The idea for the juried John W. Campbell, Jr. Memorial Award for best science-fiction novel of the year (not to be confused with the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer) came from SF writers Harry Harrison and Brian W. Aldiss.
Harrison wrote: “The Hugo and Nebula mean a lot as far as money goes, if you mention them on a book cover. But one award, I won’t tell you which, I really have seen won by ballot-box stuffing… Something rotten always wins awards; which is why Brian Aldiss and I founded the Campbell award, which is voted by a handful of people who have critical, writing, or editing experience, enjoy science fiction, and also have experience of literature outside of science fiction.”
The first recipient of the Campbell Memorial Award was Barry N. Malzberg in 1973 for his novel Beyond Apollo. (The irony that this novel would not have been at all to Campbell's liking at all has not been lost.) For the most part, winners of this award have made interesting contrasts to the Hugo and Nebula winners, honoring some works that otherwise would have escaped notice.
|1973||Beyond Apollo||Barry Malzberg|
|2010||The Windup Girl||Paolo Bacigalupi|
|2011||The Dervish House||Ian McDonald|