Frederik Pohl

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Frederik George Pohl, Jr. (November 26, 1919 – September 2, 2013) was an American science fiction writer. His first professional publication was in 1937 and he was still active in the 21st century; his final novel, All the Lives He Led, was published in April 2011. He started a blog in the early 2000s, which earned him the 2010 Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer. This was his seventh Hugo, joining one for Best Novel, two for Best Short Story, and three for Best Professional Magazine; he is the only person to have won Hugos both for writing and editing. He has also won two Nebula Awards for Best Novel. He was also the 12th recipient of the SFWA's "Grand Master" award, given in recognition of a lifetime of acheivement in the field. As a SF literary agent, he was responsible for the getting Isaac Asimov's first novel published. As editor of the magazines Galaxy Science Fiction and Worlds of If, he helped start the careers of Larry Niven and Cordwainer Smith.


Works by Frederik Pohl with their own trope pages include:


Other works by Frederik Pohl provide examples of:
  • Allohistorical Allusion: In "Waiting For The Olympians" a science-romance author in a world where Rome never fell imagines what the world would be like if Tiberius had been Emperor.
  • Alternate History:
    • "Waiting For The Olympians" is set in a world where Rome never fell.
    • "The Mile High Club" is set in a world where the US won World War II with biological instead of nuclear research, leading to a number of medical breakthroughs.
    • The Coming of the Quantum Cats features a whole plethora of alternates. The one we see the most of has a United States that is culturally dominated by the Arabs and in which Ronald Reagan is a liberal activist (more likely than you might think).
  • Artificial Meat: The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth has tumour meat cultures called "Chicken Little".
  • China Takes Over the World: Black Star Rising had China and India being the major powers after the US and the Soviets nuked each other to smithereens. Hilarity Ensues after aliens arrive, demanding to speak to the US president... and China has to come up with one, since they control North America.
  • Erotic Eating: Black Star Rising takes a rather unusual approach to this trope. "Comrade, do you have a fascination with eating bananas, carrots, and juicy red sausages? Then comrade, you can be certain that to your work and study regimen we will be adding plenty of cold showers."
  • Generation Ships: Generation ships (called longliners) are used to carry messages and trade between planets in Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth's Search the Sky.
  • Groundhog Day Loop: In The Tunnel Under the World, by Frederik Pohl, Guy Burckhardt lives in a town where June 15th is repeated every day, but the inhabitants don't realize it.
  • Human Popsicle: Charles Forrester in The Age of the Pussyfoot.
  • Meet Cute: In Day Million, Don and Dora are explicitly said to have "met cute".
  • Mind Hive: The protagonists of Black Star Rising include a scientist known as Manyface, who once nearly died from brain damage that was treated by replacing the lost sections with pieces from the brain of a dead boy. When asked if he could remember his name, he gave it, then gave the dead boy's name a second later. The two realized that their joined knowledge was a great aid to the scientist's research, and by the start of the story they've collected so many brains they've had to undergo experimental skull-enlargement surgery to fit them all in.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: The Space Merchants (published 1953) by Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Man Plus has the U.S. Secret Service require women meeting the president to soak their hands in a solution first, in case their fingernails have a biochemical poison on them.
  • Richard Nixon the Used Car Salesman:
    • The Coming of the Quantum Cats takes place in several alternate universes. Ronald Reagan is still an actor (and still married to Jane Wyman) in a Muslim-dominated Earth, while in another Nancy Reagan is President and Reagan is First Gentleman. In that timeline, John F. Kennedy was never elected President, and is still a Senator in the 1980s (instead of Ted, who died at Chappquidick). Pohl also includes a joking reference to his old friend Isaac Asimov; in an alternate timeline where Russia never became the USSR, Asimov's family stayed in Russia, where he became a famous surgeon. In reality, Asimov briefly considered becoming a medical doctor, but chose biochemistry instead.
    • "The Mile High Club", a short story for an Isaac Asimov tribute book, featured all the members of the famous SF club the Futurians, still alive in the 1990s. In this timeline, Asimov had convinced FDR to focus on biological research instead of atomic weapons. The post-WWII research boom resulted in a number of medical breakthroughs, and Asimov became more famous than Einstein (who is metioned in the story as an obscure physicist from Princeton). The various members of the Futurians are also shown to have different histories from their real time counterparts.
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: In The Age of the Pussyfoot, Charles Forrester is revived from cryopreservation in the year 2527 with a quarter of a million dollars from his insurance and interest. He thinks he is rich. It takes him a while to find out he isn't. It's handled quite well as the main source of inflation is rising health care costs.
  • Solar CPR: In Wolfsbane, by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth, Earth's moon is turned into an artificial sun to keep the Earth livable since it was stolen from the solar system by aliens. The moon needs to be relighted periodically.
  • Starfish Aliens: The World At The End Of Time features plasma-based aliens who live inside stars and don't care much for "slowlife" like biological beings.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: A duology of novels, Farthest Star and Wall Around A Star by Frederik Pohl & Jack Williamson, feature a form of teleportation that sends a copy of you elsewhere but leaves the original intact. The copy can be modified en route, since all you're transmitting is information. Interestingly, this is how most physicists figure real-life teleportation might work.
  • You Can Always Tell a Liar: In The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth, the protagonist Mitch Courtenay and his estranged wife, Kathy, each know the other's "Tell". This is a hint about how much they know and love each other.