The Three Best Short Stories Of Frederik Pohl

Just a minor entry today.  I wanted to log a few titles for benefit of my Future Self (who I am sure will have a memory even worse than that of my Present Self).  And yes, as you may have noticed from previous entries, I tend to think of my Future Self as a friend of mine for whom I try to do a good turn every now and again; he’s a lot like me, but muuuch smarter.

I’ve been reading Zelazny and Pohl, two of the great science fiction writers.  I’ve determined I like Pohl better.  His stories dive deeper beneath the gloss of the snazzy science fiction ideas.  The only story I really liked from Zelazny was Permafrost—but I REALLY liked it.

From Pohl, my favorites are as follows…

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The Three Best Short Stories Of Frederik Pohl:

Some Joys Under The Star (rollicking fun!  If you like Tom Robbins or Douglas Adams, you’ll likely appreciate this one)

Shaffery Among The Immortals (his best and most fully realized character); I did a mini-review of this story Here.

The Day The Icicle Works Closed (his most wildly imaginative).  This story is also an excellent mystery, and could just as well be classified into that genre.  In this one story appear:  antibiotic snows, “skyfish,” the renting of bodies by other minds, and the beaming of minds across the galaxy (duh, simply capture a brain’s electromagnetic essence and beam it up, Scottie).

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Rounding out the Top Five:  Growing Up In Edge City (life in a bubble city—with a bitter, surprise ending) and Criticality (the prescient, 1980’s story of a society where everyone’s a critic– and about which I’ve previously posted).

Fermi and Frost is also pretty good— not the top of the genre, but above the run of the mill stuff.  It did win a Hugo in its day, though I think Pohl wrote even better than this.  It’s a nuclear winter story.  So yeah, not a laughfest.

The Middle Of Nowhere and Let the Ants Try and Creation Myths Of The Recently Extinct were okay, but at a lower tier than the other stories.  The Meeting, written with C.M. Kornbluth, offers up a wonderfully wicked, horrifying, cringe-inducing moral dilemma, but it didn’t grab me as a story.

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