Bookwaves/Artwaves – April 1, 2021: Paul Kantner – Frederik Pohl

Bookwaves/Artwaves is produced and hosted by Richard Wolinsky.

Links to on-line and streaming local theater & book events



Paul Kantner copyA conversation with Paul Kantner, hosted by Richard A. Lupoff and Richard Wolinsky, recorded in Marin County, February 9, 1984.

Paul Kantner, who died on January 28, 2016 at the age of 74, was one of the founding members of the great San Francisco band, Jefferson Airplane, and later one of the founders of Jefferson Starship. A legendary vocalist and songwriter, Kantner was known for his melding of rock and roll and science fiction in his lyrics.

On February 9th, 1984, science fiction author Richard A. Lupoff was hired by Heavy Metal magazine to interview Paul about the relationship of science fiction and rock and roll, accompanied by Richard Wolinsky, his co-host for the Probabilities radio program on KPFA.

The interview was recorded in a barn, and the microphone was set on a tree stump halfway between the three. The interview was not meant for airplay, and the conversation was more free-ranging than focused.

For the remastering, the recording used noise reduction, and the flanging re-filtered if the dialogue remained audible. Levels were reformulated and filters were added using Cool Edit 2000 and Adobe Audition. Special thanks to Charlie Cockey and Dennis Wein



Frederik Pohl (1918-2013) recorded at the Octocon Science Fiction Convention, October 15-16, 1978. Interviewers: Richard Wolinsky, Richard A. Lupoff and Lawrence Davidson, for KPFA’s Probabilities radio program. Digitized, remastered and re-edited February, 2021 by Richard Wolinsky. This interview has not been heard in any form since 1978.

Frederik Pohl, who died in 2013 at the age of 93 in September, 2013, did almost everything in the world of science fiction, as a writer, an agent, and a magazine and book editor. He grew up in Brooklyn, began writing at an early age, and in his twenties was a member of a leftist group of science fiction writers known as The Futurians, publishing for pennies a word in the sf pulps of the era. In 1937, in order to make money, he became an agent, and two years later a pulp magazine editor himself, often buying his own stories along with collaborations with various other writers, all under pseudonyms. In the late 1960s, he became editor of Galaxy Magazine, and its sister publication, Worlds of If, and in the 1970s became the science fiction editor at Bantam Books which he left shortly before this interview.

In the mid 1970s, Fred Pohl  emerged as one of science fictions preeminent novelists with Man Plus in 1976 and Gateway in 1977. In 1978, on the heels of novelist Damon Knight’s memoir, The Futurians, he came out with his own memoir, The Way the Future Was.

And that was where his career stood when the three of us interviewed him. We were all still new at interviewing, particularly in placement of the microphone.

Fred Pohl’s success continued for many years after this interview. Jem, published in 1979, won the National Book Award the only year there was an award for science fiction. The sequel to Gateway, Beyond the Blue Event Horizon was a finalist for both the Hugo and Nebula Awards in 1980. In all, there eventually were seven novels in the Gateway  (Heechee) series, and after 1979, all told, he wrote 17 more novels, the last being The Lives He Led, published in 2011, along with several collections, even more collaborations, and some non-fiction as well. At the time of his death at 93 in 2013, he was working on a second memoir, which has to date not been published.

NOTES. Judy Lynn Del Rey was the sf editor at Ballantine Books starting in the early 1970s and soon had her own imprint, Del Rey Books (in collaboration with her husband, writer Lester Del Rey). Judith Merrill was a writer and anthologist, noted for her Year’s Best SF Stories collections, which she edited from 1956 to 1968. John Michel was a key member of the Futurians who never fulfilled his promise. John W. Campbell was the editor of Astounding Stories, later Analog, from 1937 into the 1970s, and is credited with discovering such writers as Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein. His influence on science fiction was all-encompassing, even as his politics were, as Isaac Asimov quipped, somewhere to the right of Hitler. Horace Gold was the first editor of Galaxy, before Fred Pohl. It was the magazine that brought literary style into science fiction. Other names mentioned are Anthony Boucher and F. Francis McComas, the first editors of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, F&SF.

Three Futurians in 1938: Donald Wollheim, later publisher of DAW books, Fred Pohl, and John Michel. Creative Commons photo donated by the Wollheim family.


:The complete 40 minute version of this program can be found as a Radio Wolinsky podcast.

NOTE ON THIS ARCHIVE: The program that aired on April 1, 2021 was a repeat of the previous week’s program, due to a technical error. This particular program has never aired.


