25 Stories Worth Reading Before Making Retro Hugo Nominations

MidAmeriCon II has announced that nominations are now open for the Hugos and Retro Hugos. While I can’t help you much on the Hugos, I did spend the later portion of 2015 immersed in reading short fiction eligible for the 1941 Retro Hugos (stories first publishing in 1940). Part of my purpose was to identify all the humorous stories so that I could review them on my Scide Splitters blog at Amazing Stories Magazine. Those reviews can be found via the links below (be aware that they contain story summaries heavy with spoilers):

Scide Splitters: 1941 Retro Hugo Eligible Novellas

Scide Splitters: 1941 Retro Hugo Eligible Novelettes

Scide Splitters: 1941 Retro Hugo Eligible Short Stories

My other purpose was to get ready for casting my nomination ballot. After reading so many stories that I started Retro dreaming, I came up with a list of top contenders for my ballot. Granted, tastes will vary, and I would certainly like to hear other suggestions if you care to take the time to comment (I read hundreds of stories, but there are sure to be some gems that escaped my notice). These are in alpha order by category and the ones reviewed at Amazing Stories are marked (*humor):


“Coventry” by Robert A. Heinlein

“Darker Than You Think” by Jack Williamson [not to be confused with the expanded novel]

”If This Goes On…” by Robert A. Heinlein   [most versions you will find are of the expanded novel]

”The Indigestible Triton” by L. Ron Hubbard (*humor)

“The Mathematics of Magic” by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt (*humor) [the version in The Incomplete Enchanter is reasonably close to the original]

”The Roaring Trumpet” by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt (*humor) [the version in The Incomplete Enchanter is reasonably close to the original]


“All Is Illusion” by Henry Kuttner & C. L. Moore (*humor)

”Blowups Happen” by Robert A. Heinlein

“Butyl and the Breather” by Theodore Sturgeon (*humor)

“The Exhalted” by L. Sprague de Camp (*humor)

”Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates

”The Hardwood Pile” by L. Sprague de Camp (*humor)

“It” by Theodore Sturgeon

“The Roads Must Roll” by Robert A. Heinlein

“Vault of the Beast” by A. E. van Vogt

“The Voyage That Lasted 600 Years” by Don Wilcox

Short Stories:

“Are You There?” by Mona Farnsworth (*humor)

“The Bleak Shore” by Fritz Leiber

“The Chaser” by John Collier

“The Gods Gil Made” by Ross Rocklynne (*humor)

“Quietus” by Ross Rocklynne

”Requiem” by Robert A. Heinlein

”Revolt of the Ants” by Milton Kaletsky (*humor) [can be read for free in the von Dimpleheimer anthologies mentioned below]

”Strange Playfellow” by Isaac Asimov [aka “Robbie,” though the version in I, Robot is modified]

“When It Was Moonlight” by Manly Wade Wellman

Some of these will be hard to find, but seven of them are in Asimov and Greenberg’s The Great Science Fiction Stories Volume 2, 1940 (included in the omnibus Isaac Asimov Presents The Golden Years of Science Fiction). All of the Heinlein (except the shorter version of ”If This Goes On…”) can be found The Past Through Tomorrow. And although only one of the above stories is included, you can read well over 100 eligible public domain stories in ebook anthologies assembled by a fan named von Dimpleheimer (you can download these through links at File770).

Nominations do not close until March 31st. But be aware that if you aren’t registered by Sunday (January 31st), you will not be able to make nominations. Please do recommend additional stories in the comments field.

Of Shoes and Ships and Sealing-Wax, of Cabbages and Cons

Last weekend I attended COSine, a cozy science fiction convention held annually in Colorado Springs.  The guest of honor was Jim Butcher, the affable author of the Dresden Files.  Other authors in attendance included Connie Willis, Wil McCarthy, John Stith, Sarah Hoyt, Cynthia Felice and dozens more.  COSine offers an intimate con experience with a variety of activities.  I availed myself of a dozen or so panels and even joined in on a bit of filking (those who know me well will know how much of a shock that is).

After the convention, it was time to make plans for the main event – Worldcon.  I made the mistake of booking my hotel three hours after bookings opened and missed out on the cheapest, or should I say most economical, rooms.  Maybe I will be able to find a roommate to share the cost.  In any case, I will be at MidAmeriCon II in Kansas City this August (that’s the Worldcon) and hope to meet some of the people whom I have only conversed with across the internet.

With my registration and hotel room for MidAmeriCon all set, the next step will be to make nominations for the Hugo and Retro Hugo Awards (to be handed out at the convention).    I will post more about the Hugos and Retro Hugos tomorrow.  If it is not obvious enough, this is a new website and I have a ways to go in setting it up (compounded by a learning curve in figuring out how all this works).