Legendary sci-fi author Frederik Pohl passes away at 93 years old

Contributed by
Sep 2, 2013

After spending almost a century helping shape the genre of science fiction, legendary writer and editor Frederik Pohl, 93, passed away on Monday.

He cut his teeth editing groundbreaking genre fare like Super Science Stories and Astonishing Stories in the early 1940s. He also edited Galaxy and If for most of the 1960s, along with numerous other books.

But, he’s likely best know for his original works — including the short story Day Million, the award-winning 1977 novel Gateway and his numerous collections of short stories and novellas. He leaves behind a treasure trove for sci-fi fans to rediscover, and hopefully he’ll keep inspiring for years to come.

Pohl also racked up numerous Hugo Awards, Nebula Awards, the Campbell Memorial Award and the National Book Award during his decades of work.

Rest in peace to my beloved grandfather Frederik Pohl, who showed me by example how to be an author. 1919-2013. http://t.co/GXP2H1pI72

— Emily Pohl-Weary (@emilypohlweary) September 2, 2013

He talked about what got him interested in science fiction in a great interview with Locus Magazine in 2009. Check out an excerpt below:

“Then, some time later, someone else left one of the early copies of Astounding Stories around. That had 'Manape the Mighty' as the cover story: this King Kong-like creature doing something terrible to a girl. That led me to believe if there were two there had to be more, and I went to a second-hand magazine store and looked around and found lots of them. Then I discovered there were SF books in the public library -- not very many in the children's section, but there were some. And at 12 I discovered that one of my classmates also had one of those things, so we became fans.

In the early days, we science fiction readers were like cellar Christians: they didn't talk to anybody else because everybody else laughed at them, but they kept running into each other. Mostly they were writing letters to each other, all over the country -- all over the world, actually. I had pen pals in France and England, although I had hardly ever been out of Brooklyn.”

In honor of Pohl, and to show anyone who might not be familiar with his work how great he was, the following clips are of Pohl reading one of his most famous stories, with some nice editing sprinkled in to help accent his stark voice:

Many sc-fi writers and fans took to Twitter in the hours after his passing, offering up their own remembrances:

I was fortunate enough to meet Frederik Pohl at the Denver Worldcon in 2008. Glad I had a moment to let him know I appreciated his work.

— John Scalzi (@scalzi) September 2, 2013

So long, Frederik Pohl, thank you for GATEWAY, Galaxy, If, and 75+ years of great sci-fi stories. You will be missed. pic.twitter.com/LSSG7LNK5M

— FrancescoFrancavilla (@f_francavilla) September 2, 2013

The Best of Frederik Pohl will give you an inkling of how good he good be, if you're not familiar with his work: http://t.co/ZBkSzDNigZ

— Jonathan Strahan (@JonathanStrahan) September 2, 2013