Showing posts from December, 2009

Frederik Pohl

I'm currently trying to finish off an article on Fred Pohl for the online Literary Encyclopaedia. Pohl is a classic American post-war sf writer, whose satirical dystopia The Space Merchants (co-authored by Cyril Kornbluth and published in 1953)skewers advertising and consumerism, its protagonist a Mad Ave (Madison Avenue - see 'Mad Men') high-flyer who falls and is exposed to the corrupt system, thereby becoming alienated. Pohl was one of the Futurians, a left-ish New York group of sf writers (also including Kornbluth and Asimov), and was always critical of post-war American capitalism and power. He spent most of the 1960s as editor of the massively important sf magazines Galaxy and Worlds of If, then returned to writing sf (on giving up these editorships at the end of the 1960s) and won consecutive Nebula awards with Gateway and Man Plus in 1975 and 1976.
Pohl is still around. I don't think he writes much nowadays, but the thing about him that strikes you on re-reading…

Time for a change

Just as my course in Science Fiction at Lancaster University, ENGL365, comes to an end, I begin this new blog. It is meant to run alongside a few book projects - one on science fiction criticism, one on 'Visions of Orpheus', one on Mike Moorcock, British sf and the end of empire. I will post my impressions here, of what I'm reading, what I'm watching, what I'm envisioning.