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Thread: A Statement from the Editor

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    A Statement from the Editor

    A Statement from the Editor

    The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer began in 1973 as a way to honor exemplary science fiction and fantasy authors whose first work was published in the prior two calendar years.

    Named for Campbell, whose writing and role as editor of Astounding Science Fiction (later renamed Analog Science Fiction and Fact) made him hugely influential in laying the groundwork for both the Golden Age of Science Fiction and beyond, the award has over the years recognized such nominees as George R.R. Martin, Bruce Sterling, Carl Sagan, and Lois McMaster Bujold, as well as award winners like Ted Chiang, Nalo Hopkinson, and John Scalzi.

    However, Campbell’s provocative editorials and opinions on race, slavery, and other matters often reflected positions that went beyond just the mores of his time and are today at odds with modern values, including those held by the award’s many nominees, winners, and supporters.

    As we move into Analog’s 90th anniversary year, our goal is to keep the award as vital and distinguished as ever, so after much consideration, we have decided to change the award’s name to The Astounding Award for Best New Writer.

    The nomination and selection process will remain the same, and we will be working with the World Science Fiction Society through future Worldcon committees to ensure the award continues to remain supportive of emerging authors.

    It is also important to note that this change in no way reflects on past winners or their work, and they continue to stand deserving of recognition.

    Though Campbell’s impact on the field is undeniable, we hope that the conversation going forward is nuanced. George Santayana’s proverbial phrase remains as true today as when it was coined: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We neither want to paper over the flaws of those who have come before us, nor reduce them to caricatures. But we have reached a point where the conversation around the award is in danger of focusing more on its namesake than the writers it was intended to recognize and elevate, and that is something nobody—even Campbell himself—would want.
    Edith Keeler Must Die

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    No problem as I see it.

    A similar situation is unfolding in my wife's family. A member by marriage over a half century ago had been a prominent local figure here in Florida. He had a local airport named after him, fittingly, since he had worked for many years toward its establishment. His second marriage was into my wife's family, I think near 1960, but in the mid-60s he murdered his wife and then took his own life with the same shotgun.

    The murder-suicide has been quietly erased from history. His house at the time is now a museum open to the public, but my understanding is that no mention is ever made of the circumstances of his death. His biography there and at the airport makes no mention, I'm told, of his second marriage at all.

    My wife's family learned of this only in the last very few years, and they are more than a little upset. A couple of them are lobbying the Florida community to change the name of the Airport.

    George Santayana's quote deserves expanding. Hiding the past is deliberate fraud, and worse that merely forgetting it.

    I infer there are some direct descendants of the guy still living in the area, who resent the idea of taking his name off the airport, or amending his biography at the house/museum.

    What do you think?
    Last edited by Newman; Tuesday, August 27th, 2019 at 4:37 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newman View Post
    No problem as I see it.

    A similar situation is unfolding in my wife's family. A member by marriage over a half century ago had been a prominent local figure here in Florida. He had a local airport named after him, fittingly, since he had worked for many years toward its establishment. His second marriage was into my wife's family, I think near 1960, but in the mid-60s he murdered his wife and then took his own life with the same shotgun.

    The murder-suicide has been quietly erased from history. His house at the time is now a museum open to the public, but my understanding is that no mention is ever made of the circumstances of his death. His biography there and at the airport makes no mention, I'm told, of his second marriage at all.

    My wife's family learned of this only in the last very few years, and they are more than a little upset. A couple of them are lobbying the Florida community to change the name of the Airport.

    George Santayana's quote deserves expanding. Hiding the past is deliberate fraud, and worse that merely forgetting it.

    I infer there are some direct descendants of the guy still living in the area, who resent the idea of taking his name off the airport, or amending his biography at the house/museum.

    What do you think?
    I think his name should have been removed as soon as the bodies were removed from the crime scene.
    Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
    Robert Southwell, S.J.

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