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25 November 2015
Poul William Anderson was born on this day in Bristol, Pennsylvania, in 1926. Born of Scandinavian parents, he lived in Denmark briefly before the outbreak of the Second World War. He was a SFWA Grand Master, winner of seven Hugo Awards and three Nebulas – and father-in-law of Greg Bear.
In common with some of Gateway’s other fine authors – such as Sheri S. Tepper, Gordon R. Dickson and Jack Vance – Poul Anderson was equally at home with SF and Fantasy. Although much of his work falls unambiguously into the science fiction category – including major works, the Flandry and Psychotechnic League series – he received a World Fantasy Award nomination for A Midsummer Tempest and won the British Fantasy Award, for Hrolf Kraki’s Saga.
It is one of the oddities of the award process that his major works of fantasy were not recognised with wins or nominations by the various Fantasy Awards. SF-Fantasy fusion The High Crusade was shortlisted for the 1961 Hugo Award, but the seminal Norse fantasy The Broken Sword – hailed by no less than Michael Moorcock as one of the finest fantasies ever written – has troubled neither juries nor voters. It was, however, selected for inclusion in David Pringle‘s important Modern Fantasy: The Hundred Best Novels and was added to Gollancz’s re-launched Fantasy Masterworks series last year.