Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Frederik Pohl (1919-2013)
SFWA Grandmaster, author, editor, agent, and fan Frederik Pohl, 93, died yesterday September 2, 2013.

Frederik George Pohl, Jr. was born November 26, 1919 in New York City. He was one of the earliest SF fans, attending the first SF convention in Philadelphia in 1936, and was one of the founders of the Futurians and the Hydra Club. He attended Brooklyn Tech, but dropped out without graduating. From 1939-43 he was editor of new magazines Astonishing Stories and Super Science Stories. He sometimes published his own fiction, often in collaboration with fellow Futurians C.M. Kornbluth, Robert W. Lowndes, and James Blish, under assorted house names and pseudonyms including James MacCreigh and S.D. Gottesman.

He served in the Italian theaters of World War II and afterward became a literary agent, representing many of America’s top SF writers. In the ’50s he went back to writing and editing, producing his first novels in collaboration with Kornbluth, beginning with classic The Space Merchants (1953) and continuing with Search the Sky (1954), Gladiator-at-Law (1955), and Wolfbane (1957). He also collaborated with Jack Williamson on a number of books, including the Undersea Trilogy, the Starchild trilogy, and the Cuckoo duology, along with standalones Land’s End (1988) and The Singers of Time (1991). He collaborated with Lester del Rey on Preferred Risk (1983, as by Edson McCann).

Pohl’s solo novels include Slave Ship (1957); Drunkard’s Walk (1961); A Plague of Pythons (1965, later reissued as Demon in the Skull); The Age of the Pussyfoot (1965); Nebula winner Man Plus (1976); Gateway (1977), which won Hugo, Nebula, and Campbell Memorial awards, and began his Heechee series, which also includes Beyond the Blue Event Horizon (1980), Heechee Rendezvous (1984), Annals of the Heechee (1987), The Gateway Trip (1990), and The Boy Who Would Live Forever (2004); American Book Award winner JEM (1980); The Cool War (1981); Syzygy (1981); Starburst (1982); Campbell Memorial winner The Years of the City (1984); Black Star Rising (1985); The Coming of the Quantum Cats (1986); Terror (1986); Narabedla Ltd. (1988); Homegoing (1988); The World at the End of Time (1990); Outnumbering the Dead (1991); Mining the Oort (1992); The Voices of Heaven (1994); The Eschaton trilogy, including The Other End of Time (1996), The Siege of Eternity (1997), The Far Shore of Time (1999);  and O Pioneer! (1998);  The Last Theorem, written in collaboration with Arthur C. Clarke (2008); and All the Lives He Led (2011).
A prolific story writer, Pohl’s short fiction has been collected in more then 20 volumes, including Alternating Currents (1966), The Best of Frederik Pohl (1975), The Early Pohl (1980), Pohlstars (1984) and, most recently Platinum Pohl (2005). “The Meeting” (1972), with C.M. Kornbluth, won a Hugo, as did solo story “Fermi and Frost” (1985). Other notable stories include Nebula Award finalists “Under Two Moons” (1965), “Shaffery Among the Immortals” (1973), “Growing Up in Edge City” (1976), “Mars Masked” (1979), and “The Greening of Bed-Stuy” (1985); “Day Million” (1966); Hugo and Nebula Award finalist “The Gold at Starbow’s End” (1972); and Hugo finalists “Servant of the People” (1983) and novella Stopping at Slowyear (1992).

An influential editor, Pohl edited Ballantine’s original anthology series Star Science Fiction in the ’50s. In the ’60s, he edited notable SF magazines Galaxy and If, and in the ’70s he was executive editor at Ace, then SF editor at Bantam. He won Hugo awards for editing in 1966, ’67, and ’68 and a Retro Hugo for best professional editor of 1953 in 2004.

Pohl wrote about his life in memoir The Way the Future Was (1978). Other non-fiction includes a biography of Roman emperor Tiberius (1960), political guide Practical Politics 1972 (1971), Our Angry Earth: A Ticking Ecological Time Bomb with Isaac Asimov (1991), and Chasing Science: Science as Spectator Sport (2000). He also wrote non-SF novels, including A Town Is Drowning (1955), Presidential Year (1956), and Sorority House (1956, as by Jordan Park), all with C.M. Kornbluth; The God of Channel 1 (1956, as by Donald Stacy); Turn the Tigers Loose (1956, with Walter Lasly); and Chernobyl (1987).

He was president of SFWA from 1974-76. He was named a SFWA Grand Master in 1992; a living inductee in the SF Hall of Fame in 1998; won a Hubbard Award for life achievement in 2000; and received the Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. He is survived by his fifth wife, Elizabeth Anne Hull.

Pohl wrote online extensively about his life in SF, politics, and other topics at The Way the Future Blogs.

