Jerry Pournelle has died

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Jerry Eugene Pournelle (August 7, 1933 – September eight, 2017) used to be an American science fiction author, essayist, and journalist who contributed for just a few years to the pc journal Byte. Pournelle served as President of the Science Fiction and Tale Writers of The united states in 1973.[2]

Early years[edit]

Pournelle used to be born in Shreveport, the seat of Caddo Parish in northwestern Louisiana, and educated in Capleville, Tennessee.[3] He served within the U.S. Army one day of the Korean War. Afterwards, he studied on the University of Washington and bought a BSc in psychology on June eleven, 1955; an M.S. in psychology on March 21, 1958; and a PhD in political science in March 1964.[4] The thesis for his M.S. is titled “Behavioural observations of the effects of personality wants and leadership in small dialogue groups”, and is dated 1957.[5]

Pournelle’s PhD dissertation is titled “The American political continuum; an examination of the validity of the left-appropriate mannequin as an instrument for discovering out up to date American political ‘isms'” and is dated 1964.[6]

Pournelle served as campaign be taught director for the mayoral campaign of 1969 for Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty (Democrat), working below campaign director Henry Salvatori.[7] The election took location on Would possibly well maybe well also 27, 1969.[8] Pournelle used to be later named Executive Assistant to the Mayor accountable of be taught in September 1969, but resigned from the location after two weeks.[9] After leaving Yorty’s location of enterprise, in 1970 he used to be a manual to the Authentic Educators of Los Angeles (PELA), a body of workers towards the unionization of faculty lecturers in LA.[10]

Pournelle used to be an intellectual protégé of Russell Kirk and Stefan T. Possony. Pournelle wrote a vogue of publications with Possony, including The Strategy of Technology (1970). The Technique has been frail as a textbook on the United States Militia Academy (West Point), the United States Air Pressure Academy (Colorado Springs), the Air War College, and the Nationwide War College.[11]

Pournelle’s work within the aerospace alternate involves time he labored at Boeing within the late Fifties. Whereas there, he labored on Project Thor, conceiving of “hypervelocity rod bundles”, typically acknowledged as “rods from God”.[12] He edited Project seventy five, a 1964 watch of 1975 protection requirements.[13] He labored in operations be taught at The Aerospace Corporation, and North American Rockwell Dwelling Division, and used to be founding President of the Pepperdine Be taught Institute. In 1989, Pournelle, Max Hunter, and retired Army Lieutenant Total Daniel O. Graham made a presentation to then Vice President Dan Quayle promoting model of the DC-X rocket.[14]

In the end of the Seventies and Eighties, he also printed articles on protection power tactics and war gaming within the protection power simulations alternate in Avalon Hill‘s journal The Total. He had previously won first prize in a late Sixties essay contest dash by the journal on be taught how to waste the Vietnam war. That led him into correspondences with just a few of the early figures in Dungeons and Dragons and completely different story characteristic-playing games.[15]

In 1985, Footfall, wherein Robert A. Heinlein used to be a thinly veiled minor personality, reached the #1 characteristic on the Recent York Times Easiest Seller List. One more bestseller, Lucifer’s Hammer (1977), reached number two. Both novels had been written with Larry Niven.

In 1994, Pournelle’s optimistic relationship with Newt Gingrich ended in Gingrich securing a authorities job for Pournelle’s son, Richard.[16] At the time, Pournelle and Gingrich had been reported to be participating on “a science fiction political thriller.”[16] Pournelle’s relationship with Gingrich used to be long established even then, as Pournelle had written the preface to Gingrich’s e book, Window of Opportunity (1985).[17]

Non-public lifestyles[edit]

In 2008, Pournelle battled a mind tumor, which regarded as if it will probably maybe maybe presumably acknowledge favorably to radiation therapy.[18] An August 28, 2008 describe on his weblog claimed he used to be now cancer-free.

