Another (the last?) of the science fiction greats passes on, at age 93.
Pohl was famous for many works, but I think my favorites were his collaborations with C.M. Kornbluth. If you have not read The Space Merchants, do yourself a favor and read it now.
I met Pohl once, at a science fiction convention. I believe I was a teenager at the time. I had read an essay by Issac Asimov, which you can read here, in which Asimov claimed that Pohl had saved the Foundation series from extinction:
However, when I started the second story (on October 24), I found that I had outsmarted myself. I quickly wrote myself into an impasse, and the Foundation series would have died an ignominious death had I not had a conversation with Fred Pohl on November 2 (on the Brooklyn Bridge, as it happened). I don’t remember what Fred actually said, but, whatever it was, it pulled me out of the hole.
As I say, I had read this before I met Pohl, and I asked him about it when we met. What did you say to Asimov that rescued the Foundation series? I asked him. He had no memory of it. He says you were on the Brooklyn Bridge at the time. Nope. Nothing. “You know, I don’t really remember that.”
Even then, Pohl had a capacious pot belly under a T-shirt. As my mom said, Pohl looked like a guy who really enjoyed life. He didn’t necessarily look like he would make it to 93, but I’m glad he did.