Gateway Essentials: John W. Campbell, Jr

Born in Newark, New Jersey, on this day in 1910, John Wood Campbell, Jr studied physics at MIT and then Duke University. Campbell was a prolific early pulp writer – he made his first sale while still in his teens, was a recognised name in the genre by the time he was 21 and at the age of 28 published the seminal novella Who Goes There?, which has been filmed as The Thing From Antoher World (1951) and The Thing (1982). However, it was as an editor that he is best remembered. In 1937 he was appointed editor of Astounding Stories (now Analog), and over the next few decades would have an enormous influence on the field, more-or-less defining the Golden Age. He continued as editor of Astounding until his death in 1971.

Two awards are given in his honour: the John W Campbell Award for new writers and the John W Campbell Memorial Award for novels.

For those looking to explore Campbell’s work it’s difficult to trecommend starting anywhere other than Who Goes There?, a masterpiece of suspense and paranoia:


From there, we recommend his other Gateway Essentials: novels The Mightiest Machine, The Moon is Hell or The Black Star Passes and, of course, collection Cloak of Aesir:


You can find more of John W. Campbell’s work via his Author page on the Gateway website and read about him in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.