Sunday, 31 May 2015
Poul Anderson, Scientist
"Science fiction writers tend to start out young. I began making professional sales while in college. My aim was to become a scientist, but after graduating, with no money left to continue, I supported myself by writing while I looked for honest employment. Jobs were scarce just then; the search grew more and more half-hearted; gradually I realized that what I was doing was what nature had cut me out for. Meanwhile I was learning the craft the hard way, at least as much through the rejections as the acceptances."
-Poul Anderson, Going For Infinity (New York, 2002), p. 66.
We must thank the Muses that jobs were scarce. And story-telling is one of the oldest forms of "honest employment." Poets recited epics about solar and stellar deities long before scientists understood solar or stellar processes.
So here are at least four alternative realities:
Poul Anderson, scientist;
Poul Anderson as primarily a mystery writer;
Poul Anderson continuing his major future history series at the expense of other kinds of hard sf;
the Poul Anderson we know.
I think we got the best option.