For more about Pohl, see his entry in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

Monday, September 2, 2013

 Looking forward at this weekend just about a year ago I was torn between planning for 2 majors conventions, The World Science Fiction Convention, known as WorldCon and DragonCon.
 Worldcon was in the lead for the simple reason that LonestarCon3 in San Antonio was picked to host Worldcon 2013, getting there would be no problem either a few hours drive or ride on the Big Bus down I-35 from Dallas. Attending  Dragoncon on the other hand meant a long drive or a flight to Atlanta. Alas "Dame Fortune" did not smile upon me and I did not find decent employment, which would have provided funds for my trip.
 2014 is a different story I will plan on working towards attending DragonCon since the WorldCon is in London, England too far and expensive a journey to contemplate. On the other hand the 2014 North American Science Fiction Convention (held when the WorldCon is outside the U.S.) could be either in Phoenix, AZ or Detroit, MI. So we shall see. 

Why the above?  Well, because one of the major events at WorldCon is the announcement of the Hugo Awards, the top honor for writers and artists that is voted upon by fans rather than professional authors (those are the Nebulas) and now (drum roll please) the winners:

Redshirts, John Scalzi (Tor; Gollancz)
Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW; Gollancz ’13)
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
Blackout, Mira Grant (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
2312, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

The Emperor’s Soul, Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon)
On a Red Station, Drifting, Aliette de Bodard (Immersion)
San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats, Mira Grant (Orbit Short Fiction)
‘‘The Stars Do Not Lie’’, Jay Lake (Asimov’s 10-11/12)
After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, Nancy Kress (Tachyon)

‘‘The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi’’, Pat Cadigan (Edge of Infinity)
‘‘In Sea-Salt Tears’’, Seanan McGuire (Self-published)
‘‘Rat-Catcher’’, Seanan McGuire (A Fantasy Medley 2)
‘‘The Boy Who Cast No Shadow’’, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Postscripts 26/27: Unfit For Eden)
‘‘Fade to White’’, Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld 8/12)

‘‘Mono no Aware’’, Ken Liu (The Future Is Japanese)
‘‘Immersion’’, Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld 6/12)
‘‘Mantis Wives’’, Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld 8/12)

Writing Excuses, Season Seven, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler & Jordan Sanderson
‘‘I Have an Idea for a Book’’: The Bibliography of Martin H. Greenberg, John Helfers, compiler & ed. (The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box)
The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature, Edward James & Farah Mendlesohn (Cambridge University Press)
Chicks Unravel Time: Women Journey Through Every Season of Doctor Who, Deborah Stanish & L.M. Myles, eds. (Mad Norwegian)
Chicks Dig Comics: A Celebration of Comic Books by the Women Who Love Them, Lynne M. Thomas & Sigrid Ellis, eds. (Mad Norwegian)

Saga, Volume One, Brian K. Vaughn, art by Fiona Staples (Image)
Saucer Country, Volume 1: Run, Paul Cornell, art by Ryan Kelly, Jimmy Broxton & Goran Sudžuka (Vertigo)
Locke & Key, Vol. 5: Clockworks, Joe Hill, art by Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
Grandville Bête Noire, Bryan Talbot (Dark Horse Comics; Jonathan Cape)
Schlock Mercenary: Random Access Memorabilia Howard Tayler, colors by Travis Walton (Hypernode Media)

The Avengers
The Cabin in the Woods
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Hunger Games

Game of Thrones: ‘‘Blackwater’’
Doctor Who: ‘‘The Angels Take Manhattan’’
Doctor Who: ‘‘Asylum of the Daleks’’
Doctor Who: ‘‘The Snowman’’
Fringe: ‘‘Letters of Transit’’

Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Lou Anders
Sheila Gilbert
Liz Gorinsky
Toni Weisskopf

Stanley Schmidt
John Joseph Adams
Neil Clarke
Jonathan Strahan
Sheila Williams

John Picacio
Vincent Chong
Julie Dillon
Dan Dos Santos
Chris McGrath

Apex Magazine
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Strange Horizons

SF Signal
Banana Wings
The Drink Tank
Elitist Book Reviews
Journey Planet

SF Squeecast
The Coode Street Podcast
Galactic Suburbia Podcast
SF Signal Podcast

Tansy Rayner Roberts
James Bacon
Christopher J Garcia
Mark Oshiro
Steven H Silver

Galen Dara
Brad W. Foster
Spring Schoenhuth
Maurine Starkey
Steve Stiles

*Mur Lafferty
*Zen Cho
Max Gladstone
*Stina Leicht
*Chuck Wendig
*Finalists in their 2nd year of eligibility.

The Big Heart Award went to Tom Veal.

There you have it the winners for 2013. I'll let you know what happens as we progress to the major cons of 2014.