John W. Campbell

Last updated

John W. Campbell
Campbell in 1965
BornJohn Wood Campbell Jr.
(1910-06-08)June 8, 1910
Newark, New Jersey, United States
DiedJuly 11, 1971(1971-07-11) (aged 61)
Mountainside, New Jersey, United States
Pen nameDon A. Stuart
OccupationMagazine editor, writer
Nationality American
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology (no degree)
Duke University (BS, physics, 1934)
Genre Science fiction
Signature Signature of John W. Campbell, Jr..png

John Wood Campbell Jr. (June 8, 1910 – July 11, 1971) was an American science fiction writer and editor. He was editor of Astounding Science Fiction (later called Analog Science Fiction and Fact ) from late 1937 until his death and was part of the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Campbell wrote super-science space opera under his own name and stories under his primary pseudonym, Don A. Stuart. Campbell also used the pen names Karl Van Kampen and Arthur McCann. [1] His novella Who Goes There? was adapted as the films The Thing from Another World (1951), The Thing (1982), and The Thing (2011).


Campbell began writing science fiction at age 18 while attending MIT. He published six short stories, one novel, and six letters in the science fiction magazine Amazing Stories from 1930 to 1931. This work established Campbell's reputation as a writer of space adventure. When in 1934 he began to write stories with a different tone, he wrote as Don A. Stuart. From 1930 until the later part of that decade, Campbell was prolific and successful under both names, though he stopped writing fiction shortly after he became editor of Astounding in 1937.

It is as editor of Astounding Science Fiction from late 1937 until his death for which Campbell is primarily remembered today. Also, in 1939, Campbell started the fantasy magazine Unknown , although it was canceled after only four years. Referring to his time spent as an editor, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction states: "More than any other individual, he helped to shape modern sf." [2] Isaac Asimov called Campbell "the most powerful force in science fiction ever" and said the "first ten years of his editorship he dominated the field completely." [3] In his capacity as an editor, Campbell published some of the very earliest work, and helped shape the careers of virtually every important science-fiction author to debut between 1938 and 1946, including Robert A. Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke.

An increasingly strong interest in pseudoscience later alienated Campbell from Asimov. [4] In the 1960s, Campbell's controversial essays supporting segregation, and other remarks and writings surrounding slavery and race, served to distance him from many in the science fiction community. [5] [6] Nevertheless, Campbell remained an important figure in science fiction publishing up until his death. Campbell and Astounding shared one of the inaugural Hugo Awards with H. L. Gold and Galaxy at the 1953 World Science Fiction Convention. Subsequently, Campbell and Astounding won the Hugo Award for Best Professional Magazine seven times.

Shortly after his death in 1971, the University of Kansas science fiction program established the annual John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel and also renamed after him its annual Campbell Conference. The World Science Fiction Society established the annual John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, since renamed the Astounding Award for Best New Writer. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame inducted Campbell in 1996, in its inaugural class of two deceased and two living persons.


John Campbell was born in Newark, New Jersey, [7] in 1910. His father, John Wood Campbell Sr., was an electrical engineer. His mother, Dorothy (née Strahern) had an identical twin who visited them often and who disliked John. John was unable to tell them apart and says he was frequently rebuffed by the person he took to be his mother. [8] Campbell attended the Blair Academy, a boarding school in rural Warren County, New Jersey, but did not graduate because of lack of credits for French and trigonometry. [9] He also attended, without graduating, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he was befriended by the mathematician Norbert Wiener (who coined the term cybernetics ) – but he failed German and MIT dismissed him in his junior year in 1931. After two years at Duke University, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in physics in 1934. [10] [2] [11]

Campbell began writing science fiction at age 18 while attending MIT and sold his first stories quickly. From January 1930 to June 1931, Amazing Stories published six of his short stories, one novel, and six letters. [12] Campbell was editor of Astounding Science Fiction (later called Analog Science Fiction and Fact) from late 1937 until his death. He stopped writing fiction after he became editor of Astounding. Between December 11, 1957, and June 13, 1958, he hosted a weekly science fiction radio program called Exploring Tomorrow . The scripts were written by authors such as Gordon R. Dickson and Robert Silverberg. [13]

Campbell and Doña Stewart married in 1931. They divorced in 1949 and he married Margaret (Peg) Winter in 1950. He spent most of his life in New Jersey and died of heart failure at his home in Mountainside, New Jersey. [14] [15] [16] He was an atheist. [17]

Writing career

Campbell's first published story, "When the Atoms Failed", was cover-featured in the January 1930 issue of Amazing Stories Amazing stories 193001.jpg
Campbell's first published story, "When the Atoms Failed", was cover-featured in the January 1930 issue of Amazing Stories
Campbell as depicted in the January 1932 issue of Wonder Stories John W Campbell 193102.jpg
Campbell as depicted in the January 1932 issue of Wonder Stories
The first installment of Campbell's serial "Uncertainty" took the cover of the October 1936 issue of Amazing Stories Amazing stories 193610.jpg
The first installment of Campbell's serial "Uncertainty" took the cover of the October 1936 issue of Amazing Stories

