The Way the Future WasWhat we’ve got here is actually an introduction, designed to give you some idea of what you’re likely to find in “The Way the Future Blogs” if you are staunch enough to stick around for a while.

The reason we need introducing is that I’m new to this, and so I may not get it right just at first. For instance, I understand that many blogs resemble back-and-forth chatting between the blogger and the bloggees, but that’s not what I have in mind. I am thinking of something more like a newspaper column, in which every now and then (at least once a week, maybe more often than that) I write a few hundred words and dispatch them to anybody who cares to tune in. Then again, most blog entries seem to be really short, maybe less than a hundred words. That I can’t promise to do. After a lifetime of getting paid by the word, I’m not so good at short. (But then you can skim if you want to. I do, quite a lot.)

So what will I be writing about?

Well, if you’ve ever read my experiment in autobiography, The Way the Future Was, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Very possibly you haven’t, since it’s been out of print for twenty-odd years (though I have to say that I am continually astonished by the number of battered and dog-eared copies that people produce for me to autograph every time I do a book signing.) So I’ll try to give you an idea.

Actually, the way this blog began was for two reasons. One was that one of my editors has been coaxing me to do something of the sort for publicity purposes, but the one that tipped the scales was that I’ve been for some time toying with the idea of publishing either an expanded and updated edition of that book or a sequel to it. A big part of this will be talk about sf writers I have known — as clients when I was a literary agent, as contributors when I was editing books or magazines, as collaborators, as traveling companions over a big part of the world — which is basically all of the writers anyone has ever heard of over the last many years. (For a sample of what I mean, see “Sir Arthur and I.”)

Now and then I might talk about any other subject that interests me. But there too if you aren’t interested you can skim. And in case you just wandered in on this chat and have never in your life heard of me, a condition which tragically is shared by a large fraction of the human race, I also attach a biographical sketch. (Which you can certainly skim or skip entirely. In fact, I recommend it.)

So let’s get on with it. I hope it’ll be fun!


  1. Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey says:

    Once upon a time, I came across a remainder table where a stack of The Way the Future Was was offered for a dollar apiece.

    I bought every one. Even though I already owned a copy. It’s a terrific book. Over the years, I have given them away to friends who wondered how science fiction got to be the way it is. Or what kind of adventures you had along the way.

    I’m glad to see you’ve started a blog– I always enjoy reading what you write, so I look forward to seeing what you have to say here.

  2. Stefan Jones says:

    I read “The Way the Future Was” in college . . . cripes, twenty years ago. A great read. I remembered, just the other day, a scene regarding leaving a bag of boiled eggs out for a drifter.

  3. Fred Kiesche says:

    “The Way the Future Was” is one of my favorite SF-autobiographies, along with the one by that Williamson fella. (Which is a hint that I hope you’ll talk about your experiences co-writing with him at some point!)

    Glad to see you blogging!

  4. Shirley Hicks says:

    Talk to Charlie Stroll over at http// He test flies a lot of his writing via his blog readership and has grown quite a community of devoted fans.

    Great to see you joining the blogosphere. I was pointed here from Jame’s Nicoll’s LiveJournal entry.

  5. Kent Cline says:

    After many, many years of reading your words, it is an honor to think that I can write a couple of words that you might read. Simply and sincerely, thank you.

  6. Matt Tan in Singapore says:

    I loved reading my first Fred Pohl novel “Gateway” in the 80s and eagerly read all the sequels. I also loved his collaboration with Isaac Asimov ,”Our Angry Earth”. It’s good to be able to read your thoughts and opinions regularly on the interwebs. Please continue for a long, long time. Thanks.

  7. Peter Nel says:

    Mr Pohl, we know who you are, and believe me, we are honored to be in your presence. Keep ’em coming! A blog by you is wonderful news, and it’s going straight into “favorites”.

    Thank you!

  8. Zdeslav Benzon says:

    I just received Wonder Effect, first paperback edition from 1962. and am waiting for a number of magazines You edited in the sixties (Galaxy and If), before I had even been born. One of my favourite SF books is Space Merchants
    and I reread it just last year. So, when I learned that You have a blog I
    just wanted to tell you that I admire how You still live science fiction
    and how you made my life richer through your writing. I haven’t nearly read all of your writings, but I’ve read a number of your short stories and novels that have been translated in former Yugoslavia and now in Croatia, and since I
    read in English, also a few that were not translated.
    One of my other favourite writers is Cyril Kornbluth and I bought His Share of Glory with Your introduction a year ago. What a wonderful book.
    I just want to wish you good luck with your health and may You write this blog
    for many years to come.
    Thank You

  9. Ian says:

    Oh man, this is so cool. “Day Million” remains one of my favorite short science fiction stories ever, along with “The Midas Plague” and “The Gold At Starbow’s End”… Not to mention your novels Gravy Planet and the undersea trilogy you did with Jack Williamson, plus Gateway and Man Plus and The Years of the City. And lots more I probably forgot. It’s totally mind-blowing that you’ve got a blog. This qualifies as a must-read, every day.

