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Discovering the Award Winners: 1955

By / January 17, 2018 / no comments

The 1955 Worldcon in Cleveland revived the idea of an award ceremony from two years before. But they did rather change the awards. In 1953, there had been awards for Best Novel, Professional Magazine, Cover Artist, Interior Illustrator, Excellence in Fact Articles, New Author or Artist and No 1 Fan Personality. When the Hugo Awards were revived two years later, there was more emphasis on fiction, the awards for cover artist and interior illustrator were combined into a single award for Professional Artist, and the awards for fact articles, new author and fan personality were dropped entirely.

As in 1953, there were no shortlists; it seems that voters simply wrote in their choice for each of the six categories. The result is a curious snapshot of the particular tastes of science fiction writers at the time. The winners of the Best Novelette and Best Short Story awards would continue to crop up in anthologies well into the 1970s, though they have rather dropped out of view since then. But the Best Novel winner is probably the least well known of all Hugo Winners. There is no current edition of the book in print, though an abridged paperback under the title The Forever Machine can still be found. It is the story of a computer that can grant immortality, but only to those people who are prepared to give up their prejudices. But most people choose not to do so because, as the novel’s original title put it, They’d Rather Be Right. To be honest, the subject makes it sound as if it could be relevant today, but the prose is clumsy and in truth the novel deserves its relative obscurity in Hugo terms.

The 1955 Hugo winners were:



They’d Rather Be Right by Mark Clifton & Frank Riley


“The Darfsteller” by Walter M. Miller, Jr. (included in The Best of Walter M. Miller, Jr.)


“Allamagoosa” by Eric Frank Russell (included in Major Ingredients)


Astounding Science Fiction edited by John W. Campbell


Frank Kelly Freas


Fantasy Times edited by James V. Taurasi, Sr. and Ray Van Houten

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