Frederik Pohl - Tor/Forge Blog



$2.99 Ebook Deal: Chernobyl by Frederik Pohl

Image Placeholder of - 23The ebook edition of Chernobyl by Frederik Pohl is on sale now for only $2.99! This offer will only last for a limited time, so order your copy today.

About Chernobyl:

Chernobyl: The very name conjures the catastrophe that the world feared could happen someday at a nuclear power plant. On April 26, 1986, a power surge caused the core of one of the reactors to explode, spewing a cloud of radioactive steam into the Ukrainian air. More than four thousand people died, as many as a half-million suffered potentially cancer-causing exposure, and the city around the plant became a toxic wasteland in which nothing could live. Before the disaster at the Chernobyl plant, nuclear catastrophe had been only a fear, a threat. But when the Chernobyl plant was destroyed, all those fears were suddenly all too real.

Frederik Pohl’s novel of this disaster was written months after the tragic events. He had the cooperation of many people inside the U.S.S.R. with access to technical information and first-person accounts of what is still the most tragic nuclear event in human history and only one of two level 7 nuclear accidents, along with the Fukushima disaster of 2011.

This is fiction, but it is the most riveting, realistic account of what happened that has ever been written.

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This sale ends June 1.


New Releases: 3/6/18

Happy New Release Day! Here’s what went on sale today.

American Drifter by Heather Graham and Chad Michael Murray

Placeholder of  -95 A young veteran of the US Army, River Roulet is struggling to shake the horrors of his past. War is behind him, but the memories remain. Desperate to distract himself from the images haunting him daily, River abandons the world he knows and flees to the country he’s always dreamed of visiting: Brazil.

Then he meets the enchanting Natal, an impassioned journalist and free spirit—who lives with the gangster that rules much of Rio.

The Eterna Solution by Leanna Renee Hieber

Image Place holder  of - 69 Unnatural howls echo across the Atlantic. Lady Liberty’s torch blazes with hellfire. Dead bodies shamble through the grounds of Columbia College.

It’s 1882 and two government divisions of paranormal investigators have completed a most harrowing task—stopping a demonic nobleman from taking over the British Parliament. Now the motley crew of psychics, scientists, scholars, and magicians must race across the ocean to Manhattan to protect it from evil forces they believe Moriel unleashed.

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

Image Placeholder of - 56 In Oathbringer, the third volume of the New York Times bestselling Stormlight Archive, humanity faces a new Desolation with the return of the Voidbringers, a foe with numbers as great as their thirst for vengeance.

Dalinar Kholin’s Alethi armies won a fleeting victory at a terrible cost: The enemy Parshendi summoned the violent Everstorm, which now sweeps the world with destruction, and in its passing awakens the once peaceful and subservient parshmen to the horror of their millennia-long enslavement by humans. While on a desperate flight to warn his family of the threat, Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with the fact that the newly kindled anger of the parshmen may be wholly justified.

Seriously Hexed by Tina Connolly

Place holder  of - 59 Teen witch Cam has resigned herself to being a witch. Sort of. She’s willing to do small things, like magically help her boyfriend Devon get over his ongoing stage fright. But tangling with other witches is not on her wishlist. Joining her mother’s wicked witch coven is right out.

New acquaintance Poppy Jones is a Type A, A+ Student of True Witchery. She’s got all the answers, and she’s delighted to tangle with a bunch of wicked witches. She doesn’t need any reluctant witch getting in her way, especially one who knows less than a dozen spells, and has zero plans for witch college.


Deadhouse Landing by Ian C. Esslemont

Poster Placeholder of - 29 Esslemont’s new prequel trilogy takes readers deeper into the politics and intrigue of the New York Times bestselling Malazan Empire. Dancer’s Lament focuses on the genesis of the empire, and features Dancer, the skilled assassin, who, alongside the mage Kellanved, would found the Malazan empire.

After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To do so they join forces with a small band of Napans who have fled a civil war on their own home island. The plan, however, soon goes awry as Kellanved develops a strange and dangerous fascination for a mysterious ancient structure found on the island.



Mandelbrot the Magnificent by Liz Ziemska

Born in the Warsaw ghetto and growing up in France during the rise of Hitler, Benoit Mandelbrot found escape from the cruelties of the world around him through mathematics. Logic sometimes makes monsters, and Mandelbrot began hunting monsters at an early age. Drawn into the infinite promulgations of formulae, he sinks into secret dimensions and unknown wonders.

