Trivia: The Origins Of The Hugo Awards

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I think it’s safe to assume that most readers of fantasy and science fiction literature have heard of the Hugo Awards, which takes place annually to recognise the best science fiction (and fantasy) works and achievements in a number of different mediums during the previous year. Receiving a Hugo Award is regarded by authors and readers alike as the most prestigious honour that can be bestowed a book in genre fiction. In fact, even I have ambitions to win the accolade at some point in the future. Presented below is some trivia about how the Hugo Awards came to be.

WHEN DID IT ALL BEGIN?

Organised and and overseen by the World Science Fiction Society, the Hugo Awards was first held in 1953 during the 11th World Science Fiction Convention, which took place in the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel, in Philadelphia, USA.

At the time, the event was initially intended to be just a one-off affair, so a second awards ceremony wasn’t held the following year. In 1955, however, the award ceremony was revived, and has subsequently been held every year since, at various different venues all over the world—not even the current Covid pandemic has been able to derail it. During this time, the categories in which Hugo Awards are presented has changed numerous times, and as of 2020 the honour is conferred to written and dramatic works in a total of 17 categories.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Although the name Hugo Awards has been in use since at least 1958, for most of the awards’ history it was actually nothing more than a nickname. The official name for the award was the Annual Science Fiction Achievement Award, and this remained the case until 1992 when the name Hugo Awards was finally adopted as the official name.

WHO THE HELL IS HUGO?

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Hugo Gernsback

The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, a Luxembourg born editor, writer and publisher, who is best known for founding Amazing Stories, the long running American science fiction magazine which was first published in April 1926.

Though it would soon be surpassed by superior publications, Amazing Stories will always have the distinction of being the first magazine of its kind—devoted solely to science fiction. Though it had critics in its formative years, the magazine has amazingly remained in publication (on and off) for almost a century.

 

Thanks for reading,
Ian



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