Monday, September 2, 2013


Frederik Pohl, a Science fiction Grand Master, has passed away, at the age of 93. He wrote numerous science fiction novels, including the Gateway series, Man Plus, the Years of the City and All the Lives He led.

Biography from FREDERIKPOHL.COM:

Frederik Pohl was about everything that it is possible to be in the field of science fiction, from consecrated fan and struggling poet to critic, literary agent, teacher, book and magazine editor and, above all, writer.

Called by Kingsley Amis (in Amis's critical study of science fiction, New Maps of Hell) "the most consistently able writer science fiction, in its modern form, has yet produced," Frederik Pohl is clearly in the very first rank of writers in the field. He has won most of the awards the science-fiction field has to offer, including the Edward E. Smith and Donald A. Wollheim memorial awards, the International John W. Campbell award (twice), the French Prix Apollo, the Yugoslavian Vizija, the Nebula (three times, including the "Grand Master" Nebula for lifetime contributions to the field) and the Hugo (six times, he is the only person ever to have won the Hugo both as writer and as editor), as well as such awards from sources outside the science-fiction community as the American Book Award, the annual award of the Popular Culture Association, and the United Nations Society of Writers Award. Other honors include election as a Fellow to both the British Interplanetary Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Apart from the field of science fiction, he is a noted lecturer and teacher in the area of future studies, and is the author of, among other non-fiction works, Practical Politics, a how-to-do-it manual of the American political process; Our Angry Earth, on the world's environmental problems, written in collaboration with the late Isaac Asimov, which Sir Arthur C. Clarke calls "perhaps the most important book either of its authors has produced"; and, most recently, Chasing Science, on the uses of science as a spectator sport. He is also the Encyclopedia Britannica's authority on the First Century A.D. Roman emperor, Tiberius.

Many of Frederik Pohl's works have been adapted for radio, television, or film, beginning with the two-part Columbia Workshop of the Air version of the classic The Space Merchants in 1953. In Europe, a number of his stories have been televised by the BBC and his famous novella, "The Midas Plague," became a three-hour special on German television. The 1981 NBC two-hour television film, The Clonemaster, was based on an original concept of his; his award-winning novel, Gateway, has been dramatized for live theatrical production; his novelette, "The Tunnel under the World," became a feature film in Italy; and his novels, Man Plus and Gateway, are currently in development in America as feature films. (Gateway was also made into a computer game under the title of "Frederik Pohl's Gateway" by Legend Entertainment; a second game, "Gateway II: The Home World," was released a year later.)

Among his most recent novels are The World at the End of Time, Outnumbering the Dead, Stopping at Slowyear, The Voices of Heaven, O Pioneer, and The Siege of Eternity.

He has traveled widely, sometimes to lecture on behalf of the United States State Department (in places as widely separated as Singapore, New Zealand and most of the countries of both Eastern and Western Europe) or to attend international conferences on science or science fiction in places like the Republic of South Korea, Canada, the People's Republic of China, Australia, Brazil, the former Soviet Union, the former Yugoslavia, and most of Western Europe. He is a past president of both World SF and the Science Fiction Writers of America and is currently Midwest Area Representative to the Authors Guild, having served for nine years as a member of the Guild Council before moving to the midwest. He lived in Palatine, Illinois, with his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Anne Hull, who is a past president of the Science Fiction Research Association and a noted scholar in the field.

Read an interview in Locus:


Anonymous said...

That is the saddest thing I have heard this year. He was one of the last, and probably the last, of the old-time pulp authors. Elmore Leonard only came in at the end of the pulp era, but Pohl was in the thick of it as both a writer and an editor. His first story was published in 1940. He was important in science fiction for more than 70 years. I think it may be said of very few people that they are irreplaceable but he was one of them.

vallery said...

I agree with Anon. Back in the 50s and 60s when I was an avid reader of Scifi, Pohl was one of the authors I read. It's showing my age to say that that era was the best-but we are now living in the world those authors, Asimov, Herbert, Bradbury, Heinlein, etc, predicted. It would behoove our world leaders to dip into those books for a clue as to where our earth is headed.