Poul Anderson

1926 - 2001

American writer

Poul Anderson was one of science fiction's most famous, respected and prolific writers. Though he began slowly, his career was blazing by the mid-1950s and scarcely slowed down thereafter, eventually resulting in over 100 novels of remarkably consistent quality.

Anderson was prolific in all types of science fiction and fantasy, from the super-hard science of Brain Wave (1954) and Tau Zero (1967), to the Nordic sagas The Broken Sword (1954) and Hrolf Kraki's Saga (1973), the high fantasy of Three Hearts and Three Lions (1961) and The King of Ys (1988, with Karen Anderson), and the humor Earthman's Burden (1957, with Gordon R. Dickson).

Many of Anderson's stories and novels were part of a complex "Technic History," featuring the heroes Nicholas van Rijn, a dominant merchant prince, and Dominic Flandry, a sophisticated, pessimistic and tough Terran agent. Still others stand alone, including The High Crusade (1960). A delightful wish-fulfillment conceit, it displays Anderson at his most joyful: an alien spaceship lands in medieval Europe, where it is taken over by quick-thinking Baron Roger and his feudal colleagues. When the ship takes them to the stars, they soon trick, cajole, outfight and outbreed all the spacefaring races they can find, and found their own empire on feudal lines.

Anderson's magnum opus, however, might well be his future history of the next billion years; the concluding volume, Genesis, won the 1999 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Anderson was repeatedly honored by the science fiction community, serving as president of the Science Fiction Writers of America for 1972-73, and receiving seven Hugo awards, three Nebula awards and the Gandalf (Grand Master) Award for 1977.

Selected Bibliography:
The High Crusade (1960)
Ensign Flandry (1966)
Tau Zero (1967)
The Avatar (1978)
The Boat of a Million Years (1989)
Genesis (1999)

Additional source:
Locus Magazine

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.