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Fred Pohl 
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Post Fred Pohl
Not many people left who knew Heinlein in the 1940s. The list just grew shorter by one -- Fred Pohl just passed away. RIP


Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:36 pm
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Post Re: Fred Pohl
I saw this on rec.arts.sf.written, and then SFFNet. :( I met Pohl at Confrancisco in 1993, and then encountered him at various conventions over the following years. He was a wonderful storyteller about things SFNal, maybe not *quite* as amazing as Forrie Ackerman was ;) but I learned a lot and enjoyed it. Pohl was a giant in the field, and fortunately a real human being in person. I'll miss him for both reasons.

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Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:46 pm
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Post Re: Fred Pohl
Another one of the greats now belongs to the ages.


Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:34 pm
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Post Re: Fred Pohl
Amen. Unlike Sakeneko, I never had the opportunity to meet Fred Pohl in person, but I always enjoyed and appreciated his writing.

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Tue Sep 03, 2013 3:10 pm
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Post Re: Fred Pohl
In an extended discussion elsewhere and a check with some knowledgeable types, the conclusion was that Pohl was the last sf/f writer of significance with a pre-war publication - basically, the last of the Golden Agers.

A few minor writers probably survive, but of the names that made the Golden Age auriferous... we've run out.


Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:31 am
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Post Re: Fred Pohl
I'm glad I had the opportunity to meet him at the Centennial. He and Doc put on a very entertaining panel, with many RAH anecdotes.

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Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:16 am
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Post Re: Fred Pohl
JamesGifford wrote:
In an extended discussion elsewhere and a check with some knowledgeable types, the conclusion was that Pohl was the last sf/f writer of significance with a pre-war publication - basically, the last of the Golden Agers.


Which makes me ask, who is the "sf/f writer of significance" with the oldest publication? I'd include a minor publication from an "important" writer.

For example, ISFDB shows Harlan Ellison with works back to 1949.

Comic book blogger Mark Evanier used to put on a Golden Age panel at the San Diego Comic Con. He was asked why he stopped, and essentially the answer was that he ran out of Golden Agers -- people who worked professionally in comics during that era (the comics Golden Age is loosely defined as later than that of SF -- late 1940s or so).

(Although he generally isn't thought of as an SF writer, Stan Lee was writing Captain America comics in early 1941.)


Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:44 am
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Post Re: Fred Pohl
I haven't done an exhaustive search, but there appears to be something of a break between about 1941 and 1948-9 or so. That is, we couldn't find a name-brand writer who first published in that range. Everything during the war and immediate aftermath was writers who had established themselves pre-war, with the new crop not publishing their first works until almost 1950.

In that latter group are Ellison, Silverberg, Brunner, Aldiss and (with only very minor exceptions) Bradbury. You know, those guys. A lot of whom were the ones who decided about ten years later that everyone who came before them wrote crap. :)


Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:47 am
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Post Re: Fred Pohl
JamesGifford wrote:
I haven't done an exhaustive search, but there appears to be something of a break between about 1941 and 1948-9 or so. That is, we couldn't find a name-brand writer who first published in that range. Everything during the war and immediate aftermath was writers who had established themselves pre-war, with the new crop not publishing their first works until almost 1950.


I wouldn't discount WWII as being the major cause of that "break". Pre-WWII, SF was a magazine-driven market appealing to "oddball writers interested in that oddball spaceship stuff" growing from fans of that oddball spaceship stuff. During the war years, those young fans were either serving in the military or working 12-hour shifts in war plants. No time to write [or learn to write] until the war ended. That "48-49 or so" was the learning curve of those who made their bones after the war. At least, that's the way I see it.

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Fri Sep 06, 2013 4:26 pm
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Post Re: Fred Pohl
Since Bill brought up the ISFDB, I geeked out and download it and ran my own query on it:

Code:
SELECT t.title_copyright, a.author_canonical, t.title_title, t.title_ttype
  FROM authors a, titles t, canonical_author c
WHERE a.author_id = c.author_id
   AND t.title_id = c.title_id
   AND a.author_deathdate IS NULL
   AND a.author_birthdate > '1910-01-01'
   AND t.title_copyright > '1910-01-01'
   AND t.title_copyright < '1950-01-01'
   AND a.author_canonical <> 'Frederik Pohl'
   AND t.title_ttype IN ('NOVEL','SERIAL','SHORTFICTION')
ORDER BY 2;


(Why the hard-coded Pohl? The latest rev of the database for downloading does not acknowledge his passing.)

And here's the result, ordered by publication date:

