Mon
Sep 2 2013 6:50pm
Frederik Pohl, 1919-2013

Frederik Pohl

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.  

11 comments
Theresa Wymer
1. Tekalynn
Rest in peace, Mr. Pohl. You are remembered, honored, and missed.

Thank you for everything.
Colin Bell
6. SchuylerH
A great writer, a great editor and a great inspiration. He will be missed.
Marcus W
7. toryx
I'm so sorry to hear that he's gone! As Jo said, he really should have lived forever.

Rest in peace.
Jenny Thrash
8. Sihaya
Well, darn. Yeah, he would be the last of the authors I think of as "my first science fiction writers." My childhood is now officially trapped in the sticky amber of pulp. Goodnight, Mr. Pohl.
KevDog
9. Colin R
Sad loss. I met him briefly once--his wife was teaching a Science Fiction Literature class at my college, and he dropped in to visit and talk about one of his stories.
KevDog
10. Ragnarredbeard
I loved Gateway and Man Plus back in the way back. RIP, Mr Pohl.
KevDog
11. Ragnarredbeard
I know its pedantic and I'm being a huge jerkwad, but

"Over the course of his career, Mr. Pohl won over 16 major awards for his writing (much of which was published pseudonymously) including sixHugos and three Nebulas."

Over 16? Wouldn't that be 17? or 18? Something about the imprecision of using a precise number - 16 - while at the same adding "over" to it just rubs me wrong.
KevDog
12. Cromie
He was a living encyclopedia of science fiction history. A big loss in more than one way.
Michael Papagermanos
13. Hercules40
Remembered and missed.

I suspect though, he's in the company of soem great ones up there where the good ones gather. I also suspect my thoughts about him are trivial compared to those of his family.
KevDog
14. Kevin Lindgren
Fred Pohl's Gateway is an SF classic featuring the first sort of gay protagonist I was aware of in science fiction (It may seem a little bit dated in it's Freudianism today). Pohl was a lifelong Progressive, esteemed editor of If Magazine--publishing early stories by Niven and Ellison--and, I believe, at 93, the last of the great post-WWII generation of writers like Kornbluth, Asimov, Heinlein, who knew each other, read and sometimes published each others stories, and formed what we now call (because they called it that themselves!) the Golden Age of SF!

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