Posts tagged ‘Leah A. Zeldes’

Frederik Pohl


By Elizabeth Anne Hull

Elizabeth Anne Hull

Elizabeth Anne Hull

Windycon 41 was a lot of fun for me this year, especially the session dedicated to Frederik Pohl and his impact on science fiction.

Some highlights: We opened with a solemn presentation to me of a polished brass plaque which appeared on a commemorative bench at Loncon this year by Helen Montgomery and Dave McCarty from the executive committee of Chicon 7 and ISFiC. I was truly touched.

Gene Wolfe, our friend who lived in nearby Barrington till just recently, joined the panel at the last minute, and set the tone for the panel and made the audience laugh when he talked about how upset he was when Fred and I got married, and I soon after stopped being one of the hosts of our local fan group, SFFNCS (a.k.a. Science Fiction Fans of the Northwest Chicago Suburbs, pronounced “Sphinx”). In my defense, being Fred’s wife took a lot more time than being his girlfriend! Not to mention that I was holding down a full-time job at Harper College and developing their Honors Program, as well as the fact that Fred and I did a lot of traveling together to some pretty interesting and exotic places around the world.

Fred’s long-time editor Jim Frenkel kept us focused on the description of the panel: Fred’s multifaceted contributions to the field. He revealed some of what it was like to work editorially with Fred, who could always recognize a good editorial suggestion when he received it. We all agreed that all of Fred’s experience as an editor both for magazines and for books had sharpened his fiction skills and the ability to self-edit, and his period of agenting had also made him very aware of how important marketability is to a writer’s career.

I admitted that Fred was already a Big Name Pro and had a lot of experiences that I knew about only second hand when I met him at the Worldcon in Kansas City in 1976. I had in fact, taught The Space Merchants in my SF class but changed to Gateway in the late ’70s.

Long-time Chicago-area fan Neil Rest talked about the sensation Fred made on local fans when he came with me to one of parties held every month at the apartment of George Price (of Advent:Publishers) —or perhaps it was at one of the weekly meetings on the North Side called “Thursday,” quite possibly at the home of Alice Bentley, who might have been still a teenager or at least wasn’t yet a bookstore owner. We did a lot better at remembering our feelings than actual details, as will happen over more than 30 years.

From his beginnings in the New York area in the ’30s, Fred never gave up fanac and his sense of being a fan when he became a pro. I told how thrilled Fred was at Foolscap in Seattle in 2000 where Fred and Ginjer Buchanan (then an editor at Ace) were co-fan guests of honor. They called the con the “Fred and Ginjer Show.” In the ’30s and ’40s, Fred told me many times, he was very fond of the beautiful and talented Ginger Rogers, who he said, had to do all the steps Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in high heels.

Much more recently, Fred was also entirely thrilled in 2010 when he won a Hugo as Best Fan Writer at Aussiecon for his work in this blog. He was happy to give credit wherever due, and thanked his blogmeister, Leah A. Zeldes, who allowed him to concentrate on writing without having to worry about the technicalities of the Internet posting, as well as Dick Smith, who enabled Fred to use his obsolete word processor to write both fiction and non-fiction.

Continue reading ‘Windycon Honors Frederik Pohl’s Contributions to SF’ »


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

Pig-roast-by-Leah A. Zeldes

Cook pork well to avoid disease. (Photo by Leah A. Zeldes.)

Apparently largely because farmers feed regular doses of antibiotic to pigs to make them grow to salable weights faster, many pigs harbor the food-poisoning bacterium Yersinia enterocolitica. One study found that some some 69 percent of supermarket pork was tainted with Yersinia.

How to protect against infection? Always cook pork to at least 145 degrees F. That’s not so high as the 170 degrees that used to be recommended for cooking pork to when Trichinosis was a serious threat.



Most of the blog team will be at Capricon 34, in Wheeling, Ill., February 6–9. Come and see us!


  • “Is Canon a Fading Concept?”
    7 p.m. Friday, Birch B
    With re-makes and re-boots everywhere, canon may be a fading luxury concept. Replaced by $$$. Will purists who hold canon important die out and be replaced by consumers who just want to be entertained?

  • Autographing
    1 p.m. Saturday, Autograph Table
    Betty will be signing copies of Gateways, the festschrift anthology she edited for Fred’s 90th birthday, and she’ll also have some books Fred signed before he died.

  • Reading
    3:15 p.m. Saturday, Birch A

  • “A Truly Subversive Literature”
    5:30 p.m. Saturday, Birch A
    David Gerrold has written of the “truly subversive nature of science fiction as a literature that questions the status quo.” Is science fiction truly subversive? If it is, why, and how, can some people find it comforting to read?

  • “What’s Green, Seven Feet Tall, and Has Horns?”
    10 a.m. Sunday, Willow
    Authors talk about their feelings on reviewers. Do reviewers serve a useful purpose? What makes a good reviewer or a bad one? Can or should an author ever respond publicly (or even privately) to a reviewer?


  • Debate: “Is Fandom Undergoing a Generational Change?”
    7 p.m. Friday, Birch A
    A debate between an older and younger member of fandom, moderated by a fan in the middle. Is there a younger generation of fans and authors who are trying to take science fiction fandom in a different direction than it has previously been going? Can and should older fans adapt?

