Tuesday, December 19, 2006

John W. Campbell and Longevity

John W. Campbell was editor of Astounding Stories (no, wait -- Astounding Science-Fiction; no, wait -- Analog Science Fiction Science Fact) from late 1937 through his death on July 11th of 1971. It's unclear precisely when he started, and the transition (as F. Orlin Tremaine gradually let Campbell take over the whole magazine) took until May of 1938. The earliest I've seen anyone put Campbell in an editorial chair at Astounding is in September, so I'm calling it September 1st, to err on the side of longevity. Thus, he held the same editorial job for no more than 33 years, 10 months, and 11 days.

My boss, Ellen Asher -- the uncrowned Queen of Science Fiction -- started work as editor of The Science Fiction Book Club on February 8, 1973. As of today, she is, I think, the longest-serving editor of all time in science fiction.

I know Stan Schmidt at Analog has been there nearly thirty years; are there any other candidates? (I don't think Charles Brown counts, since he owns the magazine and he hasn't worked on it full-time the whole time, but he's certainly got longevity on his side.)


Anonymous said...

Stan has definitely been around in the same editorial job longer than anyone else at the moment -- other than Ellen, of course. Oddly, though, I think someone once figured out that due to double issues and the like, Stan has actually edited more individual issues of Analog (Astounding) than Campbell did.

Unknown said...

I believe the only person comparable to Ellen and to JWC is David Hartwell, who also started editing sf professionally in the early 1970s. (David has said that Ellen has seniority on him.) But David has moved among several companies--his current employer didn't even exist when he and Ellen both started editing sf.

Jim Baen worked at Ace Books in the 1960s, but he didn't move into sf until the early 1970s. He took over Galaxy in 1973, which would make him at least Ellen's equal in tenure until his death last year, since he remained an editor while also being publisher. Like Hartwell, he didn't work the same job for that whole time.

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