“House of Frankenstein” (1944)

As with Donovan’s Brain, this was another nominee for the Best Dramatic Presentation category in the 1945 Retro Hugo Awards. This one is a film, directed by Erle C. Kenton, but which also saw Curt Siodmak‘s involvement in the generation of the story. And what a story! This features a mad scientist who escapes from a prison with a hunchbacked assistant, resolving to make his way to the home of the late Baron Frankenstein, where he hopes to reanimate Frankenstein’s monster and continue his blasphemous researches.

That would probably be enough plot, but this was made when the popularity of the Universal monster films was in decline. To revive flagging interest, the studio responded by throwing in as many monsters into the film as possible, and then adding a few more. So we have the mad scientist briefly teaming up with Dracula, while at Frankenstein’s castle he ends up reviving both the Monster and the Wolfman, who had apparently dropped by in the last film for a cup of tea before being frozen in ice. The whole thing has an air of Mythos hoedown to it, with each individual element feeling a bit underdeveloped. By the time the torch-wielding mob arrive to put a stop to the scientist’s experiments, I was rather thanking them for bringing the horror to an end.

And yet, the film has its moments. The Dracula sequence in particular was well done, with John Carradine playing a Dracula somewhat removed from Bela Lugosi’s version; I was sorry this section was so short. And the scientist, played by Boris Karloff (now too old and unwell to play the monster) has moments of genuine nastiness, not least when he kills the travelling showman who possesses the bones of Dracula. But these good points do not save the film, which was wisely rejected by the Retro Hugo voters. But don’t take my word for it – if you’re interested, the film is also available to stream or download from the Internet Archive.


House of Frankenstein poster (Wikipedia)

“Donovan’s Brain” (1944)

Directed by William Spier and adapted from the novel by Curt Siodmak, this was no film but a radio drama starring none other than Orson Welles. Why was I listening to it? Well it was nominated for the 1945 Retro Hugo Awards, which were being dished out by the New Zealand Worldcon, so I thought I should give it a listen before casting my vote. Welles plays Patrick Cory, a scientist who has found a way of keeping a monkey’s brain alive after amputating it from its body. Now he longs to repeat the experiment with a human brain, despite being warned that he would be transgressing the very laws of nature itself. An opportunity presents itself when the eponymous Donovan, a rich industrialist, is severely injured in a plane crash close to the scientist’s home. Deciding that Donovan’s wounds are fatal, the scientist removes the still living brain and keeps it alive in a bucket.

Unfortunately, freed from its body Donovan’s brain develops psychic powers, with Donovan’s character soon revealed to be essentially psychopathic. Worse, the brain starts taking over Cory, giving Welles the opportunity to play both characters at once, v exciting. While this did not win the coveted Retro Hugo trophy, it was an exciting drama, with the tension mounting as Donovan’s personality replaces that of Cory, driving him to ever more terrible acts. And the downbeat ending is appealingly ambiguous.

One great thing about Donovan’s Brain is that it was broadcast as part of the Suspense Mystery Theatre programme. This was sponsored by Roma Wines, which meant that every episode features a stilted and scripted pitch extolling the virtues of this company’s products. I found it all very persuasive and as soon as the programme was over I went to my search engine, only to make the sad discovery that Roma Wines no longer exists.

If you’re interested in such things, the programme can be downloaded or streamed from the Internet Archive, a strange zone to which intellectual property laws appear not to apply. Or you can listen to it on YouTube (and watch images from the 1953 film).


From a 1980 vinyl release of Donovan’s Brain (Discogs)

Where to find the 1945 Retro Hugo Awards finalists

Where to find the 1945 Retro Hugo Awards finalists

EDIT: Voting in the 1945 Retro Hugo Awards is now open (as is voting in the 2020 Hugo Awards, popular in some quarters, and the 2020 Astounding and Lodestar awards). If you are a CoNZealand member, go here and click on the link for My Membership.

Popular blog File 770 has a post by JJ on Where To Find The 2020 Hugo Award Finalists For Free Online, a useful resource for anyone wanting to start reading before the Hugo Voter Packet becomes available. But what of the 1945 Retro Hugo Awards finalists? There is unlikely to be a Voter Packet for these, so how are Hugo Awards voters to go about making an informed choice here? Fortunately, many of the works that will be on the ballot are available online, either on the Internet Archive or elsewhere. Below I have compiled links to as many of these as I could find, and provided information about whether items are in print or otherwise. If any of the links do not work, please let me know in the comments.

