Hugo, of the Hugos

Well, if you’re deserving of the title of science fiction fan, you’ve heard of the Hugo Awards. Since I don’t hope to earn one any time soon, I figured I would enjoy theRalph_124c_41
writings of Hugo Gernsback for whom the award is named before attempting, yet again, to create my own masterpiece.

The introducer to this Bison edition kicks it off with a short, sweet bio and synopsis for which I am deeply grateful. The one-time-idol of Isaac Asimov (mind you not the other way around) and contributor to Gernsback’s Amazing Stories, author Jack Williamson spared me hours of research by listing some of Mr. Gernsback’s more successful predictions.

 

Our Hugo was well aware of Verne’s imagining the submarine and other inventions and seemed motivated to write the "hard" science fiction that makes such successful predictions of our scientific discoveries and technological futures. Williamson also lists a few of the more fantastic elements, comparing Gernsback to others of his era.

Then, UNP has included the 1950 introduction to a book version of this 1911 serial. Mr. Gernsback himself reflects on his successes, motivations, and shortcomings with great hope that some of his unfulfilled technological predictions will be realized by 2660.

The teleconference, at least, has been realized since his death, and I leave it to the nerds and geeks (I use the terms most affectionately, despite their origins) in R&D to come up with solutions for the unfulfilled dreams of the Father of Science Fiction.

As for the novel itself, I found myself pleasantly surprised at how easily I read through the opening chapters. Aside from a vaguely Victorian aesthetic, the gentility of which I admire despite its apparent obsolescence, the novel progresses at a pace comparable to a modern science fiction piece and the characters’ dialogue is at times flirtatious or boldly direct, always suitable to the mood of the scene.

In closing today, I’d just like to note that I wish there were more scientific heroes out there as role models, though I would prefer more of them be women. Good luck and good reading, unless you’re supposed to be studying or researching. In the later cases, get to work gladly. The future is waiting.