Jerry Pournelle, Ph.D., FAAAS, FBIS, FRAS was an accomplished American science fiction writer, essayist, and journalist. He wrote the “Chaos Manor” column for Byte magazine for over 20 years where he described his experiences with computer hardware and software, and he maintained his own website/blog from 1998 until his death. He chaired the Citizen’s Advisory Council on National Space Policy and The Lunar Society, and served as an Advisor on Space Policy to the Republican Congressional Leadership and as a Board Member of the L-5 Society.
Jerry served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. After Korea, he earned advanced degrees in psychology, statistics, engineering, and political science, including two PhDs. He acquired political experience by serving as Executive Assistant to the Mayor and Director of Research for the City of Los Angeles, campaign manager for Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr. (Republican), and campaign manager for the third (successful) campaign for Mayor Samuel William Yorty (Democrat).
Jerry was an intellectual protégé of Russell Kirk (Kenneth C. Cole, his mentor at the University of Washington, was co-founder with Kirk of Modern Age) and Stefan T. Possony with whom he wrote numerous publications including The Strategy of Technology which was required reading in the U.S. service academies during the latter half of the Cold War. His work in the aerospace industry included editing Project 75, a 1964 study of 1975 defense requirements. He worked in operations research at Boeing, The Aerospace Corporation, and North American Rockwell Space Division, and was founding President of the Pepperdine Research Institute.
In his books Jerry delights in again and again creating situations and dilemmas from which the only solution (at least, the only one offered to the reader) is taking an action which is decidedly not “politically correct”. However these stories are not mere one-sided polemics. The protagonists are at the mercy of forces they may understand but cannot control, forces which are very real and which operate in our world today.
If he has specific targets in mind, they are those who for ideological or personal reasons ignore or bypass these truths. The forces involved are the need for resources, especially energy, the inevitable stratification of societies and the consequences of disturbing the existing order, and the tendency of cultures to drift towards the politics of entitlement, as demonstrated by Welfare States throughout history as well as economic oligarchies. Similar themes occur in the work of H. Beam Piper, who was an influence on him.
Jerry’s novels and other books include 1001 Computer Words You Need to Know, After Armageddon (There Will Be War, Vol. IX), Armageddon (There Will Be War, Vol. VIII),Beowulf’s Children, Black Holes, Blood Vengeance (War World), Burning Tower, The Children’s Hour, Exile—and Glory, Falkenberg’s Legion, Fallen Angels, Footfall, The Gripping Hand, Guns of Darkness: (There Will Be War, Vol. VI (Eternal Guardians), Higher Education (Jupiter Series), High Justice, The Houses of the Kzinti, Inferno,Janissaries, Legacy of Heorot, Lucifer’s Hammer, The Mercenary, The Moat Around Murcheson’s Eye, The Mote in God’s Eye, Oath of Fealty, The Prince, Prince of Sparta, Red Dragon, Starswarm (Jupiter Series), and Tran. Read the full list of his books!
His articles and musings include A Day At EPCOT, The First Dark Age, The Dean Drive and other Reactionless Drives, Getting to Space: Prizes, Growing up Smart, How To Get My Job, Megamissions and Space Power, National Review and Global Cooling, Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy, Pournelle’s Iron Law and a Defense of the Teacher’s Unions, The SSX Concept, Star Wars, Steroids! Will I look like Arnold?, The Voodoo Sciences, Why have NASA?, William F. Buckley, Jr, RIP, Work In Progress at Chaos Manor, and XCOR and Space.
His awards include the Bronze Medal from the American Security Council in 1964, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1973, the Prometheus Award forFallen Angels in 1992, and the Heinlein Society Award in 2005. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the British Interplanetary Society, the Royal Astronomical Society, and the Operations Research Society of America.
He was also a Senior Member of the American Astronautical Society and the American Institute of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineers. He served as a past President of the Science Fiction Writers of America and as Science Editor for Twin Circle Magazine and Galaxy SF, and as a columnist for Analog Science Fiction and Infoworld Magazine. His other writing associations included membership in the Author’s Guild, National Association of Science Writers, Aviation/Space Writers’ Association, and the Mystery Writers of America.
Read Sci-fi writers join war on terror, The facts of fiction, and the Science Fiction Weekly interview Jerry Pournelle wields his Hammer on the current state of science fiction. Check out his Chaos Manor Reviews