Then we went on holiday. In New Zealand, being in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas is also the summer holidays. That year we were staying at a place near Paraparaumu, enjoying the typical kiwi beach holiday On the main road, near the railway station, there was a little 2nd hand store (long since vanished). It was packed with bric-a-brac, but it also had a generous supply of 2nd hand books, which is why we went there. While browsing, I discovered there were some magazines with slightly lurid covers. SF magazines. There were Analog, F&SF, maybe others, but there were also Worlds of iF—edited by Frederik Pohl. So, simply because I recognised and had become a fan of the editor, I bought a couple.

I don't know exactly which issues they were, but they were from the Hugo award winning years. The stories were varied, and wonderful. I was hooked. I went back and, cautiously, bought a few more. Then again, less cautiously, to buy all the remaining IFs. I also bought a few other sf magazines, especially those that had authors that had appeared in IF. I did prefer IF to any of the others though.

I now started to seek out sf.

In subsequent years when we were on holiday I bought up every IF that store had (and I owe a debt of gratitude to an unknown sf fan who bought the magazines new and then sent them to the 2nd hand store. I suspect they got them mailed direct because while I sometimes saw Analog for sale new in the book stores in town, I never saw IF).

Of course, I also followed Frederik Pohl, both backwards and forwards. Backwards, as I discovered the earlier books, including the collaborations, and then forwards with delight as he started writing new books.

I suppose that at some level, my enjoyment of Frederik Pohl's work is sentimental, as he was the one who was for me the gateway to sf. But that's not why I still read his stories, and look forward to new stories. Quite simply, he is a really good author.

And now, while I read lots of things, my genre preference is for sf. Looking at the bookshelves that surround me, the majority of the content on the ones in this room are sf.

And I have just recently discovered that Frederik Pohl, at 89, has started a blog.

He has been writing for a long time. He has been writing very well for a long time. It is, perhaps then, no surprise that his blog is very good. After so much practice in writing,you would expect that his blog would exhibit the same high standards, and it does. But that does not diminish in any way the pleasure I get from reading it.

So, Frederik Pohl, thank you.