Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 27

Frederik Pohl - Biography and writing career, Works

fiction science writer editor

Writer and editor, born in New York City, New York, USA. He attended the public schools in New York City and then went to work as a writer and editor for popular magazines (1939–43, 1946–9), with time out to serve with the US Army Air Force (1943–5). He had set himself up as a literary agent (1946) and by 1953 his own works were successful enough to allow him to become a freelance writer. He published a steady stream of short stories and novels, often co-writing works with other science fiction writers under joint pen-names. With Cyril Kornbluth, for instance, he wrote as Cyril Judd, and produced a modern sci-fi classic, The Space Merchants (1953). A pioneer in ‘sociological sci-fi’, which tends to postulate alternative societies, he also helped introduce more sophisticated literary techniques into what had long been regarded as ‘pulp’ fiction. One of his classic works is Gateway (1977). He returned to editing science fiction, first at Galaxy Magazine (1961–9), then at Ace Books (1971–2), and finally at Bantam Books (1973–9). As the winner of many awards, both for his fiction and as an editor, he lectured widely in the USA and abroad, and appeared on many radio and television programmes to discuss science fiction.

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