Frederik Pohl On The Ideas In Science Fiction

by John Holbo on May 23, 2018

A whole page of videos, mostly consisting of old interviews with science fiction authors. I just watched Fred Pohl on “The Ideas In Science Fiction”. I guess I’ll check out the Michael Moorcock one next. (Only on Facebook, it seems, so I guess you have to deal with that if you want to watch.)

I’ve also been reading old 70’s comics. For the dialogue.

Also, this. How can they NOT have called their paper “We Can Remember It For You Whole Snail”? Standards, people.



GrueBleen 05.23.18 at 3:43 pm

Ah yes, Fred Pohl – half (with Kornbluth) of the authorship of one of the all-time greats: Space Merchants.

Since I can’t make inroads into Facebook, please tell: is there a video from Paul Linebarger ?


Adam Roberts 05.23.18 at 7:01 pm

“We Can Remember It For You Whole Snail”

Eternal Sunshine of the Gastropodless Mind.


Adam Roberts 05.23.18 at 7:02 pm

That last one might be a little on the obscure side.


bad Jim 05.24.18 at 7:02 am

My Google searches can’t bring it up, but he once wrote a piece for the Sierra Club about what he would do if he were the president. He’d fix everything in about three days. His measures were radical, but unsurprisingly practical.

Space Merchants, sure, but also The Age of Pussy Foot as well as Gateway and its sequels, and bear in mind that he was managing a publishing outfit while he was cranking out stories.

Pohl was remarkably sane, but that’s not actually unusual for purveyors of speculative fiction.


Belle Waring 05.24.18 at 7:12 am

“We Can Remember It For You Whole Snail”

John and I thought of this at the exact same second.


Z 05.24.18 at 9:33 am

Also, this. How can they NOT have called their paper “We Can Remember It For You Whole Snail”? Standards, people.

In the corners of the web I inhabit, that paper is seen as a pretty huge deal. If correct, it is taken to be a very strong sign in favor of the Gallistel/Balsam/King conjecture I mentioned in your thread on panpsychism, namely that RNA-induced epigenetic changes – and more specifically DNA-methylation – in neural function is the (or, more precisely, a) locus of cognitive operations.

Or, in the slightly less precise language of that previous thread: cells can think! Panpsychism!


Z 05.24.18 at 9:36 am

OT but is CT eating all my comments? I don’t see the “your comment is awaiting moderation” message anymore, the comment just disappears when I hit submit.


GrueBleen 05.25.18 at 4:39 am

bad Jim #4

You first paragraph refers to Linebarger, I take it. The very first thing of his I ever read was, BOC, “Scanners Live in Vain”. And later some more of his (“Ballad of Lost C’Mell”, “A Planet Named Shayol” and so on). But of course, his magnum opus, especially to one who comes from where I do, was the composite novel “Norstrilia”. And yes, he did come across as basically rational.

As indeed did Pohl – the whole rationality of Space Merchants was its major attraction, especially since it first appeared in 1952 and any understanding of what ‘population’ could do to the planet was, in general, years away. However, my more or less engaged time of reading scifi only lasted for about 9 years (1956 to 1965), so I kinda missed out on Pohl’s other works. A small pity perhaps, especially as I got to read a bunch of Heinlein nonsense instead.


GrueBleen 05.25.18 at 4:42 am

“…the comment just disappears when I hit submit.”

Yeah, that just happened to me too.

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