The Golden Age of Science Fiction is Now History

Sadly Frederik Pohl died earlier this week. For those that do not know, Mr. Pohl was one of the originals of science fiction’s Golden Era, author, agent, editor, mentor, you name it. And while the person that was responsible for his lockout of the first WorldCon in 1939, and fellow Futurian, is still around, David Kyle, the passing of Frederik Pohl is the closing of the Golden era of science fiction.

I have ripped on Pohl in the past because I can never remember any of his characters, but he wrote some really good stories. Also if you are discussing almost anything science fiction Frederik Pohl was in there somewhere. Want to meet your favorite science fiction author at the local convention? Pohl was one of the people who started the whole convention thing in the first place. Want to talk about James Blish? Heinlein? Asimov? Clement, Leiber? Ellison? Editor and or agent to all at one time or another (plus a bunch of others).

I read his blog for its entire lifespan because it was a history lesson for a genre I have always loved (and sometimes hated). When I got back into science fiction several years back after a long hiatus to read some literature, Pohl was what I started in with.

RIP, Mr. Pohl, God bless you, and thanks.

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8 responses to “The Golden Age of Science Fiction is Now History

  • Joachim Boaz

    Yeah, I’ve always been underwhelmed by his solo novels. Those he wrote with Kornbluth in the 50s tend to be fun satires — especially Gladiator-At-Law (1955), etc.

    • bensira587

      First, your site is great. I followed it on sight. You got books on there I haven’t even heard of.

      As for Pohl’s novels. I am going over some of them and I’m a little surprised how good the ideas are. I think his weak spot was the overall execution. I don’t think he spent a lot of time in planning or construction. While that can be a plus when you want pages to be turned and not grow ponderous, it also means a loose structure, thin characters, and themes that are thin.

      He did a good sci fi yarn. It never took me long to get through a Pohl book, it never stayed for long either.

      • Joachim Boaz

        Haha, thanks. Yeah, I read rather compulsively, keeps me from dissertating…. Alas.

        I’ll have a review for Gladiator-At-Law up soon. It certainly was better than his solo satires of the same period — Slave Ship (1955) for example…

  • taichiwawa

    Curse you, Boaz! On a whim I went over to your site for a quick look and got sucked into it for about an hour before I had to tear myself away — and I’m not even a big fan of science fiction.

    We’re on the same frequency regarding Guy Maddin.

    • Joachim Boaz

      Thanks! Yes, I used to review movies but then I’d be constantly writing…. Had to cut something 😉

    • bensira587

      Well, you did seem to enjoy Voyage to Arcturus…

      I think you would enjoy Harlan Ellison. And I think you would enjoy one of his favorite writers R.A. Lafferty. They both have more depth and scope (Lafferty can be obscure and scatological) than the usual sci fi fare.

      My father has always had a great disdain for science fiction and fantasy (he, in fact won’t read anything that is not a business report or finance of some kind – never read a work of fiction in his life). Science fiction and fantasy he won’t even look at on screen. A few months ago my wife and I ran across one of those DVD value packs Science Fiction television from the 50’s or something like that. My dad grew up in the 40’s and 50’s. After watching the 3rd or 4th horrid, comically inept, show, I turn to my wife and said, “I think we can understand my dad’s opinion of science fiction now.”

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