Best Novel

  • The Golden Fleece, by Robert Graves (Cassell & Company). Also known as Hercules, My Shipmate, this retelling of the Jason and the Argonauts story is in print and available from book stores and online retailers.
  • Land of Terror, by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.). Ebook versions of this can be purchased online. It is also out of copyright in Australia, so can be read on that country’s Project Gutenberg.
  • “Shadow Over Mars”, by Leigh Brackett (Startling Stories, Fall 1944). Subsequently published as the standalone novel The Nemesis from Terra, which appears to be out of print, but the magazine it first appeared in can be read or downloaded on the Internet Archive.
  • Sirius: A Fantasy of Love and Discord, by Olaf Stapledon (Secker & Warberg). In print and readily obtainable.
  • The Wind on the Moon, by Eric Linklater (Macmillan and Co.). In print and readily obtainable.
  • “The Winged Man”, by A. E. van Vogt and E. Mayne Hull (Astounding Science Fiction, May-June 1944). Originally serialised in Astounding, this was subsequently published as a complete novel but appears to now be out of print. It can be read in the May and June 1944 issues of Astounding Science Fiction on the Internet Archive.

Best Novella

Best Novelette

Best Short Story

  • “And the Gods Laughed”, by Fredric Brown (Planet Stories, Spring 1944). This also appears in anthologies of Brown’s work.
  • “Desertion”, by Clifford D. Simak (Astounding Science Fiction, November 1944). This also appears as a chapter in the novel City. If you want to read the nominated stories from City in publication order, read this third.
  • “Far Centaurus”, by A. E. van Vogt (Astounding Science Fiction, January 1944). This can also be found in general anthologies and ones of van Vogt’s work. For further details see its ISFDB entry.
  • “Huddling Place”, by Clifford D. Simak (Astounding Science Fiction, July 1944). This also appears as another chapter in the novel City. If you want to read the nominated stories from City in publication order, read this second.
  • “I, Rocket”, by Ray Bradbury (Amazing Stories, May 1944). A replica edition of this issue of Amazing Stories can be purchased online.
  • “The Wedge”, by Isaac Asimov (Astounding Science Fiction, October 1944). This also appears as “The Traders” in the novel Foundation. If you want to read the two stories from Foundation in publication order, read this first.

Best Series

Captain Future, by Edmond Hamilton
Written by Edmond Hamilton (sometimes using the pseudonym Brett Sterling), the Captain Future stories appeared in the magazine of the same name. Wikipedia has an overview of the series, while the ISFDB has a listing of Captain Future stories. A selection of these are available on the Internet Archive:

The Cthulhu Mythos, by H. P. Lovecraft, August Derleth, and others
The deity Cthulhu first made its monstrous appearance in H. P. Lovecraft’s 1928 short story “The Call of Cthulhu”. Subsequently much of Lovecraft’s and his associates’ work has been grouped together under the Cthulhu Mythos label. Like many of the horrors Lovecraft deals with, the Cthulhu Mythos is somewhat amorphous and it can be difficult to fix its exact boundaries. Not all of Lovecraft’s own stories are unambiguously part of the Mythos, while one can argue as to whether some of the works by his admirers are truly part of the Mythos or deviations from the true path. Wikipedia attempts a rough overview of the Mythos, while the ISFDB attempts a bibliography. Note that the Mythos remains a living tradition, with stories continuing to be published, but only those that had appeared by the end of 1944 should be considered by Retro Hugo Awards voters.

There are numerous in-print anthologies of Lovecraft’s own fiction. The Internet Archive also has scans of the magazines in which some of these originally appeared, including “The Call of Cthulhu” (Weird Tales, February 1928), “The Dunwich Horror” (Weird Tales, April 1929), “The Whisperer in Darkness” (Weird Tales, August 1931), “The Music of Erich Zann” (Weird Tales, November 1934), “The Haunter of the Dark” (Weird Tales, December 1936), “The Shadow out of Time” (Astounding Stories, June 1936), “The Thing on the Doorstep” (Weird Tales, January 1937), “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” (Weird Tales, May 1941 & Weird Tales July 1941), “The Colour Out of Space” (Famous Fantastic Mysteries, October 1941), and “The Shadow over Innsmouth” (Weird Tales, January 1942).

The Cthulhu Mythos was developed and expanded by writers associated with and inspired by Lovecraft. August Derleth co-founded Arkham House to keep Lovecraft’s fiction in print; he also wrote Lovecraftian fiction of his own, including “The Thing That Walked on the Wind” (Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror, January 1933), “Beyond the Threshold” (Weird Tales, September 1941), “The Dweller in Darkness” (Weird Tales, November 1944), and “The Trail of Cthulhu” (Weird Tales, March 1944). Frank Belknap Long gave us “The Space-Eaters” (Weird Tales, July 1928) and “The Hounds of Tindalos” (Weird Tales, March 1929). Robert Bloch wrote “The Shambler from the Stars” (Weird Tales, September 1935). Robert E. Howard gave us “The Black Stone” (Weird Tales, November 1931), “The Children of the Night” (Weird Tales, April-May 1931), “The Thing on the Roof” (Weird Tales, February 1932), and “Dig Me No Grave” (Weird Tales, February 1937).

Doc Savage, by Kenneth Robeson/Lester Dent
Published under the pseudonym Kenneth Robeson, the Doc Savage stories were mostly but not entirely written by Lester Dent. Doc Savage novels appeared at a phenomenal rate, starting in 1933, with 142 having been published by the end of 1944. The ISFDB has a terrifyingly vast entry on the series, while Wikipedia has summaries of the novels. The Shadow’s Sanctum is currently publishing reprints of the Doc Savage novels.