Code:
+-----------------+--------------------------+-------------------------------+--------------+
| title_copyright | author_canonical         | title_title                   | title_ttype  |
+-----------------+--------------------------+-------------------------------+--------------+
| 1936-03-00      | Alan Connell             | The Duplicate                 | SHORTFICTION |
| 1941-11-00      | Alan Connell             | Espionage in Space            | SHORTFICTION |
| 1935-11-00      | Alan Connell             | Dream's End                   | SHORTFICTION |
| 1935-08-00      | Alan Connell             | The Reign of the Reptiles     | SHORTFICTION |
| 1945-00-00      | Alan Connell             | Lords of Serpent Land         | SHORTFICTION |
| 1945-00-00      | Alan Connell             | Prisoners of Serpent Land     | SHORTFICTION |
| 1945-00-00      | Alan Connell             | Warriors of Serpent Land      | SHORTFICTION |
| 1936-03-00      | Alan Connell             | Fate                          | SHORTFICTION |
| 1947-05-00      | Chan Davis               | The Journey and the Goal      | SHORTFICTION |
| 1946-05-00      | Chan Davis               | The Nightmare                 | SHORTFICTION |
| 1946-10-00      | Chan Davis               | To Still the Drums            | SHORTFICTION |
| 1947-06-00      | Chan Davis               | Letter to Ellen               | SHORTFICTION |
| 1949-10-00      | Chan Davis               | The Aristocrat                | SHORTFICTION |
| 1941-02-00      | David A. Kyle            | Golden Nemesis                | SHORTFICTION |
| 1947-07-00      | Edward Grendon           | The Figure                    | SHORTFICTION |
| 1949-07-00      | Edward Grendon           | Trip One                      | SHORTFICTION |
| 1947-00-00      | Esther Carlson           | Museum Piece                  | SHORTFICTION |
| 1949-00-00      | George C. Appell         | Listening Land                | SHORTFICTION |
| 1936-03-00      | George F. Gatter         | The Emotion Gas               | SHORTFICTION |
| 1949-00-00      | Harlan Ellison           | The Sword of Parmagon         | SHORTFICTION |
| 1949-00-00      | Harlan Ellison           | The Gloconda                  | SHORTFICTION |
| 1950-00-00      | James E. Gunn            | The Man with Common Sense     | SHORTFICTION |
| 1949-00-00      | James E. Gunn            | Paradox                       | SHORTFICTION |
| 1949-00-00      | James E. Gunn            | Communications                | SHORTFICTION |
| 1949-10-00      | Katherine MacLean        | Defense Mechanism             | SHORTFICTION |
| 1950-00-00      | Katherine MacLean        | The Pyramid in the Desert     | SHORTFICTION |
| 1937-07-00      | Leslie J. Johnson        | Seeker of To-morrow           | SHORTFICTION |
| 1937-07-00      | Leslie J. Johnson        | Seeker of Tomorrow            | SHORTFICTION |
| 1938-00-00      | Leslie J. Johnson        | Satellites of Death           | SHORTFICTION |
| 1948-00-00      | Margaret Priestley       | The Ring of Fortune           | NOVEL        |
| 1950-00-00      | Olivia Robertson         | Miranda Speaks                | NOVEL        |
| 1950-00-00      | Olympe Bhêly-Quénum      | A Child in the Bush of Ghosts | SHORTFICTION |
| 1950-00-00      | Olympe Bhêly-Quénum      | A Child in the Bush of Ghosts | SHORTFICTION |
| 1946-00-00      | Oriel Malet              | My Bird Sings                 | NOVEL        |
| 1946-08-00      | Paul A. Carter           | The Last Objective            | SHORTFICTION |
| 1950-00-00      | Paul A. Carter           | An Ounce of Prevention        | SHORTFICTION |
| 1950-01-00      | Peter Grainger           | Not to Be Opened-             | SHORTFICTION |
| 1950-00-00      | Peter Grainger           | Inoculation                   | SHORTFICTION |
| 1950-00-00      | Peter Grainger           | Forbidden Fruit               | SHORTFICTION |
| 1947-10-00      | Peter Grainger           | Target                        | SHORTFICTION |
| 1943-05-00      | Peter Hamilton           | The Meteor Makers             | SHORTFICTION |
| 1950-00-00      | Philip Reynolds (author) | Ce pourrait se passe comme ca | NOVEL        |
| 1949-03-00      | Robert Williams          | Refuge for Tonight            | SHORTFICTION |
| 1948-02-07      | Roger Angell             | Just a Matter of Time         | SHORTFICTION |
| 1944-00-00      | Ruth Stiles Gannett      | My Father's Dragon            | NOVEL        |
| 1950-00-00      | Ruth Stiles Gannett      | Elmer and the Dragon          | NOVEL        |
| 1939-05-00      | William L. Hamling       | War with Jupiter              | SHORTFICTION |
| 1945-06-00      | William L. Hamling       | Peril from the Outlands       | SHORTFICTION |
| 1944-09-00      | William L. Hamling       | Overlord of Venus             | SHORTFICTION |
| 1944-10-00      | William L. Hamling       | The Man Who Spoke Too Late    | SHORTFICTION |
| 1945-10-00      | William L. Hamling       | Bag and Baggage               | SHORTFICTION |
| 1945-12-00      | William L. Hamling       | A Problem in Lumbering        | SHORTFICTION |
| 1945-12-00      | William L. Hamling       | Planet of the Duplicates      | SHORTFICTION |
| 1945-09-00      | William L. Hamling       | The Animated Tenpin           | SHORTFICTION |
| 1946-07-00      | William L. Hamling       | Jimmy Takes a Trip            | SHORTFICTION |
| 1946-09-00      | William L. Hamling       | The Mirror                    | SHORTFICTION |
| 1946-11-00      | William L. Hamling       | Shadow of the Sphinx          | SHORTFICTION |
| 1947-01-00      | William L. Hamling       | Rejuvenation Asteroid         | SHORTFICTION |
| 1947-02-00      | William L. Hamling       | Orphan of Atlans              | SHORTFICTION |
| 1947-08-00      | William L. Hamling       | The Prop                      | SHORTFICTION |
| 1949-08-00      | William L. Hamling       | The Man Who Laughed at Time   | SHORTFICTION |
| 1949-10-00      | Winona McClintic         | In the Days of Our Fathers    | SHORTFICTION |
+-----------------+--------------------------+-------------------------------+--------------+
62 rows in set (6.75 sec)


The first names on that list that I recognize are Ellison and Gunn. If you include Pohl then he wins with "Shawn's Sword" in 1939. Anyone know any of the earlier authors? Heck, anyone know any of the other authors? Any beef with my query terms?

The database is rife with data problems. For instance, it lists numerous Victorian French authors who apparently are still alive. This query was the clearest one I could construct that avoids unearthing those zombies.


Fri Sep 06, 2013 5:56 pm
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