Friday, September 08, 2017

A good man is gone

I received this email a few moments ago from one of Jerry Pournelle's associates:
Jerry Pournelle passed away this morning in his sleep.
Working with Jerry was one of the great honors, and great privileges, of my life. He was a brilliant man, a generous man, and an extraordinarily thoughtful man too. His THERE WILL BE WAR series was a major influence on my intellectual development, and I will always be grateful that I had the opportunity to work with one of my earliest writing heroes.

Just two days ago, he sent me his summary of Dragoncon, his final SF convention.
I was asked to give the Best Novel award, which I did and all went well. A few fans warned me there might be trouble, but not a thing, although not a very big crowd; I probably had more attending when Larry and I spoke alone in a big Q&A.  Wasn't there some kind of campaign going on, or was I misinformed? All was peaceful; not to say dull.

Jerry Pournelle
Chaos Manor
South Room
Although I never met him in the flesh, I will miss him. Castalia House, science fiction, and the world are all lessened by his passing.



Anonymous A Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents September 08, 2017 7:54 PM  

We are all lessened by his passing, but let us be glad that such men have lived in our time.

Pick your favorite Pournelle work to read this weekend, accompanied by the beverage of your choice, in a fitting place.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother September 08, 2017 7:54 PM  

RIP Jerry

Blogger Sun Xhu September 08, 2017 7:59 PM  

One of my favorite authors of all time.

This is a very sad day.

Anonymous VFM #6306 September 08, 2017 8:01 PM  

"We're basically after Joe's beer money, and Joe likes his beer, so you better make sure that what you give him is at least as pleasurable to him as having his six-pack of beer would be."

Pournelle's wit and wits beat the beer while riding a bicycle, hands stuffed in pockets, whistling The William Tell Overture. Every time.


Anonymous Chrome Dynamo September 08, 2017 8:04 PM  

Lucifer's Hammer" is still one of the best apocalypse type novels out there.
Anything Falkenberg is good, also.

RIP Mr. Pournelle

Blogger Bob Loblaw September 08, 2017 8:04 PM  

A great writer and an even greater intellectual.

Anonymous CPEG September 08, 2017 8:05 PM  

I shall have to purchase the "Janissaries" series and revisit it.

Blogger Dave W. September 08, 2017 8:12 PM  

Dammit. RIP.

Blogger pyrrhus September 08, 2017 8:18 PM  

He will be missed.

Blogger Wolfman September 08, 2017 8:19 PM  


Blogger Nate September 08, 2017 8:22 PM  

and just like that... Current Year starts to suck.

Blogger buwaya September 08, 2017 8:22 PM  

Ditto, may he rest in peace.
He was enormously influential to we who began reading his work in the 1970's. "Mote in Gods Eye" was Pournelle and Niven's masterpiece IMHO. He was also the soul, the wit, the comic relief of Byte, and one of the first notable bloggers.
A much more significant man than is apparent today.

Blogger lowercaseb September 08, 2017 8:23 PM  

time to dust off The Mote in God's Eye. I loved that book when I was in high school.

Blogger Heian-kyo Dreams September 08, 2017 8:25 PM  

Rest in peace.

Blogger Unknown September 08, 2017 8:30 PM  

The passing of the generations of white Americans born into a country that didn't hate them, we will not see their like again soon. RIP Jerry Pournelle.

Blogger mushroom September 08, 2017 8:32 PM  

Wow, how sad. A brilliant man. We will miss him.

Blogger buwaya September 08, 2017 8:32 PM  

I met him a couple of times only, once at a Bay Area con in the 80's, once at Philippe Kahns place in Santa Cruz. That would have been about when "Legacy of Heorot" came out, as Kahn gave us signed copies.

Blogger Josh (the sexiest thing here) September 08, 2017 8:35 PM  


Blogger Dark Herald September 08, 2017 8:36 PM  

I honestly think the best of his books was Lucifer's Hammer.

Certainly it began shaping my intellectual development in high school. Up until then I didn't really have one.

Not that I didn't like Mote in God's Eye either. In someways that book was a bit of a shock. A civilization in the future that is built on conservative Christianity? And it's a good thing!?!?!?!

How did that even get published?

Blogger kudzu bob September 08, 2017 8:41 PM  

When evaluating some social or political issue of importance I always tried to find out what Jerry Pournelle thought about the matter.

I feel lost.

