Talk:John W. Campbell

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Good article John W. Campbell has been listed as one of the Language and literature good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
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L. Ron Hubbard[edit]

John W Campbell did publish L Ron Hubbard and later was sorry that he did. He did not like what Hubbard did with Dianetics and did NOT like Hubbard (he told me this personally while having lunch in New York). Wikipedia does a real disservice to John and his reputation. I am sure there is more documentation to John's position on Hubbard\Scientology if you search the Internet. Moved from body of article, placed by User:DGOQ

This needs to be verifiable to be placed in the article. ~ WCFrancis 16:40, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
I have removed the sentence "It was during this time that Campbell also became interested in Dianetics, publishing L. Ron Hubbard's first articles and also writing editorials in support of Dianetics." from the article for the time being until more verifiable information can be located. ~ WCFrancis 16:43, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
Searching on "john W. Campbell" "L. Ron Hubbard" on Google gets a lot of hits that are either scientology sites, scientology debunking sites, and Wikipedia mirrors/reprints.

From a paper by Marco Frenschkowski (University of Mainz, Germany):

"A not to be neglected source is The John W. Campbell Letters, vol. I and II, ed. by Perry A. Chapdelaine, Sr., Tony Chapdelaine and George Hay, Franklin, TN 1985-1993. John W. Campbell (1910-1971) of course was the most important SF editor in the "golden age" of SF (as the time between 1938 and approximately 1950 is often called). He is probably the one individual who did most for Science Fiction to become a part of American popular culture. When Campbell first encountered Dianetics, he was immediately spell-bound: the young "science of the mind" promised to fulfill many of the ideas, expectations and secret hopes of SF afficionados. He gave Hubbard much encouragement and supported him for some time. Eventually he became disillusioned, like A. E. van Vogt, James Blish and many other authors and fans from the SF scene. In some regards his story is quite typical. His letters give some rare insights into the SF movement of the time when Hubbard became notorious, and discuss him regularly."

  • From The Science Fiction Encyclopedia, page 167, under the article called "Dianetics", paragraph two of the article: "The editor of ASF, John W. Campbell, began experimenting with Hubbard's ideas in 1949, and believed them to be valid. In May 1950 ASF (after much prior publicity) published a long article on Dianetics, which was boosted as a form of psychotherapy which could achieve almost miraculous results in sweeping away all the dross that encumbered ordinary minds, leaving uncovered the SUPERMAN that is latent in us all." Also, in the article on page 101 about Campbell: "He flirted with various kinds of PSEUDO-SCIENCE, notably Hubbard's DIANETICS, which was loosed on an unsuspecting world through an article in ASF."
What next? Will you deny the existence of ASF? Or of Campbell? Or of Hubbard. Geez! Hayford Peirce 17:39, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

The following supporting User:DGOQ's comment from an article by L. Sprague de Camp from 1975, called "EL-RON OF THE CITY OF BRASS"

"Associated with Hubbard in the Dianetics movement were John W. Campbell and Dr. Joseph A. Winter, a physician specializing in endocrinology and psychosomatic medicine. Together they set up a Hubbard Dianetics Research Foundation in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Campbell, a brilliant man with a scientific education who became the greatest of all science-fiction magazine editors, had found active scientific research uncongenial and had made writing and editing his career. One can only speculate why, for many years, he lent himself to one unscientific or borderline idea after another. I suspect that. failing to become a famous scientist himself, he harbored the ambition to be at least the discoverer of such a scientist.

The book Dianetics became a best seller despite the fact that psychologists, psychiatrists and other medical men heatedly denounced it as "amateurish and potentially dangerous meddling with serious mental problems." 10 Time and Newsweek described Dianetics as "the poor man's psychoanalysis," since the Dianetic system of auditing superficially resembles Freudian psychoanalysis.

After a year of nationwide expansion and controversy, the Dianetic movement fell on hard times. Heresies and schisms arose. Lurid accusations were exchanged. Branches seceded. Doctor Winter broke with Hubbard in 1950; Campbell disavowed Dianetics in 1951; the Research Foundation in Elizabeth disappeared."

