Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Campbell Award process

I have gotten a few questions about Ben Bova's TITAN winning this year's John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Some have asked if my recent post is an explanation for why the novel won the Award.

No, that simply describes my own feelings about the genre. For everyone's information, here's some info on the Campbell Award and its selection process:

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. Incidentally, Ben Bova edited the magazine for many years after Campbell's death.

Campbell-Award nominees come from the science-fiction publishers and from individual jurors. Jurors currently include Gregory Benford, Paul Carter, Elizabeth Anne Hull, me, Farah Mendlesohn, Pamela Sargent, Tom Shippey, and James Gunn as Award Chair. The jurors read all these books - usually starting in December or earlier - and then debate the books on their merits, coming up with a list of finalists in May upon which we vote for a winner.

We do not try to achieve consensus the way the smaller jury for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award does, though occasionally many favor the same novels. Some books are passionately put forth and others dismissed with equal passion. Not infrequently, the same book is both one juror's favorite and another's least-favorite. So far, no one has been moved to name-calling or bomb-throwing, but these debates can get pretty enthusiastic.

I hope this helps everyone understand the process. I'll ask for Betty's notes from when she announced TITAN as the winner and see if she's willing to share them here.

Tags: cssf

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