Visions of Paradise

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Frederik Pohl and the Galaxy/IF era

The current issue of Locus has a long article by Frederik Pohl in which he talks about his career in science fiction, and it was very interesting since Pohl has been involved in sf since the very early days of the genre. Pohl was also the editor of Galaxy and Worlds of IF when I started reading them in the early 1960s, which are still my favorite magazines of any era, so I enjoyed reading how Pohl took over the reins of Galaxy in the late 1950s when H.L. Gold was too sick to do it, but Gold’s name remained on the masthead for several years before Pohl “officially” took over.

Thinking back to those years, I remember fondly a lot of the stories Pohl published in the pages of Galaxy particularly (and IF and newcomer Worlds of Tomorrow to a lesser extent), and I have enjoyed going back and rereading many of those issues in recent years. Take a look at some of the great stories which appeared in those magazines just in the few years between 1962 and 1967:

Clifford D. Simak’s Here Gather The Stars (later renamed Way Station);
Jack Vance’s “The Moon Moth,” “The Dragon Masters,” “The Last Castle,” and two Demon Prince novels The Star King and The Palace of Love;
Damon Knight’s underrated “The Visitor At the Zoo” (later renamed The Other Foot);
Cordwainer Smith’s “”The Ballad of Lost C’Mell,” “The Dead Lady of Clown Town,” “Under Old Earth” and the novel Norstrilia (broken up into two novellas);
William Tenn’s “The Men in the Walls”;
Philip José Farmer’s Riverworld stories as a series of novellas, as well as the serialization of The Fabulous Riverboat;
Gordon R. Dickson’s “Soldier Ask Not”;
Harlan Ellison’s “‘Repent, Harlequin’ Said the Ticktockman” and “I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream”;
Roger Zelazny’s “This Mortal Mountain” and “Damnation Alley”;
Samuel R. Delany’s “The Star Pit”;
Philip K. Dick’s All We Marsmen (later renamed Martian Time-Slip);
Larry Niven’s entire first collection Neutron Star as well as the novel Slowboat Cargo (later renamed A Gift From Earth);
Robert Silverberg’s “Hawksbill Station” and all three novellas comprising Nightwings;
Robert A. Heinlein’s The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, Farnham’s Freehold and Podkayne of Mars.

Likely because of the popularity of Heinlein, and the fact that Worlds of IF published all three novels listed above, it was IF which won three consecutive Hugo Awards as Best Prozine in spite of the fact that Galaxy was the most highly-regarded of the three zines, publishing more high-profile stories and earning the most individual Hugo nominations for its stories of any magazine of that era.

According to Locus, Pohl is writing another book on his life in science fiction, a sequel of sorts to his The Way The Future Was, which I enjoyed tremendously. I look forward to its publication eagerly.


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