Death: July 11, 1971.
Comments: John W. Campbell, Jr. was an American science fiction author and editor. He attended M.I.T. and earned a B.S. from Duke University. Campbell had a relatively successful career as an author, publishing numerous short stories under his own name as well as under his pseudonyms Don A. Stuart, Karl van Kampen, and Arthur McCann.
Campbell made his biggest impact on genre fiction as the editor of Astounding Science Fiction (later renamed Analog Science Fiction), a position he held from 1937 until his death in 1971. As editor of Astounding, Campbell was one of the most influential individuals in the history of science fiction, and his views helped shape the genre for a large chunk of the twentieth century. As editor, Campbell was responsible for publishing early works by authors such as Lester del Rey, A.E. van Vogt, Isaac Asimov, Theodore Sturgeon, and Robert A. Heinlein, in many cases "discovering" them and publishing their very first professional work. His editorial preferences dominated the field of science fiction for his first ten years at Astounding. Magazines such as Galaxy and Fantasy & Science Fiction took editorial stances at least in part as reactions to Campbell's own editorial style, which is among the strongest evidence of his influence over the science fiction landscape of his day.
Later in his career, Campbell's influenced waned, in part due to the expansion of the genre fiction market, which grew to the point that a single magazine could not have as pervasive influence as Astounding had had when he took over the helm, but also in part because Campbell became a lover of crank theories and pseudoscience. He offended many with his editorials on slavery, was fascinated with fringe science such as ESP, and became infatuated with L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics. These obsessions caused many of the excellent authors he had gotten started in their careers to simply stop submitting stories to Analog, and resulted in a number of long-time friends distancing themselves from him.
During his career Campbell won eight Hugo awards. He was posthumously inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, and has two prominent genre fiction related awards named after him: The John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
My reviews of John W. Campbell, Jr.'s books:
Other books by John W. Campbell, Jr. that I have read but not reviewed:
Short fiction by John W. Campbell, Jr. appearing in books that I have reviewed:
Twilight found in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume I, 1929-1964
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