Editor T. O'Conor Sloane lost Campbell's first manuscript that he accepted for Amazing Stories, entitled "Invaders of the Infinite". [2] "When the Atoms Failed" appeared in January 1930, followed by five more during 1930. Three were part of a space opera series featuring the characters Arcot, Morey, and Wade. A complete novel in the series, Islands of Space, was the cover story in the Spring 1931 Quarterly. [12] During 1934–35 a serial novel, The Mightiest Machine, ran in Astounding Stories, edited by F. Orlin Tremaine, and several stories featuring lead characters Penton and Blake appeared from late 1936 in Thrilling Wonder Stories , edited by Mort Weisinger. [12]

The early work for Amazing established Campbell's reputation as a writer of space adventure. When in 1934 he began to publish stories with a different tone he wrote as Don A. Stuart, a pseudonym derived from his wife's maiden name. [8]

From 1930 until the later part of that decade, Campbell was prolific and successful under both names. Three significant stories published under the pseudonym are Twilight (Astounding, November 1934), Night (Astounding, October 1935), and Who Goes There? (Astounding, August 1938). "Who Goes There?", about a group of Antarctic researchers who discover a crashed alien vessel, formerly inhabited by a malevolent shape-changing occupant, was published in Astounding almost a year after Campbell became its editor and it was his last significant piece of fiction, at age 28. It was filmed as The Thing from Another World (1951), The Thing (1982), and again as The Thing (2011).

Campbell held the amateur radio call sign W2ZGU, and wrote many articles on electronics and radio for a wide range of magazines.[ citation needed ]

Editing career

Tremaine hired Campbell to succeed him [18] as the editor of Astounding from its October 1937 issue. [12] [19] [20] Campbell was not given full authority for Astounding until May 1938, [21] but had been responsible for buying stories somewhat earlier. [Note 1] [19] [20] [23] He began to make changes almost immediately, instigating a "mutant" label for unusual stories, and in March 1938 changing the title from Astounding Stories to Astounding Science-Fiction.

Lester del Rey's first story, in March 1938, was an early find for Campbell, and in 1939, he published such an extraordinary group of new writers for the first time that the period is generally regarded as the beginning of the "Golden Age of Science Fiction", and the July 1939 issue in particular. [Note 2] The July issue contained A. E. van Vogt's first story, "Black Destroyer", and Asimov's early story "Trends"; August brought Robert A. Heinlein's first story, "Life-Line", and the next month Theodore Sturgeon's first story appeared.

Also in 1939, Campbell started the fantasy magazine Unknown (later Unknown Worlds). [25] Although Unknown was canceled after only four years, a victim of wartime paper shortages, the magazine's editorial direction was significant in the evolution of modern fantasy. [26]

The November 1949 issue Astounding November 1949.jpg
The November 1949 issue


The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction wrote: "More than any other individual, he helped to shape modern sf", [2] and Darrell Schweitzer credits him with having "decreed that SF writers should pull themselves up out of the pulp mire and start writing intelligently, for adults". [27] After 1950, new magazines such as Galaxy Science Fiction and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction moved in different directions and developed talented new writers who were not directly influenced by him. Campbell often suggested story ideas to writers (including "Write me a creature that thinks as well as a man, or better than a man, but not like a man" [28] ), and sometimes asked for stories to match cover paintings he had already bought.

Campbell had a strong formative influence on Asimov and eventually became a friend. [29] Asimov said of Campbell's influence on the field:

By his own example and by his instruction and by his undeviating and persisting insistence, he forced first Astounding and then all science fiction into his mold. He abandoned the earlier orientation of the field. He demolished the stock characters who had filled it; eradicated the penny dreadful plots; extirpated the Sunday-supplement science. In a phrase, he blotted out the purple of pulp. Instead, he demanded that science-fiction writers understand science and understand people, a hard requirement that many of the established writers of the 1930s could not meet. Campbell did not compromise because of that: those who could not meet his requirements could not sell to him, and the carnage was as great as it had been in Hollywood a decade before, while silent movies had given way to the talkies. [30]

One example of the type of speculative but plausible science fiction that Campbell demanded from his writers is "Deadline", a short story by Cleve Cartmill that appeared during the wartime year of 1944, a year before the detonation of the first atomic bomb. As Ben Bova, Campbell's successor as editor at Analog, wrote, it "described the basic facts of how to build an atomic bomb. Cartmill and Campbell worked together on the story, drawing their scientific information from papers published in the technical journals before the war. To them, the mechanics of constructing a uranium-fission bomb seemed perfectly obvious." The FBI descended on Campbell's office after the story appeared in print and demanded that the issue be removed from the newsstands. Campbell convinced them that by removing the magazine "the FBI would be advertising to everyone that such a project existed and was aimed at developing nuclear weapons" and the demand was dropped. [31]

Campbell was also responsible for the grim and controversial ending of Tom Godwin's short story "The Cold Equations". Writer Joe Green recounted that Campbell had

three times sent 'Cold Equations' back to Godwin, before he got the version he wanted ... Godwin kept coming up with ingenious ways to save the girl! Since the strength of this deservedly classic story lies in the fact that the life of one young woman must be sacrificed to save the lives of many, it simply would not have the same impact if she had lived. [32]

Between December 11, 1957, and June 13, 1958, Campbell hosted a weekly science fiction radio program called Exploring Tomorrow .


