Frederik Pohl
Nov. 26, 1919—Sept. 2, 2013

 

We’re saddened to tell his friends and readers that Fred went to the hospital in respiratory distress this morning and died this afternoon.

Please stay tuned. We’re teary and shell-shocked right now, but we’ll have more news soon. And Fred left a thick file of things he wanted to tell you, so we’ll likely keep posting for a while.

98 Comments

  1. Daniel F. says:

    We will very much miss you Sir.

  2. Lawrence Watt-Evans says:

    I’m so sorry he’s gone.

  3. Dana Rasmussen says:

    My condolences to Mr Pohl’s family and friends.
    It has been a pleasure to read this blog of Fred’s thoughts and memories, I am going to miss that.
    Science Fiction has lost a true great.
    RIP Fred

  4. Jennifer says:

    So very, very sorry and sad to hear this news. Condolences to all those who knew and loved him best.

  5. Stefan Jones says:

    We all knew this day was coming . . . but it is still a shock and a bummer.

    Realist that he was, it would not surprise me if Fred left a goodbye message.

    I will start reading Gateway tonight, in tribute.

  6. Mark Hennessy-Barrett says:

    Thanks, Fred. For everything. I’ll miss you.

  7. Curt Phillips says:

    Just returned home from a late night shift at my hospital to learn that Fred Pohl has passed away. It would be difficult to overstate Fred’s importance to SF, to Fandom, and to everything related to those two fields, but I’ll leave that kind of summation to others and will just think of the times I met him and talked with that giant of the SF world, and I’ll remember that for all his many accomplishments, Fred Pohl never forgot his roots in SF fandom. He was always “one of us”, which has always helped make me proud to be a part of the SF subculture myself. Fred was a founding member of FAPA – the Fantasy Amateur Press Association, of which I am the current OE (Official Editor). For our 75th anniversary distribution last year I wrote to Fred and asked him for a few words of greeting to the current FAPA membership from one of the original members, and he very kindly sent along a statement which I published in the anniversary mailing. I’ll always be inordinately pleased with myself for making that happen. We will always have the fascinating body of excellent books and stories that Fred wrote for us, and we’ll always have the dozens of other writers whom Fred nurtured as an agent or published as a magazine and book editor, but tonight I’m sitting here trying not to think about how much smaller our SF world suddenly feels now that I know that Fred Pohl is no longer in it with us.

  8. Patterico says:

    A great man, who will be missed.

  9. John Armstrong says:

    I grew up on Fred’s books and stories and it was hugely wonderful that 30 years after that, still reading his stuff, I was able to correspond with him. What an amazing life, and I doubt I’m the only one who thought he might just be around forever. Best wishes to Betty Anne and family, we are all grieving with them.

  10. Fred says:

    The day I subscribed to this blog, I was thrilled to learn that Fred was still alive! But I also dreaded, with each post, the inevitable end of his incomparable voice.

    I am very sad, and I wish I were home so that I could pull his books off the shelf and revel in his unique talent

  11. David Szondy says:

    I didn’t agree with him on a lot of things, but he was a great writer, a brilliant editor, and as an agent he helped many other writers to get a toe hold. I’ll always remember the delight I felt when I learned that he’d read one of my web pages.

    Sleep well, sir. You will be missed.

  12. Linkmeister says:

    I’ll miss his words here and cherish the books he left us all. My condolences to his family and friends.

  13. William Kone says:

    A brilliant mind has left us.

    I hope his family finds comfort that he was so well loved.

  14. Julia Jones says:

    His writing brought me such joy over the years, both fiction and non-fiction. I was delighted when he started blogging, and it’s been fascinating to read his stories about past fandom.

    He will be much missed. My condolences to his friends and family.

  15. Sandra Chung says:

    My deepest sympathies to family and friends. He will be sorely missed. And he has left behind a legacy of SciFi, and insight that is a rare commodity. RIP.

  16. mbmichael says:

    the end of an era, one of the finest has left the room.

    condolences.

  17. Janus says:

    Thank you for all the stories, Fred.

