Platinum Pohl The Collected Best Stories

Frederik Pohl

Orb Books



Trade Paperback

464 Pages



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Frederik Pohl has won numerous Hugo and Nebula Awards in his long and prolific career. He has written over thirty novels, including such classics as Gateway, Beyond the Blue Event Horizon, and Man Plus. He has served as an award winning editor for SF magazines and book anthologies and is a former president of the Science Fiction Writers or America.

Platinum Pohl is the first collection of all the essential short stories of Frederik Pohl. Here are his two Hugo Award winning stories, “Fermi and Frost” and “The Meeting” (with C. M. Kornbluth), along with such classic novellas as the powerful “The Gold at the Starbow's End” and “The Greening of Bed-Stuy,” and stories such as “Servant of the People,” “Shaffery Among the Immortals,” and “Growing Up in Edge City,” all finalists for major awards. And dozens of other tales, like the wonderful “The Mayor of Mare Tranq” and the provocative “The Day the Martians Landed” and many others.


Praise for Platinum Pohl

"A thrilling collection of stories spanning Pohl's 50-year career. Featuring memorable characters and deft writing, these tales are must-reads for any serious fan. "The Merchants of Venus" features a vagabond pilot desperate for money for a new liver. "The Gold at the Starbow's End" tells a wonderfully layered story through communiques between a doomed exploratory spaceship and its unenthusiastic funders on Earth. In the poignant "To See Another Mountain," ailing nonagenarian genius Noah Sidorenko discovers that even an old, damaged mind can accomplish incredible feats. The collection ends with the Hugo Award-winning "Fermi and Frost," written near the end of the Cold War, which with horrifying realism demonstrates the effects of a nuclear war on Earth through the experiences of two survivors: an orphaned boy and a SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) scientist. A fine sampler."—Kirkus Reviews

"Since beginning his writing career as a teenager in the early 1930s, Pohl has produced so steadily and well that corralling his finest short fiction into one volume is a daunting proposition. Platinum Pohl solves this dilemma by concentrating on award winners and nominees as well as stories out of which his most popular novels were born. The first and longest entry, "The Merchants of Venus," introduces the mysterious, artifact-producing aliens called the Heechee, who became the focus of Pohl's Hugo and Nebula Award—winning novel Gateway (1977). Other particular standouts include "My Lady Green Sleeves," an account of a bizarre prison rebellion on a world of strictly divided social classes; "The Middle of Nowhere," a quaint Bradbury-like tale penned in 1955 that describes humanity's first encounter with Martians; and the 1986 Hugo winner, "Fermi and Frost," a chilling vision of Earth's final hours during a nuclear war. An essential treasury for every Pohl fan and every sf collection."—Carl Hays, Booklist

"Spanning the five decades of SFWA Grand Master Pohl's career, these 30 stories stand out for their gritty, straightforward style and for their insightful ideas about our political, social and ecological future. The opener, "The Merchants of Venus," is an old-fashioned SF adventure yarn, but most of the rest are cautionary tales of environmental and ideological catastrophes. Stories such as "My Lady Green Sleeves" and "Spending a Day at the Lottery Fair" take social attitudes to the extreme and explore what horrible places we might end up and find normal. "The Greening of Bed-Stuy," in which New York City has crumbled to all but dust, shows how a child could still call it home and love it. Not every selection has a point to make. In "The Mapmakers," "Shaffery Among the Immortals" and other "what if" stories, the idea is all that matters. Pohl has won Hugo, Nebula and other major SF awards many times."—Publishers Weekly

Table of Contents


The merchants of Venus

The things that happen

The high test

My lady green sleeves

The kindly isle

The middle of nowhere

I remember a winter

The greening of Bed-Stuy

To see another mountain

The mapmakers

Spending a day at the lottery fair

The celebrated no-hit inning

Some joys under the star

Servant of the people

Waiting for the Olympians


Shaffery among the immortals

The day the icicle works closed


The gold at the starbow's end

Growing up in Edge City

The knights of Arthur

Creation myths of the recently extinct

The meeting (with C. M. Kornbluth)

Let the ants try

Speed trap

The day the Martians came

Day million

The mayor of Mare Tranq

Fermi and Frost

Afterword : fifth years and counting

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

THE MERCHANTS OF VENUSFrederik Pohl has probably heard from too many readers about the pun in the title of this suspenseful novella. The answer to your question is: No. This has nothing much to do with Shakespeare's play. It has a lot to do with Venus, with people living on the edge, with the spirit of exploration, and the reasons people have for doing dangerous and otherwise risky business."The Merchants of Venus," first published in 1972, was also the first story Pohl wrote about the presence of mysterious alien Heechee in the solar system. Since then, he has written a lot about
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