Science fiction Grand Master Poul Anderson, one of the most prolific and highly-honored writers in the genre's history, died at his home in Orinda, California on July 31, 2001. He was 74 years old. Poul (pronounced "pole") had served on The SETI League's Advisory Board since its inception in 1995. Most SETI League members remember him for his guest editorial From SETI to CETI, which appeared in the Autumn 2000 issue of SearchLites.
Anderson's career as a science fiction author began with the story "Tomorrow's Children" (with F.N. Waldrop) in Astounding in 1947, and took off in 1953 with the first appearances of two of his most famous novels, Three Hearts and Three Lions and Brain Wave. Soon he began writing his Technic History series, about a galaxy dominated by the Polesotechnic League of traders, and featuring merchant prince Nicholas van Rijn. This series led into a second sequence involving the successor Terran Empire, served by agent Dominic Flandry.
Other well-known series included the Time Patrol tales of agents preventing the corruption of history, the History of Rustum sequence, and the Hoka stories written with Gordon R. Dickson (also recently deceased), involving furry aliens who take romanticized human fiction literally, with outrageous results. The Last Viking and King of Ys novel series were fantasies, the latter co-written with wife Karen Anderson.
Notable stand-alone novels included Tau Zero, about a relativistic spaceship gone out of control, racing ahead in time to the end of the Universe and beyond, and The Boat of a Million Years, regarding immortals increasingly estranged from Earth. His latest novel, Genesis, won the 2000 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel. Other awards during his career include seven Hugos and three Nebulas (all for short work), the Gandalf Grand Master award for his fantasy, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America's Grand Master award for his science fiction. He was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2000. He was also SFWA's President from 1972-1973.
Poul Anderson is survived by his wife, author and filker Karen Anderson, and was the father-in-law of noted SF author Greg Bear, who married his daughter Astrid. All three are SETI League members. Also surviving him are a brother, John, and two grandchildren, Erik and Alexandra. To all of them, The SETI League sends heartfelt condolences.
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this page last updated 28 December 2002
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