  18. Andrew Price says:

    Thanks for all the great stories Fred. See you on the other side of the blue event horizon. Andy.

  19. Dave Harmon says:

    Farewell, Mr. Pohl. You were a star in our heavens, and a guiding light to many of us.

  20. Louann Miller says:

    Thanks for everything, sir.

  21. chemster says:

    I started to write how I felt about the news of Mr. Pohl’s death, but I think that Jo Walton on tor.com put it better than I can: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/09/frederik-pohl-death

  22. Barry Traylor says:

    This is very sad news. I met Fred on several occasions at various conventions and he always had something interesting to say. Not to mention being a fan of his Science Fiction and I have lost count of how many times I have read his biography The Way The Future Was.

  23. Héctor Ramos says:

    A part of my dreams are now in heaven with you, Mr. Pohl.
    Descanse en paz.

  24. Chris Cullen says:

    I was aware of Asimov’s passing when it occurred, Roger Zelazny was gone before I discovered his works. When I found that out, I was devastated… Were all my favorites gone? The writers who shaped me, did they exist? I went looking, and when I found Fred’s blog, all was right in the world again. This news has crushed me to a greater extent than anything I can think of. Fredrick Pohl’s wit and charm and devastating insight was a bright spark in this world and he well be sorely missed.

  25. Rich Gombert says:

    My condolences to Mr Pohl’s family and friends.
    HE was a favored author and will be missed.

  26. Joe Fodor says:

    So long to an honored son of Brooklyn — his launching pad. There was always a bit of that young, idealistic Flatbush YCL member in everything he wrote. I will miss this daily connection to my favorite writer.

  27. Kevin says:

    A gentleman and a great fan and writer. Sadly missed already. Sleep well Fred, I never met you but knew you through your books and latterly your blog.

  28. Dave Kopperman says:

    Farewell. It’s a shame Americans don’t fete our exemplary artists the way they do in the UK – if ever there were a creator deserving of being Knighted for a lifetime of indispensable and groundbreaking work, it would be you.

  29. Phil says:

    So sad to hear this news. Fred was an amazing writer and editor, who took American SF in fresh directions it would not otherwise have gone.

  30. Karl Berry says:

    Thanks for everything, Fred. You were part of just about my whole reading life. The Starchild Trilogy and Gateway were two of the first adult books I ever found. Up through All the Lives and then this blog, I looked forward to every new book and post. Missing you now and always.

  31. Steve Hooley says:

    He was one of the greats, both as a writer and as a citizen of this world. It was an honor to have met him, and we’ll begin missing him immediately.

  32. Ray Daley says:

    I had been holding out for a long time before I decided to try Freds work & early this year bought the first real dead tree book I’ve bought in over 6 years from my local branch of Forbidden Planet.
    Then didn’t read it until a few months ago, and couldn’t put it down until I finished it.
    I didn’t understand it, it confused me, but I did enjoy it.
    And I was quite pleased that it confused me and that it was difficult to understand.
    It meant that I had more to learn as both a reader and a writer.

    And what was that book? All The Lives He Led.

    Rest in peace sir, I will enjoy re-reading that until one day I do understand it fully.

  33. Vera Benczik says:

    I read the news with sorrow, and offer my condolences to the family :(

  34. Flash Sheridan says:

    My condolences to Mr Pohl’s family, and I look forward to his future posts.

  35. Richard Shawn Weinstein says:

    I am in tears from the news of Fred’s death. He single-handedly made me a published fiction author. I will miss you, Fred.

  36. Jose Cabanillas says:

    Very sad news. Time is a bitch. Fair winds, Fred.

  37. Giulio Prisco says:

    Thank you Fred, for countless hours of reading pleasure and intellectual stimulation. You are one of the writers who shaped modern science fiction, and collective imagination. You will be missed.

  38. Tom Ritchford says:

    I’ve been reading Frederik Pohl’s work since the 60s and I never grow tired of it. Really, the man was incapable of writing a dull word.

