The John W. Campbell Memorial Award

The John W. Campbell Memorial Award for the best science-fiction novel of the year is one of the three major annual awards for science fiction. The first Campbell Award was presented at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1973. Since then the Award has been presented in various parts of the world: at California State University at Fullerton; at St. John's College, Oxford; at the World SF Writers Conference in Dublin; in Stockholm; at the World SF meeting in Dublin again; the University of Kansas; and in a joint event with the SFRA Convention in Kansas City in 2007.

Since 1979, the Campbell Award has been presented during the Campbell Conference Awards Banquet at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, as the focal point of a weekend of discussions about the writing, illustration, publishing, teaching, and criticism of science fiction.

The Award was created to honor the late editor of Astounding Science Fiction magazine, now named Analog. Campbell, who edited the magazine from 1937 until his death in 1971, is called by many writers and scholars the father of modern science fiction. Writers and critics Harry Harrison and Brian W. Aldiss established the award in Campbell's name as a way of continuing his efforts to encourage writers to produce their best possible work.

Campbell Award (on right) and trophies. 
SF&F Hall of Fame Award and plaque are in the background
Starting in 2004, winners of the Campbell Award began receiving personalized trophies.
The permanent Award, beside the new trophies in this photo, bears the names of every winner.

Selection Process

The Campbell Award differs from most other major awards in the field by being restricted to the novel and by its method of selection. The Hugo Awards are voted on by some thousand of the several thousand members who pay advance fees to attend the World Science Fiction Convention, which meets annually at different locations on Labor Day weekend. The Nebula Awards are voted on by a few hundred of about two thousand members of the Science Fiction Writers of America and presented at the annual Nebula Award meeting usually held late in the Spring.

The Campbell Award is selected by a committee small enough to discuss among its members all of the nominated novels. The current jury consists of Gregory Benford, Paul Di Filippo, Sheila Finch, James Gunn, Elizabeth Anne Hull, Paul Kincaid, Christopher McKitterick, Pamela Sargent, and T.A. Shippey. In 2009, Paul A. Carter retired from the jury after serving for many years, and Paul Di Filippo and Sheila Finch joined the committee. In 2008, Paul Kincaid replaced Farah Mendlesohn.

Nominations come from the science-fiction publishers as well as individual jurors. Nominations are usually requested in the fall by Chris McKitterick in the United States and Paul Kincaid in the United Kingdom, and the jurors read and debate the merits of these books through late April or early May. This process produces a list of finalists based on jurors' rankings. After vigorous debate on the merits of the finalists, the final decision arises from a vote by the jurors during late May. The winning author is usually contacted in May and invited to attend the Campbell Conference; the winner often attends the last day or two of the SF Writers Workshop, as well.

Eligible novels are those published in English during the previous calendar year. If you are a science-fiction publisher interested in participating in the Award nominations process, please contact Chris McKitterick (cmckit@ku.edu) for more information.

The Award has been presented to an unusual variety of authors from around the world, including honoring a number of first-time novelists, as listed below.

1973

1st  Beyond Apollo, Barry N. Malzberg
2nd  The Listeners, James Gunn
3rd  Darkening Island (Fugue for a Darkening Plain), Christopher Priest
Special award for excellence in writing: Dying Inside, Robert Silverberg

1974

1st (tie)  Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke;
1st (tie)  Malevil, Robert Merle
2nd (tie)  The Embedding, Ian Watson;
2nd (tie)  The Green Gene, Peter Dickinson
Special non-fiction award: The Cosmic Connection, Carl Sagan

1975

1st  Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, Philip K. Dick
2nd  The Dispossessed, Ursula K. Le Guin
3rd  None awarded

1976

1st  The Year of the Quiet Sun, Wilson Tucker*
2nd  The Stochastic Man, Robert Silverberg
3rd  Orbitsville, Bob Shaw

*The committee felt that no truly outstanding original novel was published in 1975. 1st place, therefore, was a "special retrospective award" made to a truly outstanding original novel that was not adequately recognized in the year of its publication (1970).

1977

1st  The Alteration, Kingsley Amis
2nd  Man Plus, Frederik Pohl
3rd  Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, Kate Wilhelm

1978

1st  Gateway, Frederik Pohl
2nd  Roadside Picnic, Arkady & Boris Strugatsky
3rd  A Scanner Darkly, Philip K. Dick

1979

1st  Gloriana, Michael Moorcock
2nd  And Having Writ..., Donald Benson
3rd  Altered States, Paddy Chayefski

1980

1st  On Wings of Song, Thomas M. Disch
2nd  Engine Summer, John Crowley
3rd  The Unlimited Dream Company, J. G. Ballard

1981

1st  Timescape, Gregory Benford
2nd  The Dreaming Dragons, Damien Broderick
3rd  The Shadow of the Torturer, Gene Wolfe

1982

1st  Riddley Walker, Russell Hoban
2nd  None awarded
3rd  None awarded

1983

1st  Helliconia Spring, Brian W. Aldiss
2nd  No Enemy But Time, Michael Bishop
3rd  None awarded

