Poul Anderson

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(November 25, 1926 – July 31, 2001)

Poul Anderson, a fan and a pro, was GoH at Detention, the 1959 Worldcon.


He began his writing career in the late 1940s and continued to write and remain popular into the 21st century. Anderson wrote sf, fantasy, historical novels, mysteries, and many short stories. He won seven Hugos and three Nebulas.

He was nominated for and won an astonishing number of Hugo Awards for his fiction, and many other awards as well. In a 1985 interview, SF author Chad Oliver, discussing other writers, said: "The guy that amazes me is Poul Anderson. He is so prolific, and the quality is so high, and he has been doing it for so long. Amazing."

While most of his writing was under his own name, he also wrote as Michael Karageorge, A. A. Craig (for just one story, "Witch of the Demon Seas", in the early 50s), and Winston P. Sanders, the last for some short SF from the late ’50s to the late ’60s, mostly in ASF when he sometimes had more than one story per issue. He selected it because it was on the sign under which Winnie the Pooh lived. Oddly, it was also an anagram of "P. Anderson's twin."

He was president of SFWA from 1972–73, and a member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America,


He belonged to the Hyborian Legion, the old MFS and the Little Men. He was founder of the Alforbundet, a frequent contributor to fanzines, especially Amra, an active member of the committee for SFCon, a Baker Street Irregular, a founding member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (where he was known as Sir Bela of Eastmarch). With L. Sprague de Camp, he translated the minutes from the Pittcon WSFS Business Meeting in 1960 to an alternate English (see the meeting minutes from Amra).

He wrote a single issue fanzine, Smorgasbord. He and Karen Anderson produced the No Holds Barred cocktail guide.


Anderson played an important role in early filk music, especially in establishing the use of the term. His "Barbarous Allen," which appeared in the Winter 1953 issue of The Zed, was subtitled "A Filk Song." This is the earliest known intentional use in print of the term filk.

His "Bouncing Potatoes," an account of the hotel food at Westercon 19, has regularly been sung at filksings for many years.

Mary O'Meara[edit]

"Mary O'Meara," another song written by Anderson, was originally published in his 1967 novel World without Stars. Closely modeled after the Danish song "Anna Lovinda," it presents the tribute of a principal character to his late beloved. She had died shortly before treatments granting extreme longevity became widely available.

The song is popular in filk circles with the tune written for it by Anne Passovoy. Occasionally it is heard with the "Anna Lovinda" tune.

Personal Life[edit]

Anderson was born in Pennsylvania of Scandinavian parents. He grew up in Denmark, but returned to the United States at the start of WWII.

He received a degree in physics from the University of Minnesota in 1948 and married Karen Kruse in 1953. They had one daughter, Astrid, who is married to Greg Bear.

Entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

Awards, Honors and GoHships:

Person 19262001
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