    I was very sad to hear of his passing – but looking at the blog, very envious in a strange way. It’s really hard to beat – almost 94, still in completely possession of your faculties, still involved with the world, still political – post a blog post in the morning and in the evening you’re gone.

    One of the true Greats of the field has gone, but he left us so much.

  39. John H says:

    I was truly saddened to hear of Fred’s passing yesterday. The world has lost one of the greats…

  40. Andy Chalk says:

    So very sad and sorry to hear of Mr. Pohl’s passing, but eternally grateful for his gifts to the world. Condolences to his family and friends – he will be missed, but not forgotten.

  41. Beth Allen says:

    So sorry for your loss.

  42. Karen Anne says:

    So very sorry to hear this.

  43. Daniel D. says:

    All my best to Mr Pohl’s loved ones and friends. As Curt notes above, he’s a man who made you proud to be part of SF fandom and culture, who’s work I would always point to whenever some snoot would make a derogatory remark about the genre’s lack of literary value. Godspeed in the Great Beyond, Fred, and tremendous thanks to the blog team for helping bring us The Way the Future Blogs.

    Picked up Gladiator-at-Law at the used book store last week. Time to crack it open.

  44. Rick Steele says:

    Pohl has passed through the Gateway into…..

  45. Stephen says:

    You touched the human thread that runs through every one of us. We are better people because of you. Rest in peace, my good man.

  46. Shawn Reynolds says:

    I am so very sad to hear the news. I have enjoyed many of his books over the years.

    I had the great pleasure to meet Mr. Pohl some 30+ years ago at a convention here in Virginia. What a thrill for me to meet one of the true giants and icons of modern science fiction. He was, of course, very kind and generous with his time and honored me by signing all of my books.

    RIP, Mr. Pohl. You are sorely missed.

  47. Lisa Jain Thompson says:

    Damn.

    He wasn’t suppose to die before I do. I’m still recovering from Heinlein and Asimov.

  48. Greg Morrow says:

    Mr. Pohl was a great writer, a great editor, a great agent, and a great fan. His blog these past few years has been entertaining and instructive. SF has lost one of the great ones.

  49. Jason Melton says:

    Incredibly saddened by the news, Fred Pohl was one of my very favorite authors and opened my eyes to science fiction when I was a boy. He will be greatly missed.

  50. Rick York says:

    He will be sorely missed. I’ve been reading SF since I was 5, in 1949. Fred was always at the top of my list.

  51. Lars says:

    Very sorry to hear he’s gone.

  52. kingLuma says:

    My condolences to family and friends. RIP, Mr. Pohl.

  53. Joseph Smith says:

    RIP Fred. You had one of the sharpest, most inventive minds in all of literature, and are responsible for many wonderful moments in my young adulthood (and beyond) reading your essays, opinions, memoirs & fiction.

  54. Neil in Chicago says:

    I’ve been skimming some of the early obits . . .
    We know we have lost the last of the dawn age giants, but what’s striking to me is the broad, implicit reverberation of how *accessible* Fred was. Huge numbers of people are explicit about large personal debts, as readers or as pros, but no one sounds afraid to have approached him.

    It’s a truly unique loss.

  55. Greg says:

    This is a sad day. Fredrick Pohl represents more than just a hero of the golden age of science fiction, his views an ideas were visionary for the future. His legacy will live on.
    R.I.P

  56. Peter Dykhuis says:

    Frederik was one of my favorite authors. His autobiography was perhaps my favorite work by him as it was unvarnished and a real joy to read. I will miss knowing that his mind was stirring up another yarn and he was breathing the same air as the rest of us. Thank goodness we have a great legacy of his but the legacy is somehow sadder without the man here to herald it.

  57. Davide says:

    Una perdita immensa! a great loss for all of us!

  58. Cliff Winnig says:

    Goodbye, Fred. You changed changed my life in countless positive ways. You will be greatly missed.

  59. Kelly says:

    I am so very sorry to read this. I will greatly miss Fred’s wit, humor, and insights on this blog.

    My sincere condolences to all his family and loved ones.