Anonymous Simplytimothy September 08, 2017 8:42 PM  

God bless you, Mr. Pournelle

Blogger Skyler the Weird September 08, 2017 8:46 PM  

Met Jerry at a Con a few years ago. He was a nice gentleman with great insight into the publishing business and Hollywood.

Blogger exfarmkid September 08, 2017 8:47 PM  

It was always a pleasure to exchange thoughts with that great man.

The world feels lessened this evening.

Blogger buwaya September 08, 2017 8:47 PM  

Hollywood is wasting time and losing money on its silly formulaic, repetitive, predictable movie properties. "Mote" is a natural for a CGI-epic, that would, besides, make a serious, substantial film.

Blogger Ingot9455 September 08, 2017 8:51 PM  

If there is a particular charity to donate to or gathering for a family in need, please let us know.

Blogger ZhukovG September 08, 2017 8:54 PM  

Well this sucks. RIP Jerry Pournelle.

Anonymous Crew September 08, 2017 8:58 PM  

I have a copy of "The Mote in God's Eye" that I purchased and read in 1976. I have re-read it a couple of times since.

I also have a bunch of the books about Falkenberg.

All great stuff. RIP.

Blogger Unknown September 08, 2017 9:06 PM  

I just heard. I got an e-mail from Jerry back in the spring complimenting me on some things and making some recommendations on my Essential Knowledge posts. It was a very generous and kind thing to do and I greatly appreciated it.

RIP Jerry Pournelle

Blogger Ken Prescott September 08, 2017 9:07 PM  

A man who both entertained and led the reader to think, to ponder, to grow. I was an enlisted Marine in the 1980s, and books I took on deployment always included the complete (at whatever stage of completion it was at) There Will Be War series. And Red Heroin/Red Dragon are two excellent spy novels.

RIP, sir.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may Perpetual Light shine upon him. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace, Amen.

Blogger tweell September 08, 2017 9:08 PM  

Fair winds and following seas, Dr. Pournelle. Thank you for all you have done.

Blogger Wolfman September 08, 2017 9:10 PM  

Halfway to tears and unsure what to say. How does one mourn for a legend?

Blogger Ken Prescott September 08, 2017 9:15 PM  

One of his most useful ideas:

Blogger ghostfromplanetspook September 08, 2017 9:16 PM  

Rest in peace

Anonymous Mike Rock September 08, 2017 9:17 PM  

God be with you, always. Rest in Peace.

Blogger Werekoala September 08, 2017 9:19 PM  

Damn - his blog was one I checked every day for years. Loved his work, SF and otherwise. Another giant crosses the horizon.

Blogger Clint September 08, 2017 9:19 PM  

Suns a bit dimmer, for today. Memory Eternal!

Blogger Werekoala September 08, 2017 9:26 PM  

His last post on his blog yesterday.

Bye for now.

Blogger Bibliotheca Servare September 08, 2017 9:35 PM  

*many, many expletives* (apologies, no disrespect's just a shock) Well, that really, really sucks.

At least he passed into the arms of the Lord peacefully, and I've no doubt he's at peace (and probably just *delighted* at getting answers to all manner of questions he's had "from the source" literally)...but it's still a terrible loss, both for his loved ones, and humanity in general. Shoot.

A good man, a brilliant, decent, big-hearted giant among men, has passed through the gates of Heaven and taken his place among his brothers and sisters in the Heavenly Courts. God bless him, and may the Lord ease the pain in the hearts of those who loved him.

Blogger Jack Ward September 08, 2017 9:44 PM  

Seems not fair somehow. RIP Jerry. Like others, I think I will re-read Mote. Great novel. I remember someone offered a quote by either Jerry or Larry Niven when asked how well they worked together. The reply was very well indeed.
Will be missed.

Blogger Monty James September 08, 2017 9:46 PM  

There are fewer giants every year. An end comes to us all, but damn it I could have done without this. RIP, Godspeed.

Blogger beerme September 08, 2017 9:48 PM  


Anonymous Brick Hardslab September 08, 2017 9:50 PM  

A great author and mind. Impossible to replace.

Blogger jay c September 08, 2017 9:52 PM  

A sad day and a greater loss to sff than Heinlein by far.

Anonymous Clayton Barnett September 08, 2017 9:54 PM  

I am devastated. Jerry Pournelle and Steven Den Beste inspired and taught me to write stories.

