Frederik Pohl

fredI can’t say that I’m all that surprised that Frederik Pohl has died.  I can say that I am shocked, depressed and shaken-to-the-core that Frederik Pohl is no longer with us.

I am sure that the dichotomy of feeling is something I share with most of the rest of you.  We acknowledge that anyone 93 years young is at the far end of the Bell Curve; that they will be gone sooner rather than later, but this is an abstract and often deliberately ignored fact.  Somehow, somewhere, we harbor the irrational belief that the status quo will be maintained.  When we wake up in the morning, all of our old friends will still be with us, regardless of the reality imposed by the cold equations of life.

Frederik Pohl has always been a part of my life.  Always.  My early exposure to science fiction was influenced by his work as an agent, though I didn’t know it; his editorial work provided hundreds, if not thousands of hours of reading pleasure, though I was only dimly aware of his hand; his novels and short stories opened up new and exciting territory for the field, something he has been doing for decades, though it was only later in life that I came to truly appreciate how revolutionary his writings were.

I am so glad that I was able to meet him personally on a few occasions, proud of having been able to work with him briefly (a World Future Society conference); grateful that luck and circumstance allows Amazing Stories to claim his first publication (a poem) and what may have been his last formal interview (R. K. Troughton’s Grand Master Series).

Above all, I’m thankful that he so consistently produced work, fiction and non-fiction alike, that I was able to enjoy for decades.  Works that really made me think, opened my eyes, posed hard and interesting questions.  I know I am a better person for having known and read Frederik Pohl.

“But since it falls unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I’ll gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be with you all”

The Parting Glass

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  1. At MilPhil (the 2001 WorldCon) I ran into him at a party and told him how much I enjoyed his work and how impressed I was that he was still on the cutting edge of SF. He smiled and said, “I’ll make you a deal: you keep reading and I’ll keep writing.” By coincidence I’m currently in the middle of reading his 1988 novel “Narabedla Ltd.”

    None of us knows what happens after we die, but if there’s an afterlife, there’s one amazing Worldcon going on in heaven right now. 🙂

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