In 2010, his daughter Jennifer R. Pournelle (writing as J.R. Pournelle), an archaeology professor, e-printed a recent Outies, a licensed sequel to the Mote in God’s Sight sequence.[19][20]

Pournelle suffered a stroke on December Sixteen, 2014, for which he used to be hospitalized for a time. By June 2015, he used to be writing all any other time, although impairment from the stroke had slowed his typing.[21][22]

Pournelle died in his sleep at his home in Studio Metropolis, California, on September eight, 2017.[1]


From the starting up, Pournelle’s work has engaged strong protection power issues. Several books are centered on a fictional mercenary infantry power acknowledged as Falkenberg’s Legion. There are strong parallels between these tales and the Childe Cycle mercenary tales by Gordon R. Dickson, as successfully as Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, even although Pournelle’s work takes a ways fewer technological leaps than either of these.

Pournelle used to be one of many few shut web site visitors of H. Beam Piper and used to be granted by Piper the rights to own tales characteristic in Piper’s Terro-Human Future History. This appropriate has been acknowledged by the Piper property.[citation wanted] Pournelle labored for some years on a sequel to Dwelling Viking but appears to have abandoned this within the early 1990s, nonetheless John F. Carr intends its completion for launch in 2018.[citation wanted]

In February 2013, Vary reported that motion image rights to Pournelle’s recent Janissaries had been bought by the newly formed Goddard Movie Crew, headed by Gary Goddard.[23] In October 2013, the IMDb web attach reported that the movie used to be in model, and that husband-and-wife writing body of workers, Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, had written the screenplay.[24]

Pseudonyms and collaborations[edit]

Pournelle began fiction writing non-SF work below a pseudonym in 1965. His early SF used to be printed as “Wade Curtis”, in Analog and completely different magazines. Some of his work is also printed as by “J.E. Pournelle”.

In the mid-Seventies, Pournelle began a fruitful collaboration with Larry Niven; he has also collaborated on novels with Roland J. Green, Michael F. Flynn, and Steven Barnes, and collaborated as an editor on an anthology sequence with John F. Carr.


Pournelle wrote the “Chaos Manor” column in BYTE. In it Pournelle described his experiences with pc hardware and utility, some purchased and a few despatched by vendors for evaluation, at his home location of enterprise. Because Pournelle used to be then, in accordance with the journal, “virtually BYTE’s simplest author who used to be a mere user—he didn’t acquire compilers and pc programs, he merely frail them”, it began as “The User’s Column” in June 1980. Subtitled “Omikron TRS-eighty Boards, NEWDOS+, and Sundry Other Issues”, an Editor’s Present accompanied the article:[25][26]

Totally different day we had been sitting one day of the BYTE offices listening to utility and hardware explosions going off around us within the microcomputer world. We puzzled, “Who may maybe perchance maybe presumably duvet just a few of the most modern tendencies for us in a funny, frank (and frequently unsuitable) vogue?” The phone rang. It used to be Jerry Pournelle with an thought for a funny, frank (and frequently unsuitable) sequence of articles to be offered in BYTE on a semi-usual (i.e.: each and every 2 to three months) foundation, which would duvet the wild microcomputer goings-on on the Pournelle Dwelling (“Chaos Manor”) in Southern California. We said yes. Herewith the first installment …

Pournelle said that

It goes to be a column by and for pc users, and with uncommon exceptions I is now no longer going to discuss anything else I’ve no longer installed and implemented here in Chaos Manor. At Chaos Manor we have pc users ranging in sophistication from my 9-year-ragged by blueprint of a school-undergraduate assistant and up to myself. (No longer that I’m the final be aware in sophistication, but I attain sit down here and pound this machine lots; if I will’t acquire something to work, it takes an educated.)

Beautiful warning, then: the very nature of this column limits its scope. I will’t discuss anything else I will’t dash on my machines, nor am I at risk of chat about issues I place now no longer need any recount for.

He offered to readers “my pal Ezekiel, who occurs to be a Cromemco Z-2 with iCom eight-stride subtle-sectored floppy disk drives”; he also owned a TRS-eighty Model I, and the first self-discipline discussed within the column used to be an add-on that permitted it to recount the identical records and CP/M capabilities as the Cromemco.[26] The subsequent column looked in December 1980 with the subtitle “BASIC, Pc Languages, and Pc Adventures”,[27]

Ezekiel II, a Compupro S-A hundred CP/M system, debuted in March 1983.[28] Other pc programs bought nicknames, similar to Lucy Van Pelt, Pournelle’s “fussbudget” IBM PC,[29] and he referred to generic PC compatibles as “PClones”. Pournelle typically denounced companies that announced merchandise with out delivering them, sarcastically writing that they may maybe reach “Real Soon Now“.[30]

