categories. Indeed, there is not actually a requirement that the work be printed on pieces of paper and distributed in book form. You could be published online (which has no obvious print-run size), for instance. Of course, in practice, if nobody sees your novel, nobody will nominate it.

    Although it doesn’t directly answer your specific question, I would urge you to read the FAQ list, where I hope you will see that the Hugo Awards are open to any published work, regardless of how much is paid for it, as long as the members of WSFS think it’s award-worthy.

    Please pass this on to whoever told you an “advance” was necessary to make a work eligible, and feel free to refer that person to us here for additional clarification if necessary.

    — Kevin Standlee

  5. -- Mark Olson says:

    No, the Best Novel Hugo is for the best novel which first appeared in the previous year. There is nothing in the rules which limits the award to works which received a large advance, or any advance, or even to professional works. Any novel which appeared for the first time in 2007 is eligible for the Best Novel Hugo next year at Denvention.

    (As a practical matter, of course, professionally published works have a much better chance at being seen by enough voters to get on the ballot, but that is practical reality, not a WSFS rule.)

    There is now only one category for which professional publication is a requirement (Best Professional Artist), while there are several categories which are limited to non-professional works. (The Campbell Award, which is not a Hugo, but is voted on with them, also requires professional publication.)

  6. Rich Lynch says:

    The photo of the 1970 Hugo Award you have posted here: http://www.thehugoawards.org/?page_id=104 is not the actual award that was presented in Germany in 1970. Kelly Freas was unhappy with the appearance of the base on the trophy he received and had a new one specially made to replace it. Kelly’s 1970 trophy, the one you have shown in the photo, is therefore unique. For more background on this, I refer you to Mike Glyer’s article in Mimosa #14: http://www.jophan.org/mimosa/m14/glyer.htm

  7. Will says:

    Idle curiosity – why wasn’t there a Hugo awarded originally back in ’54?

  8. Will:

    Because the awards presented in 1953 were initially conceived as “one-off” awards, and the 1954 Worldcon decided not to present them again. The 1955 Worldcon decided that they should present them, and thereafter it became traditional. Later, after WSFS got written rules, the Hugo Awards were codified into the WSFS Constitution, and became one of the things a Worldcon must do.

  9. Pamela Davis says:

    I have tried to find the recipients of your fanzine awards but cannot find websites for them or any way to contact them, get a subscription, etc. I’m mystified! We publish the revived THRILLING WONDER STORIES as a quarterly anthology — a hybrid featuring old stories from iconic science fiction writers and new original stories from top contemporary writers. Comes out as a trade paperback, great illustrations, etc. I want to make these fanzines aware of it but can’t even locate a decent database, etc. Please help.

  10. Sarah says:

    Ok this a completely random question but I would really love an answer on it and can’t fine one anywhere else. I was wondering if some one could explain the controversy surrounding “The Watchmen” by Alan Moore in 1988. I know it has been the only graphic novel to ever win a Hugo Award and a heard a rumor that it was because the rules were changed after it won. I was wondering if this was true.

  11. admin says:

    Sarah:

    The confusion here is probably because Watchmen probably wouldn’t have been in the Hugo Awards in 1988 at all had the 1988 Worldcon not created a one-shot, catch-all category for it and other works that do not obviously qualify in one of the other categories.

    It is true that Watchman won a Hugo Award in 1988. It did NOT win the Best Novel Hugo Award or any of the other written-fiction category awards. What it won was a special one-off category called “Other Forms.” Every Worldcon is allowed, at their own discretion, to create a Special Category just for their year. The 1988 Worldcon decided to create a category whose definition was “anything that doesn’t qualify for one of the other categories.” Watchmen was nominated and won. (You can see the rest of the nominees for that year at < http://www.thehugoawards.org/?page_id=32>.)

    No subsequent Worldcon has repeated the “Other Forms” category. WSFS has not added such a catch-all category as a permanent category.

    This is not a case of “changing the rules” after Watchmen won; it’s more of a case of a special category having been carved out on a one-shot basis into which Watchman happened to fall. It’s not even a case that graphic novels are explicitly ineligible for a Hugo Award in one of the current categories. They currently qualify qualify under the accepted interpretation of the Best Related Book category. Neil Gaiman’s illustrated story, Sandman: The Dream Hunters was a nominee in this category, and other graphic novels have featured in the “also rans.” This is not because of any prejudice against comics, but rather because a nomination in Best Related Book recognizes both the writer and the artist, whereas a nomination in a fiction category can only recognize the author under current interpretations. (The written-fiction categories measure works based on number of words, and take no notice of other elements, including artwork, in the works. And no, a picture is not actually worth a thousand words.)

