Philcon II attendees gathered for the first ever Hugo ceremony
Nearly seventy years ago, a group of several hundred science fiction fans got together in Philadelphia for the annual World Science Fiction convention. Though this was the eleventh time a global conclave of fans had gathered, “Philcon II” marked the beginning of a grand tradition: the nomination and selection by the attendees of the previous year’s best science fiction — quickly dubbed the “Hugos” after SF pioneer Hugo Gernsback.
2021 marks the 68th time the fans will select the Hugo award finalists and winners, and while other awards have been created in the last seven decades, the Hugos remain arguably the most prestigious honors a science fiction creator can receive. Originally, Hugos were just given out for a handful of categories. But the awards have evolved with the times, and these days, the number of awards has nearly doubled. This is partly because there are simply more people creating in the genre, and partly because technology has afforded new ways to create.
For instance, there are now Hugos given for best video game and best fancast. Best fanzine has evolved to include blogs and websites. There are now several “not Hugo” awards given out at the same ceremony, including the Lodestar for best YA SF novel and the Astounding for best new author. Even just being a Hugo Finalist is a tremendous honor and thrill. It has also, especially recently, been a way for routinely marginalized creators to get a leg up in the publishing world.
It is traditional for folks who create science fiction to make a Hugo eligibility post describing their works of the prior year that could be nominated for the award by members/attendees of that year’s Worldcon. And so, it is my pleasure and delight to present the Hugo-eligible works created by Journey Press authors:
Gideon Marcus’ Kitra, a space adventure featuring found family and the virtues of teamwork, has been a big hit. It’s even been called the antidote to 2020! We hope you like it enough to nominate it for the Hugo.
As a young adult novel, Kitra is also eligible for the Lodestar. Created in the style of the classic “juveniles” by Andre Norton and Robert Heinlein, but updated for the 21st Century, we would be delighted if this book got the award!
Kitra is Gideon’s first published science fiction novel, making this the first year he is eligible for the Astounding (an author is eligible for each of the two years after first publication). He would be absolutely gobsmacked to receive this honor.
Best Short Story
Tom Purdom has remained a heavy hitter since his debut in 1957. He was a finalist for the Hugo in 2000, and he still frequently appears in the magazine, Asimov’s Science Fiction. While his classic I Want the Stars is not up for a Hugo this year (it was first published in 1964; reprinted by Journey Press in 2020), two of his stories were published in Asimov’s just last year and are eligible:
Journey Press owes much of its existence to the success of Gideon Marcus’ first (and still ongoing) project Galactic Journey, and so it is fitting that we include it in this eligibility post.
Galactic Journey is more than a site or a zine. It’s a time machine. The 20+ writers for the Journey produce an article every other day from the context of SF fans (and professionals) living exactly 55 years ago. Thus, when it turned January 1, 2021 in your world, we rang in the new year of 1966. When we started eight years ago, in “1958”, we were just covering the three big American SF mags: Fantasy and Science Fiction, Galaxy, and Analog, as well as the space shots — Pioneer 1 had just gone halfway to the moon. Very quickly, as more people became associated with the Journey, we expanded our coverage to all the SF mags, current SF movies and TV shows (we’ve reviewed every episode of Twilight Zone, the Outer Limits, and Doctor Who that have been aired thus far), comics, fashion, art, music, politics, counter-culture…you name it!
Since 2018, Galactic Journey, something of a predecessor to Journey Press, has been on the Hugo ballot three times. This is an honor I share equally with my twenty-odd associates, who represent a broad range of demographics: age, ethnicity, and orientation.
So check out the Journey. There’s sure to be something you like!
It was perhaps inevitable that the Journey experience would go on to include a live broadcast. In 2020, we produced 15 episodes of The Journey Show on topics ranging from Women in Science Fiction to the Space Race, fashion to wargames, SF films to Japanese manga and anime — all from the perspective of fans living in 1965.
Our stellar lineup of guests included Hugo Finalist cover illustrator Alyssa Winans, Georgia Tech science fiction professor Dr. Lisa Yaszek, wargame designer Lew Pulsipher, Hugo Finalist author Tom Purdom, Besame Cosmetics CEO Gabriela Hernandez, F&SF regular Marie Vibbert, as well as Journey-associated luminaries like Cora Buhlert, Jason Sacks, Gwyn Conaway, Erica Frank, Kerrie Dougherty, and many more. The Journey Show will start its second season on February 6, 2021, but all of the episodes have been saved for rewatching. Give it a watch!
Best Fan Writer
While they are not strictly affiliated with Journey Press, the following folks have been ardent supporters of the principles we espouse at both of our Journeys, and they are absolutely worthy picks:
James Davis Nicoll
Thanks for reading, and we hope you enjoy all of these works. If you purchased a membership, supporting or attending, to Discon III as of December 31, 2020, we would be grateful for your nomination!
AND, there’s this lovely list of a whole lot of potential nominees (and you can even add to it).