Slavery, race, and segregation

Green wrote that Campbell "enjoyed taking the 'devil's advocate' position in almost any area, willing to defend even viewpoints with which he disagreed if that led to a livelier debate". As an example, he wrote:

[Campbell] pointed out that the much-maligned 'peculiar institution' of slavery in the American South had in fact provided the blacks brought there with a higher standard of living than they had in Africa ... I suspected, from comments by Asimov, among others – and some Analog editorials I had read – that John held some racist views, at least in regard to blacks.

Finally, however, Green agreed with Campbell that "rapidly increasing mechanization after 1850 would have soon rendered slavery obsolete anyhow. It would have been better for the USA to endure it a few more years than suffer the truly horrendous costs of the Civil War." [33] In a June 1961 editorial called "Civil War Centennial", Campbell argued that slavery had been a dominant form of human relationships for most of history and that the present was unusual in that anti-slavery cultures dominated the planet. He wrote,

It's my bet that the South would have been integrated by 1910. The job would have been done – and done right – half a century sooner, with vastly less human misery, and with almost no bloodshed ... The only way slavery has ever been ended, anywhere, is by introducing industry ... If a man is a skilled and competent machinist – if the lathes work well under his hands – the industrial management will be forced, to remain in business, to accept that fact, whether the man be black, white, purple, or polka-dotted. [34]

According to Michael Moorcock, Campbell suggested that some people preferred slavery.

He also, when faced with the Watts riots of the mid-sixties, seriously proposed and went on to proposing that there were 'natural' slaves who were unhappy if freed. I sat on a panel with him in 1965, as he pointed out that the worker bee when unable to work dies of misery, that the moujiks when freed went to their masters and begged to be enslaved again, that the ideals of the anti-slavers who fought in the Civil War were merely expressions of self-interest and that the blacks were 'against' emancipation, which was fundamentally why they were indulging in 'leaderless' riots in the suburbs of Los Angeles. [6]

In 1963, Campbell published an essay supporting segregated schools and arguing that "the Negro race" had failed to "produce super-high-geniuses". [35] In 1965, he continued his defense of segregation and related practices, critiquing "the arrogant defiance of law by many of the Negro 'Civil Rights' groups". [36] On February 10, 1967, Campbell rejected Samuel R. Delany's Nova a month before it was ultimately published, with a note and phone call to his agent explaining that he did not feel his readership "would be able to relate to a black main character". [37]

Medicine and health

Campbell was a critic of government regulation of health and safety, excoriating numerous public health initiatives and regulations.

Campbell was a heavy smoker throughout his life and was seldom seen without his customary cigarette holder. In the Analog of September 1964, nine months after the Surgeon General's first major warning about the dangers of cigarette smoking had been issued (January 11, 1964) Campbell ran an editorial, "A Counterblaste to Tobacco" that took its title from the anti-smoking book of the same name by King James I of England. [38] In it, he stated that the connection to lung cancer was "esoteric" and referred to "a barely determinable possible correlation between cigarette smoking and cancer". He said that tobacco's calming effects led to more effective thinking. [39]

However, in a one-page piece about automobile safety in the Analog dated May 1967, Campbell wrote of "people suddenly becoming conscious of the fact that cars kill more people than cigarettes do, even if the antitobacco alarmists were completely right..." [40]

His critiques of government regulation of health risks were not limited to tobacco. In 1963, Campbell published an angry editorial about Frances Oldham Kelsey who, while at the FDA, refused to permit thalidomide to be sold in the United States. [41]

In a number of other essays, Campbell supported crank medicine, arguing that government regulation was more harmful than beneficial [42] and that regulating quackery prevented the use of many possible beneficial medicines (e.g., krebiozen). [43] [44]

Pseudoscience, parapsychology, and politics

In the 1930s, Campbell became interested in Joseph Rhine's theories about ESP (Rhine had already founded the Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke University when Campbell was a student there), [45] and over the following years his growing interest in parapsychology would be reflected in the stories he published when he encouraged the writers to include these topics in their tales, [46] leading to the publication of numerous works about telepathy and other "psionic" abilities. This post-war "psi-boom" [47] has been dated by science fiction scholars to roughly the mid-1950s to the early 1960s, and continues to influence many popular culture tropes and motifs. However, Campbell rejected the Shaver Mystery in which the author claimed to have had a personal experience with a sinister ancient civilization that harbored fantastic technology in caverns under the earth.

His increasing beliefs in pseudoscience would eventually start to isolate and alienate him from some of his own writers. He wrote favorably about such things as the "Dean drive", a device that supposedly produced thrust in violation of Newton's third law, and the "Hieronymus machine", which could supposedly amplify psi powers. [48] [Note 3] [Note 4]

In 1949, Campbell worked closely with L. Ron Hubbard on the techniques that Hubbard would later turn into Dianetics. When Hubbard's therapy failed to find support from the medical community, Campbell published the earliest forms of Dianetics in Astounding. [50] He wrote of L. Ron Hubbard's initial article in Astounding that "[i]t is, I assure you in full and absolute sincerity, one of the most important articles ever published." [48]

Campbell continued to promote Hubbard's theories until 1952, when the pair split acrimoniously over the direction of the movement. [51]

