Book Collecting

John W. Campbell – First Edition Books: Identification Guide

John W. Campbell
John W. Campbell

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.

How to Identify First Edition books by John W. Campbell Guide
YearTitlePublisherFirst edition/printing identification points
1973THE BEST OF JOHN W. CAMPBELLLondon: Sidgwick & Jackson, [1973]Boards. First published in Great Britain in 1973 on © page.
Note: Contents differ from following entry.
1976THE BEST OF JOHN W. CAMPBELLGarden City: Nelson Doubleday, Inc., [1976]Boards.. Two printings, priority as listed:
  • (A) Code G 73 at base of page 306;
  • (B) Code 7723 at base of page 306.
No statement of printing on © page.
Notes: (1) Issued by the Science Fiction Book Club. (2) Contents differ from preceding entry.
1953THE BLACK STAR PASSESReading, Pennsylvania: Fantasy Press, [1953]
  • Three bindings., priority as listed:
  • (A) Purple cloth, spine lettered in gold; Two issues, no priority:
    • (A) 500 copies with numbered leaf signed by the author inserted;
    • (B) Trade issue. First edition so stated on © page. Collected later in JOHN W. CAMPBELL ANTHOLOGY.
  • (B) Blue cloth, spine lettered in gold (title only is printed on spine);
  • (C) Blue-gray cloth, spine lettered in black.
    • (A) 500 copies with numbered leaf signed by the author inserted;
    • (B) Trade issue. First edition so stated on © page. Collected later in JOHN W. CAMPBELL ANTHOLOGY.
1952CLOAK OF AESIR[Chicago]: Shasta Publishers, [1952]First edition so stated on © page.
1951EMPIRENew York: Wor Id Editions, Inc., [1951]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.
1949THE INCREDIBLE PLANETReading, Pennsylvania: Fantasy Press, 1949Two issues, no priority:
  • (A) 500 copies with numbered leaf inserted of which 250 are signed by the author;
  • (B) Trade issue. First edition so stated on © page.
1961INVADERS FROM THE INFINITEHicksville, New York: Gnome Press, Inc.,[1961]
  • Two issues, priority as listed:
  • (A) Gnome Press imprint as above. Two bindings, priority as listed:
    • (1) Blue boards, spine lettered in yellow;
    • (2) Gray cloth, spine lettered in red. Trade issue.
Note: Fewer than 1000 copies printed, some of which may never have been bound.
  • (B) Imprint on title page reads: Reading, Penna.: Fantasy Press, [1961]. Boards. 112 signed copies only. Limited issue.
Notes: (1) Carries the standard Fantasy Press limitation notice (erroneous in this case) ... limited to 3000 copies of which 300 are numbered and autographed. (2) Issued without dust jacket. First edition so stated on © page. Collected later in JOHN W. CAMPBELL/ANTHOLOGY.
1956ISLANDS OF SPACEReading, Pennsylvania: Fantasy Press, [1956]Two bindings, priority as listed:
  • (A) Blue cloth, spine lettered in gold;
  • (B) Blue-gray cloth, spine lettered in black. Two issues, no priority:
    • (A) 50 copies with numbered leaf signed by the author inserted. Note: Carries the standard Fantasy Press limitation notice (erroneous in this case) ... limited to 3000 copies,/of which 500 are numbered and autographed. According to the publisher's mimeographed statement inserted in some copies of the trade issue "Mr. Campbell would not sign more than fifty copies, hence only the first fifty copies ordered are autographed and numbered." Limited issue.
    • (B) Trade issue. First edition so stated on © page. Collected later in JOHN W. CAMPBELL ANTHOLOGY.
1973JOHN W. CAMPBELL ANTHOLOGYGarden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc.,1973First edition so stated on © page. Reprint. Collects THE BLACK STAR PASSES, ISLANDS OF SPACE, and INVADERS FROM THE INFINITE.
1947THE MIGHTIEST MACHINEProvidence, R.I.: Hadley Publishing Company, [1947]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.
1951THE MOON IS HELLReading, Pennsylvania: Fantasy Press, 1951Three bindings, first two probably simultaneous, third later:
  • (A) Purple cloth, spine lettered in gold (all numbered and signed copies are so bound);
  • (B) Blue cloth, spine lettered in gold;
  • (C) Wrappers (reported but not seen). Two issues, no priority:
    • (A) 500 copies with numbered leaf signed by the author inserted. Limited issue.
    • (B) Trade issue. First edition so stated on © page.
1966THE PLANETEERSNew York: Ace Books, Inc.,[1966]Wrappers. No statement of printing on © page. Ace Double G-585 (50¢). Bound with THE ULTIMATE WEAPON by Campbell.
1976THE SPACE BEYONDNew York: Pyramid Books, [1976]Wrappers. June 1976 on © page. Pyramid Science Fiction M3742 ($1.75).
1966THE THINGLondon: Tandem Books Limited, [1966]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.
1952THE THING AND OTHER STORIES[London]: Fantasy Books, [1952]Wrappers. A Cherry Tree Novel /Published by Kemsley Newspapers Limited ... on © page. Cherry Tree Book No. 408 (1/6). Reprint of WHO GOES THERE?
1966THE ULTIMATE WEAPONNew York: Ace Books, Inc., [1966]Wrappers. No statement of printing on © page. Ace Double G-585 (50¢). Bound with THE PLANETEERS by Campbell.
1948WHO GOES THERE?Chicago: Shasta Publishers, 1948First edition so stated on © page. Issued later in Great Britain as THE THING and THE THING AND OTHER STORIES.
1955WHO GOES THERE?[New York]: A Dell Book, [1955]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.

Reference:

BOOKSTORE: Rare, Antiquarian, First editions, Illustrated Children's Books

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