Pohl, Frederik

Pohl, Frederik

Pohl, Frederik (Frederik George Pohl, Jr.) (pōl), 1919–2013, American science-fiction writer, b. New York City. Early in his career he often collaborated with other writers, particularly Cyril M. Kornbluth, with whom he wrote The Space Merchants (1953), a satiric and prophetic tale of a future world dominated by advertising. From 1969 on, he concentrated on his own works, and became one of the genre's most successful and influential practitioners. Altogether, he wrote more than 65 novels, about 30 short-story collections, and several nonfiction works. Among his best-known works are the four novels chronicling the missions of the Heechee spacecraft, particularly the first, Gateway (1977). His JEM (1979) won a National Book Award, the only time the prize included a science-fiction category. Later books include Platinum Pohl: The Collected Best Stories (2005), The Last Theorem (2008), and All the Lives He Led (2011). Pohl also worked as a literary agent for science-fiction writers and as a science-fiction magazine and book editor.


See his memoir (1978); study by T. D. Clareson (1987).

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Pohl, Frederik (Elton V. Andrews, Paul Fleur, Warren F. Howard, Cyril Judd, Ernst Mason, and several other pen names)

(1919–  ) writer, editor; born in New York City. He attended the public schools in New York City and then went to work as a writer and editor for popular magazines (1939–43, 1946–49), with time out to serve with the U.S. Army Air Force (1943–45). He had set himself up as a literary agent in 1946 and by 1953 his own works were successful enough to allow him to become a free-lance writer. He published a steady stream of short stories and novels, often coauthoring works with other science fiction writers under joint pen names. With Cyril Kornbluth, for instance, he wrote as "Cyril Judd" and produced a modern sci-fi classic, The Space Merchants (1953). A pioneer in "sociological sci-fi," which tends to postulate alternative societies, he also helped introduce more sophisticated literary techniques into what had long been regarded as "pulp" fiction. One of his classic works is Gateway (1977). He returned to editing science fiction, first at Galaxy Magazine (1961–69), then at Ace Books (1971–72), and finally at Bantam Books (1973–79). As the winner of many awards, both for his fiction and as an editor, he lectured widely in the U.S.A. and abroad and appeared on many radio and television programs to discuss science fiction.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.