  60. Braulio Tavares says:

    Just to say that there are many, many Brazilian readers much saddened by this. Frederik Pohl’s books have not been much translated here (a half-dozen at most), but many of us could read him in English. When he came to Rio in 1990, he signed my battered copy of “The Way the Future Was”, a book that enchanted me when I first read it and gave me the flavor of what it means to live inside the world of sf. Thank you so much, for everything, Mr. Pohl.

  61. Dan Gollub says:

    I will miss the kindly man who published my comments on his blog.

  62. Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey says:

    The planet Earth was very fortunate to have Fred as a resident for a while.

    I will treasure his memory.

  63. TAD says:

    This absolutely sucks. Fred’s books and the magazines and books he edited changed my life. GATEWAY and MAN PLUS had a huge impact on me, and all the writers he brought to us through his magazine and book-editing efforts…. It’s a bad day, but he had a long, great life. Thanks to all the folks behind the scenes who helped bring his blog to us….

  64. Steven says:

    Rest In Peace, old friend. Although I never met Fred in person, I always felt that he was part of the family. His Best of Frederick Pohl short story collection was my introduction to his writing and world view. My mother attended a teacher’s conference in San Marcos, TX where he was the keynote speaker back in 1976 or 1977, and she came away with autographed copies of this collection, “The Way the Future Was” and “The Space Merchants”. I’ll have to say that these greatly influenced my world view over the years, for the better, I think.

    Frederik was adamant in his rejection of some sort of afterlife, from what I remember, although he also seemed to be fascinated by it. Here is hoping that there is an afterlife, after all, and that one day I will meet him there.

  65. Jim Flanagan says:

    Fred is really missed. I knew it would eventually happen but it doesn’t prevent me from being really saddened.

    Fred has added so much to my life over the years it is hard to consider life after Fred.

    I really want to thank the members of Fred’s extended family for the work they have done over the years to support him.

    It is because of you that I have been able to enjoy this wonderful blog. And got to meet my hero at Con last November. And, I even got to share a piece of his Birthday Cake. I left a very happy man.

    Fred also acted as our conscience these last few years and really opened our eyes.

    Thank You!

  66. Clay Bonnyman Evans says:

    RIP, Frederik Pohl, a multi-faceted giant in the SF field and a true humanitarian. I was lucky enough to talk with him a bit at Mile Hi Con some years ago.

  67. Joseph Crockett says:

    I am so sorry to hear of Fred’s passing. He was a man of talent, vision and conscience and the world is better for his having been here and smaller for his having left it. I have never been a voracious reader, but I have read most of his novels and they have done more to shape my worldview than nearly anything else in my life. My heart has broken a little.

  68. Sean J Nelson says:

    “The Greening of Bed Stuy” touched me deeply when I first read it nearly 30 years ago. In a genre that too often celebrated jingoism, misogyny and racism, Fred’s work stood aside as thoughtful and deeply human.
    A good writer, a great editor and a decent human being… I’ll miss you Mr. Pohl.

  69. pjcamp says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that. Condolences to all. I’m old enough to have read a lot of his work when it first came out and was delighted when he started blogging, especially all the old history tales. We’d never have known that otherwise. It helped to humanize a lot of distant figures, not least of all Fred himself.

    As it happens, I’m currently reading (finally! I should have read it decades ago) Joanna Russ’ The Female Man, proudly proclaimed as “A Frederick Pohl Selection.”

    The man had good judgment.

  70. JJ Brannon says:

    That Fred was a Titan as writer and editor is inarguable.

    That Fred was gracious, kind, generous, and approachable in an artistic community increasingly populated with self-appointed divas, and that he was, dying in the saddle so to speak, still riding the range to make the world a better place is a view much less than deservedly popularized.

    I disagreed with him on many small points better never on that larger vision that invests hope in a humanity that can outwit and outwork its own innate stupidity.

    Good night, Mr. Pohl, and thank you for fighting the good fight.

    JJB

  71. B. Morris Allen says:

    Sorry to see this. I greatly enjoyed Mr. Pohl’s fiction stories, and was pleased this blog in recent years and read some of his non-fiction stories. He was a very good writer, and, by the evidence of these posts, a very nice person. We’ll miss him.

