I don’t know if you’ve ever met Vince Monte, who holds the title of My No. 1 Fan. He’s a well informed person with a collection that, apart from foreign editions, is much better than my own, and when he asks a question, I do my best to answer it.
This time the question had to do with pen names, of which I admittedly have, over the years, used a number. Vince sent me a list of 14 names that I have at some time or other used, and what is noteworthy about the list is that it does not include Frederik Pohl, a name I have used quite often. So let me try to answer Vince’s question, as follows:
This is the name I used for my nonfiction biography of the Roman emperor Tiberius. I wanted a name that was not identified with me or with science fiction, though when I then wrote about Tiberius for the Encyclopedia Britannica, the editor encouraged me to go back to my own name. Ernst Mason was created by taking the family name of my maternal grandfather, William Mason, and adding it to the given name of my paternal one, Ernst Pohl.
Name used on some early collaborations with Cyril Kornbluth. He picked it, I think taken from the name of one of his high-school teachers.
Not my name, the name taken by my high-school pal Joseph Harold Dockweiler when he got tired of the name his parents had picked for him. The precipitating incident was the plan of Dirk, Dick Wilson and Don Wollheim to rent an apartment together, and Dick and Donald demanded that Dirk had a name starting with a D.
Horace Gold laid this one on me. He wanted me to use a new pseudonym for one of my stories in Galaxy, I said I was tired of inventing pseudonyms, he said, “Then I will.” He had a prizefight going on the TV, Ezzard Charles against Bob Satterfield, and he said, “There’s your name.” What we didn’t know was that there was a real man named Charles Satterfield, but he apparently never saw the story, or didn’t care.
Jordan Park was a pen name of Cyril’s. I just wrote part of one Jordan Park story.
Paul Dennis Lavond
Used for a few three-way collaborations; P for Pohl, D for Dirk, L for Lowndes.
Sometimes Elton V. Andrews, once or twice just the initials, eva. My first professional sale, a poem to Amazing Stories, was signed with this. I have no idea why I picked it.
My most frequently used pen name, not just for sf but for other pulps and for my first attempts at non-pulp sales.
Joint penname with Lester del Rey. After we had written the book we used that name on, Lester realized that the name could be written as EM.CC and read, if we chose, as E = mc2.
I think, repeat THINK, that this was the name (or pseudonym) of someone who had written a novel about TV called The God of Channel One, which Ian Ballantine had bought but was dissatisfied with and asked me to do a rewrite on.
Paul Flehr, Warren F. Howard, Scott Mariner
They sound sort of familiar. I think I did use them, but I don’t remember where or why.
There may have been others.
When I was quite new to all this, I confess I had a romantic view of pseudonyms. By “romantic,” I mean as in a boy-meets-girl scene like this one:
I imagined myself sitting at a soda fountain — I didn’t say cocktail bar, I said soda fountain, which gives an idea of how old I was — and there was an extremely good-looking girl sitting a stool or two away, reading a story of mine, and my plan was to wait until she had finished it and then let her knows that the pen name on the story was me.
Never happened, though. Probably just as well. My wife probably wouldn’t like it.