~ WCFrancis 17:45, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

(anecdote alert) I met Campbell several times -- most notably at NYCon 3, at the old Hotel Pennsylvia in NY (it has several names, only oine phone number) -- late night, and we were walking past (of all things) a Scientology group meeting at the same time! Campbell turned and said that the one thing he regretted most in his life was printing L. Ron Hubbard's dianetics articles. He may have used an expletive. Collect (talk) 10:43, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

1937/1938 Started Editing Astounding?[edit]

Numerous sources (wikipedia included) cite 1938 as the year Campbell started editing Astounding. This boggles my mind, since any good bibliography will show that the first issue of astounding to list Campbell as Editor was October 1937.

Even the wikipedia article for Astounding (magazine) cites 1937, so i'm changing it

Science Fiction of the 20th Century by Frank M. Robinson and The World of Science Fiction by Lester del Rey have the exact dates down, if this article ever gets cleaned up. Campbell was hired as an editor by Tremaine in September of 1937 (Tremaine became the director of Street & Smith's magazines); it wasn't until the May 1938 issue that Campbell became full editor (when Tremaine left S&S). --LQ 14:36, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
I have the relevant issues, so I took a quick look to see what evidence there was of the changeover. It appears Campbell's story selection extends at least back to the February issue.
The masthead does not list the editor, so there's no way to tell from the contents page who was doing what. However, by April the letters in "Brass Tacks" are addressed to either "Mr. Campbell", or just editor. I'll keep looking back to see if there is an announcement printed.
In the April issue, the editor's page includes the following text: "In the past three issues, I have introduced M. Schere, John Victor Peterson, Kent Casey and now Lester del Rey." This was The Faithful, del Rey's first story, and in The Early Del Rey, del Rey makes it clear that in December 1937 he knew Campbell was editor before he wrote the story. Del Rey submitted the story on December 24, 1937, and Campbell's acceptance arrived on January 8, 1938. So it's pretty clear that it's Campbell who is writing as "The Editor" in the April issue.
M. Schere's first story was Anachronistic Optics, in the February 38 ASF; John Victor Peterson's first story was "Martyrs Don't Mind Dying", in the March 1938 issue; and Kent Casey's first story was Flareback, also in the March 1938 issue. So I think it's clear that Campbell was exercising significant editorial control at least as early as February. It's possible that he was doing it under Tremaine's supervision.
I'll keep digging in these magazines and post anything else I can see that indicates the time of the change. Mike Christie 16:51, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
An additional note; it's widely known that Campbell instigated the title change from "Astounding Stories" to "Astounding Science-Fiction". The first issue under the new title is March 1938. I think it's inarguable that Campbell must be listed as editor from that issue on; the question is whether his influence is clearly identifiable earlier than that. Mike Christie 16:57, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
I just checked del Rey's The World of Science Fiction, and what he says there is ". . .when Tremaine left Street & Smith in 1938, Campbell assumed full authority for the magazine. Actually, he was responsible for the buying of stories considerably before that date." So this jibes with my notes above. The question is which transition is to be recorded: hired (September 1937); starting to buy stories (probably prior to November 1938, with the stories appearing at least as early as February 1938); or "full authority" (May 1938). It's not clear to me what "full authority" means. The best solution is probably to put all the information in the article, appropriate organized. Mike Christie 17:05, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
OK, here's another clue. In the February 1938 issue, there's a letter to the editor asking why the December 1937 issue promised "Two Science Features", but only one was printed. The answer, apparently, was that the other would have been by Campbell, and since becoming editor the feature was cancelled. The cover was already printed, so it still said "Two Science Features". I believe the lead time on the covers was longer than for the stories, which was about 50-60 days (I think). The lead time for the December issue contents would have been around early to mid October; the lead time for the cover was probably more like September. Hence Campbell probably took up serious editorial duties in around September; just too late to change the cover, but early enough to avoid having to write that article. I don't think this adds much to what we knew already, though; since it doesn't say anything about whether he was selecting stories. Mike Christie 17:20, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
The December 1937 issue has letters addressed to "Mr. Tremaine"; and none addressed to Campbell.
In the November 1937 issue, p. 159, there is the yearly legally required statement of ownership. This lists "F. Orlin Tremaine" as "editor" for October 1, 1937. This doesn't prove Tremaine was selecting stories in September or October of 1937, but I think it means Tremaine has to be listed as the editor for those two months. Because Campbell's selections were appearing as early as February 1938, I think he has to be listed no later than December 1937; and probably November 1937. Mike Christie 17:28, 29 May 2006 (UTC)