His gifts do not make his life easier, however. As the Nazis give up the pretense of puppet government in Vichy France, the jealousy of Mandelbrot’s classmates leads to denunciation and disaster. The young mathematician must save his family with the secret spaces he’s discovered, or his genius will destroy them.


Generation Witch Vol. 2 Story and art by Isaki Uta

Hana & Hina After School Vol. 3 Story and art by Milk Morinaga

Holy Corpse Rising Vol. 4 Story and art by Hosana Tanaka

My Monster Secret Vol. 8 Story and Art by Eiji MasudaThe ebook edition of Home for Christmas by Andrew M. Greeley is on sale now for only $2.99! Get your copy today!

About Home for Christmas:

Petey Pat Kane and Mariana Pia Pelligrino have been in love with each other their whole lives. But on a night that is supposed to be one of the best of their lives, Peter makes a choice that forces him to leave Chicago—and Mariana—behind. Guilt leads him into the Army, where he becomes Captain Kane, war hero. But nothing can make him forget his love for Mariana.

On his third deployment in Iraq, Peter is injured and finds himself both alive and dead on a wondrous spiritual journey where he is given a second chance at life from God Himself. With Christmas approaching, time is running out for Peter to complete the most important mission of his life: convincing himself that he and Mariana were meant to share a special message of love with the world.

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This sale ends 12/31/19.Happy New Release Day! Here’s what went on sale today.

Crimson Lake by Candice Fox

Six minutes in the wrong place at the wrong time—that’s all it took to ruin Sydney detective Ted Conkaffey’s life. Accused but not convicted of a brutal abduction,Ted is now a free man—and public enemy number one. Maintaining his innocence, he flees north to keep a low profile amidst the steamy, croc-infested wetlands of Crimson Lake.

There, Ted’s lawyer introduces him to eccentric private investigator Amanda Pharrell, herself a convicted murderer. Not entirely convinced Amanda is a cold-blooded killer, Ted agrees to help with her investigation, a case full of deception and obsession, while secretly digging into her troubled past. The residents of Crimson Lake are watching the pair’s every move . . . and the town offers no place to hide.

The Bags of Tricks Affair by Bill Pronzini

A conman always has a bag of tricks, ready to fool the unsuspecting, and almost everyone is unsuspecting until they get taken. When that happens, they turn to Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Detective Services, to recover their money and what’s left of their dignity, and perhaps even to save their lives.

When one such case leaves Sabina Carpenter the only witness to a murder, the family of the culprit vows to stop at nothing to keep her silent. The threat leaves John Quincannon deeply concerned for Sabina’s safety, but there’s no rest for the wicked and so the crime-solving duo must split up to tackle two separate con games, run by two villains with deadly bags of tricks at hand.

Good Guys by Steven Brust

They can teleport themselves thousands of miles, conjure shields that will stop bullets, and read information from the remnants of spells cast by others days before. They all work for the secretive Foundation…for minimum wage.

Which is okay, because the Foundation are the good guys. Aren’t they?

If Tomorrow Comes by Nancy Kress

Ten years after the Aliens left Earth, humanity succeeds in building a ship, Friendship, to follow them home to Kindred. Aboard are a crew of scientists, diplomats, and a squad of Rangers to protect them. But when the Friendship arrives, they find nothing they expected. No interplanetary culture, no industrial base—and no cure for the spore disease.

Once again scientists find themselves in a race against time to save humanity and their kind from a deadly virus while a clock of a different sort runs down on a military solution no less deadly to all. Amid devastation and plague come stories of heroism and sacrifice and of genetic destiny and free choice, with its implicit promise of conscious change.

Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

Blue skies. Green grass. Clear ocean water. An island paradise like the ones that existed before the Melt.

A lucky five hundred lottery winners will be the first to go, the first to leave their polluted, dilapidated homes behind and start a new life. It sounds perfect. Like a dream.

The only problem? Marin Carey spent her childhood on those seas and knows there’s no island paradise out there. She’s corsario royalty, a pirate like her father and his father before him, and she knows a con when she sees one. So where are the First Five Hundred really going?