    Another potential source of confusion may be the fact that an issue of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic (“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) won a World Fantasy Award in 1991. There is a story circulating that the WFA rules were changed immediately afterwards to prevent this happening again. We understand that the World Fantasy Board denies having changed the rules, but the story does pop up from time to time and that may be the source of the rumor you heard.

    – Kevin Standlee & Cheryl Morgan

  12. Norm Wigington says:

    What is the definition of a novella as opposed to a novel or a novelette?

  13. admin says:

    Norm:

    The works are defined by word length in the WSFS Constitution:

    Novel: 40,000 words or longer
    Novella: 15,000 – 40,000 words
    Novelette: 7,500 – 15,000 words
    Short Story: Under 7,500 words

    – Kevin Standlee

  14. Rachel says:

    Is there anyplace to get book copies of past Hugo award winners? A friend had them and I’ve been hunting after them ever sense.

  15. Wikipedian says:

    The locus magazine lists one of the winners for semiprozine as:
    ” The New York Review of Science Fiction, David G. Hartwell, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Susan Palwick & Kathryn Cramer ”
    http://www.locusmag.com/SFAwards/Db/Hugo1989.html

    But the listing on this site is:
    “The New York Review of Science Fiction ed. by Kathryn Cramer, David G. Hartwell and Gordon Van Gelder”
    http://www.thehugoawards.org/?page_id=31

    There is some confusion on which editors the attribution should go to, as citing one site or the other would exclude credit to some editors, but the decision to cite both might not be consistent with wikipedia rules on original research

    If there is a mistake, could you publish a modification in your listing? Or is the current publication considered official?

  16. admin says:

    Wikipedian:

    We’re researching the apparent anomaly and will post a clarification soon.

  17. Wikipedian says:

    Great, Thanks!

  18. I have sent in a correction via this site’s email address.

    The 1989 ballot was for publications in the calendar year 1988.

    With its very first nomination, the NYRSF editors list was as the LOCUS list reports, with the editors listed on the ballot being NYRSF’s founding editors. After about 4 issues, Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden left the staff after an argument over whether NYRSF should remain a monthly publication or should go quarterly. The focus in this had to do with the possibility of maintaining a high standard of copyediting and proofreading at the monthly rate of publication. As I recall, that was Gordon Van Gelder’s first NYRSF work weekend (we lay out the mag at monthly weekend-long meetings in Pleasantville, NY). Issue 0 of the magazine was hand-distributed at Nolacon in New Orleans in 1988. Issue 1 was published the next month, which I think was September 1988. (I’m in upstate NY, not at home so I don’t have back issues in hand.)

    As a courtesy, Patrick Nielsen Hayden was carried for a while on the masthead because he had designed the magazine; after a few months he asked to have his name removed since he had in fact resigned. There was almost no overlap between the Nielsen Hayden’s participation an Gordon Van Gelders. Given the sequence of events, the earliest I think Van Gelder could have been on the staff was, maybe, December 1988.

    In any case, though, the Nielsen Haydens, and not Gordon Van Gelder, should be listed as editors for the magazine’s very first nomination. You can confirm this with my husband, David Hartwell, if you like, but I think a check of the records should clear this up.

  19. admin says:

    Thank you, Kathryn. Much appreciated.

  20. Isaac Alexander says:

    Thanks for creating such an incredible resource. I really appreciate it.

    I was wondering to seek permission to use an image of a trophy from your site to use on a Worldcon bid site? Who would you credit to use the image?

  21. admin says:

    Isaac:

    The photos on this site are used with the permission of the individual photographers (all or most of whom are credited with their individual photos).

    Generally speaking, non-commercial use of the photos on this site has been permitted as long as the photographer (and this web site) are credited. However, you do need to contact the photographer for permission. If you could let us know which photo or photos you’re interested in using, we’ll contact the photographer(s) in question for you.

    — Kevin Standlee

  22. Mike says:

    I understand that for the 1965 Best All-Time Series Hugo, Asimov’s Foundation series beat out Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Can you tell me what additional series were nominated?

  23. admin says:

    Mike:

    It was 1966, actually. The nominees are listed on the 1966 Hugo History page

    — Kevin Standlee

  24. Kenneth says:

    It has been more than ten years since the last collection of Hugo-winning short fiction was published (The New Hugo Winners Vol IV.) Will the stories from the years 1995 – up ever be collected into book form? If not, what is preventing this?