1984

1st  The Citadel of the Autarch, Gene Wolfe
2nd  The Birth of the People's Republic of the Antarctic, John Batchelor
3rd  Tik-Tok, John Sladek

1985

1st  The Years of the City, Frederik Pohl
2nd  Green Eyes, Lucius Shepherd
3rd  Neuromancer, William Gibson

1986

1st  The Postman, David Brin
2nd  Galapagos, Kurt Vonnegut
3rd (tie)  Kiteworld, Keith Roberts;
3rd (tie)  Blood Music, Greg Bear

1987

1st  A Door into Ocean, Joan Slonczewski
2nd  This Is the Way the World Ends, James Morrow
3rd  Speaker for the Dead, Orson Scott Card

1988

1st  Lincoln's Dreams, Connie Willis
2nd  The Sea and Summer, George Turner
3rd  The Unconquered Country, Geoff Ryman

1989

1st  Islands in the Net, Bruce Sterling
2nd  The Gold Coast, Kim Stanley Robinson
3rd  Dragonsdawn, Anne McCaffrey

1990

1st  The Child Garden, Geoff Ryman
2nd  Farewell Horizontal, K. W. Jeter
3rd  Good News from Outer Space, John Kessel

1991

1st  Pacific Edge, Kim Stanley Robinson
2nd  Queen of Angels, Greg Bear
3rd  Only Begotten Daughter, James Morrow

1992

1st  Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well on Ganymede, Bradley Denton
2nd  The Difference Engine, William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
3rd (tie)  A Woman of the Iron People, Eleanor Arnason;
3rd (tie)  Stations of the Tide, Michael Swanwick;
3rd (tie)  The Silicon Man, Charles Platt

1993

1st  Brother to Dragons, Charles Sheffield
2nd  Sideshow, Sheri S. Tepper
3rd  A Fire Upon the Deep, Vernor Vinge

1994

1st  No award
2nd  Beggars in Spain, Nancy Kress
3rd  Moving Mars, Greg Bear

1995

1st  Permutation City, Greg Egan
2nd  Brittle Innings, Michael Bishop
3rd  No award

1996

1st  The Time Ships, Stephen Baxter
2nd  The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson
3rd  Chaga, Ian McDonald

1997

1st  Fairyland, Paul McAuley
2nd  Blue Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson
3rd  The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell

1998

1st  Forever Peace, Joe Haldeman
2nd  Slant, Greg Bear
3rd  Secret Passages, Paul Preuss

1999

1st  Brute Orbits, George Zebrowski
2nd  Starfarers, Poul Anderson
3rd  Distraction, Bruce Sterling

2000

1st  A Deepness in the Sky, Vernor Vinge
2nd  Darwin's Radio, Greg Bear
3rd  Greenhouse Summer, Norman Spinrad

2001

1st Genesis, Poul Anderson

2002

1st (tie)  Terraforming Earth, Jack Williamson;
1st (tie)  The Chronoliths, Robert Charles Wilson
2nd  (no award due to tie)
3rd  Probability Sun, Nancy Kress

2003

1st  Probability Space, Nancy Kress
2nd  Kiln People, David Brin
3rd  Hominids, Robert J. Sawyer

2004

1st  Omega, Jack McDevitt
2nd  Natural History, Justina Robson
3rd  The X President, Philip Baruth

2005

1st  Market Forces, Richard Morgan
2nd  Air, Geoff Ryman
3rd  The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger

2006

1st  Mindscan, Robert J. Sawyer
2nd  Spin, Robert Charles Wilson
3rd  The Summer Isles, Ian R. Macleod

2007

1st  Titan, Ben Bova
2nd  The Last Witchfinder, James Morrow
3rd (tie) Farthing, Jo Walton
3rd (tie) Blindsight, Peter Watts

2008

1st  In War Times, Kathleen Ann Goonan
2nd The Yiddish Policeman's Union, Michael Chabon
3rd The Execution Channel, Ken MacLeod

2009

1st (tie) Song of Time, Ian MacLeod
1st (tie) Little Brother, Cory Doctorow 
3rd The Philosopher's Apprentice, James Morrow

2010

1st The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi
2nd Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America, Robert Charles Wilson
3rd The City & the City, China Miéville

2011

1st The Dervish House, Ian McDonald
2nd How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Charles Yu
3rd The Quantum Thief, Hannu Rajaniemi

2012

1st (tie) The Islanders, Christopher Priest
1st (tie) The Highest Frontier, Joan Slonczewski
3rd Embassytown, China Miéville
Honorable Mention Osama, by Lavie Tidhar

2013

1st Jack Glass: The Story of a Murderer, Adam Roberts
2nd Any Day Now, Terry Bisson
3rd (tie) Alif the Unseen, G. Willow Wilson
3rd (tie) Empty Space, M. John Harrison

2014

1st Strange Bodies, Marcel Theroux
2nd Evening's Empires, Paul McAuley
3rd The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata


Click here to see the finalists for the John W. Campbell Award.

Click here for more information about the Campbell Conference.

Click here to see images of the Campbell Award trophy.

updated 6/20/2014

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