The Campbell/Hugo Conversion Rate

This afternoon, and for no good reason other than my mind was wandering, I was curious about how many winners of the Campbell Award for Best New Writer then went on to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel (and, more generally, any of the short fiction Hugos). Here’s what I discovered.

Since the first awarding of the Campbell (in 1973, to Jerry Pournelle), four Campbell winners have also won the Best Novel Hugo: C.J. Cherryh (Campbell 1977; Hugo 1982); Orson Scott Card (Campbell 1978; Hugo 1986); Jo Walton (Campbell 2002; Hugo 2012) and me (Campbell 2006; Hugo 2013).

Other Campbell winners nominated for the Best Novel Hugo: Jerry Pournelle (won Campbell in 1973); R.A. MacAvoy (1984); Mary Doria Russell (1998); Nalo Hopkinson (1999); Cory Doctorow (2000); Naomi Novik (2007) and Seanan McGuire (2010, nominated for Best Novel as Mira Grant).

Campbell Winners who have won short fiction Hugos (if they have not otherwise won Best Novel): Spider Robinson (1974); Barry Longyear (1980 — currently the only Campbell winner to win their Hugo in the same year); Lucius Shepard (1985); Kristine Kathryn Rusch (1990); Ted Chiang (1992 — won a Nebula in 1991);  Elizabeth Bear (2005) and Mary Robinette Kowal (2008).

Additionally, at least two Campbell winners have won Hugos in non-fiction categories, without to date winning in fiction categories: Alexis Gilliland (Campbell 1982, Fan Artist Hugo winner) and Seanan McGuire (Campbell 2010, Fancast Hugo winner).

Campbell Winners who have won Nebulas (if they have not otherwise won a fiction Hugo): Lisa Tuttle (Campbell winner 1974; won but declined her Nebula); Tom Reamy (1976) and Karen Joy Fowler (1987). Campbell winners who have won World Fantasy Awards (if they have not otherwise won a Hugo or Nebula) include Stephen R. Donaldson (1979) Nalo Hopkinson (1999). Campbell winners who have won Clarke Awards  (if they have not otherwise won a Hugo or Nebula) include Jeff Noon (1995, won the Clarke in 1994) and Mary Doria Russell (1998).

So, for 42 Campbell winners to date, four have won the Best Novel Hugo, eleven have won fiction Hugos, thirteen(at least) have won Hugos of any sort and twenty (at least) have won Hugos, Nebulas, World Fantasy or Clarke Awards. And obviously this doesn’t consider the Campbell winners who were otherwise nominated for these various awards, which is roughly two thirds of them to date. All in all, that’s a pretty decent conversion rate for the Campbell Award.

(Not that the people who were nominated for the Campbell but didn’t win it should despair. Just ask Joan D. Vinge, David Brin or Lois McMaster Bujold, who went on to win Best novel Hugos, or consider George RR Martin, George Alec Effinger, John Varley, Bruce Sterling, Charles Sheffield, Michael Swanwick, Geoff Landis, Ian McDonald, Robert Reed, Allen Steele, David Levine, Tim Pratt or Brandon Sanderson (and probably others I have missed), who have Hugos in other fiction categories.)

Aaaaand now back to work on my novel.

14 thoughts on “The Campbell/Hugo Conversion Rate

  1. I wish you had listed the Campbell winners who have yet to win a Hugo or a Nebula, for obvious reasons. :-) Still, yeah, I’ve got plenty of nominations, so I’m in that two-thirds listing… :-)

  2. A combination of professional nerdiness and procrastination made me calculate the conversion rate taking into account the varying lengths of time Campbell Award winners have had to win a Hugo. After all, Lev Grossman or Mur Lafferty shouldn’t be seen as dragging down the average just because they haven’t yet won a Hugo. Sometimes taking lengths of into account makes a big differences; other times, not so much.

    So. The Kaplan-Meier estimate of 20-year conversion rate is 11% for Best Novel Hugo and 32% for any fiction Hugo. Very slightly higher than the simple proportion. But it’s Right, Dammit.

  3. When Jo Walton did her re-examination of the Hugos a year or so back, part of the examination was looking at the Campbells. A (to me) surprising portion of Campbell nominees are no longer publishing. This may change with ebooks.

  4. Human after all, but technically the only human to win the Campbell Award and go on to become SFWA president.

    I say “technically” because it looks like Jerry Pournelle did the converse: became SFWA president and went on to win the Campbell. Pournelle’s term of office was 1973 – 1974, his Campbell would have been awarded at Torcon II (August 31 – September 3), and SFWA presidents take office on July 1.

    Charles Sheffield, SFWA president from 1984 – 1986, was nominated for a Campbell in 1979, but didn’t win.

  5. It’s also interesting to consider two other categories: folks who were finalists for the Best New Writer award, but didn’t win, and folks who became eligible because of their professional sales but didn’t become finalists. I’ve watched the fate of new writers with considerable interest from the time that I was a finalist and ran the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer Eligible Author Website (I thought that was a longish title!). There’s a lot of roil in the water. Some folks make a single professional sale, and then disappear. Evidently they quit working in the genre. Some folks make a professional sale, continue to work, but don’t break through with a “professional” sale again. And some, of course, go on to make multiple sales, building an impressive resume of appearances, and become finalists/winners of major awards. Some. even, can quit their day jobs and write full time.

  6. I drag down the average, having won the Campbell but never having been nominated for a Hugo, Nebula, or WFC Award. I’ve sold a lot of books and short stories since then, have been well-reviewed and made Year’s Best lists now and then, and writing has been my full-time, self-supporting living all these years. I write commercial fantasy and I understand how the sf/f genre rolls, so there hasn’t been an instance where I naively hoped for a nomination and then sulked about not getting it.

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