My world has become so dark.

Anonymous Siobhan September 08, 2017 10:01 PM  

Oh I'm so sorry to hear this. A great man who will be missed. He's in my prayers.

Blogger Triple_Scoop September 08, 2017 10:10 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous kfg September 08, 2017 10:12 PM  

. . .

Blogger Triple_Scoop September 08, 2017 10:12 PM  

Sad news, I applaud a great man who accomplished so much in his lifetime. Godspeed, Dr. Pournelle

Blogger dlstacy September 08, 2017 10:16 PM  

RIP Jerry Pournelle. So many good books: Moties, Falkenberg, CoDominium, Footfall, Lucifer's Hammer, Sparta. He prepared us for the world were living in today and showed us that democracies aren't necessarily the best way to run a country. Way ahead of his time. Huge influence on the next generation of space-going enterprises.

"I can solve the space access problem with a few sentences.

Be it enacted by the Congress of the United States:

The Treasurer of the United States is directed to pay to the first American owned company (if corporate at least 60% of the shares must be held by American citizens) the following sums for the following accomplishments. No monies shall be paid until the goals specified are accomplished and certified by suitable experts from the National Science Foundation or the National Academy of Science:

1. The sum of $2 billion to be paid for construction of 3 operational spacecraft which have achieved low earth orbit, returned to earth, and flown to orbit again three times in a period of three weeks.

2. The sum of $5 billion to be paid for construction and maintenance of a space station which has been continuously in orbit with at least 5 Americans aboard for a period of not less than three years and one day. The crew need not be the same persons for the entire time, but at no time shall the station be unoccupied.

3. The sum of $12 billion to be paid for construction and maintenance of a Lunar base in which no fewer than 31 Americans have continuously resided for a period of not less than four years and one day.

4. The sum of $10 billion to be paid for construction and maintenance of a solar power satellite system which delivers at least 800 megaWatts of electric power to a receiving station or stations in the United States for a period of at least two years and one day.

5. The payments made shall be exempt from all US taxes.

That would do it. Not one cent to be paid until the goals are accomplished. Not a bit of risk, and if it can't be done for those sums, well, no harm done to the treasury."

Blogger lowercaseb September 08, 2017 10:21 PM  

It's always a shame when a great writer passes, but in a way it's a tiny blip on their career. Jerry's words will live forevermore. My grandchildren will be reading A Mote in God's Eye, and probably their grandchildren as well. It's inspiring to think that someone can achieve that level of immortality through their writing talent and boundless imagination.

Blogger Starboard September 08, 2017 10:22 PM  

Sad news. My condolences.
Godspeed Mr. Pournelle

Anonymous AB.Prosper September 08, 2017 10:24 PM  

A piece of old America gone. Very sad.

RIP, DR. Pournelle

Anonymous Jack Amok September 08, 2017 10:37 PM  

Sic transit gloria mundi.

I quoted The Gods of the Copybook Headings today. It was Jerry Pournelle who introduced me to them, in one of his anthologies. He not only wrote, he spread knowledge of other's worthy writing.

Blogger John Williams September 08, 2017 10:38 PM  

RIP Mr. Pournelle.

Anonymous IncoherentM September 08, 2017 10:41 PM  

Very sad. RIP.

Anonymous Anonymous September 08, 2017 10:47 PM  

Never once commented before. JP rocked. Thisd sucks. RIP.

Anonymous testtodestruction September 08, 2017 10:55 PM  

We are diminished.

Blogger bruce September 08, 2017 11:08 PM  

From dust we are made and to dust we depart. Kine die, kin die, one thing does not die, the name a man makes. I'm glad Jerry Pournelle saw the fall of the Soviet Union. I'm glad Jerry Pournelle knew a new edition of The Strategy of Technology with commentary by Martin van Crevald was coming out. I'm sad Jerry Pournelle was never Secretary of Defense or Head of Nasa or both. Good life, good death, good man.

Anonymous vales3 September 08, 2017 11:18 PM  

What a gut punch! All the novels that he wrote with Larry Niven to the There Will Be War series he was a huge influence and one of the early big reasons why I loved science fiction. RIP.

Blogger Student in Blue September 08, 2017 11:34 PM  

Damn... I'll miss him. His writing, even on his personal blog, never failed to entertain. He definitely was a hell of a guy.

