Hugo Award nominees and winners are chosen by members (supporting or attending) of the annual Worldcon (although only about 700 of several thousand Worldcon members actually vote) and the presentation evening constitutes its central point. The selection process is defined in the World Science Fiction Society Constitution as instant-runoff voting with five nominees (except in the case of a tie). Unusually, the nominees in each category include "No award," if a voter feels none of the other entries are worthy of recognition; if "No award" receives the most votes in a category, then none of the nominees receives an award.
The Hugo Award trophy was designed by Hoffman Bronze Company based on a picture by Ben Jason, whose picture in turn was based on a design by Jack McKnight and, earlier, Willy Ley The rocket design has become standardised in recent years and the rockets are currently produced by UK fan Peter Weston. The design for the base on which the rocket is mounted is the responsibility of the Worldcon committee and therefore changes each year. The base design has been selected by various means including committee selection, direct commission and open competition (currently the most common method).
HistoryWhile "bests" had been voted at all Worldcons since the inaugural event in 1939, no awards were presented until the 11th Worldcon (Philcon II, Philadelphia 1953). The awards were the idea of Hal Lynch, hand-machined by Jack McKnight and consisted of a finned steel rocket on a circular wooden base.
Because the awards presented in 1953 were initially conceived as “one-off” awards, 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 required functions of a Worldcon.
Initially the award was called the Annual Science Fiction Achievement Award, with "Hugo Award" being an unofficial, but better known name. Since 1993, the nickname has been adopted as the official name of the award.
There have been several anthologies collecting Hugo-winning short fiction. The well-known series The Hugo Winners edited and introduced by Isaac Asimov was started in 1962, collecting all winners up to the previous year, and concluded with the 1982 Hugos in Volume 5. The New Hugo Winners, edited originally by Asimov, then by Connie Willis, and finally by Gregory Benford, has four volumes collecting stories from the 1983 to the 1994 Hugos.
Retro HugosIn mid-1990s Retrospective Hugo Awards (normally abbreviated Retro Hugos) were added: Worldcons held 50, 75, or 100 years after a Worldcon where no Hugos had been awarded (i.e. 1939–41, 1946–52 and 1954) can also retroactively select Hugos for that year, by the same process as the regular Hugos.
This was a subject of much controversy, with critics of the proposal arguing that hindsight necessarily distorts perception, and there is no point in giving awards decades post factum anyway. There have been only three Retro-Hugos given at 1996, 2001 and 2004 Worldcons (always for 50 years back), while the five eligible in 1997–2000 and 2002 did not organize them; the next opportunity will be in 2014 for the year 1939, starting the 75-year cycle.
Hugo Award categoriesUntil about 1960, most Hugo award categories changed from year to year. The current standard award categories (specified in World Science Fiction Society Constitution) have been:
- Hugo Award for Best Novel
- Hugo Award for Best Novella
- Hugo Award for Best Novelette
- Hugo Award for Best Short Story
- Hugo Award for Best Non-Fiction Book (awarded 1980 to 1998)
- Hugo Award for Best Related Book (since 1999)
- Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story (since 2008)
- Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (awarded 1960 to 2002)
- Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form (since 2003)
- Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form (since 2003)
- Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine
- Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist
- Hugo Award for Best Original Artwork (awarded 1990 to 1996)
- Hugo Award for Best Professional Editor (awarded 1973 to 2006; split to)
- Hugo Award for Best Editor Long Form (since 2007)
- Hugo Award for Best Editor Short Form (since 2007)
- Hugo Award for Best Professional Magazine (awarded 1953 to 1972)
- Hugo Award for Best Fanzine (Best Amateur Magazine in some but not all years between 1962 and 1978)
- Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist
- Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer
Important authors that received this award
Bester, AlfredAlfred Bester
Robert A. Heinlein
Philip K. Dick
Herbert, FrankFrank Herbert (tie)
Roger Zelazny (tie)
Ursula K. Le Guin
Niven, LarryLarry Niven
Philip José Farmer
Arthur C. Clarke
Asimov, IsaacIsaac Asimov
Orson Scott Card
Rowling, J. K.J. K. RowlingNeil Gaiman
Hugo Award for Best NovelThe Hugo Award for Best Novel is given each year for science fiction or fantasy novels published in English or translated into English during the previous calendar year. A work of fiction is defined by the organization as a novel if it is 40,000 words or longer; awards are also given out for pieces of shorter lengths in the short story, novelette, and novella categories. The Hugo Award for Best Novel has been awarded annually since 1953, except in 1954 and 1957. In addition to the regular Hugo awards, beginning in 1996 Retrospective Hugo Awards, or "Retro Hugos", have been available to be awarded for 50, 75, or 100 years prior. Retro Hugos may only be awarded for years in which a World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, was hosted, but no awards were originally given. To date, Retro Hugo awards have been given for novels for 1946, 1951, and 1954.
Hugo Award nominees and winners are chosen by supporting or attending members of the annual Worldcon, and the presentation evening constitutes its central event. The selection process is defined in the World Science Fiction Society Constitution as instant-runoff voting with five nominees, except in the case of a tie. These five novels on the ballot are the five most-nominated by members that year, with no limit on the number of stories that can be nominated. The 1953 through 1958 awards did not include any recognition of runner-up novels, but since 1959 all five candidates have been recorded. Initial nominations are made by members in January through March, while voting on the ballot of five nominations is performed roughly in April through July, subject to change depending on when that year's Worldcon is held. Worldcons are generally held near the start of September, and are held in a different city around the world each year.
During the 58 nomination years, 124 authors have had works nominated; 41 of these have won, including co-authors and Retro Hugos. Robert A. Heinlein has received the most Hugos for Best Novel as well as the most nominations, with five wins (including one Retro Hugo) and eleven nominations. Lois McMaster Bujold has received four Hugos on eight nominations; the only other authors to win more than twice are Vernor Vinge and Isaac Asimov (including one Retro Hugo), who have each won three times. Ten other authors have won the award twice. Larry Niven and Robert J. Sawyer have each been nominated eight times, but have only won once, while Robert Silverberg has the most number of nominations without winning at nine.
Wikipedia: Hugo Award for Best Novel