Jack Robins

Jack Robins

Although he was less avid a writer than most of the rest of the Futurians, Jack Robins (or Rubinson) once wrote a play: “The Ivory Power,” now unfortunately long lost. It wasn’t a normal “story” play. It was more like one of those WPA docudramas that had become popular in the early ’30s, only it didn’t concern sharecroppers. It was actually about us Futurians and it was a sort of idealization of what we might have been doing in a political sense if we had done anything more than talk.

Looked at in one way, it was actually a kind of a reproach to all of us. Looked at in another it showed what real feelings we had, and might yet give voice to. It was actually quite moving.

Jack earned a doctorate and went on to a long and successful career as a research chemist. Only one other of those clever, fast-talking Futurians attained the Ph.D., Isaac Asimov. Jack’s was a much more explosive career, though: He spent 25 years working in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, for the Atlas Powder Co. — makers of TNT.

Jack is one of the three surviving Futurians, the others being David A. Kyle and your host, Frederik Pohl. Regard nothing as settled, though. We’re all ridiculously old, and one or all of us could go any drafty Thursday.

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One Comment

  1. Chris says:

    Mr. Pohl, thank you for the article on Jack Robbins. It’s good to know that there are still some Futurians out there! I truly hope that drafty Thursday mentioned is a long time in the future. The picture of Mr. Robbins is from a larger picture that I’ve seen on this site, and in your book The Way the Future Was; I’ve always wondered what happened to that painting by Jon Michel that appears in the larger version of the picture. It is amazing to look at one picture of a bunch of young guys, realizing that more than a few of them went on to have a tremendous influence in the science fiction community. Would The Lord of the Rings have ever exploded into popularity had not Wollheim published it in paperback? I guess we’ll never know, but it seems less likely.

    You also mention Dave Kyle. It’s interesting to compare his insights into the events of the 1939 Nycon (http://jophan.org/mimosa/m29/kyle.htm) with the version we got in The Immortal Storm by Sam Moskowitz. Not sure why I find this bit of science fiction fan history to be so interesting but I do, and I appreciate the articles you continue to post on The Futurians, so thanks! I hope you have a great day –