Asimov wrote: "A number of writers wrote pseudoscientific stuff to ensure sales to Campbell, but the best writers retreated, I among them. ..." [4] Elsewhere Asimov went on to further explain,

Campbell championed far-out ideas ... He pained very many of the men he had trained (including me) in doing so, but felt it was his duty to stir up the minds of his readers and force curiosity right out to the border lines. He began a series of editorials ... in which he championed a social point of view that could sometimes be described as far right (he expressed sympathy for George Wallace in the 1968 national election, for instance). There was bitter opposition to this from many (including me – I could hardly ever read a Campbell editorial and keep my temper). [5]

Assessment by peers

Damon Knight described Campbell as a "portly, bristled-haired blond man with a challenging stare". [52] "Six-foot-one, with hawklike features, he presented a formidable appearance," said Sam Moskowitz. [53] "He was a tall, large man with light hair, a beaky nose, a wide face with thin lips, and with a cigarette in a holder forever clamped between his teeth", wrote Asimov. [54]

Algis Budrys wrote that "John W. Campbell was the greatest editor SF has seen or is likely to see, and is in fact one of the major editors in all English-language literature in the middle years of the twentieth century. All about you is the heritage of what he built". [55]

Asimov said that Campbell was "talkative, opinionated, quicksilver-minded, overbearing. Talking to him meant listening to a monologue..." [54] Knight agreed: "Campbell's lecture-room manner was so unpleasant to me that I was unwilling to face it. Campbell talked a good deal more than he listened, and he liked to say outrageous things." [56]

British novelist and critic Kingsley Amis dismissed Campbell brusquely: "I might just add as a sociological note that the editor of Astounding, himself a deviant figure of marked ferocity, seems to think he has invented a psi machine." [57]

Several science-fiction novelists have criticized Campbell as prejudiced – Samuel R. Delany for Campbell's rejection of a novel due to the black main character, [37] and Joe Haldeman in the dedication of Forever Peace , for rejecting a novel due to a female soldier protagonist.

British science-fiction novelist Michael Moorcock, as part of his "Starship Stormtroopers" editorial, said Campbell's Stories and its writers were "wild-eyed paternalists to a man, fierce anti-socialists" with "[stories] full of crew-cut wisecracking, cigar-chewing, competent guys (like Campbell's image of himself)", who had success because their "work reflected the deep-seated conservatism of the majority of their readers, who saw a Bolshevik menace in every union meeting". He viewed Campbell as turning the magazine into a vessel for right-wing politics, "by the early 1950s ... a crypto-fascist deeply philistine magazine pretending to intellectualism and offering idealistic kids an 'alternative' that was, of course, no alternative at all". [6]

SF writer Alfred Bester, an editor of Holiday Magazine and a sophisticated Manhattanite, recounted at some length his "one demented meeting" with Campbell, a man he imagined from afar to be "a combination of Bertrand Russell and Ernest Rutherford". The first thing Campbell said to him was that Freud was dead, destroyed by the new discovery of Dianetics, which, he predicted, would win L. Ron Hubbard the Nobel Peace Prize. Campbell ordered the bemused Bester to "think back. Clear yourself. Remember! You can remember when your mother tried to abort you with a button hook. You've never stopped hating her for it." Bester commented: "It reinforced my private opinion that a majority of the science-fiction crowd, despite their brilliance, were missing their marbles." [58]

Campbell died in 1971 at the age of 61 in Mountainside, New Jersey. [59] At the time of his sudden death after 34 years at the helm of Analog, Campbell's quirky personality and eccentric editorial demands had alienated a number of his most illustrious writers to the point that they no longer submitted works to him. After 1950, Theodore Sturgeon only published one story in Astounding but dozens in other magazines. [60]

Asimov remained grateful for Campbell's early friendship and support. He dedicated The Early Asimov (1972) to him, and concluded it by stating that "There is no way at all to express how much he meant to me and how much he did for me except, perhaps, to write this book evoking, once more, those days of a quarter century ago". [61] His final word on Campbell, however, was that "in the last twenty years of his life, he was only a diminishing shadow of what he had once been." [4] Even Heinlein, perhaps Campbell's most important discovery and a "fast friend", [62] eventually tired of him. [63] [64]

Poul Anderson wrote that Campbell "had saved and regenerated science fiction", which had become "the product of hack pulpsters" when he took over Astounding. "By his editorial policies and the help and encouragement he gave his writers (always behind the scenes), he raised both the literary and the intellectual standard anew. Whatever progress has been made stems from that renaissance". [65]

Awards and honors

Shortly after Campbell's death, the University of Kansas science fiction program — now the Center for the Study of Science Fiction  — established the annual John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel and also renamed after him its annual Campbell Conference. The World Science Fiction Society established the annual John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. All three memorials became effective in 1973. However, following Jeannette Ng's August 2019 acceptance speech of the award for Best New Writer at Worldcon 77, in which she criticized Campbell's politics and called him a fascist, the publishers of Analog magazine announced that the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer would immediately be renamed to "The Astounding Award for Best New Writer". [66]

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame inducted Campbell in 1996, in its inaugural class of two deceased and two living persons. [67]

Campbell and Astounding shared one of the inaugural Hugo Awards with H. L. Gold and Galaxy at the 1953 World Science Fiction Convention. Subsequently, he won the Hugo Award for Best Professional Magazine seven times to 1965. [68] In 2018 he won a retrospective Hugo Award for Best Editor, Short Form (1943). [69]

