the most consistently able writer science fiction has yet produced


FREDERIK POHL—sci­ence fic­tion au­thor, for which he won a Hugo and a Nebula (Gateway, 1977) and the only Na­tional Book Award given in a one-year cat­e­gory for that genre (Gem, 1980); ed­itor (for which he won seven Hugos (Galaxy and If mag­a­zines, 1962-1969); lit­erary agent (who helped get Isaac Asi­mov’s first novel pub­lished); critic and historian—died on Sep­tember 2, 2013, at the age of 93. [Continue reading]

how many inter-neuronic connections are there in the human brain?


“MAYBE YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND how com­plex a struc­ture the human brain is. Be­lieve me, it makes the side­real uni­verse look like a child’s building set. There are many times more pos­sible inter-neuronic con­nec­tions than there are atoms in the en­tire cosmos—the factor is some­thing like ten to the power of sev­eral million. [Continue reading]

catch a wave and you’re sitting on top of the world

Anderson BW Ballantine full

I WAS MOTIVATED to dig up my old copy of Poul An­der­son’s novel Brain Wave when I dis­cov­ered Joachim Boaz’s site Sci­ence Fic­tion and Other Sus­pect Ru­mi­na­tions. I read Joachim’s take on the An­derson book (he con­sid­ered it “vaguely good”) and the com­ments sub­mitted by his readers and I dis­agreed with cer­tain ob­ser­va­tions of theirs. [Continue reading]

norman spinrad walks among us

IN 1969, I MET NORMAN SPINRAD. Well, met him in the sense that I dis­cov­ered his novels while I was working at Leo Ma­tus’s news­stand. Leo car­ried to­bacco, mag­a­zines, and sun­dries and was lo­cated on Public Square—smack dab in the middle of Wilkes-Barre in North­eastern Penn­syl­vania. [Continue reading]