In memoriam: Dr. Jerry Pournelle

I was deeply saddened to learn this evening that Dr. Jerry Pournelle has died.

A brief note on his blog from his son Alex reads simply:

I’m afraid that Jerry passed away
We had a great time at DragonCon
He did not suffer.

Dr. Pournelle was one of the greatest and most prolific science fiction writers of his generation.  He also worked in aerospace engineering, and was a pioneer in personal computing and related technology, writing for Byte magazine and many others.  His blog, The View from Chaos Manor, was one of the first of its kind, and he kept it going right up to his death.  I hope its archives will remain available for access.

If you’ve never read any of Dr. Pournelle’s books, you’re in for a treat.  You can browse his collected titles here.

May Dr. Pournelle rest in peace.  He will be deeply missed.



  1. Very few people can be said to have changed the world but Dr. Jerry Pournelle did.

    In a 1997 article, Norman Spinrad wrote that Pournelle had written the SDI portion of Ronald Reagan's State of the Union Address, as part of a plan to use SDI to get more money for space exploration, using the larger defense budget.[33] Pournelle wrote in response that while the Citizens' Advisory Council on National Space Policy "wrote parts of Reagan's 1983 SDI speech, and provided much of the background for the policy, we certainly did not write the speech

  2. I had the pleasure of meeting him once, when I installed a firewall at Chaos Manor. He (and Mrs. Pournelle) were completely gracious. And interesting, as you'd expect.

  3. He was also the first winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, when the award was first given out at the Worldcon in 1973.

  4. Sad, he was nice enough to reply many years ago to an email I sent on a game he reviewed, asking him to lobby the company for a new edition. He was very gracious in his reply.

  5. Jerry Pournelle will forever be one of my favorite writers, both for his work in science fiction and for his magazine columns, not to mention his always thought-provoking Chaos Manor essays and notes.

    Grateful to have known and been inspired by his output. May he rest in peace.

  6. He ended his last post with the comment that he was having a wave of nausea. He said he had both a cold and the flu. Sounds like the sort of crud one can pick up on the plane.

    I hate to hear he has passed. I swapped a number of emails with him from 2001-2007 and much enjoyed the exchange. Traffic was picking up and he simply didn't have the time to continue, alas.

    He is missed. Ask not for whom the bell tolls….

    All of us are born under a death sentence.

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