1939 Retro-Hugo Awards

1939 Retro Hugo Award TrophyPresented at: Loncon 3, London, United Kingdom, August 14, 2014

Hosts: Mary Robinette Kowal, Rob Shearman

Base design: Marina Gélineau

Awards Administration: Dave McCarty, David Gallaher, Vincent Docherty, Ben Yalow



233 valid nominating ballots (226 electronic and 7 paper) were received and counted from the members of LoneStarCon 3, Loncon 3 and Sasquan. 1,307 valid final ballots (1,295 online, 12 paper) were cast by the members of Loncon 3.

Full Nominating and Final Ballot Voting Details

Per WSFS rules, categories in which there were insufficient nominations to justify the category were dropped. These categories were Related Work, Graphic Story, Dramatic Presentation Long Form, Editor Long Form, Semiprozine, Fancast, and Fan Artist.

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer is not a Hugo Award and therefore there are no Retrospective versions of these awards.

Best Novel (208 nominating ballots)

  • The Sword in the Stone, T. H. White (Collins)
  • Out of the Silent Planet, C. S. Lewis (The Bodley Head)
  • Galactic Patrol, E. E. Smith (Astounding Stories, February 1938)
  • The Legion of Time, Jack Williamson (Astounding Science-Fiction, July 1938)
  • Carson of Venus, Edgar Rice Burroughs (Argosy, February 1938)

Best Novella (125 nominating ballots)

  • “Who Goes There?”, Don A Stuart [John W. Campbell] (Astounding Science-Fiction, August 1938)
  • “The Time Trap”, Henry Kuttner (Marvel Science Stories, November 1938)
  • “Sleepers of Mars”, John Beynon [John Wyndham] (Tales of Wonder, March 1938)
  • “A Matter of Form”, H. L. Gold (Astounding Science-Fiction, December 1938)
  • Anthem, Ayn Rand (Cassell)

Best Novelette (80 nominating ballots)

  • “Rule 18”, Clifford D. Simak (Astounding Science-Fiction, July 1938)
  • “Pigeons From Hell”, Robert E. Howard (Weird Tales, May 1938)
  • “Werewoman”, C. L. Moore (Leaves , Winter 1938)
  • “Hollywood on the Moon”, Henry Kuttner (Thrilling Wonder Stories, April 1938)
  • “Dead Knowledge”, Don A. Stuart [John W. Campbell] (Astounding Stories, January 1938)

Best Short Story (108 nominating ballots)

  • “How We Went to Mars”, Arthur C. Clarke (Amateur Science Stories, March 1938)
  • “Helen O’Loy”, Lester del Rey (Astounding Science-Fiction, December 1938)
  • “Hollerbochen’s Dilemma”, Ray Bradbury (Imagination!, January 1938)
  • “Hyperpilosity”, L. Sprague de Camp (Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1938)
  • “The Faithful”, Lester del Rey (Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1938)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form (137 nominating ballots)

  • The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. Written by Howard Koch & Anne Froelick; Directed by Orson Welles (The Mercury Theater of the Air, CBS)
  • R. U. R. by Karel Čapek. Produced by Jan Bussell (BBC)
  • Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne. Written & Directed by Orson Welles (The Mercury Theater of the Air, CBS)
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Written & Directed by Orson Welles (The Campbell Playhouse, CBS)
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker. Written by Orson Welles and John Houseman; Directed by Orson Welles (The Mercury Theater of the Air, CBS)

Best Editor, Short Form (99 nominating ballots)

  • John W. Campbell
  • Farnsworth Wright
  • Raymond A. Palmer
  • Mort Weisinger
  • Walter H. Gillings

Best Professional Artist (86 nominating ballots)

  • Virgil Finlay
  • Margaret Brundage
  • Frank R. Paul
  • Alex Schomburg
  • H. W. Wesso

Best Fanzine (42 nominating ballots)

  • Imagination! edited by Forrest J Ackerman, Morojo, and T. Bruce Yerke
  • Novae Terrae edited by Maurice K. Hanson
  • Tomorrow edited by Douglas W. F. Mayer
  • Fantascience Digest edited by Robert A. Madle
  • Fantasy News edited by James V. Taurasi

Best Fan Writer (50 nominating ballots)

  • Ray Bradbury
  • Forrest J Ackerman
  • Arthur Wilson “Bob” Tucker
  • Donald A. Wollheim
  • Harry Warner, Jr.

The World Science Fiction Society Constitution allows, but does not require, a Worldcon held an even multiple of 25 years after a year after 1939 at which no Hugo Awards were presented, to present Retrospective Hugo Awards for works that would have been eligible for that year’s Hugo Awards if they had been held. (Once Retro Hugos have been presented for a given year, no future Worldcon may present Retro Hugos for that year.) The 1939 Worldcon did not present Hugo Awards. Loncon 3 elected to present Retro Hugo Awards for works first published in 1938 that would have been eligible for the 1939 Hugo Awards, had there been Awards presented in 1939.

12 thoughts on “1939 Retro-Hugo Awards

  1. My Dad suggested a story for me to read years ago that I think was written in the 30’s. I don’t remember the title or the author, but it was a story of a blind minstrel or poet that hooked rides planet to planet, telling stories in exchange for passage. On his last trip there was a reactor malfunction and he saves the ship by exposing himself to the radiation.
    Anyone know the story or the author.
    Thank you

  2. I’ll point out that there were no such things as fanzines in 1939. The term wasn’t invented until 1940. In 1939 they were referred to as Fan Magazines. The keepers of the Long List should consider adding a footnote about that.

  3. Water under the bridge now, of course, but I find it a bit amusing that the winning short story (Clarke’s “How We Went to Mars”) appeared in my father’s Amateur Science Stories and yet it was his (my dad’s) Tomorrow which was nominated for Best Fanzine (which, unsurprisingly, went to Forry Ackerman’s Imagination!).

    Perhaps A.S.S. (unfortunate acronym, that) didn’t qualify as a fanzine.

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