Hugo n.

any of several awards presented annually at the World Science Fiction Convention for excellence in science fiction or fantasy writing, art, publishing, etc.

The World Science Fiction Convention first awarded ‘Hugos’ in 1953, in what was seen as a one-off event, but Annual Science Fiction Achievement Awards were presented by the Convention from 1955. Hugo was recognized as an alternative name for these awards in 1958, and adopted as the official name in 1992.

The August 1953 quotation is in reference to the Science Fiction Achievement Awards presented at Philcon II, the 11th World Science Fiction Convention, at which these awards were first presented.

Originally, the name was used for a similar award presented by another organization; the 1950s quotations show this use.

The Hugos are voted on by the membership of the annual Worldcon. More information about the Hugo awards can be found on the World Science Fiction Society website. See also the Locus Index to SF Awards for a complete list of winners and nominees.

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  • [1950 Science-Fiction Newsletter Apr. 1/2

    The ‘Hugo’ Award: New York’s Hydra Club,…made up of science-fiction and fantasy writers, editors, illustrators and fans,…are planning an east-coast science-fiction conference on July 4th in New York, at which time they will probably award the first ‘Hugo’ for excellence in the field.]

  • [ 1950 B. Tucker Big Bloodshot Eye in Science Fiction Newsletter July 4/2

    The first annual ‘Hugo’ award will be made for literary merit in the s-f field. ]

  • [1950 R. Sneary in Spacewarp (#41) Aug. page image Rick Sneary

    The latter is brought out in the plans for awarding ‘Hugo’s’. Mark my word, it will be just like the ‘Oscar’s’, a group patting itself on its own back. ]

  • 1953 L. Kessler in Fantasy Times 2 Aug. (#184) 2 page image

    There is no official name for the Awards themselves. It seems the word got around that they were to be called “Hugos” (after the father of science-fiction, Hugo Gernsback). That isn’t so. If the fans decide that “Hugos” are the proper name for the Awards then they shall be called “Hugos.”

  • 1953 Fantasy Times Nov. 2/3

    Hollywood, Calif., 9 Nov., (CNS) - The presentation of a ‘Hugo’ to H. J. Campbell, editor of the British mag, ‘AUTHENTIC S-F’, and popular s-f author, by Forrest J Ackerman, perhaps the best-known of all s-f personalities, was reported in detail, complete with picture, in today’s issue of the newspaper, ‘BEVERLY HILLS NEWS LIFE’.

  • 1989 Nova Express Spring 12/2

    Brin dropped by for a few short minutes of derision for having the audacity for being a Hugo winner.

  • 1990 Thrust Winter 4/3

    I always enjoy looking over the full Hugo voting data.

  • 1992 Science Fiction Age Nov. 6/2

    Haven’t we have named the awards given to superior s.f. each year…the ‘Hugos’ after Hugo Gernsback, founder of the first science fiction magazine?

  • 2001 Locus June 12/4

    Kristine Kathryn Rusch sold…a novel version of her Hugo-nominated story.

  • 2001 Science Fiction Chronicle July 36/2

    If it wasn’t for the Hugos I'd be doing something else for a living today.

Research requirements

antedating 1950

Earliest cite

in Science Fiction News Letter

Research History
Irene Grumman sent in a quote from Isaac Asimov's 1962 "The Hugo Winners" which states that the name "Hugo" was (unofficially) adopted at the 13th WorldCon (Clevention) in 1955. We would like to obtain cites from conreports or convention materials from that WorldCon.

Bill Mullins submitted a July 1950 cite from the Science Fiction News Letter; the OED found an April 1950 example from the same source. Bill Mullins submitted an August 1950 cite from the fanzine "Spacewarp". We would be interested in any further information about this earlier award.

Last modified 2021-02-21 13:34:11
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.