Frederik Pohl, prolific science fiction writer and member of First Fandom has died at 93. He wrote science fiction, edited science fiction magazines, helped other writers break into the field, and was the literary agent to some of the biggest names in the science fiction. He was a recognized force there at almost the very beginning of science fiction and his influence grew over the years.
Fred wrote some of the most popular, entertaining and innovative science fiction novels. I have a signed copy of Gateway, which is a great story, filled with those innovations, and a twist at the end that it quite thought provoking. It is one of my favorite tales and I reread it periodically.
I had met Fred at a number of conventions, which is to say that I was acquainted with him. In 1988, in Wisconsin, we debated the reality of UFOs, with Fred and George R. R. Martin (I believe) on one side and a representative of the Center for UFOs Studies and me on the other. It seemed to me that Fred had looked into the question of UFOs years earlier and really just wasn’t interested in them. We actually corresponded on the topic briefly in the early 1990s.
I always found it nearly impossible to engage him in conversation, which is not to blame him, but me. His stature of one of the greats of science fiction seemed to overwhelm me, but he was always cordial when approached by his fans at a wide range of science fiction conventions and on a wide range of topics. It was not all that long ago that I had heard that he no longer attending conventions, leaving that to family members.
Fred served in the military during the Second World War, won nearly every prize possible for a science fiction writer including both the Nebula and Hugo and was respected by all who knew him. He kept writing right up to the end, but his later output did not match that of his earlier years. Without him science fiction would not be as great as it is. When thinking of the greats of science fiction such as Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke, Frederik Pohl’s name always surfaces. He was one of the greats.