Reading the 1944 Retro Hugo Finalists

My reading list for the next several weeks, thanks to the recently announced finalists for the Retrospective Hugo Awards.  Or rather I should say my scavenger hunt because finding some of these stories will be challenging.

Update 7/4/2019: Happy Independence Day!  I’m several steps closer to completing my Hugo finalist reading.  See below for specific updates.

Update 6/19/2019:  The last push through the Best Novel nominees.  Listening (and a re-read) of Perelandra and reading ebook of Earth’s Last Citadel currently.  That leaves just Conjure Wife remaining.  I’m going to abandon The Glass Bead Game as I found it cloyingly philosophical.

Update 4/28/2019:  Finished ‘We Print the Truth’ and loved it.

Update 4/27/2019:  This week I finished ‘Proud Robot’ and a few hours of The Glass Bead Game (putting that on hold for now); started ‘We Print the Truth’ by Boucher and The Weapon Makers by Vogt.

Update 4/19/2019: Finished reading ‘Attitude’ this morning and finished ‘Citadel of Lost Ships’ yesterday.  Now reading ‘Proud Robot’ by Kuttner/Moore and listening to The Glass Bead Game by Hesse.

Update 4/13/2019:  Finished the short story category today.  Also started the “Clash by Night” novella.

Update 4/9/2019: Back at the office today so I’ll be switching gears from printed editions to one of the ebook anthologies I already own, probably one of the novelette finalists.

Update 4/8/2019:  My goal today is to finish the Short Story category and rank for voting.  (4:30 PM) Two out of three read.

Update 4/6/2019:  Scavenger Hunt Complete and Successful.  I have found readable reproductions of all finalists.  Let the reading commence or continue!

The finalists for the 1944 Retrospective Hugo Awards are:

Best Novel

  • Conjure Wife, by Fritz Leiber, Jr. (Unknown Worlds, April 1943)
  • Earth’s Last Citadel, by C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner (Argosy, April 1943) †
    • Read 6/21/2019; 3.5-4 stars
  • Gather, Darkness! by Fritz Leiber, Jr. (Astounding Science-Fiction, May-July 1943)
  • Das Glasperlenspiel [The Glass Bead Game], by Hermann Hesse (Fretz & Wasmuth)
  • Perelandra, by C.S. Lewis (John Lane, The Bodley Head)
    • I’ve read this previously at least twice.  If time allows, I will re-read.
    • Read 6/25/2019; 3.5-4 stars
  • The Weapon Makers, by A.E. van Vogt (Astounding Science-Fiction, February-April 1943)
    • Requested interlibrary loan via LCL 4/3/2019
    • Purchased as an ebook 4/6/2019
    • ILL checked out 4/18/2019
    • Read 5/13/2019; 2-2.5 stars (meh)

Best Novella

  • “Attitude,” by Hal Clement (Astounding Science-Fiction, September 1943)
    • Found in the Music of Many Spheres anthology
    • Placed hold via KCPL 4/3/2019
    • Checked out from KCPL 4/5/2019
    • Read 4/19/2019 Excellent hard science fiction first contact SF story.  Better than the previous year’s debut short story ‘Proof’ by Clement.  (4-4.5 stars)
  • “Clash by Night,” by Lawrence O’Donnell (Henry Kuttner & C.L. Moore) (Astounding Science-Fiction, March 1943) ∞
    • Read 4/14/2019 (3.5-4 stars)
  • The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,” by H.P. Lovecraft, (Beyond the Wall of Sleep, Arkham House)
    • Found in Necronomicon anthology
    • Placed on hold via LCL 4/3/2019
    • Checked out from LCL 4/8/2019
    • Renewed 4/27/2019
    • Reading but on hold 6/19/2019; still on hold 7/4/2019 (but I’ll probably finish this over the long weekend)
  • The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Reynal & Hitchcock)
    • Available as an ebook through Hoopla
    • Not planning on reading this.
  • The Magic Bed-Knob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons, by Mary Norton (Hyperion Press)
  • “We Print the Truth,” by Anthony Boucher (Astounding Science-Fiction, December 1943)
    • Found in the Compleat Boucher anthology
    • Requested interlibrary loan via LCL 4/3/2019
    • Checked out from LCL 4/20/2019 (due back 5/4/2019)
    • Read 4/28/2019 A very good (possibly great) story in the ‘what if’ SF QA grand tradition. I could snarkily summarize without spoiler with ‘A priest, an atheist and an agnostic walk into a bar . . .’ and I’d be nearly spot on. This is the second novella I’ve read by Boucher and he does not disappoint. (4-4.5 stars)

