Analog Award was launched in 1979 for works published in the magazine in the preceding year. The award for Best Novelette has been given every year. The first award, presented in 1979, was presented to “Fireship” by Joan D. Vinge, although Orson Scott Card’s “Mikal’s Songbird” was also up for the award. In 1980, Card won the award for the sequel to “Mikal’s Songbird,” “Songhouse,” which appeared in the September, 1979 issue.
“Songhouse” related the story of a young boy over several years, although the passage of time is vague, as he is being trained in the Songhouse on Tew. Ansset Originally came to the Songhouse as an orphan, although the story does mention that he was a kidnap victim, a background feature which is mostly ignored within the confines of this specific novella. The Songhouse trains singers, who use songs, melodies, and harmonies to communicate on a variety of levels. Ansset is early on pegged to be trained for the highest honor of the house, the position of Songbird, and then to be given over to Mikal, the benevolent dictator of the galaxy.
The Analog Award was launched in 1979 for works published in the magazine in the preceding year. The Science Fact category is one of the original categories, although it is now called Best Article. The award has been given every year. The first award, presented in 1979, was presented to Joe Haldeman for his article “This Space for Rent.” In 1980, the award was won by George W. Harper for the lengthy article “Build Your Own A-Bomb and Wake Up the Neighborhood,” which appeared in the April, 1979 issue.
Looking at George W. Harper’s “Build Your Own A-Bomb and Wake Up the Neighborhood” from a distance of 40 years makes the article, which is a mix of light-heartedness and earnest description of the way an atomic bomb can be built seem a bit off. Partly, that is because of the different political situation four decades can bring about.
In the late 1970s, the thought that the world might perish in a nuclear holocaust, either brought about by conflict between the great world powers or because a terrorist organization acquired a nuclear bomb, seemed like the way to bet. In the beginning of his article, Harper even refers to a college student who was afraid he would be kidnapped by terrorists for his knowledge of nuclear physics. Harper also mentioned an episode of the sitcom Barney Miller which treated the possibility of a college student building an atomic bomb as a realistic scenario.
Harper sets out in the article to describe how easy it would be to build an atomic bomb under either of the scenarios he references. While he does go into some depth, he does so with a satirical vibe, indicating that none of the “simple” steps that need be followed are actually simple.
The Analog Award was launched in 1979 for works published in the magazine in the preceding year. The Short Story category was one of the original categories and has been given every year the award has been in existence. It was won the first year by Orson Scott Card for his story “Lifeloop.” In 1980, it was won by Ted Reynolds for his story “Can These Bones Live?” Reynolds was nominated again the following year in the same category for the story “Meeting of Minds.”
Reynolds opens “Can These Bones Live?” with a cliché. His main character awakens and doesn’t know where she is, having to explore the world anew and figure out what is going on. One of her earliest memories is that she has actually died, so she would seem to be in some sort of afterlife. Unfortunately, Reynolds spends too much time working this cliché as his never named viewpoint character continues to move through her uninhabited world, searching for other people, food, or any recognizable landmark. Her sole indication that she is still somewhere on Earth is her ability to recognize the Moon.
Eventually, Reynolds does take his story in a different, and unique direction, although it happens at a leisurely rate and he doesn’t really give the reader a reason to care about his protagonist. Eventually, she falls asleep and begins to commune with the Roanei, an alien race that informs her that humanity has gone extinct and she is the last human. If she requests it, the Roanei can bring humans back from extinction, but if they decide not to, the human race will remain dead.
Peter Graham is often quoted as saying that the Golden Age of Science Fiction is 12. I was reminded of this quote last year while reading Jo Walton’s An Informal History of the Hugo Awards (Tor Books) when Rich Horton commented that based on Graham’s statement, for him, the Golden Age of Science Fiction was 1972. It got me thinking about what science fiction (and fantasy) looked like the year I turned twelve and so this year, I’ll be looking at the year 1979 through a lens of the works and people who won science fiction awards in 1980, ostensibly for works that were published in 1979. I’ve also invited Rich to join me on the journey and he’ll be posting articles looking at the 1973 award year.
The Analog Award was launched in 1979 for works published in the magazine in the preceding year. The Best Cover category was added in 1980, so this was the first year the award was presented. The award has been given every year since then with the exception of the year covering works published in the magazine in 2002, when the award was replaced, for one year only, with a cover artist award, when it was won by David A. Hardy, who painted two covers for the magazine (May and December issues).
Paul Lehr painted the cover for the first installment of John Varley’s four-part serial for the novel Titan, which ran from the January to the April issue of Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact.
The artwork from the January 1979 issue of Analog seems to depict the spindle that runs up the center of the torus moon discovered in orbit around Saturn. The tower looks like a mixture of organic parts, wires, and high tech platforms growing out of a small globe and inside a massive dome. The night sky with other moons of Saturn can be seen through windows and a rainbow-like arc stretches behind the tower.