Is it absolutely established that he got a degree from either place? I've always thought that he implied to people that he had, but that in actuality he hadn't. I could easily be wrong about this, however. Hayford Peirce 20:49, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

I don't know; I was simply relying on Nicholls. Tuck just says he attended MIT, doesn't mention Duke, and says nothing about him graduating.Mike Christie 21:26, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Why doesn't this page generate a Contents box?[edit]

I've tried to get it to do so, but can't.... Hayford Peirce 20:53, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Well, now it has. Maybe it doens't show up in "Show preview" Hayford Peirce 20:54, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Science-fiction vs. sf[edit]

Hayford, I noticed you changed "sf" to "science-fiction" in the first paragraph. Can I ask why? I think it's nice to be able to abbreviate, if the abbreviation is well understood, once the word has been mentioned. Mike Christie 21:29, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Primarily because I think "sf" is one of those useful abbreviations that can come in a number of forms. Is it "sf", or "s.f.", or "SF", or "S.F."? I've seen all of them used. If there's a Wiki diktat that "sf" is the standard use, then fine. Obviously, my point of view is tremendously nit-picky. Probably like those members of the sf community who take tremendous umbrage if someone refers to sf as "sci-fi" -- i dunno why, but this really upsets some sfians.... (Also, I'm one of those tiresome guys who believes that "science-fiction writer" or "science-fiction fan" must always have a hyphen to be grammatically correct.... Ie, "John Campbell was a science-fiction editor who edited science fiction." ) Hayford Peirce 21:57, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
There's no diktat that I'm aware of. I'll leave it as you have it; I think I'd prefer 'sf', but it's personal taste. Mike Christie 22:14, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, I gotta say that I don't feel very strongly about it. But, for instance, I just went to the Isaac Asimov magazine website. Throughout the page they refer to SF, in caps. It's useless to Google this for numbers, since to Google sf, SF, and S.F., and s.f. are all identical. I wish there was a clear concensus on this.... Hayford Peirce 22:40, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

My two cents: In the SF community SF relates to Science Fiction, Science Fantasy and (sometimes) to Speculative fiction. Sci-Fi (various spellings) refeer to standard writings (usually called space opera) or shelf fillers. That is why the community dont like Sci-Fi. Seniorsag 16:42, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Note on Bester's meeting with Campbell[edit]

Alfred Bester only met Campbell once; he tells the story in his essay My Affair with Science Fiction, in Hell's Cartographers, edited by Harry Harrison and Brian Aldiss (1975, Weidenfeld and Nicolson; my edition is a 1976 Futura reprint). The story is not at all complimentary to Campbell, but it does give a vivid picture of Campbell in the grip of Dianetics. Here's some text I had considered adding: "Bester tells a comic story of his only meeting with Campbell, in early 1950. Campbell insisted that Bester remove all references to Freud from his story "Oddy and Id", on the grounds that Hubbard had made Freud obsolete. He also took Bester to a noisy publishing lunch room, and over sandwiches insisted that Bester try to remember his experience in his mother's womb; Bester, about to laugh uncontrollably, dodged Campbell's insistence via a subterfuge. Bester had had tremendous respect for Campbell, having previously imagined him as "a combination of Bertrand Russell and Ernest Rutherford", but he left having reinforced his opinion that "a majority of the science fiction crowd, despite their brilliance, were missing their marbles". I haven't added this text because it doesn't feel NPOV; it's not balanced -- it's really just an anecdote. But personally this story is one of my touchstones over the last thirty years in my mental characterization of Campbell. And it is a real source. Is there a way to phrase this material to be appropriate and useful? Mike Christie 02:20, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Just put it in as it is: I remember reading the same thing. And there are lots of other anecdotes about Campbell that can be cited. The guy was obviously a genius -- but also a crackpot. How can one argue with Bester as a source? (Incidentally, I met Bester once -- in Ben Bova's Analog office the day before Nixon resigned. A nice guy.) The only critique I would have with your insert is "publishing lunch room" -- that doesn't sound quite right to me. Hayford Peirce 03:28, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Moskowitz references[edit]

The Seekers of Tomorrow reference, if I understand it correctly, is a profile of Campbell that originally appeared in the August 1963 Amazing. I'd like to change those refs to point at the Amazing, and then add the Moskowitz article to the bibliography section with a note about the reprint in Seekers of Tomorrow. Any objections to doing it that way? Meanwhile I'll source a couple of other things from the Amazing version, since I don't have Seekers of Tomorrow. Mike Christie 17:13, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

