Late author Fritz Leiber has been recognized many times over by the World Science Fiction Convention for his contributions to the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. In addition to being named a Gandalf Grand Master of Fantasy during the 1975 Worldcon, Leiber has also won six Hugo Awards—and now another trophy can be displayed on Leiber's metaphorical shelf. His 1944 occult fantasy novel Conjure Wife was awarded the Best Novel Retrospective Hugo Award on August 15th as part of the festivities of the 77th annual WorldCon in Dublin, Ireland. More coverage of this year's exciting Hugo Awards announcements can be found here.
Retrospective Hugo Awards were first added to the ballot in 1996. The retro awards honor titles which would have been eligible for nomination had the Hugos been awarded during the work's year of publication. In 2018, the Retrospective Hugo Awards recognized works from 1943, and Robert Heinlein's Beyond This Horizon earned the top honor. This year's retrospective awards focused on works published in 1944. Conjure Wife was one of two novels by Leiber nominated for the award this year; Gather, Darkness! was also a contender.
Conjure Wife centers around the unique marriage between Professor Norman Saylor, a man of facts, and his wife, Tansy. When Tansy learns that other faculty wives have been practicing witchcraft to further their husbands' academic careers, she uses the art of conjure magic to ensure good prospects for Norman. But when he learns his wife has been dabbling in the occult, practical Norman encourages her to destroy her charms and cease all spell-casting. At first, Norman is convinced the string of bad luck he experiences soon after is just a coincidence. Before long though, Norman realizes he has unleashed a full-on curse, at his own expense. When Tansy takes the hex upon herself in an attempt to spare her husband, Norman will have to renounce all his practical beliefs in order to save them both. Leiber's classic novel of matrimony and magic has been adapted into three movies.
Gather, Darkness! is a genre-bending novel of the post-apocalypse set 60 years after a cataclysmic nuclear strike. In the wake of the devastation, Techno-priests have become the dominant class. Jarles, a questioning priest, recognizes that their religious philosophy is founded on deception and subjugation of the lower classes. He foments rebellion among the peasants — and in doing so, ushers in a holy war between science, devotees of the Great God, and witchcraft.
75 years after their publication, it's exciting to see these classic works by Lieber continuing to remain in the sci-fi and fantasy zeitgeist. A complete list of Retrospective Hugo Awards winners can be found here. A list of finalists for the contemporary 2019 Hugo Awards can be found here.
Download these titles today to discover more enduring classics by Fritz Leiber!
Two Hugo Award-winning novellas!
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