Comments from Previous Nominees and Recipients
Best New Writer, 1975
``I deeply appreciated winning the Campbell Award. Had I won a Hugo or a Nebula that same year (and I think I came close), I would probably have become a full-time SF writer. But alas, I fell among bad companions and have instead spent the past quarter century writing computer software, and writing about computer software. Rarely can I spare the time to let the story ideas bubbling in my head turn into ink. I feel kinda guilty sometimes, but I'm not giving back my plaque.''
Best New Writer, 1997
"On the most basic level, winning the Campbell was an exhilirating experience. The best part was knowing that my writing, as little as it was out there, had struck some sort of chord with the readers of science fiction. I'm still amazed that I beat out four novelists with a handful of short stories.
And on another level, I have to admit that the Campbell has made some people on this field take me a little more seriously. For a new writer who is still trying to sell his first novel, that's a very important thing."
[Editor's Note: Michael has written a detailed recounting of the 1996 Hugo Awards, where he was a finalist for both the Campbell Award for Best New Writer and a Hugo for his short story, "TeleAbsence." At http://world.std.com/~mab/worldcon.html]
I was thrilled to be a Campbell and Hugo nominee in '98. I'd thank all my supporters personally, if I knew who they were! My biggest thrill, though, is that my fiction continues to be published and read. And that's a thrill all aspiring writers can have, if they work hard and persevere. Campbell season comes and goes, but for the other rewards of writing, we all enjoy lifetime eligibility.
Entering the world of the published science fiction novelist comes with keen awareness of the ferociously high level of quality of the works that compete for readership, and the inevitable role that circumstance and even luck may play in whose book finds a place in the public consciousness and whose does not. Being nominated for a Campbell award is sharing the stage, even as a newcomer, with the movers and shakers of our community and our craft; it's a wonderful feeling. A Campbell nomination is a priceless token from the science fiction reading community, a message that "We're taking you seriously."
Best New Writer, 2000
I think the jury's still out on the aftermath of my winning the Campbell. I've had a few stories and articles and reviews come out since, and I got a great turnout at the launch of my book, but I've hardly been showered with flowers and hounded by the press.
But there's an internal experience that's pretty good. In those moments when the writing stubbournly refuses to come, there's that cozy bit of knowledge -- I actually won. I won the goddamn Campbell Award.
At my first Worldcon in 1994, I resolved to be one of the people in tuxedoes on the floor of the awards. I won the Campbell a month after a turned in my first novel, a month after my first book came out. If there's one overweening bit of marvellousness from the Campbell Award, it's the sense of accomplishment after years of trying and dreaming, the confidence that all dreams can come true.
I can't say I expected to win the Award - I really don't think enough people have read my books to carrying the polls - but it was fabulous to be nominated. For one thing, it convinced all my relatives I hadn't been wasting my time! I suspect my publisher also breathed a sigh of relief, feeling their gamble (and buying four books from an unpublished writer has -got- to be a gamble) had paid off. My only regret is that my grandmother Velda, who had always been a great supporter of my creative efforts, died three months before I received the first nomination.
To understand the impact of being nominated for the John Campbell Award, one needed the Internet. Prior to 2002, a search on my name only pulled up my website and a handful of places reviewing my book. A month later, however, and my name was spread across the world, along with the word “finalist” translated into every language of man. I cannot see it as coincidence that a short time later, a Russian publisher bought the rights to translate my novels into Russian. Seconds after winning, the news went out again, in the languages of the world, that I was a winner. The John Campbell will be an amazing boast to my career.
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