No objections at all. The more info the better. On the other hand, the only source most people will ever be able to find is the book itself. As long as that's shown there's no problem. (Well, I suppose I ought to put in the date and publisher of the book while I'm at it. Will do so.) Hayford Peirce 17:20, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
Sounds good; then when I do the re-reffing I'll move that info down to the biblio section. Mike Christie 17:27, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
I created a Sources, like a number of other articles have, as distinct from References, which I understand serves for footnote info, and put the three books into Sources. Hayford Peirce 17:50, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Kelly Freas portrait of Campbell[edit]

At what I guess is the Russian Wiki there's a Kelly portrait that I've seen before.


Any chance, do you think, of getting it legally into this article? Hayford Peirce 01:34, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

Hard to see how; would be nice though -- that's a famous picture. Mike Christie 19:23, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

Census information[edit]

Out of curiosity I took a look at the 1920 and 1930 census records, and found Campbell in both. In 1920 he is living at 27 Madison Ave, in South Orange Township, Essex county, NJ. The family is

  • John Campbell, head of household, home owner (mortgage), male, white, 38, married, able to read and write, b. OH, father b. VT, mother born MA, speaks English, Elect. Eng. at Amer. Tel. Co., on salary.
  • Dorothy Campbell, wife, female, white, 31, married, able to read and write, b. OH, father b. IL, mother b. OH, speaks English, not employed
  • John W. Campbell Jr., son, male, white, 9, single, attended school in last year, b. NJ
  • Laura Campbell, daughter, female, white, 1, single, b. NJ

In 1930, his parents have divorced or (more likely) his father died, as his mother has now remarried. The household appears to be at 433 Lincoln Ave., again in Orange, Essex, NJ; there are several families listed at this address and all indicate they are renters so it may be a rooming house of some kind. The household is now:

  • James A. Middleton, head, renting, rent $60/mo, does not own a radio, male, white 43, married, aged 41 at first marriage, not on a farm, can read and write, b. England, both parents b. England, spoke English before coming to US, immigrated 1921, naturalized, merchant of Elect. Appliances [I think], employed, not a veteran
  • Dorothy Middleton, wife, female, white, 43, married, aged 21 at first marriage
  • John W. Campbell, stepson, male, white, 19, single
  • Laura P. Cambpell, stepdaughter, female, white, 12, single

I don't think this is technically original research since these sources are verifiable independently. It's too boring to add in wholesale, though; I'll pull some info out and add it later. Mike Christie 19:23, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

Failed GA[edit]

For these reasons:

  • Please shorted the Bibliography section. Not all the publications of the author are needed, only the major ones.
  • who dominated most of his meetings with writers, is a bit POV and not referenced.

My two cents: Many authors mentions this, also mentiond in talks with authors. He was said to be able to take any position as long as he got reasoned opposition. Seniorsag 16:46, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Address the few citation needed tag placed.
  • In the eyes of others is a section that has too many point of vue oriented sentences though if referenced well enough it would is acceptable.

These are minor edits to make thus popping back into GAN in a few days. Lincher 16:14, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the review. Any reason not to move the bibliography into a subsection and leave a summary in place? Book collectors do like this sort of information; is it inherently unencyclopaedic? Mike Christie 17:07, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
In a number of other articles (H.P. Lovecraft, for example), long bibliographies have been moved to their own articles. -Harmil 21:28, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
I fixed one of the "citation needed" tags; I can't find a source that explicitly says September 1937 was when Campbell was hired, so I'm changing it to late 1937, which is certainly supported. Mike Christie 21:40, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
It seems you've fixed the above and I'd make it GA, pending one have him in the SciFi Hall of Fame, but this isn't in the article???? I'd think that's a big deal, to be a member. Rlevse 02:36, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
I added a note to the end of the editorship para about it. I agree it should be mentioned; it's actually not that big a deal in my mind -- the Hall of Fame is nice publicity but not one of the main items of recognition within the field. Anyway, it's done. Mike Christie 03:01, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
I've never even heard of the SF Hall of Fame! Hayford Peirce 16:26, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Unsupported statements[edit]

Here are a few statements I've removed that I'd put back if I could find sources. Can anybody oblige?