Our Angry Earth by Isaac Asimov & Frederik Pohl

From two of science fiction’s most celebrated and brilliant minds—Isaac Asimov and Frederik Pohl—comes the second edition of Our Angry Earth, a comprehensive analysis of today’s environmental threats and a guide on how we can heal our planet, with an introduction and afterword from New York Times bestselling author Kim Stanley Robinson.

Our Angry Earth provides a candid picture of the present and many possibilities for a better, cleaner future. From the greenhouse effect and depletion of our ozone layer to nuclear waste and species extinction, Asimov and Pohl not only present accessible explanations of complex scientific processes but ways we can improve our behavior and relationship with the planet, whether it be involvement in social activism or individual lifestyle changes.


The Warrior Within by Angus McIntyre

Karsman has a dozen different people living in his head, each the master of a different set of skills and hoping to gain mastery of Karsman’s body. He survives on a backwater planet dominated by the Muljaddy, a mostly ambivalent religious autocracy, where devotion and prayer can be traded in for subsistence wages and enough food to survive. Surrounded by artifacts of a long dead civilization, the population survives off its salvage, with Karsman eking out an uneventful life as the unofficial mayor of his small town.


Beasts of Abigaile Vol. 3 Story and art by Spica Aoki

Dragon Half Omnibus 1 Story and art by Ryusuke Mita

New Game! Vol. 1 Story and art by Shoutarou Tokunou

Nirvana Vol. 2 Story by Jina and Sayuki (ZOWLS); Art by Sayuki

The Testament of Sister New Devil Vol. 8 Story by Tetsuto Uesu; Art by Miyakokasiwa

New Releases: 6/17/2014

Chasers of the Wind by Alexey PehovChernobyl by Frederik PohlDance in the Vampire Bund: Forgotten Tales by Nozomu TamakiFlight of the Golden Harpy by Susan KlausGakuen Polizi Vol. 1 by  Morinaga MilkGirl of Nightmares by Kendare BlakeHaganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends Vol. 7 by Yomi Hirasaka, art by ItachiStrike Witches: The Sky That Connects Us by Humikane Shimada, art by Yuuki Tanaka

See upcoming releases.


Throwback Tuesday: Frederik Pohl’s best friends in SF give back in Gateways!

Welcome to a special Tuesday edition of Throwback Thursdays on the Tor/Forge blog! Every other week, we’re delving into our newsletter archives and sharing some of our favorite posts.

Genre fiction Grand Master Frederik Pohl was born on November 26, 1919. Sadly, he died in September of this year. Rather than remember the sorrow, we thought we’d focus on the joy we, and others, received from reading his work. To that end, we’ve delved into our newsletter archives, to July of 2010, and the publication of Gateways. We asked Pohl’s wife, Elizabeth Anne Hull, to discuss the tribute to her husband, from authors who have been influenced by his work. Happy birthday, Frederik Pohl, and know that we miss you! In the meantime, enjoy this blast from the past, and be sure to check back on our usual every other Thursday for more.

Gateways edited by Elizabeth Anne Hull

By Elizabeth Anne Hull

To celebrate my husband’s 90th orbit of the sun, I’m proud to have persuaded eighteen of the top writers in science fiction to contribute a story, and then to write an afterword, for this special anthology. Moreover, there are nine other appreciations of Fred, and these non-fiction pieces are exciting for me and for any serious fan who wants to know more about how we got where we are today in this literary movement Trufans call SF. For example, the memoirs by Bob Silverberg, Jim Gunn, Gardner Dozois, and Harry Harrison—themselves highly influential people who helped make the genre more respectable around the world—tell as much about the field and the way it was cultivated as they do about Fred and the way he encouraged each of them personally.

The main event here, of course, is the science fiction. Joe Haldeman, Mike Resnick, Frank Robinson, Harry Harrison, and Jody Lynn Nye each wrote a superb new tale. Many of the stories are inspired, either directly or indirectly, by Fred’s own fiction, most commonly by Fred’s favorite tale—the one he claims he is willing to have engraved on his monument when he dies—“Day Million.” I was delighted to realize that Gene Wolfe wrote that kind of singularity story, set in a world in an unspecified time—presumably our future—when humans had changed so much that their very nature has to be explained, or in Gene’s case, demonstrated by his first-person narrator.

The title of Cory Doctorow’s novella leaves no doubt that he was influenced by The Space Merchants, but what he has done with the concept is entirely fresh and original, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that fifty years from now “Chicken Little” will have become a classic in its own right.

