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The Way the Future Was: A Memoir

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  185 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Frederik Pohl has done it all in science fiction, one of the few who have won Hugo Awards both for his stories and for his editing. Becoming a science fiction magazine editor while still in his teens in the 1930s, he had already made a name for himself as an active science fiction fan. Here are his memories of how the field evolved from the first science fiction magazines ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 312 pages
Published 1978 by Del Rey
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Jan 03, 2012 Williwaw rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: old guard sf fans
I was delighted by this book. It gave me the sense that Fred Pohl is a generous, kind, and delightful person. You might not find the book so delightful if you are not interested in science fiction. Even if you are interested in science fiction, you might not find the book so delightful if you are not familiar with at least some of the great and delightful sf works that were written and published during the 1950's and 1960's. Those were the decades when sf began to develop some sophistication, an ...more
Joshua Buhs

Probably this was more revelatory when it came out, almost forty years ago. Now, with the wave of nostalgia for old-timey science fiction that rolled across the culture at least since the 1980s, there's nothing particularly remarkable here.

It's a quick read, focused mostly on Pohl's younger and middle life. He grew up in Brooklyn, alternating poor and rich because his father was something of a schemer who eventually left the family. He found science fiction around age 10--1930--and it helpe
Jesse Whitehead
Apr 09, 2014 Jesse Whitehead rated it really liked it
I’ve been sitting here trying to write a review for this book and I keep typing small inanities and facts about Frederik Pohl. The simple truth is that he was an amazing, flawed, powerful human being — much like all of us. If you want to know more about him the internet has more information than you probably want to know.

We have an interesting relationship with death and dying here in Western culture. When a famous person dies it can feel very personal to people who have never met the deceased.
May 14, 2012 Denis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hardcover, b-c
It so happens that Frederik Pohl passed away during the time I read "The Way The Future Was"...

He was a great man. And it was a great book.

I have been reading his novels and stories and following his blog as well for a few years now and must now considered this review more a as a memorial or tribute. Pohl's blog, I have considered to be his current work, at this time in his life. I decided to finally read my copy of "The Way he Future Was" after just recently reading Jack Williamson's bio "Wonde
Jonathan Scotese
I found this book very interesting. Frederik Pohl was a science fiction writer and editor. He died recently, but wrote this memoir in the late seventies. It has a very bizarrely dated feel due to it being written 35 years ago and beginning around 35 years prior to that.

This book begins with what life was like growing up in a world just before WWII and describing Pohl's part in the early days of science fiction fandom. As the book continues it seemed to lose its broader focus and deal specificall
Betty Cross
Jun 21, 2012 Betty Cross rated it it was amazing
A highly entertaining autobiography of Fred Pohl, science-fiction writer and editor from the great old days. A member of the World War II generation, he experienced the Great Depression as a child, the rise of the Communist Party (in the greater New York area, at least) as a major center of protest against the suffering of the time, and seismic changes in the publishing field that resulted in the near-extinction of magazine Sci-Fi.

For me, one of the most interesting parts of this memoir is Pohl'
Dec 05, 2008 Peter rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: science fiction fans
In a fractional rating system, I'd give this 4.2 stars.

This was another "grabbed randomly from the shelf" book, and when I saw it in my hand I almost put it back. It's the autobiography of classic science fiction writer and editor Fredric Pohl, as well as a history of the early days and Golden Age of science fiction.

I hadn't read it in so long that I'd forgotten if it was any good. But then I figured that it would still be better than reading nothing, so I kept it.

And you know, it's actually ver
Sep 02, 2013 Josephine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-book
Are memoirs biased? Yes. Was the author of this memoir an at least decent writer? I'd like to think so. Did his career last for nearly as long a span after this book's publication as it had prior to the book's publication? Yes.