Best Novelette

  • “Citadel of Lost Ships,” by Leigh Brackett (Planet Stories, March 1943) †
    • Purchased Swamps of Venus ebook anthology from Baen 4/3/2019
      • Read 4/18/2019 an action/adventure story that just happened to take place on or around a fantastical Venus. (3 stars)
      • Proposed ranking: 5
  • “The Halfling,” by Leigh Brackett (Astonishing Stories, February 1943) ∞
      • Read 4/2-3/2019; Started out strange and slow but last third compelling (3-3.5 stars)
      • Proposed ranking: 4
  • Mimsy Were the Borogoves,” by Lewis Padgett (C.L. Moore & Henry Kuttner) (Astounding Science-Fiction, February 1943) ∞ †
      • Read 4/3/2019; Insiduously chilling for parents of very young children (4-4.5 stars)
      • Proposed ranking: 1
  • The Proud Robot,” by Lewis Padgett (Henry Kuttner) (Astounding Science-Fiction, February 1943) ∞ †
      • Read 4/20/2019 (3.5 stars)
      • Proposed ranking: 3
  • “Symbiotica,” by Eric Frank Russell (Astounding Science-Fiction, October 1943) ∞
      • Read 4/6/2019; Impressed by Russell’s writing, read like an action-adventure-comedy screenplay (4 stars)
      • Proposed ranking: 2
  • “Thieves’ House,” by Fritz Leiber, Jr (Unknown Worlds, February 1943) †
    • Already own the ebook anthology Swords Against Death, which contains this story
    • Currently reading ebook 7/4/2019

Best Short Story

  • “Death Sentence,” by Isaac Asimov (Astounding Science Fiction, November 1943)
  • “Doorway into Time,” by C.L. Moore (Famous Fantastic Mysteries, September 1943) ∞
    • Read 4/8/2019; Compelling, imaginative, disturbing (3.5-4 stars)
    • Proposed ranking: 1
  • “Exile,” by Edmond Hamilton (Super Science Stories, May 1943) ∞
    • Read 4/5/2019; This story is short but impactful (3.5-4 stars)
    • Proposed ranking: 2
  • “King of the Gray Spaces” (“R is for Rocket”), by Ray Bradbury (Famous Fantastic Mysteries, December 1943)
    • Found in Classic Stories 1 anthology
    • Placed hold at KCPL 4/3/2019
    • Checked out from KCPL 4/5/2019
    • Read 4/8/2019; A nice coming-of-age for boys story involving rockets (every kid wants to grow up to be an astronaut). (3.5-4 stars)
    • Proposed ranking: 3
  • “Q.U.R.,” by H.H. Holmes (Anthony Boucher) (Astounding Science-Fiction, March 1943) ∞
    • Read 4/4/2019; meh, okay, nothing Earth-shattering (3 stars)
    • Proposed ranking: 6
  • “Yours Truly – Jack the Ripper,” by Robert Bloch (Weird Tales, July 1943)
    • Found in The Big Book of Jack the Ripper anthology
    • Placed hold at JCPL 4/3/2019
    • Hold available for pickup 4/5/2019
    • Checked out on 4/5/2019
    • Read 4/13/2019; Liked it enough to read the very next story in this anthology, also by Bloch. (3.5 stars)
    • Proposed ranking: 4

∞ † ∞

In anticipation of this list and some previous research, I have been purchasing ebook anthologies for C.L. Moore and Henry Kutner as well as requesting via interlibrary loan Asimov’s The Golden Years of Science Fiction Third Series anthology (for works published in 1943/1944) which contains many of the nominated finalists above (indicated by the infinity symbol [∞] above).  If I’ve purchased the ebook, the dagger symbol [†] will be used in the finalist list above.

The rest I’ll have to research using Internet Science Fiction Database (ISFDB) web site.  Earlier this year I created an account there in anticipation of nominations and finalist reading research.  Conveniently, there’s already a page with links to all the finalists found here.

As I find the anthologies or inexpensive ebooks to purchase, I will update the list above to indicate the status of my scavenger hunt.  Meanwhile, I’ll be reading the stories I already have in my hot little hand thanks to my planning and forethought.

 

About mossjon314159

Avid reader (see my book reviews and ratings here), amateur astronomer and photographer, sporadic crocheter and Rottweiler spoiler.
This entry was posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Reading, Reviewing, Science Fiction and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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