Monday, November 29, 2010

Who is Fred Pohl?

From Wikipedia (just to start out with. What Asimov has to say about one of his best friends will be covered in future entries.)

Frederik George Pohl, Jr. (born November 26, 1919) is an American science fiction writer, editor and fan, with a career spanning over seventy years. He won the National Book Award in 1980 for his novel Jem. Other well-known novels include The Space Merchants (written with Cyril M. Kornbluth) and Gateway.

From about 1959 until 1969, Pohl edited Galaxy magazine and its sister magazine if, winning the Hugo Award for if three years in a row. His writing also won him four Hugos and multiple Nebula Awards. He became a Nebula Grand Master in 1993.

Pohl won the 2010 Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer, based on his writing on his blog, "The Way the Future Blogs".

Early life and family
Pohl is the son of Frederik George Pohl (a salesman) and Anna Jane Pohl. Pohl Sr. held a number of jobs, and the Pohls lived in such wide-flung locations as Texas, California, New Mexico and the Panama Canal Zone. The family settled in Brooklyn when Pohl was around seven.

He attended the prestigious Brooklyn Tech high school, but due to the Great Depression, Pohl dropped out of school at the age of 14 to work. It was not until 2009 that he was awarded an honorary diploma from Brooklyn Tech.[2]

While a teenager, he co-founded the New York–based Futurians fan group, and began lifelong friendships with Donald Wollheim, Isaac Asimov, and others who would become important writers and editors.

During 1936, Pohl joined the Young Communist League because of its stands in favor of unions and against racial prejudice, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. He became president of the local Flatbush III Branch of the YCL in Brooklyn. Pohl has said that after the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, the party line changed and he could no longer support it, at which point he left.

During World War II, Pohl served in the U.S. Army from April 1943 until November 1945, rising to sergeant as an air corps weatherman. After training in Illinois, Oklahoma, and Colorado, he primarily was stationed in Italy.

Pohl has been married five times. His first wife, Leslie Perri, was another Futurian; they were married in August 1940 but divorced in 1944. He then married Dorothy LesTina in Paris in August 1945 while both were serving in Europe; the marriage ended in 1947. During 1948, he married Judith Merril; they divorced in 1952. From 1953–1983 he was married to Carol M. Ulf Stanton, with whom he collaborated on several books. Since 1984, he has been married to science fiction expert and academic Elizabeth Anne Hull, PhD.

He fathered five children: Ann (m. Walter Weary), Karen (m. Robert Dixon), Frederik III (deceased), Frederik IV and Kathy.[3] Grandchildren include writer Emily Pohl-Weary.

Since 1984, he has lived in Palatine, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He was previously a resident of Red Bank, New Jersey.

Career
Pohl began writing in the late 1930s, using pseudonyms for most of his early works: Pohl's first published piece was a poem, "Elegy to a Dead Planet: Luna," in the October, 1937 issue of Amazing Stories credited to "Elton Andrews."[4][5]

From 1939 to 1943, Pohl was the editor of two pulp magazines - Astonishing Stories and Super Science Stories. Stories by Pohl often appeared in these magazines, but never under his own name. Work written in collaboration with Cyril M. Kornbluth was credited to S.D. Gottesman or Scott Mariner; other collaborative work (with any combination of Kornbluth, Dirk Wylie or Robert A.W. Lownes) was credited to Paul Dennis Lavond. For Pohl's solo work, stories were credited to James MacCreigh (or, for one story only, Warren F. Howard.)

In his autobiography, Pohl says that he stopped editing the two magazines at roughly the time of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Works by "Gottesman," "Lavond," and "MacCreigh" continued to appear in various SF pulp magazines throughout the 1940s.

Pohl started a career as a literary agent in 1937, but it was a sideline for him until after WWII, when he began doing it full time. He ended up "representing more than half the successful writers in science fiction" — for a short time, he was the only agent Isaac Asimov ever had — though his agenting business went bankrupt in the early 1950s.

Pohl began publishing material under his own name in the early 1950s. He collaborated with friend and fellow Futurian Cyril M. Kornbluth, co-authoring a number of short stories and several novels, including a dystopian satire of a world ruled by the advertising agencies, The Space Merchants.

Though the pen-names of "Gottesman", "Lavond" and "MacCreigh" were retired by the early 1950s, Pohl still occasionally used pseudonyms even after he began to publish work under his real name. These occasional pseudonyms, all of which date from the early 1950s to the early 1960s, included Charles Satterfield, Paul Flehr, Ernst Mason, Jordan Park (two collaborative novels with Kornbluth) and Edson McCann (one collaborative novel with Lester del Rey).

From the late 1950s until 1969, Pohl served as editor of Galaxy and if magazines, taking over at some point from the ailing H. L. Gold. Under his leadership, if won the Hugo Award for Best Professional Magazine for 1966, 1967 and 1968. Pohl hired Judy-Lynn del Rey as his assistant editor at Galaxy and if.

In the mid-1970s, Pohl acquired and edited novels for Bantam Books, published as "Frederik Pohl Selections"; the most notable were Samuel R. Delany's Dhalgren and Joanna Russ's The Female Man. Also in the 1970s, Pohl reemerged as a novel writer in his own right, with books such as Man Plus and the Heechee series. He won back-to-back Nebula awards with Man Plus in 1976 and Gateway, the first Heechee novel, in 1977. Gateway also won the 1978 Hugo Award for Best Novel. Two of his stories have also earned him Hugo awards: "The Meeting" (with Kornbluth) tied in 1973 and "Fermi and Frost" won in 1986. Another notable late novel is Jem (1980), winner of the National Book Award. Pohl continues to write and had a new story, "Generations", published in September 2005. A novel begun by Arthur C. Clarke called The Last Theorem was finished by Pohl and published on August 5, 2008.

His works include not only science fiction but also articles for Playboy and Family Circle and nonfiction books. For a time, he was the official authority for the Encyclopædia Britannica on the subject of Emperor Tiberius. (He wrote a book on the subject of Tiberius, as "Ernst Mason".)

A number of his short stories are notable for a satirical look at consumerism and advertising in the 1950s and 1960s: "The Wizards of Pung's Corners," where flashy, over-complex military hardware proved useless against farmers with shotguns, and "The Tunnel Under the World," where an entire community of seeming-humans is held captive by advertising researchers. ("The Wizards.." was freely translated into Chinese and then freely translated back into English as "The Wizard-Masters of Peng-Shi Angle" in the first edition of Pohlstars (1984)).

He was a frequent guest on Long John Nebel's radio show, from the 1950s to the early 1970s, and an international lecturer.

Pohl was the eighth President of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, taking office in 1974.

He is a member of the all-male literary banqueting club the Trap Door Spiders, which served as the basis of Isaac Asimov's fictional group of mystery solvers the Black Widowers.

Pohl received the second Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the University of California, Riverside.

Pohl's work has been an influence on a wide variety of other science fiction writers, some of whom appear in the 2010 anthology, Gateways: Original New Stories Inspired by Frederik Pohl, edited by Elizabeth Anne Hull.



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