My Mini-Quest for a Retro Hugo Holy Grail

Earlier this month, I began the process of finding all the Retro Hugo Finalists short fiction selections in various anthologies through my wonderful local libraries and the miracle of the modern world commonly known as inter-library loan (ILL for short).  I requested the majority of the anthologies through my local home library in Lansing but the one I thought would have the least chance of fulfillment I requested through my other favorite library, the Kansas City Public Library.  Two of the short stories finalists for the 1943 Retro Hugo were only available in an anthology which was last printed in 1980.  I searched various websites that sell used books but as I suspected, any copies of Asimov’s The Great SF Stories 4: 1942 were hard to find and priced accordingly.  I should not have been surprised when I received an email from KCPL letting me know my ILL was ready for pickup at the Plaza Branch.  I took a quick break yesterday afternoon to retrieve it as well as another anthology that contains one of the best novel finalists for the 1943 Retro Hugo.


The lending library is located in New Mexico and I’m very relieved one of the libraries provided a plastic slip cover to protect the paperback, which is really starting to show its age but is in amazing condition considering it was printed in 1980.  The pages are yellow but I can tell the glue is getting brittle in the spine.  Thankfully, both stories I need to read – “Proof” and “Mimic” – are very short, so I will be able to return this paperback sometime next week.


The second book in the first photograph above I stumbled upon last week when searching for the last of the best novel finalists for the 1943 Retro Hugo. I couldn’t find a print edition of Darkness and the Light by Olaf Stephenson but kept stumbling across the Utopia Reader in my search results. With a bit more digging, I discerned that print edition was an anthology of various stories and novels published during the last three or four centuries.


With these two checkouts, I now have everything I need either in print, audiobook or ebook to complete my 1943 Retro Hugo reading.  In addition to the print editions below, I also checked out audiobooks of Foundation and I, Robot (both written by Asimov) this week.  I’ve already previously read the three selections nominated from those two books, but I’m looking forwarding to re-reading them by listening to an audio edition.


I’m thrilled I attained my personal ‘Holy Grail’ quest for hard-to-find sometimes out-of-print editions.  Now I just have to finish reading all of these before the checkout periods expire!

Who needs sleep when so many great reading adventures await.

4 thoughts on “My Mini-Quest for a Retro Hugo Holy Grail”

    1. That depends on the lending library that fulfilled the interlibrary loan. Sometimes, especially when the books are rare and out-of-print, you can’t renew them. You definitely can’t wait until the day they are do to attempt a renewal. If it looks like I can’t finish the book before the due date, I usually contact my local library with at least 3-5 days to spare so they have time to contact the lending library to secure permission to extend the lending period.

Comments are closed.