Earlier this week, Grandmaster Frederik Pohl passed away at the age of 93. He’s the last of a major generation in the genre, and was a legendary contributor to science fiction from every possible direction. It’s a great loss for Science Fiction.
I’d been wanting to write about Pohl and Kornbluth’s novel The Space Merchants ever since I picked up the book a couple of years ago. I blew through it, and loved every word – it, for the most part, holds up just as well in 2013 as it seems to have back in 1953.
- Trillion Year Spree: Brian Aldiss: Aldiss’s work has some good contextual information in brief about The Space Merchants, its publication and its reception.
- New Maps of Hell, Kingsley Amis: Amis writes that TSM is one of the best SF novels written to date, and talks a bit about the story in his genre survey.
- Science Fiction Writers: Second Edition, Richard Bleiler: This book has a good overview of C.M. Kornbluth’s life, and it helped me fill in some details about his participation.
- The Futurians: The Story of the Great Science Fiction Family of the 30’s That Produced Today’s Top SF Writers and Editors, Damon Knight: This book focuses on the Futurians as a whole, and there’s some good details about these two authors here.
- The Way the Future Was, Frederik Pohl: When in doubt, primary sources are good, and Pohl talks extensively about the subject here.
- The Way the Future Blogs, Frederik Pohl: Pohl’s blog provided some good information on his military service, and a bit on Kornbluth.
- Survey of Science Fiction Literature, Frank Magill: This volume provides a good summary and critical review of TSM.
- The Faces of Science Fiction, Patti Perret: I’ve been waiting to use this book: it’s a photography book about SF authors, and I found Pohl’s quite particularly enlightening.
- American Science Fiction: Four Classic Novels, 1953-1956, edited by Gary K. Wolfe: And, of course, the source book. The LOA books also provide an excellent biographical thumbnail.