Fred Pohl


As many of you know by now, Frederik Pohl passed away yesterday at the age of 93.

I’m so sorry to see him go…

His influence on the field as writer, editor, and fan is difficult to measure — I won’t even attempt to do so.

Persons more eloquent than myself have already said it much better. Here’s Neil Gaiman on Pohl, with a poem included; and here’s Jo Walton, ever wise and erudite.

I’ll add only this:

I met Pohl, briefly, on a couple of occasions, introduced by mutual friends.   We exchanged a few words, nothing significant, really.   But it was important to me…

Because of… let’s call it the Link.

He had been there: witnessing and participating in the real birth of SF and Fantasy as recognized genres; and helping to sustain them across the years; and contributing to them, and being one of those whose acts and arts served to shape the field….

And also, he was here.  In the same room I was.  At, say,  a convention, driving his electric cart past the table at which I was autographing, called back by the person signing next to me, introduced as a matter of course: Oh, yes, here’s a fellow SFWA member, a fellow author, Rosemary Kirstein — Rosemary, meet Fred Pohl.

He was my contemporary.  And he was also a figure of history.

It was a link, alive, from now to then.   From me to there. And from him to the future, I suppose; we’re SF, we’re all about the future.

I went over to his blog, which I sometimes visit, and browsed through, and found this, to my delight:


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Click to go to Pohl’s blog for a slightly better version; you’ll still have to squint, but it’s worth squinting…


It’s the Hydra Club,  one of the first SF fan clubs, some time in the 1950’s .  So many of the people in this image are writers,  people I worshiped as a kid —


And gosh, just look at ’em! Hanging out, talking, arguing, goofing off, being sly, being wise, being dopey — hey, they’re us!

Thanks, Fred.


3 Responses to “Fred Pohl”

  • Sean Eric Fagan Says:

    Sorry to nit-pick, but he was 93. Two months short of 94.

    The Merchants’ War made a large impression on me.

  • Lindig Harris Says:

    As a kid in the 1950s I read all SF I could find in my small Southern town, so of course I read Mr. Pohl and thoroughly enjoyed him. I was sorry to hear of his death.

    It’s been a bad week for really important people leaving us, Pohl, David Frost, Seamus Heaney. I’ll miss them all.

    Nice tribute, btw, and I love the cartoon.