In Jim Gunn’s remarkable four first-person narratives of intelligent alien races, he lets the aliens reveal themselves by what they say and how they say it, and by what they each choose to tell us about themselves.  I believe Jim was influenced not only by Fred’s many novels and stories in which he created original alien species but also by the many summers he and Fred spent critiquing young writers in the workshops at the University of Kansas.

Then there are some stories that are…well, Fred Pohl-ish stories, like Vernor Vinge’s piece. I was tickled to see Vernor write a story that I think Fred would be proud to have written himself.

Sometimes Fred’s influence was as an editor, when he put a writer’s work before the public. I believe Sheri Tepper’s satiric gifts were encouraged by Fred, and Ben Bova shows in his story that he understands that the sense of humor is just as important as the “sensawunda.”

This project has been a labor of love, not just for me, but also, judging from the fact that all the super-busy contributors found time to send their new works—Neil Gaiman’s coming all the way from China!—for everyone involved.

Oh, and one other thing I must mention: Fred has been nominated for a Hugo for Best Fan Writer—for Be sure to check it out.  The Master is still happily writing every day, and is currently putting some finishing touches on his newest novel, All the Lives He Led, scheduled for next spring from Tor.

This article is originally from the July 2010 Tor/Forge newsletter. Sign up for the Tor/Forge newsletter now, and get similar content in your inbox twice a month!


What’s your Favorite Frederik Pohl novel, Phyllis (and Alex) Eisenstein?

Placeholder of  -83It’s truly hard to select among Fred’s books; so many of them are excellent. To be honest, Alex and I both like The Space Merchants best, though it isn’t 100% Fred’s. But for me, runners up to that, would be The Coming of the Quantum Cats and Narabedla Limited—both of which are crazy and innovative and have enormous charm and could not be more different from each other. Fred is wonderfully versatile. And The Age of the Pussyfoot also stands out in my memory, as do Gateway and Man Plus.

And above all of that, Alex and I both think Fred’s short story “The Tunnel Under the World” is one of the best SF short stories ever written. Who could forget Feckle Freezers? And of course when we saw “Groundhog Day” the comparison was automatic, except that Fred’s story has a much more chilling (and gratifying for the SF lover) ending. And then there’s “The Man Who Ate the World,” which gives a whole new dimension to teddy bears. At long lengths and short ones, Fred always delivers the sense of wonder that science fiction lovers read the stuff for.

Phyllis Eisenstein can be found online at


All the Lives He Led (978-0-7653-2176-3 / $25.99) by Frederik Pohl will be available from Tor Books on April 12, 2011.


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What’s your Favorite Frederik Pohl novel, Ben Bova?

Image Place holder  of - 56I like The Space Merchants best of all. To me, it epitomizes science fiction at its best: a fascinating premise, intricate interlacing of the futuristic aspects with the characterizations, and sharp writing.

Ben Bova can be found online at


All the Lives He Led (978-0-7653-2176-3 / $25.99) by Frederik Pohl will be available from Tor Books on April 12, 2011.


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What’s your Favorite Frederik Pohl novel, Larry Niven?

What’s your Favorite Frederik Pohl novel, Larry Niven?

Placeholder of  -41My favorite Fred Pohl novel? The Age of the Pussyfoot.  He broke a rule: he didn’t predict one future trend, but many.  And his “joystick” resembled several current devices, iPad and such. It felt like a real future.

Larry Niven can be found online at


All the Lives He Led (978-0-7653-2176-3 / $25.99) by Frederik Pohl will be available from Tor Books on April 12, 2011.


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What’s your Favorite Frederik Pohl novel, Gregory Benford & Elisabeth Malartre?

Image Placeholder of - 94Hands down, Man Plus remains the most insightful portrait of outfitting a human for the harsh plains of Mars. Savor this:

Suppose one takes a standard human frame and alters some of the optional equipment.  There’s nothing to breathe on Mars.  So take the lungs out of the human frame, replace them with micro-miniaturized oxygen regeneration cat-cracking systems.  One needs power for that, but power flows down from the distant sun.

The blood in the human frame would boil; all right, eliminate the blood, at least from the extremities and the surface areas—build arms and legs that are served by motors instead of muscles—and reserve the blood supply only for the warm, protected brain.

