September 08, 2017

Jerry Pournelle Has Passed Away

Word is that Jerry Pournelle has passed away quietly at his home. 

Few have had as big an influence on Science Fiction as Dr. Jerry Pournelle. Best known as a fiction author he was also a veteran who fought in the Korean war and an engineer of some repute. He worked in the government developing advanced defense technologies in various capacities during the Cold War , he was tasked as well with various strategic studies and was very involved in civil defense issues as well. After Civil Defense was placed on the back burner by the government in favor of a more top down approach exemplified by F.E.M.A. , he helped to start the preparedness movement in the 1970's. (It should be noted that many of his views on civil defense have been spectacularly vindicated in recent weeks by the response to Harvey.)

With the late Max Hunter, he helped develop the DC-X a vtovl rocket test rig for a proposed re-useable spacecraft. It was, unfortunately, cancelled despite a succsessful test run.

Dr. Pournelle received numerous awards for fiction and nonfiction work, including the  Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award for a lifetime achievement in promoting the goal of a free spacefaring society. It was well earned as making humanity a multiplanet society was a passion for him as was individual liberty.

I have read nothing of his, that was not enjoyable, inspiring or both. If you have not read his books, then you need to start with A Mote in God's Eye.

He left unfinished several works including an update of his earlier The Strategy of Technology, a nonfiction policy oriented essay which I particularly recommend.


I did not know Dr. Pournelle, however the dozen times or so that I interacted with him,  he was a perfect gentleman, respectful, professional and kind. 

His life was long and has to be judged successful. He went above and beyond though. His daughter is an archeologist and his son is a naval officer and in addition to blessing the world with such worthy progeny, he gave joy to millions through his prodigious quantities of fiction and hope for humanities future through his vision and wisdom.

May we be worthy of his legacy. 

We have truly lost one of the greats. 



UPDATE: Sarah Hoyt remembers Dr. Pournelle..
There is a silence after a giant falls.  We’re all concussed by the sudden loss.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 07:11 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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1 The two people, Steven & Jerry, who were 90% the reason I ever started writing... gone.
I'd just read Chaos Manor; he'd come back from DragonCon with con-funk.  It seemed.
I am not an emotional man; but I am devastated by this, so close on the heels of SDB.
Please, all of us, pray.

Posted by: Clayton Barnett at Fri Sep 8 20:16:14 2017 (ug1Mc)

2 I thought I had not read much of his work.  I was surprised to discover that I was quite mistaken.  Everything he did with Niven before 1998, much of the CoDominion series,  Falkenberg's Legion... 
To space with him, I say.

Posted by: Wonderduck at Fri Sep 8 22:50:02 2017 (1zQhi)

3 I knew of him, and read him, mostly through his monthly article in Byte magazine, which I bought for many years.  In fact, through 1998, IIRC.  Sadly, I never really followed him over to his blog.

Posted by: Ben at Fri Sep 8 22:56:47 2017 (S4UJw)

4 Back in the day I'd grab the new copy of Byte every month and scurry off home to read Chaos Manor and Circuit Cellar before anything else.

I never got to meet him, though I did meet Larry Niven when Worldcon was in Australia (which is a damn long time ago now).  He will be greatly missed.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Fri Sep 8 23:11:12 2017 (PiXy!)

5 Loss of another man whose thoughts I enjoyed. He'll be missed.

Posted by: EccentricOrbit at Sat Sep 9 10:01:30 2017 (VF34g)

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