  25. bruce weber says:

    how many hugos has forrest j ackerman won?

  26. admin says:

    Kenneth:

    We have no word of any editor/publisher putting together a new Hugo Winners collections. What is preventing it is an editor willing to do the work and a publisher willing to publish it. WSFS isn’t a publisher and doesn’t control any of the associated rights. It’s up to publishers to undertake the project.

    – Kevin Standlee

  27. Bruce:

    4E won two 1946 Retro Hugos (presented in 1996 by L.A.con III). He also received a Special Award 1953 Hugo Award for “#1 Fan Personality.” This Special Committee Award is not considered to be a Hugo Award, although it was presented at the first Hugo Awards Ceremony.

    Update, 30 Jul 2009: We’ve corrected the information above about Ackerman’s first Hugo after clarification from the appropriate WSFS Committee on the subject, but left our original answer intact (but struck out).

    – Kevin Standlee

  28. Kenneth says:

    Kevin – thanks for the information.

  29. Jordan Kinney says:

    I am doing a school project on the Hugo Award. I was wondering who started the award, and is there a monetary prize for the winner(s)?

  30. admin says:

    Jordan:

    The Hugo Awards do not have a monetary prize. The winner receives a Hugo Award trophy.

    The Awards were first presented at the 1953 Worldcon in Philadelphia, so credit for starting the award goes to the committee that organized that convention, including chairman Milton A. Rothman, who replaced James A. Williams (Williams died during the run-up to the convention), and vice chairman Tom Clairson, but there were other members of the committee, of course. Isaac Asimov was the Toastmaster, and therefore was the person hosting the awards ceremony.

    The Awards were originally conceived as a one-off event, and the following year’s Worldcon did not present them; however, the 1955 Worldcon revived the practice and each year’s Worldcon committee has presented the Hugo Awards annually ever since.

    If there are other questions about the Awards that are not answered elsewhere on our web site, please fell free to ask.

    — Kevin Standlee

  31. allison says:

    I was on this site earlier and I found the man that the Hugo Award was named after but know I can’t find it. could you tell me what his name is

  32. admin says:

    Allison:

    Your question is answered on the Frequently Asked Questions page.

    – Kevin Standlee

  33. Kyrstin Albertus says:

    How much emphasis is placed on the quality of the literary work(s)?

  34. Mark L. Olson says:

    Quite a lot of emphasis is placed on quality — you can see this by how well the Hugo winners have stood the test of time and by and large are still very well-regarded pieces even a half-century later. But because the Hugos are awarded by vote of around a thousand members of the World Science Fiction Society, and since each member makes his or her own judgment as to which works are “best”, and since different people frequently have different opinions about what constitutes quality, it’s unlikely that anyone will agree with every winner.

  35. Hugo Szaz Guimarães says:

    Hello there, WSFS group
    As you can see, my name is Hugo. I’m really curious about knowing why the name Hugo was chosen for this Award.
    I’m from Brazil and the Hugo Award is kind of unknown here.
    Thanks for the attention.

  36. admin says:

    Hugo:

    See our Frequently Asked Questions page under the heading “Why are they called Hugos?”

    The awards are named for Hugo Gernsback, an important figure in the early days of modern science fiction.

    — Kevin Standlee

  37. Kevin Q. says:

    When does the short list come out for the best novel?

  38. admin says:

    Kevin Q:

    The short list (Hugo Awards final ballot) doesn’t come out until after the Hugo Awards nomination period ends, and it hasn’t even started yet. The nominating ballot should come up around the first of January, at which time all of the members of this year and last year’s Worldcon can start nominating works from 2008 for the 2009 Hugo Awards. Shortly after the nominating period ends, the final ballot will be announced with those works/people who received sufficient nominations.

    See our page about the voting process for the longer version of how the Hugo Awards work. Generally speaking, you can expect the nominating period to open around January 1 and the final ballot to be announced in April. The specific schedule each year is up to the individual Worldcon committee administering that year’s awards.

    Also note that the Hugo Awards do not have an initial ballot or “preliminary list” as the Nebula Awards do. The only list of nominees announced in advance are those nominees (usually five) that appear on the final ballot.

