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The art of science fiction award design

12/11/2005. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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L.A.con IV needs you ... to design the 2006 Hugo Award Trophy.

Do you have vision? creativity? power tools?

Then the Space Cadets of L.A.con IV want YOU to submit a design proposal for the 2006 Hugo Awards trophies.

Since the early 1950s, the World Science Fiction Convention has been awarding honors for outstanding achievement in science fiction. Categories have come and gone, changing with the tastes and interests of Fandom.

But the basic design of the Hugo Award itself has remained constant. A silver "cigar" rocket is the focal point of the award - the ever-steady work of art and science that instantly identifies the trophy as a Hugo.

The one thing that does change (every year) is the design of the base, the platform upon which the rocket trophy is mounted. Each year's Worldcon committee chooses a base design that compliments the award and is, in some way, thematic of the convention or its city or region.

L.A.con IV is continuing the recent trend for open Hugo Award design competitions. They are seeking artists and designers to craft bases worthy of this prestigious SF honor and which reflect the convention's theme of Space Cadets and/or its home region of Los Angeles and Southern California.

Three finalists will be selected. The person who submits the winning design will receive a full 5-day membership in L.A.con IV, a cash prize of $250, and the opportunity to introduce their base design as part of the Hugo Ceremony itself. The two other finalists will receive a full 5-day membership in L.A.con IV.

Some Guidelines and Specs:

1. Bases must be designed in such a way that the silver Hugo rocket is an integral part of the design. We will supply the rockets, which are to be bolted to the base from below the tailfins. Ease of attachment should be a design consideration.

2. The design must stand on a flat surface in some way (please do not craft a "hanging" design or one only appropriate for Zero-G).

3. Bases may be made of wood, metal, lucite, or any other material which has a fixed form. Materials which will change form when aged, heated, etc. should not be used.

4. You must allow space for a plaque containing the convention name, "Hugo Award", the category name, and, of course, the winner's name in an easy to read font.

5. The design must be sturdy and capable of being transported or shipped (assuming reasonable care in packing). Designs that can be easily disassembled (i.e. rocket removed from base) are preferred. Designs should avoid small attached elements which may break or become separated from the trophy. Excessively heavy designs should also be avoided.

6. L.A.con IV will want the designer to oversee the manufacture and construction of the approximately 20 bases that will be needed. While not required, entries from designers who can oversee construction will have an advantage in the judging.

Rocket Specifications:

* Height: 13 and 1/2 inches (340 mm) * Width: 2" across (5.1 cm) from fin-tip to fin-tip * Weight: 3 lb. 2 oz. (1.42 kg) * Bolt: 5/16-18 machine screw thread * Bolt-Hole: 0.625 inches deep (15mm)

Return of Materials and Confidentiality

The organisers regret that design entries cannot be returned. In addition, the winning design is traditionally only unveiled at the Hugo Ceremony and strict confidentiality will therefore apply to the winner and their design until the convention.

Deadlines & Other Requirements

Designs should be submitted by 15th January 2006 and should include appropriate drawings or renderings of your design or a physical sample.

Please tell them (1) how much it would cost to fabricate 25 bases, (2) the lead time needed for fabrication, and (3) your ability to either craft the bases or arrange for the work to be done. As a guideline, bases should cost less than $200 each (preferably much less) to fabricate and the finished bases should be received by L.A.con IV not later than 15 July 2006.

Please send designs, samples, or questions to us at or L.A.con IV; Attn: Hugo Bases; P.O. Box 8442; Van Nuys CA 91409. (Okay, send the samples to the P.O. Box. But if you figure out how to send a sample via e-mail, that would be really cool.)

Help carry on the proud, bold tradition of Space Cadets everywhere!

L.A.con IV, the 64th World Science Fiction Convention, will be held August 23rd-27th, 2006, in Anaheim, California. Their Guests of Honour are Connie Willis (author), James Gurney (artist), Howard DeVore (fan), and Frankie Thomas (special).

Check them out over at

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