Jules de Grandin, by Seabury Quinn
Seabury Quinn wrote a lot of stories featuring his occult detective Jules de Grandin. Wikipedia has a short overview of the series, while the ISFDB entry could be cross-referenced with the Internet Archive to source scans of the issues of Weird Tales in which the stories first appeared. Here is a somewhat random selection of stories in the series, including the first one published and the only one from 1944: “The Horror on the Links” (Weird Tales, October 1925), “The House of Horror” (Weird Tales, July 1926), “Restless Souls” (Weird Tales, October 1928), “The Corpse-Master” (Weird Tales, July 1929), “The Wolf of St. Bonnot” (Weird Tales, December 1930), “The Curse of the House of Phipps” (Weird Tales, January 1930), “The Mansion of Unholy Magic” (Weird Tales, October 1933), “Suicide Chapel” (Weird Tales, June 1938), and “Death’s Bookkeeper” (Weird Tales, July 1944).

Pellucidar, by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Pellucidar stories are set inside the Earth, which in the first instalment is revealed to be hollow. At the Earth’s Core, the first Pellucidar novel, appeared in 1914, while Land of Terror, the 6th,was published in 1944. Wikipedia’s entry for the series links off to plot-summarising entries for the individual books. These are beginning to slip out of copyright, though the later ones are still not in the public domain everywhere. Readers can access the Pellucidar at these links:

If a whole novel of hollow earth adventure is too much, there were also three pieces of short Pellucidar fiction published in 1942: “Return to Pellucidar” (Amazing Stories, February 1942), “Men of the Bronze Age” (Amazing Stories, March 1942), and “Tiger Girl” (Amazing Stories, April 1942).

The Shadow, by Maxwell Grant (Walter B. Gibson)
Tales of this proto-superhero appeared from 1931 onwards under the pseudonym Maxwell Grant but were mostly written by Walter B. Gibson. By the end of 1944 a vast number of Shadow novels had appeared (286 if Wikipedia is to be believed). The Shadow’s Sanctum is currently publishing reprints of books in The Shadow series.

Best Related Work

  • Fancyclopedia, by Jack Speer. The FANAC Fan History Project has scans of this encyclopaedia of 1944 fandom, as well as a hypertext version.
  • ’42 To ’44: A Contemporary Memoir Upon Human Behaviour During the Crisis of the World Revolution, by H. G. Wells (Secker & Warburg). This does not seem to be in print but readers may be able to source copies from libraries or second hand book dealers.
  • Mr. Tompkins Explores the Atom, by George Gamow (Cambridge University Press). No longer in print as a standalone book, this is available as part of Mr Tompkins in Paperback, which can be obtained from Cambridge University Press or online resellers. An edition combining the book with Mr. Tompkins Explores the Atom with Mr. Tompkins in Wonderland, another book by George Gamow, can be accessed on the Internet Archive.
  • Rockets: The Future of Travel Beyond the Stratosphere, by Willy Ley (Viking Press). This appears to be out of print, but readers may be able to source copies from libraries or second hand book dealers. It can also be borrowed from the Internet Archive.
  • “The Science-Fiction Field”, by Leigh Brackett (Writer’s Digest, July 1944). This was recently reprinted in Windy City Pulp Stories no. 13, which is readily available from online sellers.
  • “The Works of H. P. Lovecraft: Suggestions for a Critical Appraisal”, by Fritz Leiber (The Acolyte, Fall 1944). This can be accessed on FANAC.