The Martian impact crater Campbell was named after him. [70]


This shortened bibliography lists each title once. Some titles that are duplicated are different versions, whereas other publications of Campbell's with different titles are simply selections from or retitlings of other works, and have hence been omitted. The main bibliographic sources are footnoted from this paragraph and provided much of the information in the following sections. [2] [20] [71] [72] [73]


Short story collections and omnibus editions

Edited books


Memorial works

Memorial works (Festschrift) include:

Further reading

Marowski, Daniel G. and Stine, Jean C. “John W(ood) Campbell, Jr. (1910-1971).” Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 32, 1985: 71-82 Literature Criticism Online. Web. November 2, 2011.

Nevala-Lee, Alec. "Astounding" 2018. Morrow/Dey Street. ISBN   9780062571946

See also


  1. An editorial notice in the April 1938 issue made it clear Campbell was responsible for stories appearing as early as February. The editorial note was not signed, but it refers to stories bought for the last three issues, [22] one of which (Lester del Rey's "The Faithful") is known to have been bought by Campbell. [19]
  2. For example, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction says "The beginning of Campbell's particular Golden Age of SF can be pinpointed as the summer of 1939," and goes on to begin the discussion with the July 1939 issue. [2] Lester del Rey comments that "July was the turning point." [24]
  3. Science-fiction writer and critic Damon Knight commented in his book In Search of Wonder : "In the pantheon of magazine science fiction there is no more complex and puzzling figure than that of John Campbell, and certainly none odder." Knight also wrote a four-stanza ditty about some of Campbell's new interests. The first stanza reads:
    Oh, the Dean Machine, the Dean Machine,
    You put it right in a submarine,
    And it flies so high that it cannot be seen 
    The wonderful, wonderful Dean Machine!
  4. In 1957, novelist and critic James Blish tallied: "From the professional writer's point of view, the primary interest in Astounding Science Fiction continues to center on the editor's preoccupation with extrasensory powers and perceptions ('psi') as a springboard for stories ... 113 pages of the total editorial content of the January and February 1957 issues of this magazine are devoted to psi, and 172 to non-psi material ... By including the first part of a serial that later becomes a novel about psi the total for these first two issues of 1957 is 145 pages of psi text, and 140 pages of non-psi." [49]

Related Research Articles

Hal Clement American author and artist

Harry Clement Stubbs, better known by the pen name Hal Clement, was an American science fiction writer and a leader of the hard science fiction subgenre. He also painted astronomically oriented artworks under the name George Richard.

Astounding Award for Best New Writer Annual awards for science fiction or fantasy

The Astounding Award for Best New Writer is given annually to the best new writer whose first professional work of science fiction or fantasy was published within the two previous calendar years. It is named after Astounding Science Fiction, a foundational science fiction magazine. The award is sponsored by Dell Magazines, which publishes Analog.

Lester del Rey American science fiction author (1915–1993)

Lester del Rey was an American science fiction author and editor. He was the author of many books in the juvenile Winston Science Fiction series, and the editor at Del Rey Books, the fantasy and science fiction imprint of Ballantine Books, along with his fourth wife Judy-Lynn del Rey.

Harry Harrison (writer) American science fiction author

Harry Max Harrison was an American science fiction author, known mostly for his character The Stainless Steel Rat and for his novel Make Room! Make Room! (1966). The latter was the rough basis for the motion picture Soylent Green (1973). Long resident in both Ireland and the United Kingdom, Harrison was involved in the foundation of the Irish Science Fiction Association, and was, with Brian Aldiss, co-president of the Birmingham Science Fiction Group.

In American science fiction of the 1950s and '60s, psionics was a proposed discipline that applied principles of engineering to the study of paranormal or psychic phenomena, such as telepathy and psychokinesis. The term is a portmanteau formed from psi and the -onics from electronics. The word "psionics" began as, and always remained, a term of art within the science fiction community and—despite the promotional efforts of editor John W. Campbell, Jr—it never achieved general currency, even among academic parapsychologists. In the years after the term was coined in 1951, it became increasingly evident that no scientific evidence supports the existence of "psionic" abilities.

<i>Unknown</i> (magazine) American pulp fantasy magazine published from 1939 to 1943

Unknown was an American pulp fantasy fiction magazine, published from 1939 to 1943 by Street & Smith, and edited by John W. Campbell. Unknown was a companion to Street & Smith's science fiction pulp, Astounding Science Fiction, which was also edited by Campbell at the time; many authors and illustrators contributed to both magazines. The leading fantasy magazine in the 1930s was Weird Tales, which focused on shock and horror. Campbell wanted to publish a fantasy magazine with more finesse and humor than Weird Tales, and put his plans into action when Eric Frank Russell sent him the manuscript of his novel Sinister Barrier, about aliens who own the human race. Unknown's first issue appeared in March 1939; in addition to Sinister Barrier, it included H. L. Gold's "Trouble With Water", a humorous fantasy about a New Yorker who meets a water gnome. Gold's story was the first of many in Unknown to combine commonplace reality with the fantastic.

