Cancelling Campbell

In the wake of Jeannette Ng’s fantastic acceptance speech, lots of people on social media are asking whether John W Campbell’s name can be removed from the Best New Writer award.

The problem with this is that the award does not belong to WSFS. We merely administer it on behalf of Dell Magazines, who were the original publishers of Asimov’s and Analog. So WSFS cannot change the name of the award without risking them withdrawing funding for it.

The most obvious way forward is for people to write to Dell asking them to change the name of the award. Changing the name to the Dell Magazines Award for Best New Writer would solve multiple problems. It would get us away from any association with Campbell. It would give proper recognition to Dell for their sponsorship. And it would make it much less necessary for WSFS to keep having to explain why the award is Not a Hugo. So get writing, people, and please be polite about it.

Of course it is entirely possible that the senior management at Dell will refuse to do so. If they do the next step would be to bring a motion to the Business Meeting asking that we strike the Campbell from the list of awards, and replace it with a Hugo Award for Best New Writer that has exactly the same rules. That would doubtless make Dell unhappy, and be awkward for anyone involved with Asimov’s and Analog, but if the company refuses to budge we don’t have much choice.

There should be no additional burden on Worldcon for converting the Campbell to a Hugo, except the cost of one more trophy. All of the administration, including eligibility checking, is already done by the Hugo Administrators.

Updates: I have corrected the spelling of Jeannette’s name. Profuse apologies for the error.

Also, if you come here thinking that arguing about the meaning of the word “fascist” can somehow absolve Campbell of all of the awful things he did then I will a) laugh at you; and b) not approve your comment because I will assume you are trolling.

2 thoughts on “Cancelling Campbell

  1. Just out of interest, because this doesn’t appear to be publicly discussed much: what is the form of Dell Magazine’s sponsorship of the Campbell Award? How much do they actually give, annually, to support it? (and what is that money used for?)

    1. As far as I’m aware, they pay for the plaque that is given to the winner, and they provide someone to present the award. No money goes towards the running of Worldcon or the Hugos. I don’t think they pay for the tiara either, though that seems to have fallen by the wayside these days.

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