X-Message-Number: 5976
Date: 22 Mar 96 11:41:14 EST
From: "Kent, Saul" <>
Subject: Science Fiction Writers

	The author of "The Age Of The Pussyfoot" is Fred Pohl. Pohl was
sympathetic to cryonics. He was helpful in getting Bob Ettinger's "The
Prospect Of Immortality" published in 1964. He was not, interested,
however, in being frozen himself. As I recall, he said he couldn't afford
it. When he was offered a free suspension by Alcor, he replied that he
didn't want to be frozen unless his entire family could also be frozen,
and that he couldn't afford to do that. The Alcor offer made Pohl so
uncomfortable about dealing with cryonicists that he subsequently avoided
such contacts.
	In the late 1960s, I debated Lester Del Rey about cryonics at a
science fiction meeting in New Jersey. During the meeting, Isaac Asimov
came in and joined the discussion.  The gist of Asimov's comment about
cryonics was about the same as his comment about extending lifespan in
general. He said: "I'm against it because I think it would be bad for
society to keep so many 'older' people around." When asked about whether
he was in favor of staying alive himself, Asimov jokingly said: "Of
course, I'm the one exception to the rule. I think I think it would be
good for society if I lived forever."
	I was once on a radio show with Arthur Clarke (He was just
leaving as I was coming on). Clarke said he thought cryonics would work
and that he was in favor of it.
	Although Del Rey and Asimov were skeptical about the possibility
of restoring patients to life who had been frozen under poor conditions,
they were intellectually honest enough not to rule it out and were quite
certain that perfected suspended animation would someday be achieved.
Both Pohl and Clarke seemed to think the cryonics might work even with
poorly frozen patients.
	The one I talked to at length was Pohl, who was really quite
favorable towards cryonics and didn't have the social concerns about it
expressed by Del Rey and Asimov. In my opinion, Pohl wouldn't take the
next logical step (signing up himself) because he was afraid of being
embarrassed publicly if he took such a "radical" position. On the other
hand, I think Pohl felt comfortable being sympathetic to cryonics
"professionally" because he was, after all, a science fiction writer who
was expected to speculate about the future. In fact, it was Pohl's
article in the June issue of Playboy magazine ("Intimations Of
Immortality") that introduced me to the idea of cryonics.  

---Saul Kent

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