Campbell, John W(ood), Jr. Damon Knight - Essay

Damon Knight

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

In the pantheon of magazine science fiction there is no more complex and puzzling figure than that of John Campbell, and certainly none odder. Under his own name,… he wrote gadgety, fast-moving, cosmic-scaled science fiction in the E. E. Smith tradition, and became, after Smith himself, its acknowledged master; as "Don A. Stuart," he began a one-man literary revival which eventually made that tradition obsolete. As editor of Astounding, he forced the magazine through a series of metamorphoses…. More clearly than anyone, Campbell saw that the field was growing up and would only be handicapped by the symbols of its pulpwood infancy; he deliberately built up a readership among practicing scientists and...

(The entire section is 700 words.)