Hugo Award logo
|Awarded for||Best science fiction or fantasy works of previous year|
The Hugo Awards are a set of
The Hugo Awards have been termed as "among the highest honors bestowed in science fiction and fantasy writing". Works that have won have been published in special collections, and the official logo of the Hugo Awards is often placed on the winning books' cover as a promotional tool. The 2018 Hugos were presented at the
For lists of winners and nominees for each category, see the list of award categories below.
The World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) gives out the Hugo Awards each year for the best
For each category of Hugo, the voter may rank "No Award" as one of their choices. Voters are instructed that they should do so if they feel that none of the nominees are worthy of the award, or if they feel the category should be abolished entirely. A vote for "No Award" other than as one's first choice signifies that the voter believes the nominees ranked higher than "No Award" are worthy of a Hugo in that category, while those ranked lower are not.
The six works on the ballot for each category are the most-nominated by members that year, with no limit on the number of stories that can be nominated. With the exception of 1956, the first years of the awards did not include any recognition of runner-up novels, but since 1959 all of the candidates have been recorded. Initial nominations are made by members in January through March, while voting on the ballot of six nominations is performed roughly in April through July, subject to change depending on when that year's Worldcon is held. Prior to 2017, the final ballot was five works in each category. Worldcons are generally held near the start of September, and take place in a different city around the world each year.
The idea of giving out awards at Worldcons was proposed by Harold Lynch for the 1953 convention. The idea was based on the
Retrospective Hugo Awards, or Retro Hugos, were added to the ballot beginning in 1996. They are awards optionally given by a Worldcon for works that would have been eligible 50, 75, or 100 years ago.
Prior to 2017, these could be awarded for the ten years that had a Worldcon where no Hugos were awarded: the conventions in 1939–41, 1946–52, and 1954. Retro Hugos under these rules were given five times: in 1996, 2001, and 2004 for 50 years prior, and 2014 and 2016 for 75 years prior. The Worldcons eligible in 1997–2000, 2002, and 2015 chose not to award Retro Hugos, and under these rules there would have been no more opportunities to award them until 2022 (for 1947).
A 2017 rule change expanded the criteria to be any year after 1939 in which no Hugos were awarded, whether or not there was a Worldcon that year, or fifteen years in total: 1939–52 and 1954.