John W. Campbell

Above is Picture Cover of "Who Goes There" Novella

John Wood Campbell, Jr. (1910 –1971) was an influential figure in science fiction. As editor of Astounding Science Fiction (later called Analog Science Fiction and Fact), from late 1937 until his death, he is generally credited with shaping the so-called Golden Age of Science Fiction.

Isaac Asimov called Campbell "the most powerful force in science fiction ever, and for the first ten years of his editorship he dominated the field completely."

As a writer, Campbell published super-science space opera under his own name and moody, less pulpish stories as Don A. Stuart. However, he stopped writing fiction after he became editor of Astounding.


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1. Who goes There? -  

1938 science fiction novella about ice-bound scientists confronted with an alien who can become them. This alien being is found frozen in the ice of Antarctica. When it is thawed, it awakens, to become a threat to the small base camp. In fact, it's a threat to all life on earth, as it can change shape and absorb the life and bodies of every living thing it comes in contact with.  It was made twice into a Hollywood movie, (1951 and 1982) both times under the title, "The Thing".

2. Black Star Passes (20 Chapters):  [Go down to "John W Campbell" and click on Black Star Passes]

originally written as three stories —
a.  "Piracy Preferred" — Amazing Stories, June 1930
b.  "Solarite" — Amazing Stories, November 1930
c.  "The Black Star Passes" — Amazing Stories Quarterly, Fall 1930 

The Twenty-Second century, viewed from 1930: giant propeller-driven aircraft carrying two thousand passengers across the country at 500-plus miles an hour, progressing to molecular-motion drives run by solar heat, to interplanetary voyages and war with Venus, to an "invasion" by a rogue star crossing the solar system. Few authors could maintain this pace and still make an interesting story, not just bare bones and action.

From the introduction by John W. Campbell:  "These early science-fiction tales explored the Universe; they were probings, speculations, as to where we could go. What we could do.  They had a reach and sweep and exuberance that belonged.  They were fun, too..."


3.  The Ultimate Weapon    (12 chapters)

Aliens have just been discovered! Only trouble is, the Solar System has just been discovered by those same aliens -- and they want it all for themselves. The result is a war and a desperate arms race between alien technology and human ingenuity. Who will win? What is the ultimate weapon?


4.  The Last Evolution -  9th story in Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 011

"I am the last of my type existing today in all the Solar System. I, too, am the last existing who, in memory, sees the struggle for this System, and in memory I am still close to the Center of Rulers, for mine was the ruling type then. But I will pass soon, and with me will pass the last of my kind, a poor inefficient type, but yet the creators of those who are now, and will be, long after I pass forever...:      A classic tale of pulp super-science by the man who would shape the Golden Age of SF from the editor's chair at ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION!

5.  The Black Star Passes -

A sky pirate armed with superior weapons of his own invention.... First contact with an alien race dangerous enough to threaten the safety of two planets.... The arrival of an unseen dark sun whose attendant marauders aimed at the very end of civilization in this Solar System. These were the three challenges that tested the skill and minds of the brilliant team of scientist-astronauts Arcot, Wade, and Morey. Their initial adventures are a classic of science-fiction which first brought the name of their author, John W. Campbell, into prominence as a master of the inventive imagination.

6.  Islands of Space

As Earth's faster-than-light spaceship hung in the void between galaxies, Arcot, Wade, Morey and Fuller could see below them, like a vast shining horizon, the mass of stars that formed their own island universe. Morey worked a moment with his slide rule, then said, "We made good time! Twenty-nine light years in ten seconds! Yet you had it on at only half power...." Arcot pushed the control lever all the way to full power. The ship filled with the strain of flowing energy, and sparks snapped in the air of the control room as they raced at an inconceivable speed through the darkness of intergalactic space. But suddenly, far off to their left and far to their right, they saw two shining ships paralleling their course! They held grimly to the course of the Earth ship, bracketing it like an official guard. The Earth scientists stared at them in wonder. "Lord," muttered Morey, "where can they have come from?" 

7.  Invaders from the Infinite - The famous scientific trio of Arcot, Wade and Morey, challenged by the most ruthless aliens in all the universes, blasted off on an intergalactic search for defenses against the invaders of Earth and all her allies. World after world was visited, secret after secret unleashed, and turned to mighty weapons of intense force--and still the Thessian enemy seemed to grow in power and ferocity. Mighty battles between huge space armadas were but skirmishes in the galactic war, as the invincible aliens savagely advanced and the Earth team hurled bolt after bolt of pure ravening energy--until it appeared that the universe itself might end in one final flare of furious torrential power....