Isaac Asimov once asked Campbell why he had stopped writing fiction after he became the editor of Astounding. Campbell explained, "Isaac, when I write, I write only my own stories. As editor, I write the stories that a hundred people write." It was once said that Robert A. Heinlein, Campbell's most notable discovery, was merely "the pen in Campbell's hand." Not surprisingly, Heinlein himself strongly disagreed.
Like many of his other interests, however, this waned with time and he is generally not believed to have ever been a member of the Church of Scientology.
Campbell was far from universally popular, even before he began exploring Dianetics and other scientifically dubious ideas. He believed in the American model of society as understood in the 1940's and 1950's and was opposed, not only to Communism, but to what he called "hyperdemocracy", the notion that equality was enforceable by law and custom, and that the more able members of society had to be hobbled so the less able could compete with them. Isaac Asimov has said that, while he knew Campbell regarded other cultures as inferior, including the Jewish background he himself came from, this was not something that affected their working relationship. Authors Randall Garrett and Robert Silverberg tailored a series of stories to Campbell's views, culminating in a novel, The Dawning Light, which Campbell serialized.
Campbell was a tall, charismatic, physically impressive man who dominated most of his meetings with writers. A life-long smoker, he died of cancer at age 61. He had written at least one editorial in Astounding defending smoking and positing that nicotine, as absorbed through smoking, had beneficial effects that outweighted the negative. Among the positive effects, he speculated, was stimulation of the brain cells and greater intellectual awareness and clarity.

- Mike Christie 21:55, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

We all know he was tall -- do we have to document that Wilt Chamberlain was tall also? It's common knowledge he died of cancer. There must be dozens of sources saying he was charismatic (although the word wasn't used in the '40s) and dominating. I myself read the smoking editorial years ago, perhaps more than one of them. I wonder how far documentation has to be carried. Lyndon Johnson was tall, charismatic, physically impressive, and dominated meetings. All that was obvious at the time. Does each word have to have a specific source? Hayford Peirce 22:24, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
Actually, I didn't know he was tall, and I'm a bit surprised to hear it -- for some reason I've always visualized him as short. You're right, though; we don't have to source every word. I think your additions from Asimov just now are exactly what was needed. Mike Christie 00:10, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
What about the cigarette editorials? I read at least one: I know he wrote what you cut out.... Hayford Peirce 00:21, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, I have all the Campbell ASFs -- if you can guess the year, I'll scan them to see if I can spot it. Mike Christie 01:47, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Geez, I wish I could pin it down more than saying it was in the 1960's, which covers a lot of ground. Sometime in the early 60s, any time between October 1960 and June 1963, he wrote an editorial in which he argued that had the Civil War not occurred the slaves would have been freed by their masters in the very near future because increasing industrialization would have made them more valuable as hired workers than sullen fieldhands. And that as a consequence the status of blacks (as of 196?) would be better than it actually was. That's a typically provocative editorial that you might be able to track down. Hayford Peirce 16:23, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
'Isaac Asimov once asked Campbell why he had stopped writing fiction after he became the editor of Astounding. Campbell explained, "Isaac, when I write, I write only my own stories. As editor, I write the stories that a hundred people write."'

The quote is from Asimov's introduction to ASTOUNDING: John W. Campbell Memorial Anthology (1973) —wwoods 20:38, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

From his statements to me and others at NYCon 3, I can aver he was NOT a Scientologist! <g> He definitely liked being listened to, but he allowed others to speak and he listened -- a very interesting person. Collect (talk) 10:46, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Fan Issue[edit]

The current version states that the fan issue was the March 1948 issue, but claims that Heinlein's "Gulf" appeared in the fan issue. Gulf was serialized in the November and December 1949 issues. Shsilver 03:10, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

I thought the dates were wrong and was about ready to go check them out but decided to have dinner first. Now I've done the research and, of course, you're correct. I've rewritten the article. Hayford Peirce 05:24, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
I was planning on checking them after dinner also, but things got away. Thanks for confirming. Shsilver 18:33, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:WhoGoesThere.jpg[edit]

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BetacommandBot (talk) 07:38, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

GA Reassessment[edit]

This discussion is transcluded from Talk:John W. Campbell/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the reassessment.

Starting GA reassessment. Jezhotwells (talk) 21:11, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose):
    b (MoS):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references):
    b (citations to reliable sources):
    c (OR):
  3. It is broad in its scope.
    a (major aspects):
    b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales):
    • N/A
    b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
    • N/A
  7. Overall:
    • I am happy to pass this article as a GA. It is well written, referenced and tagged. No OR, stable, broad and focussed. There was one citation needed tag, but I found suitable references. The category still lists un-sourced, not sure why.

