Frederik Pohl

1919 -

American writer, editor and agent

Frederik Pohl began writing in his teens as a member of the Futurians, a New York fan group, and created much of his early work in collaboration with other members of the group, particularly C.M. Kornbluth. In the early 1940s, he published much of this work himself while editing Astonishing Stories and Super Science Stories.

As a writer, Pohl quickly established a reputation with his slickly ironic short stories, mostly satires with a hint of black comedy. Immediately after World War II, however, he concentrated upon his work as a science fiction literary agent, representing many of the field's most celebrated writers. Returning to writing and form in the fifties, he published the classics The Space Merchants (1952), "The Midas Plague" (1954) and "The Tunnel Under the World" (1955), as well as the more ambitious and surrealistically complicated Wolfbane.

Pohl was editor of Gal and If from late 1961 to mid-1969, and while under his aegis If won three Hugo awards for Best Magazine. He also founded and edited two shorter-lived magazines and edited numerous reprint anthologies. Two fine novellas — "The Gold at the Starbow's End" (1971) and "The Merchants of Venus" (1971) — followed, and were important transitional works, the latter forming a prelude to the enterprising Heechee series.

Composed of Gateway (1977), Beyond the Blue Event Horizon (1980), Heechee Rendezvous (1984), The Annals of the Heechee (1987) and The Gateway Trip (1990), the Heechee series tracked humanity's exploration of the galaxy using artifacts abandoned by aliens who have gone into hiding because of a threat posed to all living species by the enigmatic Assassins. The lead novel, Gateway, won the Hugo, Nebula and John W. Campbell Memorial awards.

Pohl was president of the Science Fiction Writers of America (1974-76) and president of World Science Fiction (1980-82). In 1993 he received the Nebula Grand Master Award.

Selected Bibliography:
The Space Merchants (1952)
Wolfbane (1959)
Man Plus (1976)
Gateway (1977)
Heechee Rendezvous (1984)
The Annals of the Heechee (1987)
Beyond the Blue Event Horizon (1980)
The Gateway Trip (1990)

Courtesy of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Copyright © John Clute and Peter Nicholls 1993, 1999, published by Orbit, an imprint of the Time Warner Book Group UK.