July 12, 2004

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Contact: Dan Lara, University Relations, (785) 864-8855.

2004 Sturgeon, Campbell science fiction award winners announced at KU

LAWRENCE -- The Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas announced on July 9 the 2004 winners of its Theodore Sturgeon Award for best short science fiction work of the year and the John W. Campbell Award for best science fiction novel of the year. The awards were presented at a dinner that was part of the Gunn Center's annual Campbell Conference.

Kage Baker won the Sturgeon Award for her story "The Empress of Mars," and Jack McDevitt earned the Campbell Award for his novel "Omega."

Baker has written numerous works, including more than a dozen novels. "Empress" also has been nominated for a Hugo Award for best novella, from the World Science Fiction Society.

In addition to being a writer, Baker also has been a graphic artist, a playwright and a mural painter. She lives in California.

Other awards went to James Patrick Kelly, who won second place for "Bernardo's House," and John Kessel, who won third place for "It's All True." Kessel, director of the fiction-writing program at North Carolina State University, earned his master's and doctoral degrees from KU.

McDevitt's "Omega" is the final book in a series of four novels. The first book in the series, "The Engines of God," was a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction published in Great Britain. For seven of the past eight years, McDevitt has been a finalist for the Nebula Award, given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America for excellence in SF writing.

McDevitt has had many occupations, including English teacher, naval officer, taxicab driver, customs officer and motivational trainer. He lives in Georgia with his wife, Maureen McDevitt.

Justina Robson earned second place in the Campbell voting for her novel "Natural History." Philip Baruth finished third with "The X President."

The awards dinner took place during the Campbell Conference, July 8 through 11, titled "Science, Science Fiction and the Future." For the first time in conference history, present and past winners received take-home awards, according to Chris McKitterick, a lecturer in English at KU and associate director of the Gunn Center.

In addition to the Sturgeon and Campbell awards, four new members were inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. This year's living inductees were Brian W. Aldiss, best known for the "Helliconia" trilogy, and Harry Harrison, best know for the "Stainless Steel Rat" series.

The posthumous inductees were Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, author of "Frankenstein," and E.E. "Doc" Smith, who published one of the first space-epic novels, "The Skylark of Space," in Amazing Stories in 1928. (See related story, "Science Fiction Hall of Fame leaving Kansas City and KU for Seattle." A committee of two dozen reviewers and editors chaired by McKitterick nominate the Sturgeon Award finalists. James Gunn, KU professor emeritus of English and director of the Gunn Center; Kij Johnson, an associate director of the Gunn Center; Frederik Pohl, an SFWA Grand Master; and Noel Sturgeon, daughter of Theodore Sturgeon, chose the winner from a group of a dozen finalists.

Publishers nominate finalists for the Campbell Award, and a committee of academics and authors that includes Gunn, McKitterick, Gregory Benford, Paul A. Carter, Elizabeth Anne Hull, Pamela Sargent, T.A. Shippey and Farah Mendlesohn selects the winners.

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