Unsourced note on comic authorship[edit]

I just removed this:

It is possible that Campbell moonlighted as a comic book writer while editor of Astounding. In Ranger Comics #1-4, published by Fiction House in 1941, was a series of stories written by "John Campbell" that starred a character named "Don Stuart." Coincidence?

It was unsourced, and is original research as it stands, but I'm adding a note here in case anyone can source it. Mike Christie (talk) 12:47, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Hi, Mike, glad to see that you're still around, but sorry you never joined Citizendium. I've brought in all of the Campbell parts that I wrote here and done a little adding to them. Some of your text may be inadvertently in my text though.... I just renamed the article,_Jr. -- a Google search for Jr. vs. non-Jr. is about even BUT he himself used the Jr. in his byline. I have the Nov. 1949 Astounding and he's listed as Editor with the Jr., plus it's used that way on his "Astounding Anthology" or whatever the exact title is. All the best! Hayford Peirce (talk) 16:20, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
Howdy, Hayford, nice to hear from you. I had a look at the Citizendium article -- nice work. No worries if it does include any text of mine. I had a look at Citizendium -- in fact I think I joined -- but decided not to do anything there. I kind of like the fact that my text gets edited by others. Anyway, I keep an eye on it periodically. Hope to see you around here every now and then too. Mike Christie (talk) 20:14, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
Well, it's *supposed* to get edited (and rewritten, etc., a la WP) but in lots of areas we simply don't have enough contributors to work together. For instance, I *really* enjoyed working with you here on the Campbell article -- to me that is the ideal of wiki-working. But unless there's a critical mass of people involved it can't happen. What *is* pleasant about CZ, is the lack of revert wars, the overall professionalism and politeness. Whether it will ever reach critical mass, though, I dunno.... I imagine that a lot of people like you and Russ Letson simply don't want to reinvent the wheel all over again. I got so frustrated with the revert wars and vandals here at WP, however, that those elements were enough to drive me out.... Hayford Peirce (talk) 21:39, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I know what you mean. I don't do much vandal reversion, but the little I do is enough to sadden me. Still, I suspect it's rather like having kids; there's no parent license required, but even so you do get the occasional Einstein or Gandhi. Perhaps Citizendium is an experiment in requiring a parent license . . . .
I agree our collaboration was a lot of fun, and I'd like to do more of that. If you're interested I am probably going to work on some of the classic magazines over the coming year -- I've done a few already but Fantastic Adventures, Startling Stories, Unknown (magazine) and of course Astounding Stories don't have featured article status or even GA status yet. Interested? It would probably be after Christmas but I could drop you a note when I am ready to work on them if you like. Mike Christie (talk) 23:12, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
Your "experiment in requiring a parent license" is a nice phrase and actually probably quite accurate! We've had to expel a couple of rambunctious "teenagers" but not many. As for the magazine edits, I really know nothing at all about *any* of the magazines except certain periods of Analog/Astounding. The trouble with WP, from my point of view, is that most of the articles (not all, of course) end up being nothing but laundry lists or data dumps -- valuable in a way, of course, but not quite the way I think that most of them should be handled, with a unified theme throughout the article. No one at CZ *owns* an article any more than they do at WP, but because the nature of most of the contributors is somewhat different, CZ articles almost always have some sort of unified structure to them. I look at some of the WP articles I worked on intensively a long time ago and am saddened by what I see now -- they have been hacked to fit the procrustean bed of WP standards and any early unity or structure is now gone. But I'll keep an eye on what you're doing! And if you want to help reinvent the wheel someday, you know where to go! (You can bring in WP articles [particularly the ones on which you have done most or all of the work] and rework them slightly to become CZ articles, as I have done with the Campbell one. With Campbell, I left out a lot of stuff that I hadn't originally been involved with at WP -- maybe someday I'll rewrite it and put it in. Or someone else will come along and do so.) Cheers! Hayford Peirce (talk) 17:12, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Other editing[edit]

During the 1940s (at least) Street & Smith published /Air Trails/ magazine, later /Air Trails Pictorial/. In the July, 1943 and March, 1944 issues, the masthead lists Editor: William Winter. In the October, 1947 and November, 1947 issues, the masthead lists Editor: John W Campbell, Jr.