Frederick Orlin Tremaine was an American science fiction magazine editor, most notably of the influential Astounding Stories. He edited a number of other magazines, headed several publishing companies, and sporadically wrote fiction.

"The Cold Equations" is a science fiction short story by American writer Tom Godwin, first published in Astounding Magazine in August 1954. In 1970, the Science Fiction Writers of America selected it as one of the best science-fiction short stories published before 1965, and it was therefore included in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929–1964. The story has been widely anthologized and dramatized.

Science fiction magazine

A science fiction magazine is a publication that offers primarily science fiction, either in a hard-copy periodical format or on the Internet. Science fiction magazines traditionally featured speculative fiction in short story, novelette, novella or novel form, a format that continues into the present day. Many also contain editorials, book reviews or articles, and some also include stories in the fantasy and horror genres.

The first Golden Age of Science Fiction, often recognized in the United States as the period from 1938 to 1946, was an era during which the science fiction genre gained wide public attention and many classic science fiction stories were published. In the history of science fiction, the Golden Age follows the "pulp era" of the 1920s and 1930s, and precedes New Wave science fiction of the 1960s and 1970s. The 1950s are a transitional period in this scheme; however, Robert Silverberg, who came of age in the 1950s, saw that decade as the true Golden Age.

Cleve Cartmill American journalist

Cleve Cartmill was an American writer of science fiction and fantasy short stories. He is best remembered for what is sometimes referred to as "the Cleve Cartmill affair", when his 1944 story "Deadline" attracted the attention of the FBI by reason of its detailed description of a nuclear weapon similar to that being developed by the highly classified Manhattan Project.

History of science fiction Aspect of history

The literary genre of science fiction is diverse, and its exact definition remains a contested question among both scholars and devotees. This lack of consensus is reflected in debates about the genre's history, particularly over determining its exact origins. There are two broad camps of thought, one that identifies the genre's roots in early fantastical works such as the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh. A second approach argues that science fiction only became possible sometime between the 17th and early 19th centuries, following the scientific revolution and major discoveries in astronomy, physics, and mathematics.

John W. Campbell bibliography Wikipedia bibliography

This is a bibliography of works by American writer John W. Campbell Jr.

<i>Super Science Stories</i> US pulp science fiction magazine

Super Science Stories was an American pulp science fiction magazine published by Popular Publications from 1940 to 1943, and again from 1949 to 1951. Popular launched it under their Fictioneers imprint, which they used for magazines, paying writers less than one cent per word. Frederik Pohl was hired in late 1939, at 19 years old, to edit the magazine; he also edited Astonishing Stories, a companion science fiction publication. Pohl left in mid-1941 and Super Science Stories was given to Alden H. Norton to edit; a few months later Norton rehired Pohl as an assistant. Popular gave Pohl a very low budget, so most manuscripts submitted to Super Science Stories had already been rejected by the higher-paying magazines. This made it difficult to acquire good fiction, but Pohl was able to acquire stories for the early issues from the Futurians, a group of young science fiction fans and aspiring writers.

<i>Sinister Barrier</i>

Sinister Barrier is an English language science fiction novel by British writer Eric Frank Russell. The novel originally appeared in the magazine Unknown in 1939, the first novel to appear in its pages. It was first published in book form in 1943 by The World's Work, Ltd. Russell revised and expanded the book for its first US publication by Fantasy Press in 1948. Most subsequent editions were based on the Fantasy Press version.

<i>Analog Science Fiction and Fact</i> US science fiction magazine

Analog Science Fiction and Fact is an American science fiction magazine published under various titles since 1930. Originally titled Astounding Stories of Super-Science, the first issue was dated January 1930, published by William Clayton, and edited by Harry Bates. Clayton went bankrupt in 1933 and the magazine was sold to Street & Smith. The new editor was F. Orlin Tremaine, who soon made Astounding the leading magazine in the nascent pulp science fiction field, publishing well-regarded stories such as Jack Williamson's Legion of Space and John W. Campbell's "Twilight". At the end of 1937, Campbell took over editorial duties under Tremaine's supervision, and the following year Tremaine was let go, giving Campbell more independence. Over the next few years Campbell published many stories that became classics in the field, including Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, A. E. van Vogt's Slan, and several novels and stories by Robert A. Heinlein. The period beginning with Campbell's editorship is often referred to as the Golden Age of Science Fiction.

Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, better known as L. Ron Hubbard, was an American pulp fiction author. He wrote in a wide variety of genres, including science fiction, fantasy, adventure fiction, aviation, travel, mystery, western, and romance. His United States publisher and distributor is Galaxy Press. He is perhaps best known for his self-help book, the #1 New York Times bestseller Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, and as the founder of the Church of Scientology.

