RIP Fred Pohl

Science fiction writer, editor, and agent Frederik Pohl passed today, at 93. (See Locus, io9, Wikipedia). He was one of the great voices whose career spanned the Golden Age to the present day, and the impact of his work as an editor, agent, and shaper of the science fiction field cannot be overstated.

I still remember the first time I read The Space Merchants, the devastating critique of advertising he and C. M. Kornbluth wrote in the early 50s. I read it twenty years later and it was frighteningly prescient then — in any world that valued speculative fiction appropriately, it would be taught alongside 1984 and Brave New World. His amazing literary output spanned the 40s to the present, with the final entry on his blog posted the morning he passed away.

Not only a writer, Pohl was an editor, agent, and anthologist who helped shape and publish some of the defining works of the field as his entry in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction attests.

Fred Pohl's unimaginably generous autograph on his 1996 Sturgeon remarks.

He was also a gracious, warm, generous person. When I won the Sturgeon in 1996, Pohl presented the award (there's a picture on the Midamericon site, if you scroll down a bit, and here's a PDF of his remarks). Having the opportunity to spend that weekend just hanging out with one of the greats of science fiction and talking about writing is a treasured memory.

All of the science fiction field stands on his shoulders. His family, friends, and fans are in my thoughts today.