Best Graphic Story or Comic

  • Buck Rogers: “Hollow Planetoid”, by Dick Calkins (National Newspaper Service). Originally appearing as a daily newspaper strip, this story appears not to be in print. Art Lortie has however made it available to Retro Hugo voters here.
  • Donald Duck: “The Mad Chemist”, by Carl Barks (Dell Comics). Originally appearing in Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #44, this story has been reprinted but not obviously recently (see entry in Grand Comics Database). It can be read on YouTube or as uploaded by Art Lortie.
  • Flash Gordon: “Battle for Tropica”, by Don Moore & Alex Raymond (King Features Syndicate). Originally a syndicated newspaper strip, this was reprinted by Kitchen Sink in Flash Gordon: Volume 6 1943-1945 – Triumph in Tropica, copies of which can be obtained relatively cheaply from online sellers. You can read William Patrick Maynard’s review and summary here and the strip itself here (courtesy of Art Lortie).
  • Flash Gordon: “Triumph in Tropica”, by Don Moore & Alex Raymond (King Features Syndicate). This also appears in Flash Gordon: Volume 6 1943-1945 – Triumph in Tropica and William Patrick Maynard’s write-up is here. Art Lortie has again made the comic available here.
  • The Spirit: “For the Love of Clara Defoe”, by Manly Wade Wellman, Lou Fine and Don Komisarow (Register and Tribune Syndicate). This story was reprinted in Volume 9 of Will Eisner’s The Spirit Archives, which is available from online booksellers. Art Lortie has made it available here.
  • Superman: “The Mysterious Mr. Mxyztplk”, by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (Detective Comics, Inc.). Originally appearing in Superman #30, this story has often been reprinted (see the DC Comics Database), most recently in The Superman Archives Vol. 8 (which appears to be in print in expensive hardback). It also appears in Superman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told, Vol. 2, second hand copies of which can more cheaply be obtained. The amazing Art Lortie has posted it here.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • The Canterville Ghost, screenplay by Edwin Harvey Blum from a story by Oscar Wilde, directed by Jules Dassin (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)). This is available in two parts on Dailymotion, with the image inexplicably inverted from left to right. Part 1 and Part 2. It can also be watched uninverted on ok.ru or as uploaded by Art Lortie.
  • The Curse of the Cat People, written by DeWitt Bodeen, directed by Gunther V. Fritsch and Robert Wise (RKO Radio Pictures). This film can also be seen on ok.ru. Art Lortie has made it available here.
  • Donovan’s Brain, adapted by Robert L. Richards from a story by Curt Siodmak, producer, director and editor William Spier (CBS Radio Network). This radio drama can be downloaded or streamed from the Internet Archive. Art Lortie has uploaded it in two parts, here and here.
  • House of Frankenstein, screenplay by Edward T. Lowe, Jr. from a story by Curt Siodmak, directed by Erle C. Kenton (Universal Pictures). This can be viewed on ok.ru or, courtesy of Art Lortie, here.
  • The Invisible Man’s Revenge, written by Bertram Millhauser, directed by Ford Beebe (Universal Pictures). The Internet Archive has this available to stream or download. Art Lortie has posted it here.
  • It Happened Tomorrow, screenplay and adaptation by Dudley Nichols and René Clair, directed by René Clair (Arnold Pressburger Films). This can be viewed on YouTube.

Best Editor, Short Form

  • John W. Campbell, Jr. was the editor of Astounding Science Fiction, of which in 1944 12 issues appeared, which can be seen here: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December.
  • Oscar J. Friend edited Captain Future, Startling Stories, and Thrilling Wonder Stories. The Spring issue of Captain Future is available on the Internet Archive. The Spring, Summer, and Fall issues of Startling Stories can also be seen there, as can the Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter issues of Thrilling Wonder Stories.
  • Mary Gnaedinger edited Famous Fantastic Mysteries, whose March, June, September, and December 1944 issues can be read on the Internet Archive.
  • Dorothy McIlwraith was in 1944 the editor of Weird Tales, whose January, March, May, July, September, and November 1944 issues can be seen on the Internet Archive.
  • Raymond A. Palmer edited Amazing Stories and Fantastic Adventures in 1944. On the Internet Archive one can see the January, March, May, September, and December issues of Amazing Stories and the February, April, June, and October issues of Fantastic Adventures.
  • W. Scott Peacock edited Jungle Stories and Planet Stories in 1944. No issues of Jungle Stories are available on the Internet Archive, which may be just as well, but the site does have the Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter issues of Planet Stories.

Best Professional Artist

Earle K. Bergey in 1944 provided cover art for Captain Future, Startling Stories, and Thrilling Wonder Stories. His ISFDB has links to the entries for the issues he provided covers for, where his art can be seen.

Margaret Brundage provided the cover art for the May 1944 issue of Weird Tales and to the story “Iron Mask” within that issue. If her ISFDB entry is to be believed then that is all she did in 1944.

Boris Dolgov did the cover for the March 1944 issue of Weird Tales. He also provided interior art for every 1944 issue of the magazine, including for Allison V. Harding’s “Ride the El to Doom” in the November issue, so if you browse through the links given with Dorothy McIlwraith above you will see more examples of his work.

Matt Fox did the cover for the November 1944 issue of Weird Tales. He also provided interior art for the poem “The Path Through the Marsh” and story “The Weirds of the Woodcarver” in the September issue of the magazine. For Famous Fantastic Mysteries he provided this illustration for Algernon Blackwood’s “The Wendigo”.

Paul Orban appears not to have done any cover art in 1944, but he did interior art in every issue of Astounding Science Fiction that year, including for A.E. Van Vogt’s “The Changeling” in the April issue. Check out the links given with John W. Campbell above for more examples of his work, which are typically credited simply to “Orban”.

William Timmins did all the 1944 covers for Astounding Science Fiction, apart from the July issue, so follow the links given above in Best Editor for John W. Campbell to see examples of his work.

Best Fanzine
Joe Siclari and Edie Stern of the Fanac Fan History Project have put together a Retro Hugo Awards page for Fan Hugo Materials for Work Published in 1944, with links to scanned copies of the finalist fanzines from 1944: The Acolyte (edited by Francis T. Laney and Samuel D. Russell), Diablerie (edited by Bill Watson), Futurian War Digest (edited by J. Michael Rosenblum), Shangri L’Affaires (edited by Charles Burbee), Voice of the Imagi-Nation (edited by Forrest J. Ackerman and Myrtle R. Douglas), and Le Zombie (edited by Bob Tucker and E.E. Evans).

