He was a giant

Frederik Pohl (1919 – 2013)

Frederik Pohl (1919 – 2013)

Last August, I contacted a fellow suburban Chicagoan about contributing to a project on which I was working. He thanked me for taking the time to contact him, and asked for a little in return while he considered.

While he later said he was honored that I would think of him for the project, he ultimately declined, citing his heavy workload. That man’s name was Frederik Pohl, and he died yesterday.

I discovered Pohl’s work through the old time radio program, X MINUS ONE.  He wrote the following stories that were later adapted into the episodes: “Tunnel Under the World“, “The Map Makers“, “The Haunted Corpse“, and “Target One“.

His 1952 novel THE SPACE MERCHANTS, co-written by C.M. Kornbluth, was dramatized for CBS Radio Workshop in two parts, available here and here. He wrote a sequel in 1984 entitled THE MERCHANTS’ WAR.

AMAZING STORIES published his first short story, “Elegy to a Dead Satellite: Luna” in 1937 and his last novel, ALL THE LIVES HE LED, hit bookshelves in 2011. He was also a prolific essayist and blogger at THE WAY THE FUTURE BLOGS

Under his editorial leadership, IF Magazine won three straight Hugo Awards for the year’s best professional magazine, and he also edited the much-celebrated GALAXY Magazine.

GATEWAY by Frederik Pohl

GATEWAY by Frederik Pohl

His 1977 release GATEWAY won the Hugo, the Locus, the Nebula, and the Campbell awards for the year’s best novel. In 1979, his novel JEM won the U.S. National Book Award for Science Fiction.

Pohl won the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award in 1993 from the Science Fiction Writers of America, and five years later, he was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.

His writing career spanned three quarters of a century, most of which was about things that hadn’t happened yet.

Of his prescience, he said: “You can’t really predict the future. All you can do is invent it.”

Thank you, Mr. Pohl, for showing us the way.

2 Responses to “He was a giant”

  1. Sorry to hear about his passing. I really enjoyed what I did read of his, including the whole Heechee saga. I read JEM but I can’t remember much about it. I know there’s other stuff I have read as well but I’d have to search through the library to see what’s there. Seems like the old SF writers are having a bad time of it right now…didn’t another older writer just pass away recently as well?

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