John Wood Campbell Jr. (1910 – 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. His novella Who Goes There? was adapted as the films The Thing from Another World (1951), Horror Express (1972), The Thing (1982), and The Thing (2011).
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. 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.” 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.
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.
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. In 2018 he won a retrospective Hugo Award for Best Editor, Short Form (1943).
The Martian impact crater Campbell was named after him.
John W. Campbell – First Editions Identification Guide
Note: This list only includes books published prior to 1977.
|Year||Title||Publisher||First edition/printing identification points|
|1973||THE BEST OF JOHN W. CAMPBELL||London: Sidgwick & Jackson, ||Boards. First published in Great Britain in 1973 on © page. |
Note: Contents differ from following entry.
|1976||THE BEST OF JOHN W. CAMPBELL||Garden City: Nelson Doubleday, Inc., ||Boards.. Two printings, priority as listed: |
Notes: (1) Issued by the Science Fiction Book Club. (2) Contents differ from preceding entry.
|1953||THE BLACK STAR PASSES||Reading, Pennsylvania: Fantasy Press, || |
|1952||CLOAK OF AESIR||[Chicago]: Shasta Publishers, ||First edition so stated on © page.|
|1951||EMPIRE||New York: Wor Id Editions, Inc., ||Wrappers. No statement of printing on © page. Galaxy Science Fiction Novel No. 7 (35¢). Byline of CLIFFORD D. SIMAK on title page. |
Note: The original version of EMPIRE was written by Campbell as a teenager. Unable to find a publisher for it, he turned it over to Simak and asked that he rewrite it for Astounding. According to Simak, "EMPIRE was essentially a rewrite of John's plot. I may have taken a few of the ideas and action., but I didn't use any of his words. And I certainly tried to humanize his characters" (quote via Muriel Becker). Simak's version was rejected by Campbell and ultimately appeared as a Galaxy Novel.
|1949||THE INCREDIBLE PLANET||Reading, Pennsylvania: Fantasy Press, 1949||Two issues, no priority: |
|1961||INVADERS FROM THE INFINITE||Hicksville, New York: Gnome Press, Inc.,|| |
|1956||ISLANDS OF SPACE||Reading, Pennsylvania: Fantasy Press, ||Two bindings, priority as listed: |
|1973||JOHN W. CAMPBELL ANTHOLOGY||Garden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc.,1973||First edition so stated on © page. Reprint. Collects THE BLACK STAR PASSES, ISLANDS OF SPACE, and INVADERS FROM THE INFINITE.|
|1947||THE MIGHTIEST MACHINE||Providence, R.I.: Hadley Publishing Company, ||No statement of printing on © page. |
Notes: (1) Copies have been noted in black, blue, and red cloth bindings with no evident priority of issue. (2) Later copies were issued in an F.F.F. dust jacket.
|1951||THE MOON IS HELL||Reading, Pennsylvania: Fantasy Press, 1951||Three bindings, first two probably simultaneous, third later: |
|1966||THE PLANETEERS||New York: Ace Books, Inc.,||Wrappers. No statement of printing on © page. Ace Double G-585 (50¢). Bound with THE ULTIMATE WEAPON by Campbell.|
|1976||THE SPACE BEYOND||New York: Pyramid Books, ||Wrappers. June 1976 on © page. Pyramid Science Fiction M3742 ($1.75).|
|1966||THE THING||London: Tandem Books Limited, ||Wrappers. No statement of printing on © page. A Tandem Book T75 (3/6). Reprint of WHO GOES THERE? Note: Wrapper title reads THE THING FROM OUTER SPACE.|
|1952||THE THING AND OTHER STORIES||[London]: Fantasy Books, ||Wrappers. A Cherry Tree Novel /Published by Kemsley Newspapers Limited ... on © page. Cherry Tree Book No. 408 (1/6). Reprint of WHO GOES THERE?|
|1966||THE ULTIMATE WEAPON||New York: Ace Books, Inc., ||Wrappers. No statement of printing on © page. Ace Double G-585 (50¢). Bound with THE PLANETEERS by Campbell.|
|1948||WHO GOES THERE?||Chicago: Shasta Publishers, 1948||First edition so stated on © page. Issued later in Great Britain as THE THING and THE THING AND OTHER STORIES.|
|1955||WHO GOES THERE?||[New York]: A Dell Book, ||Wrappers. No statement of printing on © page. Dell Book D150 (35¢). Reprint. Stories selected from WHO GOES THERE? and CLOAK OF AESIR. |
Note: Wrapper title reads WHO GOES THERE? AND OTHER STORIES.
John W. Campbell – First Printing Dust Jackets Identification Guide
Gallery of First state Dust Jackets of Campbell’s works. Only includes the first appearance in book form. Either the UK or US edition and does not include later printings.