NOTE – the Fanac Fan History Project scans of J. Michael Rosenblum’s Futurian War Digest are not great quality. However the efanzines site has transcribed copies of the zine from 1944 and other years, which can be seen here.

Best Fan Writer
The FANAC Retro Hugo Awards page for Fan Hugo Materials for Work Published in 1944 also links to examples of writing in 1944 by the fan writer finalists, who are Fritz Leiber, Morojo (Myrtle R. Douglas), J. Michael Rosenblum, Jack Speer, Bob Tucker, and Harry Warner, Jr.

And that’s it. I hope readers find this useful. Have fun reading and voting in the Hugo Awards.

Hugo Award Cat


Earle Bergey cover for Thrilling Wonder Stories, Summer 1944 (ISFDB)

Margaret Brundage cover for Weird Tales, May 1944 (ISFDB)

Boris Dolgov illustration from Weird Tales, November 1944 (Tumblr: Notes From A Superfluous Man)

Matt Fox illustration for Algernon Blackwood’s “The Wendigo”, from Famous Fantastic Mysteries, June 1944 (Biblioklept)

Paul Orban illustration for A.E. Van Vogt’s “The Changeling” in Astounding Science Fiction, April 1944 (SF Magazines)

William Timmins cover for Astounding Science Fiction, November 1944 (ISFDB)

More cat (Flickr)

Finding material eligible for the 1945 Retro Hugo Awards

EDIT: Time has moved on and nominations for the 1945 Retro Hugo Awards have now closed. If you are looking for how to find the finalists online, click here.
The deadline for nomination to this year’s Hugo Awards is fast approaching. As well as works from 2019, people can also nominate works from 1944 for the 1945 Retro Hugos.

Much of the short fiction eligible for the Retro Hugos is available on the Internet Archive, where scans of the 1944 magazines can be read online or downloaded as PDFs. On his SF Magazines blog, Paul Fraser has posted links to a vast number of 1944 works eligible for the 1945 Retros. Cora Buhlert has been posting reviews of Retro eligible material on her Retro Science Fiction Reviews blog and has also compiled a monster spreadsheet of eligible material, with some links to where the items can be read.

One approach to nomination, if you have the time, is to browse through Internet Archive scans of magazines such as Amazing Stories, Astounding Science Fiction, Planet Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, and Weird Tales and see if anything takes your fancy. Aside from the stories themselves, that will also expose you to the bizarre products advertised to 1940s fans.

It can be difficult to see the wood for the trees when there is so much fiction eligible for the Retro Hugos. I have below posted links to material that has been frequently reprinted and anthologised, as this means people are more likely to have read it and be in a position to nominate. However, the items below are not necessarily the best science fiction and fantasy items of 1944. Trawling through the lists linked to above or through the Internet Speculative Fiction Database may well yield other undiscovered gems.

One anthology that has shaped opinion regarding the key stories of 1944 is Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories 6 (1944), edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg. Items appearing in this collection are flagged below.

1944 Short Stories

For Hugo Award purposes a short story must be less than 7,500 pages in length. Here are a selection of 1944 science fiction and fantasy short stories, with links to scans of the magazines they appeared in where these are available.

A. E. van Vogt produced a lot of fiction in 1944. His short story “Far Centaurus” (Astounding Science Fiction, January 1944) appeared in the Isaac Asimov Presents anthology and has been extensively reprinted. Other 1944 short stories of his include “The Rulers” (Astounding Science Fiction, March 1944), “The Harmonizer” (Astounding Science Fiction, November 1944), “A Can of Paint” (Astounding Science Fiction, September 1944), and “Juggernaut” (Astounding Science Fiction, August 1944).

Fritz Leiber is particularly known for his horror and fantasy work. His short story “Sanity” (Astounding Science Fiction, April 1944) appeared in the Isaac Asimov Presents anthology and has been extensively reprinted. In 1944 he also published the following short stories: “Ervool” (The Acolyte, Fall 1944), “Taboo” (Astounding Science Fiction, February 1944), “Thought” (Astounding Science Fiction, July 1944), and “Business of Killing” (Astounding Science Fiction, September 1944).

John R. Pierce appears to have published just one short story in 1944, this being “Invariant” (Astounding Science Fiction, April 1944). It appears in the Isaac Asimov Presents anthology.

Clifford D. Simak has two of his 1944 short stories in the Isaac Asimov Presents anthology: “Huddling Place” (Astounding Science Fiction, July 1944) and “Desertion” (Astounding Science Fiction, November 1944). Both of these would subsequently be incorporated into his City novel. In the same year he also published the standalone short story “Lobby” (Astounding Science Fiction, April 1944).

