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The Best of Frederik Pohl
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The Best of Frederik Pohl

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  256 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Introduction by Lester del Rey.

The Tunnel under the World (1955)
Punch (1961)
Three Portraits and a Prayer (1962)
Day Million (1966)
Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus (1956)
We Never Mention Aunt Nora (1958)
Father of the Stars (1964)
The Day the Martians Came (1967)
The Midas Plague (1954)
The Snowmen (1959)
How to Count on Your Fingers (1956) essay
Grandy Devil (1955)
Speed Trap (
Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 1975 by Ballantine Books (first published March 1975)
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Jun 25, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it
Frederik Pohl is prolific. He handles so many diverse ideas with great skill. I was completely intrigued by nearly every one of the tales contained in this collection. Here, then, is an accounting.
"The Tunnel Under the World" - A man wakes up to find everything very different from the way he remembered it the day before. The next day he finds the date the same as the one before. What is going on? -- This one is a little bit like the Truman Show, except with a very different and startling twist a
Scott Holstad
Nov 09, 2012 Scott Holstad rated it it was amazing
This is another book of short stories by Frederik Pohl that I've read and he really doesn't disappoint. I like his short stories much better than his novels, to be honest. "The Tunnel Under The World" was published in the mid-50s, but reads like The Truman Show. It's quite interesting. "The Children of Night" is disturbing and spooky. Actually, there are several disturbing pieces in this book. "The Midas Plague," however, is not one of them. In this story, there's rampant over-consumption throug ...more
Sep 16, 2011 Cera rated it it was amazing
I think of myself as really disliking short stories, but after reading this I've come to the conclusion that I just dislike certain kinds of short stories. These are idea stories, often with a twist, some of them funny and some of them horrifying, but all of them very, very interesting. If I'd read more old sf (these are all from the 50s and 60s, I believe) I might have been less surprised by the surprises, but I'm not very well read in pre-70s stuff, so I *was* surprised. And it was really cool ...more
Jun 17, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
I reread this over the last few weeks in anticipation of the Pohl discussions at the Campbell Conference. A lot of these stories hold up very well. The details are tied to the period they were written, but thematically they still hold. The consumerism addressed in The Midas Plague, the economics of the Icicle Works, the advertising in the Tunnel Under the World, the racism in The Day the Martians Came... all are astutely observed, and still relevant.
At the conference, we watched a video that fu
Zantaeus Glom
Dec 30, 2014 Zantaeus Glom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-sf
Four stars all the way! With some of Frederik Pohl's tales hitting a firm five. Essential collection for the true sf short story connoisseur!

Personal favorites included: 'The Tunnel Under The World', 'The Day The Martians came', 'The Midas Plague', 'The Day the Icicle Works closed', 'The Census Takers'. I didn't really power through this like Bester's sublime collection, but it proved no less enjoyable.
May 06, 2012 Steven rated it really liked it
What to say? An absolutely solid collection of some of Frederik Pohl's best stories (superseded somewhat by later collections that go beyond the self-imposed cut-off date of this book.)
Oct 01, 2013 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this collection. Yes some of them are a little dated, but I struggled to find more than the odd story that wasn't at least good. I have read more recently published short stories and few stand up to this from one of the masters. Fred Pohl is definely one of the greats.

Tunnel Under The World: There is nothing like starting with a good stroy and this was one of those. It has a similar plot to the movie Groundhog Day, but was written well before it in 1954. However it has some intere
Jun 22, 2012 Doyle rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Pohl tackles subjects like discrimination, politics, sexual identity and the will to survive in this very solid collection of short stories. There were a few duds, but the stories I didn't care for were all stories with shorter page counts. The 3 longest stories were all very good, as were many of the shorter ones.
Joshua Zucker
Apr 20, 2013 Joshua Zucker rated it really liked it
A few of the stories don't age well, but most of them are about politics and advertising and topics that (perhaps sadly) haven't gone away.

Pohl's gift is not for characterization, but there are some well-plotted stories here, and some really brilliant ideas to explore and enjoy.
Dec 20, 2012 Paul rated it liked it
An eclectic variety of some of the Best of Frederik Pohl's Short Stories.
Mostly science fiction, but with a couple of nice twists inserteds in there.
I think I first found out about Binary and began understanding it after having read this book.
Jun 24, 2013 Eric rated it it was amazing
Loved all of the short stories. Since this was published in 1974, I am looking forward to the "best of" from the second half of his career.
Fredrick Danysh
Nov 05, 2014 Fredrick Danysh rated it liked it
Nineteen short stories from this science fiction master covering a variety of themes. There is some interesting work in this collection and it is well worth reading.
Apr 20, 2015 Randy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Sometimes utterly genuine and sometimes near-misses, The Best of Frederik Pohl is worth a look for its variety.
1/9/12: "Speed Trap" (1967)
1/9/12: "The Martian in the Attic" (1960)
1/9/12: "Three Portraits and a Prayer" (1962)
Jul 06, 2015 Marie rated it liked it
So, yeah… some very dated stuff here, particularly the portrayal of women, but also some ideas that are still intriguing.
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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.
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“On this day I want to tell you about, which will be about a thousand years from now, there were a boy, a girl and a love story.” 7 likes
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