I thought this significant in light of the biographical entry that his second wife was Margaret Winter.

Pygalge (talk) 03:50, 10 March 2010 (UTC)Pygalge

Both far left and far right?[edit]

So he is far-right because he supports far right politics, yet he is far-left because he believes bad science? "in the 1968 national election, for instance), although many of his opinions were extremely far left, for example, the new-age theories of psi powers more often associated with the so-called 'counter-culture', something which no right-minded right-winger would ever consider as 'science.' There was bitter opposition to this from many.""

So supporting pseudoscience means you can't be rightwing? There are tons of right-wingers into esoteric mysticism. See JFC Fuller --Gary123 (talk) 17:35, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

Wait! This is a quote from Isaac Asimov who is a notable person in his own right. Unfortunately, we have two choices. 1) we can remove the quote from Asimov, but we'd need a better reason for doing so than we think his logic is bad. 2) We can come up with a quote from someone else refuting Asimov. This is going to be hard to do, as well. I think that Asimov is saying that Campbell was a complex person. I read his editorials and he jumped around a lot. I'm reading his letters now and they jump around as well. Not crazy, but not quite stable either. He's trying to provoke ideas and controversy. As far as "new age" goes, sorry, but that is thought to be (labeled) associated with "left-wing", whether correctly or incorrectly. That is the fault of the labeling process and can't really be blamed on Asimov, per se. Student7 (talk) 17:55, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree that the quote is not entirely encyclopedic, but it is supposed to be a top of the head (Asimov is like Campbell in that regard!) reflection on someone Asimov knew fairly well.
A third possibility which I don't like either is to ... the stuff that is labeling. But that completely deguts the sentence, I think. This is one top-of-his head guy reflecting on another. Can the reader live with it? You don't like labeling bad science as left-wing, but that wasn't the point of the sentence, really. An aside that reflects more on Campbell and Asimov more than it does on the left, IMO. Anyway, there are crazies in both wings IMO. No "wing" has a lock on crisp logic! :) Student7 (talk) 18:03, 18 May 2010 (UTC)


I restored the infobox mention of infuencing Asimov.[1] To be frank, this is a no-brainer. After all, Campbell wrote the three laws of robotics that are attributed to Asimov and form the core of his most popular works. The article already had a quote from Asimov talking about how huge an influence Campbell was on the genre, but I brought in a cited sentence from Isaac Asimov which focuses on Campbell's influence specifically on Asimov. I'm StillStanding (24/7) (talk) 20:54, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

Super-science space opera[edit]

What is the meaning of "super-science" in the lead description of Campbell's fiction published under his own name as "super-science space opera"?

The term super science does not appear in our article space opera, nor in science fiction. --P64 (talk) 20:56, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

Nor is there any entry for 'Super science' or 'super-science' in the Clute/Nicholls Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, only proper names that begin with 'Super Science'. One is Super Science Stories (which could mean really excellent science stories, but doesn't mean that) and Super-Science Fiction (which couldn't mean that). -P64
It refers to the sort of exhuberent, slam-bang, planet-busting, galaxy-spanning adventure tale originated by E. E. "Doc" Smith, in which a sense of wonder was evoked by (pseudo-) scientific devices and technologies employed by both heroes and villains like rabbits pulled out of hats by magicians in their efforts to out-do and defeat each other. Literal planet-busting devices were a commonplace of this sort of story. Originally synonymous with space opera, though later space opera tended to shed its excesses. There were also super-science stories on a small scale that lacked the broad scope that typified Smith's stories; these would not have been considered space opera. Other notable authors of super-science/space opera included Edmond Hamilton, Jack Williamson and (of course) John W. Campbell. BPK (talk) 21:22, 5 July 2013 (UTC)
Does super-science mean non-science in a way that is deemed beyond science, as supernatural means non-natural in a way that is deemed beyond nature?
Or may planet-busting machinery such as the Star Wars Death Star be called super science merely as a really big application of ordinary science, not even clearly advanced beyond our science?
"Rabbits pulled out of hats" suggests to me a convention of writing and reading, a permissive attitude to incorporation of what i am not sure. Perhaps magical effects such as teleportation, taken for granted to be the application of science so advanced that we can't distinguish it from magic.
"super-science stories on a small scale" --are there any agreed classics?
--P64 (talk) 18:26, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

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