Lester del Rey‘s short story “Kindness” (Astounding Science Fiction, October 1944) is another widely reprinted story that subsequently made its way into the Isaac Asimov Presents anthology.

Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore were a married couple who sometimes wrote together and sometimes separately. Completely disentangling who wrote which work is not always easy, as Moore sometimes published works under her husband’s name (he commanded better page rates). They also both used an array of pseudonyms. Writing together in 1944 they published “Housing Problem” (Charm, October 1944 (online source not found)) under Kuttner’s name. Writing as Scott Morgan, Kuttner himself published “Trophy” (Thrilling Wonder Stories, Winter 1944) and, as Kelvin Kent, “Swing Your Lady” (Thrilling Wonder Stories, Winter 1944). Under his own name he also published “The Eyes of Thar” (Planet Stories, Fall 1944).

There are no stories by Isaac Asimov himself in the Isaac Asimov Presents anthology, perhaps due to modesty on his part. Nevertheless, 1944 saw him publish the short story “The Wedge” (Astounding Science Fiction October 1944), which as “The Traders” found its way into his novel Foundation. Meanwhile the robot story “Catch That Rabbit” (Astounding Science Fiction, February 1944) was subsequently included in the anthologies I, Robot and The Complete Robot.

Ray Bradbury also did not make it into Asimov & Greenberg’s anthology, perhaps because his 1944 short stories are more weird than science fiction; weird is nevertheless still eligible for the Retro Hugos. He wrote a lot in 1944. His short stories “The Sea Shell” (Weird Tales, January 1944), “The Lake” (Weird Tales May 1944), “I, Rocket” (Amazing Stories, May 1944), “There Was an Old Woman” (Weird Tales, July 1944), “Bang! You’re Dead!” (Weird Tales, September 1944), “The Jar” (Weird Tales, November 1944), and “Undersea Guardians” (Amazing Stories, December 1944) have all been extensively reprinted. Less reprinted are his stories “The Monster Maker” (Planet Stories, Spring 1944), “Morgue Ship” (Planet Stories, Summer 1944), “Lazarus Come Forth” (Planet Stories, Winter 1944), “And Then—the Silence” (Super Science Stories, October 1944), and “Reunion” (Weird Tales, March 1944).

Robert Bloch is another writer of weird fiction, known today for his much later novel Psycho and his association with H.P. Lovecraft. In 1944 he had two short stories published in Weird Tales, both of which have reappeared in a good few anthologies:
“The Devil’s Ticket” (Weird Tales, September 1944) and “The Bat Is My Brother” (Weird Tales, November 1944).

Another associate of H.P. Lovecraft active in 1944 was August Derleth. His short stories “A Gentleman from Prague” (Weird Tales, November 1944) and “Pacific 421” (Weird Tales, September 1944), have also found their way into a number of anthologies.

Malcolm Jameson‘s science fiction writing drew on his experience in the US Navy. His short story “Tricky Tonnage” (Astounding Science Fiction, December 1944) has been extensively reprinted in both collections of the author’s work and in anthologies of vintage science fiction. The “Hobo God” (Astounding Science Fiction, September 1944) has also been picked up by other anthologists.

Fredric Brown had a novelette included in the Isaac Asimov Presents anthology, of which more later. In 1944 he also published the three short stories “The Yehudi Principle” (Astounding Science Fiction, May 1944), “Nothing Sirius” (Captain Future, Spring 1944), and “And the Gods Laughed” (Planet Stories, Spring 1944), all of which have been reprinted through mostly in anthologies of Brown’s work.

Like many science fiction writers Frederik Pohl started out as a fan, one of the New York Futurians. By 1944 he was writing his own fiction. His short story “Double-Cross” (Planet Stories, Winter 1944), published under the pen name James MacCreigh, has not been widely reprinted, but it does have its admirers. The year also say his story “Darkside Destiny” printed in the June issue of the Canadian version of Super Science Stories. That issue is not available online, but the story was reprinted in the April 1949 issue of Super Science Stories.

Other pieces of 1944 short fiction that did not appear in magazines but which people may previously have encountered include Lord Dunsany‘s short stories “A Cricket Problem” & “By Command of Pharaoh” (which both appeared in the London Evening News in 1944 before later making their way into anthologies of Dunsany’s work). Elizabeth Bowen meanwhile wrote the short stories “Mysterious Kôr”, “The Inherited Clock”, “The Happy Autumn Fields”, & “Green Holly”, which appeared in various locations in 1944 before being collected in the anthology The Demon Lover and Other Stories and other collections of her work.

1944 Novelettes

For Hugo Award purposes a novelette is a science fiction or fantasy story between 7,500 and seventeen 17,500 words. 1944 was something of a bumper year for novelettes: readers should not struggle to find material worth nominating here.

Cleve Cartmill‘s novelette “Deadline” (Astounding Science Fiction, March 1944) appeared in the Isaac Asimov Presents anthology. It is famous as the story that caused the FBI to raid the offices of Astounding and investigate Cartmill and some of his associates, because the details of a city-destroying bomb were a bit too similar to what was then being developed in Los Alamos. Cartmill was however not a nuclear spy, his technical information sourced from unclassified scientific journals.