History of US science fiction and fantasy magazines to 1950 Science-fiction and fantasy magazine history

Science-fiction and fantasy magazines began to be published in the United States in the 1920s. Stories with science-fiction themes had been appearing for decades in pulp magazines such as Argosy, but there were no magazines that specialized in a single genre until 1915, when Street & Smith, one of the major pulp publishers, brought out Detective Story Magazine. The first magazine to focus solely on fantasy and horror was Weird Tales, which was launched in 1923, and established itself as the leading weird fiction magazine over the next two decades; writers such as H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard became regular contributors. In 1926 Weird Tales was joined by Amazing Stories, published by Hugo Gernsback; Amazing printed only science fiction, and no fantasy. Gernsback included a letter column in Amazing Stories, and this led to the creation of organized science-fiction fandom, as fans contacted each other using the addresses published with the letters. Gernsback wanted the fiction he printed to be scientifically accurate, and educational, as well as entertaining, but found it difficult to obtain stories that met his goals; he printed "The Moon Pool" by Abraham Merritt in 1927, despite it being completely unscientific. Gernsback lost control of Amazing Stories in 1929, but quickly started several new magazines. Wonder Stories, one of Gernsback's titles, was edited by David Lasser, who worked to improve the quality of the fiction he received. Another early competitor was Astounding Stories of Super-Science, which appeared in 1930, edited by Harry Bates, but Bates printed only the most basic adventure stories with minimal scientific content, and little of the material from his era is now remembered.

Alec Nevala-Lee

Alec Nevala-Lee is an American novelist, biographer, and science fiction writer. He was a Hugo and Locus Award finalist for the group biography Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction. His next book will be Inventor of the Future, a biography of the architectural designer and futurist Buckminster Fuller.

<i>The Analog Anthology 1</i>

The Analog Anthology #1 is an anthology of science fiction stories and articles drawn from Analog magazine over its first fifty years of publication, edited by then-current Analog editor Stanley Schmidt. It was first published in paperback by Davis Publications in December 1980, and reprinted under the alternate title Fifty Years of the Best Science Fiction from Analog in 1982. A hardcover edition was issued under the alternate title Analog’s Golden Anniversary Anthology in 1981.


