John W. Campbell, Jr. Memorial Award

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(Did you mean mean the new writers’ award formerly known as the Campbell?)

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 John W. Campbell, Jr. Award For Best New Writer, which was voted on by the Hugo voters, had no connection. Both awards were named in honor of seminal Astounding Science Fiction editor John W. Campbell upon his death, but the other award was renamed the Astounding Award in 2019.

In 1987, a companion award, The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, was created to honor the best SF short story under 17,500 words published in English during the previous calendar year.

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 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.

The award was sponsored by the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction in Kansas and presented at their annual Campbell Conference. It was not awarded in 2020 or 2021 and the triple blows of Covid-19, the cancellation of Campbell, and the death of James E. Gunn seem to have killed it.

Year Novel Author
1973 Beyond Apollo Barry Malzberg
1978 Gateway Fred Pohl
2004 Omega Jack McDevitt
2005 Market Forces Richard Morgan
2006 Mindscan Robert J. Sawyer
2007 Titan Ben Bova
2008 In War Times Kathleen Ann Goonan
2009 Little Brother Cory Doctorow
2009 Song of Time Ian MacLeod
2010 The Windup Girl Paolo Bacigalupi
2011 The Dervish House Ian McDonald
2012 The Islanders Christopher Priest
2012 The Highest Frontier Joan Slonczewski
2013 Jack Glass: The Story of a Murderer Adam Roberts
2014 Strange Bodies Marcel Theroux
2015 The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August Claire North
2016 Radiomen Eleanor Lerman
2017 Central Station Lavie Tidhar
2018 The Genius Plague David Walton
2019 Blackfish City Sam J. Miller

Award 19732019
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