Frederik Pohl, 1919-2013

Frederik Pohl has died today at age 93. His granddaughter reported the news via Twitter this afternoon. Read Jo Walton’s account of learning of the news during Worldcon, the annual assemblage of the science fiction and fantasy publishing community.

Frederik Pohl was one of the giants of science fiction. His first publication was the poem, “Elegy to a Dead Satellite: Luna,” which was included in Amazing Stories in 1937. During World War II, he wrote PR for the Army while living at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius, and then acted as a literary agent for the science fiction writing group, The Hydra Club. He became a copywriter for Popular Science, a literary agent for a host of sci-fi writers, and the editor for the magazines Galaxy and If from 1959 until 1969, with If winning three successive Hugo awards. He also became an editor for Bantam Books, where he acquired classic works including Samuel R. Delany’s Dhalgren (you can read some of his thoughts about the novel here) and Joanna Russ’s The Female Man. You can read Mr. Pohl’s remembrance of Ms. Russ here.

Over the course of his career, Mr. Pohl won over 16 major awards for his writing (much of which was published pseudonymously) including six Hugos and three Nebulas. Among his award-winning novels are Gateway, which won the Campbell Memorial, Hugo, Locus SF, and Nebula Awards, Beyond the Blue Event Horizon, which was a finalist for the Hugo and Nebula Awards, and Jem, which won the National Book Award in 1979. He edited and coauthored work with some of the greatest figures in science fiction, including Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Jack Williamson, Lester del Rey, L. Sprague de Camp, and Robert Heinlein. He also embraced blogging in his later years, using his online journal as an ongoing sequel to his autobiography, The Way the Future Was. A visit to The Way the Future Blogs will provide a fascinating education in sci-fi, literature, and life in general.  


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