    –Kevin Standlee

  39. “The Awards were originally conceived as a one-off event”

    Interestingly, the 3rd Progress Report for the 1953 Worldcon in announcing the award describes it as “the First Annual Science Fiction Achievement Awards”, see: http://fanac.org/fanzines/Philcon/Philcon2r3-03.jpeg

    And in PR 4 (here: http://fanac.org/fanzines/Philcon/Philcon2r4-03.html) the vote leaders are announced! No, not the final ballot … but who is in the lead. Also notes there still time to do some campaigning …

  40. How short can a work be, and still be considered a short story? For example, if something was published in Thaumatrope (a Twitter magazine specializing in microfiction), would it be eligible for the Best Short Story category?

    And if it was eligible, what do you call it, if the work has no title?

  41. admin says:

    Jenny Rae:

    The requirement for a Short Story is that is must be less than 7,500 words in length. If it is only one word long, that’s OK.

    The problem is going to be identifying the story on your ballot. If you can provide a direct URL to the story that makes it easy, but otherwise you’ll need to be creative about explaining exactly what you are nominating.

    If the work gets as far as being nominated, I expect that the Hugo Administrator will ask the author for a title by which it can be known.

    – Cheryl Morgan

  42. oakheart says:

    Are magazine editors allowed to nominate stories that appeared in the magazine they edit?

    Even if it’s allowed, is it frowned upon?

  43. Mark Olson says:

    Any fan who is a member of Worldcon is entitled to nominate — magazine editors are not disqualified! But we ask *everyone* (not just editors) to nominate the works they think are the best regardless of who published them.

    This isn’t simply a pious hope. The thousand or so fans who vote for the Hugos each year are pretty savvy and if an editor or author managed to put an unworthy work on the final ballot, it would be noticed and would probably receive embarrassingly few votes.

  44. admin says:

    Oakheart:

    What Mark said. Besides, anyone can nominate anyone or anything. The Administrator only checks to see if the person voting is qualified to vote. People can and do nominate themselves, let alone works they edited.

    — Kevin Standlee

  45. I’m trying to persuade a fanfic site that it would be a good idea to have a “no award” choice on their annual awards poll. This seems to work well for the Hugos, and I think it would improve the overall quality of the winners on the fanfic site.

    When was it first added as an option on the Hugo ballots?

  46. admin says:

    Marcus:

    According to WSFS rules historian Ben Yalow, the Hugo Awards have included “No Award” in its current form (as an automatic nominee) since an amendment to the WSFS Constitution requiring it passed in 1969. Prior to that, the practice was for the administering committee to declare No Award “if a lack of votes in a specific category shows a marked lack of interest in that category on the part of the voters,…” (and that was also part of the WSFS Constitution from its first codification in 1963).

    I think that it is safe to say that WSFS has always wanted the ability to declare No Award when the voters make it clear by their actions that they don’t like any of the candidates in a category.

    — Kevin Standlee

  47. Thanks – I’ll pass this on to the fanfic site.

  48. Charron Stoddart says:

    The NAACP distributes an award for the “highest or Nobelist achievement by an African American during the preceding year or years.” Was the name of that award the Hugo Award?

  49. ian johnston says:

    You are having a Forrest Ackerman tribute, am I right? At the Hugos….

    The man who received the first HUgo fan award, the man who did more to establish Worldcon than any other, the man who, as the Worldcon joke goes – It doesn’t matter where Worldcon is held, the first man you meet every time is Forrest Ackerman”…

    I’m sure you are having a mention

    I made a film in Canada. For TV. Called Famous Monster. About Forrest Ackerman. It was shown in Hollywood. At his tribute this month by American Cinematheque

    I’d love to show it at Worldcon, because that’s what Forrest loved. I know the Hugos aren’t necessarily associated directly with Worldcon, but it’s a very confusing Worldconweb site. and I have received no response, despite repeated attempts.

    If you know who to contact directly about showing it. It seems to me that a Canadian doc about the most important Worldcon fan EVER might be appropriate for the event. Being in Montreal and all….check us out on imdb if you must.

    Can you help? Who should I talk to…directly…i’m not leaving messages anymore….

    thanks guys. Go hugo

  50. Ian:

    We cannot speak to the specific content of individual Worldcons. Each Worldcon is separately organized by independent committees. (Similar to how the Vancouver Olympic Committee for 2010 is not the same as the London Olympic Committee for 2012.) The Hugo Awards are directly associated with Worldcon (it’s each year’s Worldcon members who choose the recipients, and the Awards themselves are administered by each Worldcon committee), but those of us who manage the Hugo Awards web site are not the same people as those who organize the individual conventions.

    As you know, this year’s Worldcon is Anticipation in Montreal. I’m not sure what the confusing part of its web site is for you; however, I will pass along your message to the organizers of the convention’s programming division.

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