1943 Retro Hugos: the detail

The full results of the 1943 Retro Hugos have been released. As usual, below I am reporting the margin of victory for the winner, and the other placings, giving margins of victory where they were less than 20 votes. For the nominations stage, I am reporting the top vote-getters and the nearest misses.

Highlights: the closest result of the Retro Hugos was Best Fanzine, where Le Zombie won by only ten votes, and The Phantagraph won second place by only nine votes. The only closer races were Arthur Wilson “Bob” Tucker winning second place in Best Fan Writer by three votes, and Donovan’s Brain Darkness and the Light winning third place in Best Novel by a single vote.

At nominations, Best Editor Short Form, Best Professional Artist and Best Fanzine all had several candidates in contention for the final places, and a single vote more or a single vote less would have made the difference between being on or off the final ballot

The Screwtape Letters was disqualified for Best Novel due to the original publication date. “The Twonky” got enough votes to qualify in Best Novelette as well as Best Short Story (it won the latter category).

Detail below.

Best Novel: Beyond This Horizon won by 66 votes, 271 to 205 for Second Stage Lensmen, which crushed the competition for second place. Third place went to Donovan’s Brain Darkness and the Light, by a margin of a single vote over Darkness and the Light Donovan’s Brain. Fourth place went to is also currently listed as won by Donovan’s Brain, presumably in error. The Uninvited fifth, Islandia sixth.

Beyond This Horizon also had the most nomination votes by some way. The Screwtape Letters got the second highest number of nomination votes, but was ruled inelgible because of its serial publication in the Guardian in 1941, thus bringing The Uninvited onto the ballot. Closest also-ran was Grand Canyon by Vita Sackville-West, which would have needed another five votes worth more than 4.2 points to get on the ballot.

Best Novella: “Waldo” beat “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag” by 61 votes, 277 to 216. Second place goes to “Hoag” by a similar margin, then “Nerves” comes third, “The Complete Werewolf” fourth, “Asylum” fifth by 10 votes, and “Hell is Forever” sixth.

At nominations stage, “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag” was ahead of “Waldo”, and both were way in front of the field. “Recruiting Station” by AE van Vogt would have displaced “Asylum” from the ballot with just one more vote. The Screwtape Letters (which by my count is actually novella length, but of course was not eligible) was also not far behind and would have needed just over 1.02 points to get on the ballot (and then get disqualified).

Best Novelette: “Foundation” crushed the opposition with a first round victory, 338 votes out of 628 (53.8%). “The Weapon Shop” came second, “There Shall Be Darkness” third, “Star Mouse” fourth by 16 votes, “Bridle and Saddle” fifth and “Goldfish Bowl” sixth.

“Foundation” was far ahead of “The Weapon Shop” in nominations, and both were far ahead of the rest. “The Twonky” had the third highest nominations in this category but is a short story, enabling “Bridle and Saddle” to take the last place on the ballot. “The Sorcerer of Rhiannon” by Leigh= Brackett would have taken that place instead with 2 more votes worth more than 1.14 points.

Best Short Story: “The Twonky” won here by 47 votes, 268 to 221 for “Runaround”. “Proof” then picked up enough transfers to come second, with “Runaround” finishing third, “The Sunken Land” fourth, “Etaoin Shrdlu” fifth and “Mimic” sixth.

“Rumaround” topped the nomination votes. Second-placed was “Waldo”, eligible in a different category, which would have needed 2 more votes worth more than 1 point to get disqualified from the final ballot here. “Robot AL-76 Goes Astray”, by Isaac Asimov, needed only one more vote to displace “Mimic”.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: Bambi beat Cat People by 59 votes, 274 to 215. Cat People came second, Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book third, I Married A Witch fourth, The Ghost of Frankenstein fifth and Invisible Agent sixth.

Cat People had a substantial lead at nominations stage, with Bambi only third. The only two other nominees reported, The Corpse Vanishes and The Mouse of Tomorrow, were far behind with only 5 and 4 votes respectively (to Invisible Agent’s 13).

Best Editor, Short Form: John W. Campbell crushed the opposition with 325 votes out of 490 (66.3%). Donald A. Wollheim came second, Dorothy McIlwraith third, Raymond A. Palmer fourth, Oscar J. Friend fifth (by 17 votes), and Malcolm Reiss sixth.

At nominations stage, Campbell was even further ahead, with 75 votes to 8 for McIlwraith, 7 for Palmer, 6 for Reiss and Friend and 5 for Wollheim. Frederik Pohl also had 5 nominating votes, but lost due to EPH; with one more vote he would have displaced Friend or Wollheim. The only other reported nominee, Alden H. Norton, had 4 nominating votes, and would likewise have had a good chance of being a finalist with another 2 vote.

Best Professional Artist: Virgil Finlay won by 49 votes, 199 to 150 for Margaret Brundage. Hannes Bok then beat Brundage by 16 points for second place. Brundage came third, Edd Cartier fourth, Hubert Rogers fifth and Harold W. McCauley sixth, all on the first count.

Hannes Bok and Virgil Finlay were also top of the nomination votes, with 34 and 28 respectively. The other five were far ahead of McCauley, who had only 4 to Brundage’s 15. Two other nominees are reported, J. Allen St. John and Earl K. Bergey, who like McCauley had 4 nominating votes but lost due to EPH; 1 more vote would have been enough for either one of them to replace McCauley.

Best Fanzine: This saw the tightest races both for nominations and final places. Le Zombie beat The Phantagraph by 10 votes, 122 to 112, having trailed up to the final count – the closest result for first place of the night. The Phantagraph beat Spaceways by 9 votes for second place, and Spaceways beat Voice of the Imagi-Nation by 16 votes for third place. Voice of the Imagi-Nation came fourth, Futurian War Digest fifth and Inspiration sixth.

The nominations report is confusingly laid out, but it’s clear that Le Zombie and Spaceways were far ahead of the field with 14 and 12 nominating votes respectively. Two finalists (Futurian War Digest and The Phantagraph) had only 4 nominating votes, two unsuccessful nominees had only 3, and Inspiration and three unsuccessful nominees had only 2. A single extra vote with the right value would have been enough for any of the five other reported nominees to get on the final ballot – The Acolyte, Fanfare, Fantasy Fiction Field, Madman of Mars and Fantasite.

Best Fan Writer: Forrest J. Ackerman won by 31 votes, 186 to 155 for Arthur Wilson “Bob” Tucker. Tucker then beat Donald A. Wollheim for second place by 3 votes, despite trailing at all stages before the last. Wollheim came third, Harry Warner Jr fourth, Jack Speer fifth and Art Widner sixth.

Tucker led at nominations stage by 11 to 8 for Warner. The only unsuccessful nominee reported is Ray Bradbury, who had only 2 votes to 4 for Speer, Widner and Wollheim. Speer and Widner were in fact tied on EPH points; if Bradbury had had two more votes worth more than 0.45 points, all seven nominees would have been on the final ballot.