Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category



By Elizabeth Anne Hull

Elizabeth Anne Hull

Elizabeth Anne Hull

Nearly a year before Fred died, I wrote to a young friend who had recently become engaged in a same-sex relationship. It was in response to finding out (for the first time; I previously had no idea) that my friend was a lesbian. She told me of the difficulties she and her fiancée expected waiting for the then as-yet unannounced Supreme Court ruling on the unconstitutionality of the California law which had been sanctioned by an expensive referendum (financed in large part by the Mormons, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).

Before I wrote my response, I discussed the news with Fred, knowing of his interest in same-sex relationships, a situation casually thrown into Gateway which had evoked a continuing fan response that always surprised him.

My message follows:

Congratulations on finding someone to love, and I hope you are able to get married without a big hassle.

However, having to wait may not be such a bad thing, anyway. How long will it take you to finish your education? Most people get married too quickly, without really knowing what they are committing to. It takes time to reveal multiple facts of a personality, and that process usually can’t be hurried. We always want to show our best faces to those we admire and care about, and hide any shameful habits or character flaws.

There are questions that we don’t know we need the answers to right away. Like, for example: what’s your own family life like? How do you get along with siblings, cousins, co-workers, neighbors, etc. What religion (or lack thereof) do you embrace? What is your political philosophy? (Fred and I dated steadily for seven years and traveled together for periods of time, but I didn’t learn till after we were already married that he favors the death penalty, while I definitely do not. It just never came up till later, while we were watching a trial on TV unfolding.)

Do you enjoy vicarious violence — say, like football? What’s your idea of the perfect vacation (do you like to keep going back to one spot or prefer to see some exotic place if possible? Do you like fine food, and/or pretentious dining? Do you like roughing it or camping? Are you adventurous in tying new experiences? Meeting new people?

And people will change over time. Young people can sometimes change faster than older people, but we all do develop. Quirks that were charming at one time can become very annoying later.

So keep in touch, and let me know if and when and where the wedding will happen.

With some apprehension, because he nearly always found something to dislike about my writing, I showed Fred my note. But this time, he just said, “Good letter.” And later, “I notice you never even mentioned the same-sex hurdles. Do you want to write something like this for my blog?”

I wrote it that way because I believe any marriage has its challenges. In fact, just living with anyone can have similar problems.

Long before Fred and I were married, Judy Merril once told me, “Everbody’s crazy in one way or another. We can’t see our own craziness, but we need to look closely at our love object. The most important thing to find out is, in what way is this person crazy? And then to decide whether or not we can, or want to, live with that craziness.”


Coming to Windycon this weekend? Join Elizabeth Anne Hull, Dick Smith and Leah A. Zeldes for a discussion of discussion of Fred’s many contributions to science fiction:

“As a magazine editor, a multiple-award-winning author, and fan writer, SFWA Grandmaster and member of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Fred’s contributions make him a major figure of 20th and 21st-century speculative fiction.”

The panel takes place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Betty will also be signing autographs from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday, and giving a reading at 4 p.m.

At 1 p.m. Sunday, Betty will appear with security expert Bruce Schneier and others on a panel, “Magic Mirrors: Surveillance in Modern Society.”

If that’s not not your thing, you can catch Dick at 1 p.m. Sunday on a panel about “How Social Media is Shaping and Changing Fandom.”

—the blog team

fred bw head shot

Frederik Pohl Memorial Celebration
11 a.m.–3 p.m. Saturday, August 2, 2014
Wojcik Conference Center
William Rainey Harper College
1200 W. Algonquin Road, Bldg. W, Palatine, IL 60067

Please join his family, friends and fans to celebrate the life and career of Science Fiction Grand Master Frederik Pohl (1919–2013), award-winning author, editor and fan writer; influential literary agent; futurist; lecturer, and member of First Fandom, whose career began in the Pulp Era and continued until his death last year.

The free event will include a program of speakers with a reception to follow.

Hotel rooms for Aug. 1–3 are available at Country Inn & Suites, 1401 N. Roselle Road, Palatine, for $94 per night (includes breakfast), for August 1-3. Reserve by July 18 at (847) 839-1010 or (800) 456-4000 with code “Pohl Memorial” to get this rate.

For further details, email the blog team at

Windmill farm.

Wind farm.

There’s plenty of wind energy in the Midwest, but to get it to the East where it could cheaply replace fossil fuel electricity would take some 20,000 miles of new transmission lines.

The Republican Supreme Court, however, has ruled that states, and not the federal government, control permission for building lines in their own territory.

What this basically means is that no such lines are ever going to be built. Which means that clean Midwestern wind electricity is not going to replace stinky East Coast coal-powered plants.


Janet Yellen

Janet Yellen, first woman to head the Fed.

Man Bites Dog?

By Elizabeth Anne Hull

Elizabeth Anne Hull. Photo by Barb Knoff.

Anne Hull

As you probably know, the “glass ceiling” has suffered yet another crack, as Janet Yellen has started work as the first woman to head the Federal Reserve Bank. That means that the two most significant leadership positions in global money are both occupied (word chosen carefully) by women. (The other is the International Monetary Fund, helmed by Christine Lagarde.)

As the grandmother of a female commercial pilot (the first of either gender that I know of in our family), I follow “firsts” for women with special interest. So I noticed another news item that may not have hit everyone’s radar: Yellen’s husband, George Akerlof, himself a Nobel prize winner in economics, stepped down as a member of the advisory board of the UBS International Center of Economics in Society at the University of Zurich.

Even though he wasn’t paid for being on the advisory board and there was no conflict of interest, he wanted to “avoid even the appearance of conflict,” Akerlof said. UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, operates an investment-banking business in the U.S. and is therefore regulated by the Fed.

Remember the constraints put on Caesar’s wife? This goes beyond a husband helping his wife with the housework and child care, so she can Lean In.

Hunger games


By Elizabeth Anne Hull

Elizabeth Anne Hull. Photo by Barb Knoff.

Anne Hull

By Elizabeth Anne Hull

Let’s you and him fight! One of the most effective strategies in battle is to pit factions of opposition against each other. Politicians do it so that opponents stop bothering the people in power, or the people who want power. They view government — whether local, state, national or international — as “playing the game” of politics.

When I saw the first of the Hunger Games films, I was surprised that I actually enjoyed watching such a violent idea come to life through the wizardry of Hollywood. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on neo-Freudian transactional analysis to understand drama (“A Transactional Analysis of the Plays of Edward Albee,” Loyola University of Chicago, 1975), and I think games can sometimes be dangerous even if they aren’t immediately lethal.

Regarding a sporting event as a game can make fans blind to the suffering of others. I have been watching the debate over football players and their higher risk of dementia at a young age, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Playing games in personal relationships can prevent you from enjoying the tension release of intimacy and trust.

I’m not sure whether I feel less comfortable with those who view human life as gamesmanship in a zero-sum game (if one wins, another must lose), or with those who view the abstract qualities of life as battles, declaring war on poverty, drugs, or terrorism.

Ordinarily, games can be fun, but they can get to be tedious when they are unrelieved by work. And sometimes wars must be fought, especially if others pick the fight.