  • “Overthrowing the AI”
    10 a.m. Sunday, Botanic Garden A
    Computers are everywhere, on or desks, in our pockets, inside our televisions and cars. Is it possible to go completely off the grid? Is it desirable? How can we assert our dominance over our silicon masters?

  • “What Is a Fan Writer?”
    1 p.m. Sunday, Birch B
    Many people hear the words “Fan Writer” or “Fanzine” and think of Fan Fiction, but there are also definitions of those words which have nothing to do with Fan Fiction. This panel discusses the diversity of fannish writing, from fanfic to essays to travelogues, as well as where you can find the best in fan writing, however you define it.


  • “To Tweet or Not to Tweet?”
    4 p.m. Thursday, Birch B
    If you’ve heard about tweeting, but haven’t given it a chance, our panel of expert tweeters explain how to get started, who to follow, and what pitfalls you should avoid.

  • “Is Canon a Fading Concept?”
    7 p.m. Friday, Birch B
    See above.

  • “So Awful, It’s Awesome: Guilty Pleasures”
    8:30 p.m. Saturday, Birch B
    Do you love mega sharks battling giant octopuses? Was Richard Grieco your favorite Loki? Is Sherlock Holmes better when he battles unbelievable CGI dinosaurs? These panelists talk about their favorite “so bad it’s awesome” media and books from the past few years.

  • “Fandom Saved My Life”
    10 a.m. Sunday, Birch A
    How has the fannish community tried to provide safe space for people to be themselves? For many it is the first place that they can do that safely. Further discussion on how we can each provide safe space for newcomers and each other as our community grows.

Hope to see you there!

The blog team

Candy turkeys by Leah A. Zeldes. Photo ©2012 by Leah A. Zeldes.

Sweet turkeys by Leah A. Zeldes.

By Elizabeth Anne Hull

Elizabeth Anne Hull. Photo by Barb Knoff.

Elizabeth Anne Hull

Celebrating our first holidays at Gateway without Fred has been bittersweet. (“Gatewayis the name Fred and I gave our house.) Our Christmas decorations are a little more elaborate this year, with some extra lights to make up for the bright spot who isn’t here.

At Thanksgiving last month, we all helped make the major meal, and everyone was stuffed at the end of it. Tasty and satisfying. Only eight of us this year; we’ve often had up to twenty.

Before diving in to feast, we all shared what we were most thankful for. I said I was grateful for knowing Fred for over thirty-five years, and being married to him for more than twenty-nine years, and since Fred wasn’t there to say it, I also said I was grateful that we had begun to negotiate with Iran, and though success isn’t certain, there’s a little more chance for peace in the Middle East and for everyone in the world.

* * *

Thanksgiving is the most ecumenical and inclusive holiday we share in America. Yet all year round, Americans share something with each other: Our American lifestyle is built on trust and honesty. We rely on others to be honorable.

When we pay for a product or service, whether it’s food, clothing, a haircut, cable access, medicine, an automobile, a new smart phone, a house, insurance — we most often pay on a credit or debit card or by writing a check. We are not quite a cashless society, but the folks who sell goods and provide services expect that when people pay with plastic or electronically they will take care of the bill when it comes. Even when we pay with coins and bills, we expect that these symbols of exchange are valid tenders, not counterfeits.

We’re aware that some people cheat or are deadbeats or outright frauds, yet if the majority of us weren’t honest, our whole society would collapse. We are far too many people and our interactions are too complex to use trade and barter. We can’t all be survivalists, growing all of our own food and creating safe shelter for our families. We’re all in it together.

* * *

Upon reflection, the thing I probably was most grateful for was that we didn’t get a single annoying phone call all day trying to sell us a home-security system or a device in case “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”

I don’t worry so much about our survival as a species and as a country, when I’m not deluged by fear mongers.

Elizabeth Anne Hull

Elizabeth Anne Hull

By Elizabeth Anne Hull

I worry a lot, maybe more than other people, maybe more than is good for me, but I am what I am.

I worry about global warming, how much carbon our atmosphere and our oceans can hold and still sustain civilization of human beings, especially. I worry about fracking and petcoke (a threat to the waterways in Illinois and Indiana, as well as to the rest of the world). I worry about money, both personal finances and the economy of the U.S. and the whole globe, especially about the greed for money that drives some folks to want to have more money than they or their offspring for countless generations could possibly spend, even if spent frivolously.

I worry about human culture in general and particularly about music, theater, architecture, and the future of fiction as a phenomenon. I worry about our having so many atomic weapons stockpiled in the U.S. alone that we are the worst danger to world peace and we don’t seem to have any plan to let go of the tiger’s tail.

Who I am is the new avatar of FP — his widow and now writer for Frederik Pohl’s “The Way the Future Blogs.” Many of you already know me — I did a few guest posts in the early days of the blog. Some of you may have even met me, because Fred seldom traveled anywhere without me in the last thirty-some years.

I don’t have a lot of time to polish this to perfection (I am a perfectionist manqué). But I hope at least a few of you will be patient and continue reading to see what I’m going to say. I intend to add bits and pieces of other items that interest me, especially cooking for health and economy.

Our blogmeister, Leah Zeldes, assures me that I don’t have to post much each day, but it’s better to post frequently. So, just as Fred aimed to write four pages a day, I’m going to aim to say what’s on my mind as often as I can.