Philip Jose Farmer
5617 North Fairmont Drive
Peoria, Illinois 61614
After sixty-seven years of more or less life on this planet, I did not think that anything unexpected could happen to me. Not until today when I read Noreen Shaw's letter in the latest THRUST [#23]. Until then I'd always had not the slightest doubt that the award I received for best new writer at the 1953 Philcon was a Hugo. Certainly, Noreen is wrong when she says it did not resemble a Hugo. It's an upright spaceship-form just like all the Hugos. It doesn't have "Hugo" on the plaque, but then neither does the one I won for To Your Scattered Bodies Go in 1972. It says "Science Fiction Achievement Award." And spells my name "Phillip," by the way. The one for "Riders of the Purple Wage" in 1968 does say "Hugo" on the plaque.
Memory is tricky, The Great Trickster, in fact. So I won't get into an acrimonious emotional argument about her claim. Why not put the question to such as Forry Ackerman or Sam Moskowitz?
Ah, Mnemosyne! What fun you have with mere mortals! I remember an article in the local newspaper shortly after I returned from that Philcon. I've always thought it mentioned the Hugo. Could I have reconstructed the past and just thought that it did? Do we all live in parallel worlds that just happen to intersect now and then?
[Phil also attached to his letter a copy of page 403 of Seekers of Tomorrow by Sam Moskowitz (World Publishing, 1967), which says:
By the time of the 11th Annual World Science Fiction Convention in Philadelphia, September 6, 1953, Philip Hose Farmer seemed to be riding on a crest of a wave. He was presented with the first of the series of awards later to become known as Hugos as the best new science fiction author of 1952.
So it appears that based on Sam's book, the term Hugo was applied retroactively to all the 1953 awards. - DDF]