The Golden Age of Science Fiction: The 1973 Hugo Award for Best Amateur Magazine: Energumen

The Golden Age of Science Fiction: The 1973 Hugo Award for Best Amateur Magazine: Energumen

energumen cover

The Hugo Award for Best Fanzine was first awarded in 1955 to Science-Fiction Times, edited by James V. Taurasi, Sr. and Ray Van Houten. That was the second year of the Hugo Awards (which began in 1953 and skipped 1954.) It has been awarded every year since then (except 1958) in some form – the name has varied a bit, from Fanzine to Fan Magazine to Amateur Magazine, before settling on Fanzine.

In 1973 the Hugo for Best Amateur Magazine went to Energumen, edited by Mike Glicksohn and Susan Wood Glicksohn. Energumen ran for 15 issues (plus two supplements) from 1970 through 1973, with an additional issue in 1981, published after Susan Wood’s death, aged only 32, in 1980. The fanzine essentially ran for the duration of the marriage of Mike and Susan. Mike Glicksohn died in 2011. Both editors received Hugo Nominations as Best Fan Writer – Mike Glicksohn in 1977, and Susan Wood 8 times, winning in 1974, 1977, and posthumously in 1981.

I can’t say I read Energumen in my Golden Age. Alas, the first fanzines I read were a couple of years later – Locus and Science Fiction Review (aka The Alien Critic), both in 1975 (or maybe late 1974.) So I took the time to head to and look through the 1972 issues of Energumen. The magazine was nominally quarterly, and indeed four issues appeared in 1972, numbers 11 through 14. (The thirteenth issue announced that #15 would be the last.)

The contents tended to feature a number of regular contributors. Mike and Susan Wood Glicksohn were two of them, of course. Other regulars included Rosemary Ullyot (a 1972 and 1973 Hugo Nominee for Best Fan Writer), Gregory Benford, Angus Taylor, Terry Carr, Jerry Lapidus, Sandra Miesel, and Bob Toomey, and there were contributions from Harry Warner, Jr., Bob Silverberg, Jack Gaughan, Bubbles Broxon (whom I take to be Mildred Downey Broxon), and Walt Liebscher, among others.

The tone of the magazine seemed to me to lean in the “personal zine” direction as opposed to a “critzine,” perhaps. The writing was excellent. Mike Glicksohn’s pieces discussed both fannish politics and the best SF of the year. Rosemary Ullyot wrote very personal pieces, for example about her purchase of a bicycle. Susan Glicksohn wrote about the women characters in the Marvel Universe – an article that glanced at quickly seems like it could have been written in 2019. Greg Benford, not surprisingly, wrote on scientific subjects – one piece was called “The View from Titan.”

The magazine was praised for its impeccable (mimeographed) layout, and the excellent artwork. (Ah, the days before PCs!) Artists included Eddie Jones, William Rotsler, Terry Austin, Vincent di Fate, Dan Steffan, and many more. I’ve included below the covers for #11 (C. Lee Healy), #12 (Bill Kunkel), #13 (Bill Rotsler), and #14 (Eddie Jones – and I adore this illustration!), plus a Rotsler cartoon from #12, and a very nice Vincent di Fate illustration from #13.


Energumen 11 (art by C. Lee Healy)


Energumen #12 (Bill Kunkel)


Energumen #13 (Bill Rotsler)


Energumen #14 (Eddie Jones)


Rotsler cartoon from Energumen #12


Vincent di Fate illustration from Energumen #13

This is another case in which I can see no reason to dispute the fans’ choice – Energumen seems to me an excellent Hugo winner.

Rich Horton’s last article for us was John W. Campbell was a Racist and a Loon: A Response to Jeannette Ng’s Campbell Award Acceptance SpeechHis website is Strange at Ecbatan. See all of Rich’s articles here.

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