Announcement Links

Bay Area Book Festival May 1-9: Virtual Festival; Kazuo Ishiguro, Sunday May 2, 2 pm.
Books Inc  Eli Brown and Anne Nesbet, Tuesday March 30, 5 pm; Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall, Tuesday, April 6, 5 pm. S.A. Lelchuck, Tuesday, April 13, 5 pm; Alonzo King, Wednesday, April 14, 6 pm. Jenny Lawson with Christopher Moore, Wednesday, April 21, 5 pm.
Book Passage. Sue Monk Kidd, April 3, 4 pm; Michio Kaku, April 6, 5 pm; Dorothy Wickenden, April 10, 4 pm. Jazmin Darznik, April 17, 4 pm.
The Booksmith   Natalie Baszile, April 6, 6 pm. C Pam Zhang April 7, 6 pm.
Center for Literary Arts, San Jose. Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, the author of Travesty Generator, Thursday April 15, 7:30 pm.
Kepler’s Books Julie Lythcott-Haims with Adam Smiley Poswolsky, April 6, 6 pm. Imbolo Mbue with Kawai Strong Washburn, April 7, 6 pm. Temple Grandin, April 9, 6 pm.

American Conservatory Theatre Act Out Loud, Virtual Play Reading Series: Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress, March 29 – April 4; Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw, April 12-16, The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder, April 26 – May 2.
Aurora Theatre Streaming now: The Flats, written by Lauren Gunderson, Cleaven Smith and Jonathan Spector, with Lauren English, Anthony Fusco and Khary L. Moye, directed by Josh Costello, Aurora Connects conversations every Friday, 4 pm. Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, adapted for audio, starts on April 9th.
Berkeley Rep 10-episode audio series: Place/Settings: Berkeley, all episodes available now.  What’s in a Play, Mondays 6:30 & 8 pm. Zoom, Registration required. June, 2021: Swept Away, a new musical.
Brava Theatre Center: See website for upcoming events.
California Shakespeare Theatre (Cal Shakes) Truth and Meaning at Play, Finn Lefever, April 2, 5:30 pm.
Central Works Audio plays: Bystanders by Patricia Milton, streaming now. The Human Ounce by Nicole Parizeau, streaming now.  .
Cinnabar Theatre. Mac Beth, an update of Shakespeare’s play, adapted by Erica Schmidt, starts April 16.
Contra Costa Civic Theatre see website for upcoming events.
Curran Theater: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child set to resume May 30, 2021.
Custom Made Theatre Undiscovered Works: The Re-education of Fernando Morales by Justin P. Lopez, April 2, 7 pm.
42nd Street Moon. Jason Graae, Perfect Harmony, musical tribute to Jerry Herman, April 10 – May 7. Third Tuesday, Talks Over the Moon, 8 pm: Every other Friday at 8 pm: Full Moon Fridays Cabaret. Sundays at 8 pm: Quiz Me Kate: Musical Theatre Trivia.
Magic Theatre. See website for plays in the upcoming season, dates to be announced.
Marin Theatre Company The Catastrophist by Lauren Gunderson, streaming through July 24, 2021. Natural Shocks by Lauren Gunderson, streaming through Soundcloud.
Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts See website for upcoming events.
New Conservatory Theatre Center Interlude by Harrison David Rivers streams March 1 – April 14, pay as you wish. TransNational Cabaret, starts May May 10.
Pear Theater. Under Milkwood by Dylan Thomas, streams March 12-April 11.
Ray of Light: Upcoming schedule to be announced.
Remote Theater. Upcoming schedule to be announced.
San Francisco Playhouse. (Heiroglyph) by Erika Dickerson-Despenza, directed by Margo Hall, filmed onstage at SF Playhouse. Streaming through April 3, 2021. I Was Right Here by Julia Brothers, streams through April 17, 2021.
SFBATCO Live with Rod and Marce on Twitch TV: Spring Has Sprung, April 1, 6 pm. Hella Theatre, April 8, 6 pm.
Shotgun Players. Feel the Spirit by Noelle Vinas, a Zoom commission, begins April 2, 2021.
The Breath Project. Complete collection streaming on demand.
The Marsh: See calendar for listings.
Theatre Rhino Thursday performance conceived and performed by John Fisher on Facebook Live and Zoom at 8 pm: April 1: Pirates Cove (gay pirates). Pandemic Performances benefit Friday April 2, 7 pm. Free Zoom reading: Falling Skies by Brayden Frascome, April 8, 2021, free.
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. Hershey Felder live from Florence: Anna and Sergei (Sergei Rachmaninoff), May 16, 2021. Streaming to follow.

National, Misc:
Chamber Music San Francisco: April 10, 7 pm: Quauor Arod from Paris.
Dance Mission Theatre. See website for listings
Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Streaming now: Talking Back, a six part web series. On-demand audio recordings of early plays; videos of Indigenous Peoples Day 2020, etc.
Atlantic Theatre Company. Upcoming schedule to be announced.
Irish Repertory Theatre. Poetic Reflections: Words Upon the Window Pane, streaming through May 2; John Cullum: An Accidental Star, streaming April 8-22.
Playbill List of Streaming Theatre: Updated weekly, this is probably the best list you’ll find of national and international streaming plays and musicals. Each week has its own webpage, so scroll down.
National Theatrical Streaming: Upcoming plays from around the country.

If you’d like to add your bookstore or theater venue to this list, please write [email protected]


Artist Song Album Label
Matthew MontfortAmberGuitar WorksNarada Productions, Inc.
SaultOver7Forever Living Originals