  10. Neal Asher says:

    It’s gone straight into my favourites too. Excellent to have one of the SF greats blogging!

  11. JustAnotherJohn says:

    Mr. Pohl, welcome to the blogosphere! Thanks for writing, I’ll be checking back on you. Adding this site to my favorites, now.

  12. Christopher Hawley says:

    Another grateful reader joins the growing mob… Thank you for taking the plunge and writing entries in the same wonderfully readable style as your books!
    * favorites site *


  13. Jeff Zugale says:

    Subscribed. Thanks for all the wonderful stories, Mr. Pohl. Welcome to a bit of our own tiny first steps at being “vastened.” :)

    (I’m just happy the ‘net lets me say hello and thanks!)

  14. Charlie (Colorado) says:

    Fred, did you ever see the old Playboy cartoon in which four people are seated at a card table; they’re dressed in scanty, and obviously Roman, clothing, while around them is a classic cartoon Roman orgy. A fifth person is standing near the table, looking inquisitively at them. The caption reads “At an orgy, you’re supposed to do whatever you want. Well, we want to play bridge!”

    It’s your damn orgy, Fred. Do whatever you like.

    Good to see you here.

  15. Mark Hennessy-Barrett says:

    Mr. Pohl, the simple knowledge that there will frequently be more of your thoughts and words to read is quite fantastic. Welcome to the Blogosphere – I hope that we your commentors will be able to give back even a small measure of the provoked thoughts, stimulated synapses and broadened brainpannery that you’ve given us over the years. I shall stop here, lest I gush. *bookmarks as a favourite*

  16. wrathex says:

    Dear Mr Pohl,

    Thank you, for Digits and Dastards, Day Million, Survival Kit, Jem, Preferred Risk and the tales of the Heechee and much much more.

    Thank you for the many years of delightful reading and for broadening and engaging my intelligence and imagination.

    You will always be and remain a favourite SF author.

  17. Anthony Cunningham says:

    Nice to meet you too. I’m looking forward to hearing more.

    BTW, Charlie’s surname is Stross, not Stroll.

  18. Dave Robinson says:

    I’ve read the Way the Future Was, and I’m glad to see the blog.

  19. Marianne says:

    Not only have I read the Way the Future Was, I was most delighted to give a copy to a dear friend of mine who’d introduced me to Narabedla, Ltd. (one of his, and my, favorite books). And he loved it too. I am emailing him RIGHT NOW to tell him you have a blog, and I am sure he will be as thrilled as I am. Your entry about Sir Arthur C. Clark was excellent.

  20. Jeff says:

    The internet just got a lot more wonderful! JEM remains one of the greatest novels I’ve ever read. I beg friends and strangers alike to read your works, sir. This blog will be a prime stop on my daily travels along the web!

  21. Patricia says:

    Dear Mr. Pohl,

    I am a relatively recent addition to your legions of fans, and I would like to say how delighted I am that you are now keeping a blog online. I am saddened to hear of your health problems, but it makes me appreciate even more the effort you are putting into this project.

    My husband and I are great fans of science fiction and fantasy. I am currently pregnant, and someday, we hope to watch our child comb through our library and discover for himself all the wonderful works we’ve loving collected by you and other masters of the genre. I only hope they will bring him as many hours of enjoyment as they have to us.

    I look forward to reading your future posts!

  22. Damian says:

    I’m so glad to discover your blog. Your autobiography remains one of my very favorites.

  23. Wyman Cooke says:

    I found out about this from Scalzi’s AMC blog. This is wonderful. I hope you are able to do this for quite awhile.

  24. Sophy says:

    Frederik Pohl! I’m so glad you’re blogging, Sir. I have read all of your books, and some of them 3 times.

    I look forward to your posts.

  25. WorldbyStorm says:

    Can I echo those sentiments? As a longtime fan in Ireland it\’s a pleasure to be able to read this blog.