A normal human body needs food, but if the major musculature is replaced by machines, the food requirement drops.  It is only the brain that must be fed every minute of every day….

Water?  It is no longer necessary, except for engineering losses—like adding hydraulic fluid to a car’s braking system every few thousand miles.  Once the body has become a closed system, no water needs to be flushed through it in the cycle of drink, circulate, excrete, or perspire.

Radiation?  A two-edged problem.  At unpredictable times there are solar flares; and then even on Mars there is too much of it for health; the body must therefore be clothed with an artificial skin. The rest of the time there is only the normal visible and ultraviolet light from the sun.  It is not enough to maintain heat, and not quite enough even for good vision; so more surface must be provided to gather energy—hence the great bat-eared receptors on the cyborg—and, to make vision as good as it can be made, the eyes are replaced with mechanical structures.

This is a thorough transformation, no mere augmentation. Yet in Pohl’s rigorous prose it seems possible. Here’s the hero, an extensively modified cyborg with augmented eyesight. A nurse brings a bouquet of roses to his room soon after his new eyes are hooked up:

”Roger sat up and began again his investigation of the world around him.  He studied the roses appraisingly.  The great faceted eyes took in nearly an extra octave of radiation, which meant half a dozen colors Roger had never seen before from IR to UV; but he had no names for them, and the rainbow spectrum he had known all his life had extended itself to cover them all.  But it was not quite true even to say that it seemed to be red; it was only a different quality of light that had associations of warmth and well-being.”

This is the best novel to treat a big question: Will we venture out into the dangers of the galaxy as allies and competitors of our own machines?

Gregory Benford can be found online at


All the Lives He Led (978-0-7653-2176-3 / $25.99) by Frederik Pohl will be available from Tor Books on April 12, 2011.


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What’s your Favorite Frederik Pohl novel, James E. Gunn?

Placeholder of  -4Image Placeholder of - 73My choices probably are pretty standard (although maybe I’ll be surprised by the final list): Gateway and The Space Merchants.  Fred’s fiction is always an occasion, for those flashes of insight into the human condition as well as his great storytelling abilities and his skillful prose, I don’t think Fred (and Cyril) ever did better in Fred’s satire mode than his first, but Gateway is Fred at the peak of his mature powers and focusing on a more difficult target, the human heart rather than human folly.  By the time Fred was able to write Gateway he had recognized that his skills at skewering human folly were a trap and he had moved on (at least most of the time).  I’m looking forward to his new one.


All the Lives He Led (978-0-7653-2176-3 / $25.99) by Frederik Pohl will be available from Tor Books on April 12, 2011.


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What’s your Favorite Frederik Pohl novel, David Brin?

Placeholder of  -71 Wolfbane was one of the earliest SF novels I read, and at the time it certainly seemed the creepiest!  In contrasts, some of his other works with Cyril Kornbluth, such as Gladiator at Law, though fun adventures, also helped spur  my lifelong habit of doubting all ends of the silly, nonsensical, so-called “left-right political axis.”  Provoking people to rethink their own assumptions—now that’s writing.

One nearly forgotten Pohl book ought to tower high on any shrine of modern techno-visionary prophecy.  The Age of the Pussyfoot was one of the only science fiction stories of the fifties through seventies that envisioned computers becoming common household tools, owned and used, avidly, by nearly everybody.  In fact, to my knowledge it is just about the only work of prophetic fiction to foresee citizens carrying about portable, computerized assistants that would fulfill all the functions we now see gathering together in our futuristic cell phones. And you can bet I salivate for the even-better versions he foresaw.   Pohl’s “joymaker” device is as marvelous an on-target prediction as Jules Verne predicting submarines or trips to the Moon.

In The Cool War, Frederik Pohl showed a chillingly plausible failure mode for human civilization, one in which our nations and factions do not dare to wage open conflict, and so they settle upon tit-for-tat patterns of reciprocal sabotage, ruining each other’s infrastructures and economies, propelling our shared planet on a gradual death-spiral of lowered expectations degraded hopes.  It is a cautionary tale that I cite often, today, as recommended reading for those at the top of our social order.

David Brin can be found online at


All the Lives He Led (978-0-7653-2176-3 / $25.99) by Frederik Pohl will be available from Tor Books on April 12, 2011.


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