Fred Pohl's Torcon 2 Reminiscence

1973Torcon 2, Toronto
by Frederik Pohl
From the Noreascon Three PB

Toronto's a wonderful city, in every respect but climate — they could improve it a lot by moving it about a thousand miles south — and, apart from all its built-in charms, it has a special attraction for me. My eldest daughter has been living there for the past twenty-odd years. So I am always glad to have a chance to be in Toronto, and gladder than usual this time because I arrived at the 1973 Worldcon with a Hugo nomination going for me — this time, for writing.

Came the time of the award ceremonies, which in those days were still held at the banquet, and no one had tipped anybody off as to who was going to walk away with the rocket ships. We shared a table with Ben Bova and Isaac Asimov, who were also on the nomination list. I can't say for sure that any of us were nervous — for all I know, Isaac always has to go to the men's room seven times between the soup and the ice-cream dessert. Then came the awards. The first was the announcement of the winner for Best Editor, and our table won out; Ben got up to take his award. Then they announced the winner for Best Novel, and Isaac brought back the Hugo for The Gods Themselves. That made two of the things decorating our table, and it was my turn to try for three. I'd published a novella called "The Gold at the Starbow's End" the year before; it was a nominee, I was pretty pleased with it myself, and half a dozen people had been telling me it was a shoo-in. Something terrible happened on the way to the votes, though. When they announced the winner in the novella category it wasn't me. I hung my head in shame; I was the only one at the table who hadn't won. It was a humiliating moment, because I could feel their eyes on me, and I knew I was bringing the class of the neighborhood down. Ben and Isaac were polite in offering condolences, but I knew what they were thinking.
Then they got around to announcing the Best Short Story winner.

Honestly, I had just about forgotten that the last posthumous collaboration with Cyril Kornbluth, "The Meeting," had been on the nominations list; and I was taken totally by surprise when it won.

So I went up and got my two Hugos for the story — one for me, one to deliver to Cyril's widow — and came back and sat down, and Isaac was giving me dirty looks. "Rotten showoff," he snarled. "How come all we get is one Hugo apiece and you come away with two?"