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Sep 3, 2013

Frederik Pohl

I've occasionally read his blog, specifically for his lore about Asimov, but I don't think I ever read any of his science fiction stories. Pohl was probably of more value to the science fiction genre as a fan, an agent, an editor, a friend and a collaborator than as a lone writer slinging aliens and spaceships across the pages of his own stories. This is turning out to be a sad year with multiple losses from the "grandmaster level" of the science fiction ranks, first we lost Vance and now Pohl.

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I should probably read some of his "gateway" work. I'm curious about the "Heechee", but not sure that I can deal with "The Foe".

I'm also tempted to read The Last Theorem, but it sounds like Clarke and Pohl simply ran out of gas during the writing of that novel. It was fun the way Carl Sagan worked number theory into his science fiction novel, Contact, and I'd like to see the mathematical issues raised by Clarke and Pohl. I'm just not sure I could deal with the mercenary "One Point Fives".

I stand with Sagan and suspect that if there are ancient space-faring intelligences "out there", they won't be "testing" humanity and making dire decisions about sending an invasion fleet to Earth so as to prevent the "bad blood" of the human species from doing damage to the universe. I don't enjoy "military science fiction", but I think I can understand the need of Sci Fi authors who lived through World War II to put space wars into their stories. "I was in the war all right. I just wasn’t allowed to do any fighting."
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Related Reading:

Discussion of a story by Asimov and Pohl.

Pohl on Vance


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