  1. Clute & Nicholls (1995), pp. 187–188.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Edwards (1993), p. 199.
  3. Asimov (1994), p. 73.
  4. 1 2 3 Asimov (1994), p. 74.
  5. 1 2 Asimov (1973), p. xii.
  6. 1 2 3 Michael Moorcock. "Starship Stormtroopers". Archived from the original on December 24, 2002.
  7. Ash, Brian (1976). Who's Who in Science Fiction. London: Elm Tree Books. p. 63. ISBN   0-241-89383-6.
  8. 1 2 Amazing Stories. August 1963. p. 101.
  9. Alec Nevala-Lee (2018). Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction. New York: Dey Street Books / HarperCollins. ISBN   9780062571946., chapter 1.
  10. Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact. October 1971. p. 4.
  11. Nevala-Lee (2018), p. 57.
  12. 1 2 3 4 John W. Campbell at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved April 13, 2013.
  13. Bould, Mark; Vint, Sherryl (February 28, 2011). The Routledge Concise History of Science Fiction. Routledge. ISBN   9781136820403.
  14. Asimov (1973), p. ix.
  15. "John W. Campbell". NNDB. Soylent Communications.
  16. Staff. "John W. Campbell of Analog, Science Magazine, Dead at 61", The New York Times , July 13, 1971. Accessed November 26, 2018. "Mountainside, N.J., July 12—John. W. Campbell, editor of Analog, a leading science fiction and fact magazine, who was also a writer and anthologist, died, yesterday of a heart ailment at his home, 1457 Orchard Road."
  17. Paul Malmont (2011). The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown: A Novel. Simon and Schuster. p. 34. ISBN   978-1-4391-6893-6. For, even though John W. Campbell was an avowed atheist, when the most powerful ed at Street & Smith lost his temper, he put the fear of God into others.
  18. "The Science-Fiction Association Report". NOVAE TERRAE #19. Vol. 2, no. 7. December 1937. p. 18. Retrieved July 31, 2014 via
  19. 1 2 3 del Rey, Lester (1976). The Early del Rey. New York: Ballantine Books. pp. 4–7, 18. ISBN   0-345-25063-X.
  20. 1 2 3 Tuck, Donald H. (1974). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Volume 1 . Chicago: Advent: Publishers, Inc. p. 87. ISBN   0-911682-20-1.
  21. del Rey, Lester (1979). The World of Science Fiction and Fantasy: The History of a Subculture. New York: Ballantine Books. p.  91. ISBN   0-345-25452-X.
  22. Astounding Science-Fiction. April 1938. p. 125.
  23. "Statement of ownership". Astounding Science-Fiction. November 1937. p. 159. The statement listed Tremaine as the editor as of October 1, 1937.
  24. del Rey, Lester (1979). The World of Science Fiction and Fantasy: The History of a Subculture. New York: Ballantine Books. p.  94. ISBN   0-345-25452-X.
  25. Phil Stephensen-Payne. "Street & Smith's Unknown". Galactic Central. Galactic Central Publications. Retrieved March 25, 2018. "Unknown (magazine)". Retrieved July 1, 2009.
  26. Joshi, S T (December 2006). Icons of horror and the supernatural. Greenwood Press. p. 600. ISBN   978-0-313-33780-2 . Retrieved July 1, 2009.
  27. "Books, by Darrell Schweitzer: SERIOUS FICTION", in Aboriginal Science Fiction March/April 1989
  28. Rudick, Nicole (July 18, 2019). "A Universe of One's Own". The New York Review of Books. ISSN   0028-7504 . Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  29. Gunn, James (1982). Isaac Asimov: The Foundations of Science Fiction . Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp.  12–13, 20. ISBN   0-19-503059-1.
  30. Asimov (1973), pp. ix–x.
  31. Ben Bova (1975), pp. 66–67.
  32. Joe Green (2006), p. 13.
  33. Joe Green (2006), p. 15.
  34. "Editorial". Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact. June 1961. p. 5.
  35. Campbell, "Segregation" (1963).
  36. Campbell, "Breakthrough in Psychology!" (1965).
  37. 1 2 Samuel R. Delany (August 1998). "Racism and Science Fiction". The New York Review of Science Fiction. No. 120.
  38. "Editorial". Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact. June 1961. p. 8.
  39. "Editorial". Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact. September 1964. p. 8.
  40. "Unsafe at High Speed". Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact. May 1967. p. 80.
  41. Campbell (January 1963). "The Lesson of Thalidomide". Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact. Retrieved April 4, 2018 via Science Fiction Project - Free Culture.
  42. Campbell, "The Value of Panic" (1956).
  43. Campbell, "Fully Identified..." (1964)
  44. Campbell, "Louis Pasteur, Medical Quack" (1964)
  45. "Full text of 'Who Goes There?'". Archived from the original on March 20, 2016. Retrieved March 26, 2018. 'I guess you and I, Doc, weren't so sensitive – if you want to believe in telepathy.' 'I have to,' Copper sighted. 'Dr. Rhine of Duke University has shown that it exist, shown that some are much more sensitive than others.'
  46. Larry McCaffery (July 1991). "An Interview with Jack Williamson". Science Fiction Studies. 18, Part 2. ISSN   0091-7729. He had gotten interested in the work that Joseph Rhine was conducting in psi phenomena at Duke University. I had written With Folded Hands without consultation with Campbell at all. He liked it and accepted it for publication, but he suggested that I look into Rhine.
  47. Nicholls, Peter and Brian Stableford: Entry, "ESP" in Clute, John; Nicholls, Peter (1995), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction , New York: St. Martin's Press, pp. 390–391.
  48. 1 2 Astounding Science Fiction. April 1950. p. 132.
  49. James Blish (1970), pp. 86–87.
  50. "Dawn of Dianetics: L. Ron Hubbard, John W. Campbell, and the Origins of Scientology". October 23, 2018.
  51. "Bare-Faced Messiah: Chapter 10".
  52. Aldiss & Harrison (1975), p. 114.
  53. Moskowitz (1967).
  54. 1 2 Asimov (1994), p. 72.
  55. Algis Budrys (2013). Benchmarks Revisited. Vol. 2 1983–1986. Ansible Editions. p. 241. ISBN   9781291436044 . Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  56. Aldiss & Harrison (1975), p. 133.
  57. Amis (1960), p. 84.
  58. Aldiss & Harrison (1975), p. 57.
  59. Solstein, Eric; Moosnick, Gregory (May 23, 2002). "Appendix F: Obituary from The New York Times (July 13, 1971)" (PDF). John W. Campbell's Golden Age of Science Fiction: Text Supplement to the DVD. Digital Media Zone. pp. 98–100. Retrieved May 28, 2010.
  60. Latham, Rob (2009). "Fiction, 1950-1963". In Bould, Mark; Butler, Andrew M.; Roberts, Adam; Vint, Sherryl (eds.). The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction. Routledge. pp. 80–89. ISBN   978-1-135-22836-1.
  61. Asimov, Isaac (1972). The Early Asimov or, Eleven Years of Trying . Doubleday. p.  564. OL   5296223M.
  62. Virginia Heinlein (1989), p. 8.
  63. Virginia Heinlein (1989), p. 36 "When Podkayne was offered to him, he wrote Robert, asking what he knew about raising young girls in a few thousand carefully chosen words. The friendship dwindled, and was eventually completely gone."
  64. Virginia Heinlein (1989), p. 152. In 1963, Heinlein wrote his agent to say that a rejection from another magazine was "pleasanter than offering copy to John Campbell, having it bounced (he bounced both of my last two Hugo Award winners) – and then have to wade through ten pages of his arrogant insults, explaining to me why my story is no good."
  65. Poul Anderson (1997). "John Campbell". All One Universe: A Collection of Fiction and Nonfiction. Tom Doherty Associates. ISBN   978-0-312-87065-2.
  66. "A statement from the Editor". Analog Science Fiction and Fact. August 27, 2019.
  67. "Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on May 21, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2013. This was the official website of the hall of fame until 2004.
  68. "The Locus Index to SF Awards (Campbell, John W., Jr.)". Locus Publications. Archived from the original on March 24, 2013. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
  69. 1943 Retro-Hugo winners at the official website
  70. Sagan, Carl (May 28, 1978). "Growing up with Science Fiction". The New York Times. p. SM7. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  71. Currey, L.W. (1979). Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors: A Bibliography of First Printings of Their Fiction . Boston: G.K. Hall & Co. p.  97. ISBN   0-8161-8242-6.
  72. William G. Contento (2003). "Index to Science Fiction Anthologies and Collections, Combined Edition". Archived from the original on September 8, 2007.
  73. Reginald, R. (1979). Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature: Volume 1: Indexes to the Literature . Detroit: Gale Research Company. pp.  88–89. ISBN   0-810-31051-1.

Further reading


Biography and criticism

Bibliography and works