Fredric Brown‘s “Arena” (Astounding Science Fiction, June 1944) inspired the Star Trek episode of the same name, so much so that Brown was given a writing credit.

Leigh Brackett is now perhaps most famous for her work on the script of The Empire Strikes Back. In 1944 she was more of a crime than a science fiction author, but 1944 saw her publish the novelette “The Veil of Astellar” (Thrilling Wonder Stories, Spring 1944), which was subsequently included in the Isaac Asimov Presents anthology. She also published the novelette “Terror Out of Space” (Planet Stories, Summer 1944).

Clifford D. Simak‘s novelette “City” (Astounding Science Fiction, May 1944) subsequently became the first full chapter in his novel City and is another story compiled by Asimov & Greenberg in their anthology. In 1944 as part of the City series he also published the novelette “Census” (Astounding Science Fiction, September 1944).

Lester del Rey‘s novelette “Though Dreamers Die” (Astounding Science Fiction, October 1944) was not blessed by inclusion in the Isaac Asimov Presents anthology but has seen extensive reprinting, particularly in anthologies dealing with robots and thinking machines.

Lewis Padgett was a pseudonym used by C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner. Their novelette “When the Bough Breaks” (Astounding Science Fiction, November 1944) appears somewhat reminiscent of their 1943 classic “Mimsy Were The Borogoves”, with its account of parents increasingly baffled as their child develops in untoward ways. Moore also wrote the novelette “No Woman Born” (Astounding Science Fiction, December 1944), an early exploration of how someone holds onto their humanity when their brain has been transferred into a robot body. Both of these were included in the Isaac Asimov Presents anthology. Henry Kuttner’s novelette “The Black Sun Rises” (Super Science Stories (Canadian version), June 1944 (reprinted in Super Science Stories, January 1949)) and their jointly written (as Lawrence O’Donnell) “The Children’s Hour” (Astounding Science Fiction, March 1944) are less widely reprinted.

Isaac Asimov‘s novelette “The Big and the Little” (Astounding Science Fiction, August 1944) subsequently became “The Merchant Princes”, closing chapter of his novel Foundation.

Robert Bloch produced a swathe of novelettes in 1944, of which the most reprinted are “Iron Mask” (Weird Tales, May 1944) and “The Beasts of Barsac” (Weird Tales, July 1944). Less reprinted are “It’s a Small World” (Amazing Stories, March 1944) and the two 1944 novelettes Bloch published in his more lighthearted Lefty Feep series, “Lefty Feep’s Arabian Nightmare” (Fantastic Adventures, February 1944) and “Lefty Feep Does Time” (Fantastic Adventures, April 1944).

August Derleth‘s two Cthulhu Mythos themed novelettes “The Trail of Cthulhu” (Weird Tales, March 1944) and “The Dweller in Darkness” (Weird Tales, November 1944) have been extensively reprinted, with the former lending its title to several collections of Derleth’s work (and more recently a roleplaying game).

Malcolm Jameson‘s novelettes “Alien Envoy” (Astounding Science Fiction, November 1944), “Blind Man’s Buff” (Astounding Science Fiction, October 1944), and “The Bureaucrat” (Astounding Science Fiction, April 1944) have all enjoyed a degree of anthologisation.

Writing as Dick Wylie, Frederik Pohl gave us the novelette “Highwayman of the Void” (Planet Stories, Fall 1944), which, like his 1944 short stories, has not seen much reprinting but has nevertheless received its share of praise.

Olaf Stapledon is best known for his brainy SF novels, but in 1944 he published the novelette “Old Man in New World”. It can be found in collections of Stapledon’s writing.

1944 Novellas

A Hugo eligible novella is a science fiction or fantasy story of between 17,500 and 40,000 words.

Theodore Sturgeon‘s novella “Killdozer!” (Astounding Science Fiction, November 1944) tells of a bulldozer possessed by a murderous alien intelligence. It is the penultimate story in the Isaac Asimov Presents anthology.

A.E. van Vogt‘s novella “The Changeling” (Astounding Science Fiction, April 1944) appears to be another of his books about people with amazing powers. It was subsquently published as a short standalone novel.

Leigh Brackett‘s novella “The Jewel of Bas” (Planet Stories, Spring 1944) has appeared in many collections of her work.

Henry Kuttner‘s 1944 novella “A God Named Kroo” (Thrilling Wonder Stories, Winter 1944) has not been as widely reprinted as some of the other works by him or C.L. Moore.

The children’s writer Enid Blyton produced the novella Tales of Toyland. This story of living toys is not available online in its entirety but the Enid Blyton Society website has a summary and some illustrations. As with much of Blyton’s work, it appears to be a curious mixture of charming and magical elements combined with aspects that are extremely problematic to a modern reader.