  72. C.C. says:

    I was crushed when I heard the news.

    We’ve lost our last link to an incredible time in history and a gifted storyteller. I’ve spent days absorbed in his books and blog posts. I never met him but felt I knew him and am saddened by the thought I never will be able to.

  73. Andrea ET Bernagozzi says:

    Thanks for everything and goodbye to Frederick Pohl from the Astronomical Observatory of the Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley, Italy. Few days ago I was reading the story “The Reunion At Mile-High”, just translated and published by the italian SF magazine “Robot”. It made me remember when I first read stories by Pohl, Kornbluth, Asimov and so on when I was a boy, more than thirty years ago. Somehow I felt as I were a Futurian there with them in NY. That’s the magic of literature, I guess. I agree with Curt Phillips: our SF world is definitely smaller now that Frederik Pohl has passed away. And following the advice by Stefan Jones, I will start reading “The Last Theorem” as a tribute to Mr. SF, as Pohl has been called here in Italy.

  74. Michael Newbery says:

    Goodbye. Thanks for everything. What a life!

    My condolences to your family and friends.

  75. Ivan Llamas says:

    I’m very sad to hear about Fred’s passing. My feelings are with his family and friends. His work will stay with us, but we’ll miss reading here about what he thought. Please keep posting the wisdom he left for us.

  76. filip says:

    RIP Frederik Pohl-SCI&FI Association Belgrade Serbia

  77. Mike Goldberg says:

    I’m sorry for your loss.

  78. Danny Sichel says:

    Goodbye, Fred. Thanks for the stories.

  79. Ann Tonsor Zeddies says:

    I am so sorry Fred is gone. He was the kind of person who makes immortality seem desirable. Not everyone would enjoy living forever, or be worthy of it, but I can imagine Fred going on into the future, always with grace, with curiousity and sharp insight, and above all, still caring. What an great person he was. Even saying “was” about him seems wrong. My heartfelt sympathy to his family and friends.

  80. Brent Coulthard says:

    Thank you dear Mr Pohl for your exquisite body of work and for your life.
    Such joy your work has wrought. (I’m sorry I’m just now discovering this blog…)

    Requiescat in Pace

  81. Eric Dow says:

    You will be missed, Mr Pohl. You influenced many a writer, and even my Traveller campaigns. SciFi may have lost a friend, but your influence will certainly live on :)

    RIP

  82. Jeff Vandine says:

    I am very sorry to read of his passing. Truly one of the last great ones from the Golden Age. As every one of them passes, I realize what a privilege it was to live while they were still writing and producing, and Frederick Pohl was one of the very best. Thank you for everything you shared with us, Mr. Pohl. May the next stage of your journey be as wonderful for you as you made this last stage for us.

  83. Bill Harder says:

    I have felt a personal connection to Fred since the 1960′s and his editorials in Galaxy. I have attempted to follow his writings over the intervening decades, sometimes sporadically sometimes with undivided attention. I have always been repaid for my efforts many fold when connection occurred. His generosity of spirit and creature comforts as attested by others, came through loud and clear in his fictional and editorial writings. This is a sad event but realistically we, as a community, have benefited from his presence and writings. His departure could well have happened at anytime in in the past 20 years. I, for one consider us, collectively, very very lucky. I only hope he re-appears in Gateway.

  84. DMcCunney says:

    I heard about Fred’s death shortly after Emily reported it.

    I’d met Fred various times over the years at one or another convention. He was always friendly, approachable, and capable of holding a conversation on any topic.

    If it was somehow involved with science fiction, Fred had probably done it, and likely better than anyone else had. He started out a fan, and member of the Futurians (which he documented in his autobiography “The Way the Future Was”,) and went on to a career as a pro, serving at one time of another as agent for half of the people writing in the field, editor, and author by himself and in collaboration with Cyril M. Kornbluth and Jack Williamson.

