Ian McDonald’s The Dervish House has won the Campbell Award for the best science-fiction novel of the year, and Geoffrey A. Landis’s “The Sultan of the Clouds” has won the Sturgeon Award for the best short science fiction of the year.
In a ceremony Friday at the University of Kansas, the Campbell Award was presented to McDonald by Campbell Award juror Elizabeth Anne Hull.
The Sturgeon Award was presented to Landis by Noël Sturgeon, Theodore Sturgeon’s daughter, trustee of his literary estate, and a member of the Sturgeon Award jury.
McDonald was born in Scotland in 1960 but was moved to Northern Ireland when he was five, and lived through the troubled years. He was turned on to science fiction by childhood television programs and began writing at the age of nine. He sold his first story at twenty-two and became a full-time writer in 1987. Much of his writing has focused on the developing nations of Africa, India, and South America, and one commentator has suggested that his life in Northern Ireland led him to consider that country a “third-world” society. The Dervish House is set in Turkey, specifically Istanbul, five years after Turkey has been admitted to the European Union and offers, one reviewer said, “a coalescence of order out of interacting possibilities.”
Landis came to science fiction through science. He was born in Detroit in 1955 but moved regularly throughout his childhood. He is a NASA scientist with a Ph.D. in physics from Brown University after undergraduate studies at M.I.T. in physics and electrical engineering. He has worked on several space missions, including Mars Pathfinder and the long-lived Mars Exploration Rovers. He began publishing science fiction in 1984 and attended Clarion in 1985, where he met his wife, writer Mary Turzillo. Landis has won two Hugo Awards and a Nebula Award for his short fiction. He is known as a writer of “hard science fiction,” and “The Sultan of the Clouds” describes a possible way of living on Venus–or, rather, living in floating cities in the upper atmosphere of Venus.
This is McDonald’s second trip to the Awards ceremony. His “Tendeleo’s Story” won the Sturgeon Award in 2001.
The Awards are presented by the Center for the Study of Science Fiction during the Campbell Conference, a four-day event held annually at the University of Kansas. The Campbell Award is selected, from nominations by publishers, by a jury composed of seven writers and academics. The Sturgeon Award is selected, from nominations by reviewers and editors, by a jury composed of five writers and academics.
More information about the Awards and Conference is available on the Center’s website.