He was involved in/with science fiction for longer than the majority of science fiction fans have been alive. He knew, personally or professionally, more of the Big Names, the New Names, the Old Names the Behind-The-Scenes Talents than pretty much anyone alive today. He al
Keith Davis
Nov 22, 2009 Keith Davis rated it really liked it
Frederik Pohl is one of the leading lights of the second generation of SF writers, the writers who grew up reading the earliest Science Fiction and had a hand in the creation of fandom. This autobiography covers his friendship with Henry Kuttner, his early flirtation with socialism and eventual disenchantment with same. A great read for anyone interested in the processes that create a writer of speculative fiction.
Jan 25, 2015 Jerry rated it it was amazing
Pohl began his affair with Science Fiction in 1930 and has worked in the field as fan, writer, editor, and agent since he was ten years old. He has known, in some capacity, most of the other great science fiction writers, fans, and editors. The Way the Future Was is a story about growing up as a writer at the same time that science fiction was carving a place for itself in the literary world.
Feb 25, 2013 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I rarely read biographies, but I have read one or two and this is a facinating tale of one one of the masters of science fiction. From the early 30s all the eway through the mid 70s. Not only was Pohl an author, but magazine editor and agent. He knew most of the big names of the golden age.

I really wanted to read more I hope one day he bring it up to date.
Miquel Codony
Aug 22, 2013 Miquel Codony rated it it was amazing
Divertido, interesante, humano... yo soy 100% público diana de este libro, pero me parece imprescindible para cualquiera interesado en la ciencia ficción y su historia. Al final el interés decae un poco, pero es lógico.

Leerlo ahora es un buen homenaje a Pohl en la semana de su muerte.
Oct 28, 2013 Maria rated it it was ok
It's a great list of "who's who" in the early days of Science Fiction. Maybe it's because I dunno who this guy is, that I lacked interest in the whole biography side of it.
The last time this book was checked out was in 1989 and then me in 2013. I felt kind of special.
Jun 06, 2012 Jack rated it it was amazing
Frederick Pohl was not one of my favorite authors, but he presents a GREAT history about the early days of Science Fiction and the beginning of the things we call SciFi Conventions. A great nostalgic read - especially about some of today's giants in the SF field, back when they were nobodies!
Scott Golden
Feb 14, 2015 Scott Golden rated it really liked it
This is a well-written and essential book for fans of 20th-Century science fiction. Pohl, the man that did it all (writer, collaborator, agent, editor, anthologizer) recounts his life in a straightforward, sober, but never boring manner. A delight.
Sean Hoade
Jun 11, 2013 Sean Hoade rated it it was amazing
Absolutely charming and extremely rewarding for anyone to read who is a writer, editor, science fiction fan, Mad Men '50s office fan ... actually, really most humans would find this memoir invaluable from beginning to end.
Aug 07, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
This is one of those chapter-at-a-time books. Good basis for Pohl's web site.
Aug 04, 2012 Ed rated it it was amazing
Excellent autobiographical view of the sf scene, esp. around NYC.
Jan 16, 2015 Branden rated it it was amazing
except for a weird stretch of expounding on UFOs and cryogenics and the occult, this is one of the best and most affirming autobiographies by a writer i've ever read.
David Raffin
Mar 02, 2010 David Raffin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
If you're interested in science fiction of the 50's and 60's, pick up this book.
May 28, 2009 Richie rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Just read few chapters. This book talks about early days of science fiction fandom. Kind of fun, but I don't have time to read it now.
Nov 24, 2014 Spooky1947 rated it it was amazing
those were the days....
Michael McCarty
Michael McCarty rated it it was amazing
Aug 26, 2010
Martin Lesser
Martin Lesser rated it really liked it
Feb 07, 2009
Mark rated it it was amazing
Feb 13, 2009
Tkingsbu rated it it was amazing
Dec 07, 2012
Anastasia rated it liked it
Sep 27, 2008
Sandy Parsons
Sandy Parsons rated it really liked it
Oct 05, 2015
Thomas Cotterill
Thomas Cotterill rated it really liked it
Apr 25, 2012
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Frederik George Pohl, Jr. was an American science fiction writer, editor and fan, with a career spanning over seventy years. From about 1959 until 1969, Pohl edited Galaxy magazine and its sister magazine IF winning the Hugo for IF three years in a row. His writing also won him three Hugos and multiple Nebula Awards. He became a Nebula Grand Master in 1993.
More about Frederik Pohl...

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“I perceived quite early that I was a reader, and most of the people I came into contact with were not. It made a barrier. What they wanted to talk about were things they had eaten, touched, or done. What I wanted to talk about was what I had read.” 2 likes
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