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What Does the Hugo Award in Fargo's "The Law of Vacant Places" Tell Us?

By Genevieve Burgess | Fargo | April 24, 2017 |

By Genevieve Burgess | Fargo | April 24, 2017 |

Noah Hawley’s Fargo returned to TV this past week and already is setting up questions that will define the season. As we know from previous seasons, not all of these questions will get answered. We only have the most basic idea of where the season is going so far, so all of us who make part of our living finding clues to obsess over on TV shows have our work cut out for us. But one detail in particular jumped out at me from the first episode: The object that Gloria picks up when she comes back to find Ennis Stussy’s door open is a Hugo Award. It it so identifiably a Hugo that even I, who do not follow the Hugos closely, said out-loud when she picked it up “That’s a Hugo award.” Take a look for yourself:



The silver rocket on a base follows the exact specifications laid out for the Hugo award trophies which means that someone did their research on how to fake a Hugo. However, it does not MATCH any of the Hugo Award trophies that actually exist, which means someone did even more research to make sure they weren’t exactly copying one. The closest versions are this 1998 trophy:


And this 1951 “Retro” version which was awarded in 2001:


I’d had a small amount of hope that the award had been picked to tie back to a particular year that was previously reference, either 1979 when the second season was set, or 1988 when the first scene of the episode was set. But, of course, that would be too easy. What is clear is that Ennis Stussy was a Sci-Fi writer of notable talent in his life, something that his step-daughter and grandson seem to be unaware of. It’s the kind of detail that seems odd to establish in the midst of revealing the central murder that will kick off the season, so it’s definitely going to come up later. Maybe those aliens from last season haven’t made their last appearance after all.