Blogger Thucydides September 08, 2017 11:40 PM  

RIP. Jerry Pournelle had a great deal of wonderful, thoughtful and insightful writings during his life. My main hope at this point is that someone is going to curate "Chaos Manor". there is a lot of wonderful information to mine from that blog.

Blogger Tom Bridgeland September 09, 2017 12:06 AM  

Well, crap.

Anonymous Wooly September 09, 2017 12:22 AM  

Sad news, indeed. I read every SF/F book in the Covert Public Library, and had to then go to Coloma to get more. Pournelle's collaboration with Niven was the best SF I've ever read. I was alternating, as a young teen, between reading those two, Greg Bear, Foundation books, Dune books, and Hubbard's Mission Earth decology. I was reading those at 12.

He lives still, though. His work will endure. Like so many legends.

And he is now a legend. Damn.

Blogger Retrenched September 09, 2017 12:26 AM  

So sorry to hear this. RIP

Anonymous Sandy September 09, 2017 12:26 AM  

And here I was eagerly awaiting the next Janissary novel...

Jerry Pournelle was the last of who I would consider the classic sci fi authors. His style belonged to the Golden Age when science fiction was wondrous and inspiring, when it seemed only decades before we would be exploring space...

@19 I agree that Lucifers Hammer was Pournelle (and Niven)'s best novel.

Blogger Cassandros the Elder September 09, 2017 12:44 AM  

Lucifer's Hammer the book by which I judge all apocalypse and post-apocalypse books.

When I was a kid growing up in LA (Brentwood actually) they build a humongous apartment building called the Barrington Plaza on Wilshire Boulevard. I had a friend who lived there with his mother. The building was not without controversy. Some thought it was an eyesore and did not fit the area's architecture. It pleased me no end that Jerry or Larry wrote some surfers into the story that were out to catch the biggest wave ever.

He already had a world record, he must be a mile inland. No one had ever ridden a wave for over a mile! But the frothing, purling peak was miles overhead and the Barrington Apartments, thirty stories tall, was coming at him like a fly swatter.

Ah the good times. Dr. Pournelle will be missed.

Blogger Stilicho September 09, 2017 12:46 AM  

I don't say this a lot, but Vox is wrong: we have not lost a good man, we have lost a great man.

If we see so far, it is only because we stand on the shoulders of giants.

Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by,
That here, obedient to their laws we lie.

Blogger pdwalker September 09, 2017 1:00 AM  

A Giant has left us.

Anonymous Mr. Rational September 09, 2017 1:30 AM  

I had the dubious privilege of being the one holding the mic at a panel when Dr. Pournelle tried to pull us off our designated topic (which wasn't the one I would have volunteered for given my preferences) to the one of another panel (which I would have gone for with gusto, but I wasn't put on it).

I had to tell him that it wasn't our charter to talk about that, it was the previous bunch's.

He and I were both in the wrong place at the wrong time, I guess.

Anonymous Anonymous September 09, 2017 2:09 AM  

Rest in Peace, Mr. Pournelle

Blogger Rex Little September 09, 2017 3:07 AM  

@65: And here I was eagerly awaiting the next Janissary novel...

Me too, it's been 30 freakin' years since the last one. Often in his blog Pournelle would mention he was working on it, and I was really hoping he'd live to get it done.

Anonymous Killua September 09, 2017 3:57 AM  

Rest in Peace

Blogger Wes September 09, 2017 4:34 AM  

I was sorry to see this news. I thought well of him, and enjoyed his writings. I hope he is with the Lord, now.

Blogger Manach September 09, 2017 5:12 AM  

His presence will be sadly missed, RIP.

Anonymous Aphelion September 09, 2017 7:07 AM  

At Worldcon in Phoenix, 1978, I met Jerry Pournelle. I was 14 and planning to be an Air Force officer. He sat down with me and discussed this and other things for a half hour or so. I ran into him a second time and we talked some more. He was friendly, gracious and genuinely cared about people and his nation.

After that I started reading his books. Falkenberg, TWBW, etc... I learned a lot from those too... I hope Castilian can publish all the TWBW volumes.

May he Rest In Peace.

Anonymous 2106 Things I Hate September 09, 2017 8:29 AM  

Rest in Peace Dr. Pournelle. You will be missed.

Blogger Anthony September 09, 2017 4:49 PM  

This sounds like advice Larry Correia would give to aspiring writers.

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