    I attended a Boskone a while back because Fred was a Special Guest. He was increasingly frail, and I wanted to formally shake his hand and thank him for his contributions to the field while I still could. Typically, he agreed that field would have been a different place had he not been in it, but declined to speculate on whether it would have been better or worse for the difference. I’m firmly on the side of “worse”.

    I’ll miss him and his work a lot, but take comfort in the fact that he lived a long and full life, doing largely what he wanted to do, and did it well. We should all live so long and accomplish half of what Fred did. He provided an enormous example for the rest of us to live up to.

  85. Gen says:

    What a legacy he has left us! An influence on our minds, and an influence on many of the better writers of our time. Through that, he will remain with us. I am grateful for all he gave us, and for all the thinking he inspired. Thank you, Sir, for all of that and more.

  86. David Lewis says:

    You look at the world around you, and you take it apart into all its components. Then you take some of those components, throw them away, and plug in different ones, start it up and see what happens.
    Frederik Pohl

    …hope you are enjoying your new world Fred!

  87. Rudy Lekkerkerker says:

    My condolences to family and friends.

    I am in awe of his work and achievement.
    His books were an inspiration to me, from childhood on.
    They will remain so.

    Thank you, mr Pohl.

  88. Rob Wood says:

    My sympathy and condolences to Frederik Pohl’s family and friends on their loss.

    I’m not usually greatly saddened by the passing of people I have never met, but Frederik Pohl’s passing has moved me deeply.

    Fred Pohl’s work has given me great pleasure through five decades and I enjoyed reading this blog. Sad to think he’ll write no more.

    Thank you Fred for all the great novels, short stories, and non-fiction, and for being probably the best magazine editor in the history of SF. And thank you for being a thoughtful and kind guy as is evident from this blog.

    You will be deeply missed.

  89. eldras says:

    So farewell Frederick Pohl.
    Despite your name
    You were an American
    Who lived on the ground.

  90. Martin from England says:

    May he rest in peace.

    When I was a kid growing up in the inner city, I’d walk twenty minutes to a secondhand bookshop that sold for pennies sci-fi magazines from the fifties and sixties. Mr Pohl’s thought-provoking stories were among those that captivated me. I can still remember, decades later, the impact of my first reading, in one of those mags, of The Tunnel Under The World.

    My condolences to all who loved him. Know that your beloved Fred made a lasting impact far beyond his native shores.

  91. JasonMitchell says:

    another of the Grand Masters have left us –

    Fred- you’ll be missed

  92. Ian Cockerill says:

    I discovered a post from 2011 in this blog from a link almost by accident yesterday and I was hooked and have read all the way through to here. Intellectually I knew this was how it had to end but news of Fred’s passing had not reached me in England so this entry still came as a shock.
    Fred’s work, up to and including this blog has given me a great deal of pleasure. I am genuinely saddened by the loss. Thanks Fred

  93. Marc Farnum Rendino says:

    Dammit; we needed you, but that’s not reason enough – rest in peace, sir.

  94. Walter says:

    What a good guy.

  95. Lorenzo Grampa says:

    You’ll be missed, have fun overthere in the stars.

  96. Bill Goodwin says:

    Words can’t express how I’ve benefited from Mr. Pohl’s many labors, from his flights of imagination, and from this blog. My gratitude goes out to all involved in bringing us the fruits of his fine mind, and my sincerest condolences to his friends and family. The future was expensive this week. Let’s do right by it.

  97. Dlafontaine says:

    One of my fondest memories of adolescence is taking Fred Pohl’s novel “Gem” with me as I paddled a canoe out by myself to go fishing. I threw a couple of lines in the water, and then I laid back and cracked the book open. It took me to a place far removed from my surroundings, and I barely noticed that I had drifted miles from where I started.

    He will be missed.

  98. David Stever says:

    It’s been years since I spoke with Fred, but I was happy to see a few years ago that he was blogging heavily, and what I’d read was great. I’m so sorry to find that he’s passed, and offer my condolences for his passing. A great man, and one that will be missed. I hope this site stays up for year, because it will take me that long to read his words.