Murray Leinster (the pen name of William Fitzgerald Jenkins) was a prolific author who wrote science fiction but also literature in other genres. In 1944 he published the novella “Trog” (Astounding Science Fiction, June 1944).

Ross Rocklynne was another prolific author of science fiction’s Golden Age, who many years later made a post-retirement foray into New Wave SF for one of Harlan Ellison’s anthologies. In 1944 he published two novellas, “The Giant Runt” (Thrilling Wonder Stories, Summer 1944) and “Intruders from the Stars” (Amazing Stories, January 1944).

1944 Novels

Hugo-eligible novels must be at least 40,000 words. Here are just some of the science fiction and fantasy novels published in 1944.

Sirius: A Fantasy of Love and Discord, by Olaf Stapledon, deals with a dog who has had his intelligence raised to the level of people and his interactions with his human friends and enemies, a considerably more domestic tale than the author’s other cosmic novels.

Dorothy B. Hughes is primarily known as a crime writer, with several of her novels adapted into film noirs. Her novel The Delicate Ape strays into science fictional territory, dealing as it does with an imagined post-war future, with a sudden murder threaten to disrupt the international force overseeing the occupation of Germany.

Land of Terror is the thrill-powered title of the penultimate novel in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Pellucidar series. The novel is out of copyright in Australia and can be read on that country’s Project Gutenberg.

Writing as Kenneth Robeson, the author Lester Dent continued to produce a prodigious number of Doc Savage novels: According to Plan of a One-Eyed Mystic, Death Had Yellow Eyes, The Derelict of Skull Shoal, The Whisker of Hercules, The Three Devils, The Pharaoh’s Ghost, The Man Who Was Scared, The Shape of Terror, Weird Valley, Jiu San, Satan Black, and The Lost Giant. The summary of these stories on Wikipedia suggests they are tales of unparalleled thrill power, but perhaps also displaying some of the more problematic attitudes prevalent in the 1940s.

René Barjavel’s Le voyageur imprudent was much later translated into English as
Future Times Three. It has been claimed as the first story in which someone travels back in time to become their own ancestor.

Robert Graves is perhaps most famous as the author of I, Claudius, but in 1944 he published The Golden Fleece (subsequently reprinted as Hercules, My Shipmate), a comic retelling of the story of Jason and the Argonauts.

Aldous Huxley is most famous to science fiction fans as the author of Brave New World. 1944 saw his novel Time Must Have a Stop roll of the printing presses. It has a ghost in it so might tenuously count as fantasy literature.

David V. Reed wrote for Batman in the 1950s and 1970s. In 1944 he brought out two novels with science fiction and fantasy themes. Murder in Space deals with a murder, in space, and can be read in the pages of Amazing Stories, May 1944. The Metal Monster Murders (subsequently reprinted as I Thought I’d Die and The Thing That Made Love) deals with a strange bay dwelling monster that may or may not be preying on local women; Dan Stumpf reports that the book is curious in its use of meta-narrative devices and far less lurid than its covers suggest.

In 1944 E. Mayne Hull and A. E. van Vogt were married to each other and together they wrote The Winged Man, which was serialised in the May and June issues of Astounding Science Fiction. The novel concerns the crew of a submarine who travel 23,000 years into the future and find themselves caught up in a war between bird people and fish people.

As well as her short fiction Leigh Brackett also found time to write her first novel, Shadow Over Mars, which first saw print in Startling Stories, Fall 1944. Dealing with a Martian revolt against human agents of “the Company”, the book appears to have an anti-colonial theme and to echo the anti-corporate themes of later SF.

Renaissance, by Raymond F. Jones, has been reprinted (sometimes as Man of Two Worlds) and translated into many foreign languages. In 1944 it was published in serial form in the July, August, September, and October issues of Astounding. Opening in a computer-organised utopian society, the reader soon discovers that things are somewhat more dystopian than they initially appear.

Days of Creation appeared first in the pages of Captain Future, Spring 1944, before subsequently appearing as The Tenth Planet. Published as by Brett Sterling, it was actually written by Joseph Samachson, who usually wrote as William Morrison. This is a pulpy tale of space travel, detective work, memory loss and mistaken identity.

Eric Linklater’s The Wind on the Moon is a British children’s novel about two girls getting up to magical and fantastical scrapes while their father is away at the war. The book won the Carnegie Medal in its year of publication.

William Croft Dickinson’s Borrobil is a children’s book about some youngsters who stumble into a magical world. While it has barely been reprinted and is long out of print, it appears to have had an effect on at least some of its readers.

And that’s it. Good luck and have fun nominating! Nominations close on 13 March 2020 at 23:59 Pacific Daylight Time (02:59 Eastern Daylight Time, 06:59 UTC/Irish Time, and 19:59 14 March 2020 New Zealand Daylight Time). To nominate you need to either have been a member of last year’s Worldcon in Dublin or have been a member of the CoNZealand prior to the start of this year. Eligible nominees should already have received instructions on how to go about nominating.

image source:

Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories 6 (1944), cover illustration by Oliviero Berni: Wikipedia