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Wednesday 1 August 2001

Poul Anderson, 1926 - 2001

Poul Anderson and Karen Anderson (1999), photo by Greg Bear

Poul Anderson, 74, died around midnight, July 31st at his home in Orinda, California (near San Francisco) from the effects of prostate cancer.

Anderson was one of the most famous and respected writers of SF and fantasy. He won seven Hugo Awards, 3 Nebulas, and too many other awards to list here. He was a Grand Master of the SFWA and an inductee to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. He was prolific and outstanding in all types of SF and fantasy, from the super-hard science of Brain Wave (1954) and Tau Zero (1970), to the Nordic sagas of The Broken Sword (1954) and Hrolf Kraki's Saga (1973) to the High fantasy of Three Hearts and Three Lions (1961) and The King of Ys (1988 with Karen Anderson), as well as humor Earthman's Burden (1957 with Gordon R. Dickson) and The High Crusade (1982).

He was equally at home in shorter fiction. He was a master of the novella, and wrote numerous series of stories (and novels) including the Technic History series, involving Dominic Flandry and Nicholas Van Rijn; the Psychotechnic League series; and the Time Patrol series. Classic short works include "Call Me Joe" (1957), "Kyrie" (1968), "The Queen of Air and Darkness" (1971), "Goat Song" (1972), and "The Saturn Game" (1981).

His magnus opus might well be the recently completed future history of the next billion years which ended with Genesis (2000), a novel which last month won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best SF novel of the year.

Anderson is survived by his wife and writing partner Karen, daughter Astrid and son-in-law Greg Bear, brother John, grandchildren Erik and Alexandra, and nieces Janet and Cathy.

A memorial gathering is planned for 2 p.m., Saturday, August 4 at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland, 685 14th Street, Oakland. Following that, a small wake will be held at Greyhaven from approximately 5 p.m. Please bring food or drink to share if attending the wake.

In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to the SFWA Emergency Medical Fund c/o Chuck Rothman, SFWA Treasurer, 1436 Altamount Ave., PMB 292, Schenectady, PA 12303-2977

The SFWA News obituary includes some tributes. Excerpts from Locus's April 1997 interview with Poul Anderson are here. A longer obituary will appear in the September issue of Locus, along with tributes from Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Jerry Pournelle, Joe Haldeman, Jack Williamson, David Brin, James Gunn, David Gerrold and as many others as we can fit in.

Circa 1928-29, perhaps taken by Poul Anderson's father. Slightly retouched; here's the original. Photos courtesy Greg Bear.

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