True Blue Science Fiction Award

Given the announcement of this year’s John W. Campbell Memorial Award finalists, and recalling the occasional consternation over fantasy winners of the Hugo Award (I get a couple three e-mail queries a year asking me to explain this), it occurs to me that I don’t think the Campbell Award is sufficiently recognized as possibly the truest bluest *science fiction* award of any of the major awards. Or at least, any of the major American awards — the Arthur C. Clarke Award stays pretty tightly on an SF focus, but is limited to book published in that country, whereas the Campbell (at least lately) seems open to anything published in the English language. (Oddly, even the British SF Association Award isn’t constrained to SF; it nominated Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, and awarded Gaiman’s Coraline). It helps that the Campbell Award is juried, and so less swayed by popular trends, and the jurors include the likes of Gregory Benford, a defender of the SF net.

Sorry I haven’t written more here lately; as always, busy busy. I will mention that I was flattered to have been e-mail interviewed in the past week by James Patrick Kelly for an upcoming “On the Net” column in Asimov’s, and judging from the draft he sent me, have been Quoted At Length.

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