As section of a redesign, in June 1984 the journal renamed the in vogue column to “Computing at Chaos Manor”, and the accompanying letter column became “Chaos Manor Mail”.[25] After the print model of Byte ended publication within the US, Pournelle endured publishing the column for the fetch model and world print editions of Byte. In July 2006, Pournelle and Byte declined to resume their contract and Pournelle moved the column to his have web attach, Chaos Manor Experiences.[31]

In the Eighties, Pournelle used to be an editor and columnist for Dwell on, a survivalist journal.[32]

Since 1998, Pournelle has maintained a web attach with a usual on-line journal, “Watch from Chaos Manor”, a blog relationship from earlier than the recount of that term.[33] It’s a series of his “Views” and “Mail” from a colossal diversity of readers. That is a continuation of his Eighties blog-esteem on-line journal on GEnie. He says he resists the utilization of the term blog due to he considers the be aware gruesome and due to he maintains that his “Watch” is essentially a car for writing in location of a series of links.

Humorist Dave Barry has fun with Pournelle’s guru column in Byte journal in Dave Barry in Cyberspace.


In a 1997 article, Norman Spinrad wrote that Pournelle had written the SDI allotment of Ronald Reagan‘s Say of the Union Address, as section of a thought to recount SDI to acquire extra cash for self-discipline exploration, the utilization of the upper protection funds.[34] Pournelle wrote in response that while the Voters’ Advisory Council on Nationwide Dwelling Protection “wrote parts of Reagan’s 1983 SDI speech, and supplied unprecedented of the background for the policy, we no doubt did now no longer write the speech … We weren’t searching for to enhance self-discipline, we had been searching for to have shut the Frosty War”. The Council’s first describe in 1980[35] became the transition body of workers policy paper on self-discipline for the incoming Reagan administration. The Zero.33 describe used to be no doubt quoted within the Reagan “Superstar Wars” speech.

He’s mostly quoted as describing his politics as “somewhere to the obliging of Genghis Khan”.[36]

Pournelle adverse both Gulf Wars, sustaining that the money would be higher spent rising power technologies for the US.

Pournelle is also acknowledged for his Pournelle chart, a 2-dimensional coordinate system frail to distinguish political ideologies. It’s similar to the Nolan Chart, except that the X-axis gauges concept toward stammer and centralized authorities (farthest appropriate being stammer cherish, farthest left being the premise of a stammer as the “apt irascible”), and the Y-axis measures the conclusion that all issues in society have rational solutions (high being complete self assurance in rational planning, bottom being complete lack of self assurance in rational planning).

Iron Law of Bureaucracy[edit]

Pournelle has suggested several “licensed guidelines”. His first recount of the term “Pournelle’s law” appears to be for the expression “one user, one CPU.” He has also frail “Pournelle’s law” to be aware to the importance of checking cable connections when diagnosing pc issues. His handiest-acknowledged “law” is “Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy”:

In any bureaucracy, the of us dedicated to the income of the bureaucracy itself consistently acquire on high of issues and those dedicated to the targets the bureaucracy is speculated to acquire have much less and no more influence, and frequently are eliminated fully.[37]

He has restated it as:

…in any bureaucratic group there’ll be two sorts of of us: those that work to extra the real targets of the group, and those that work for the group itself. Examples in education would be lecturers who work and sacrifice to coach children, vs. union representatives who work to present protection to any teacher including essentially the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all instances, the 2nd vogue of person will consistently originate purchase watch over of the group, and may maybe perchance maybe objective tranquil consistently write the ideas below which the group capabilities.[38]

It goes to be when put next with the Iron law of oligarchy. His blog, “The Watch from Chaos Manor”, typically references obvious examples of the law.

Some of Pournelle’s usual issues that recur within the tales are: Welfare States change into self-perpetuating, constructing a technological society requires a magnificent protection and the rule of thumb of law, and “These who neglect historic past are condemned to repeat it.”

Politics in fiction[edit]

As famed by James Wheatfield,[39] “Jerry Pournelle delights in establishing complex background eventualities and plots, leading the reader minute by minute in direction of a resolution which is the very reverse of politically stunning and (…) defying a dissenting reader to fetch where in this logical chain he or she would have acted otherwise.”



  • Steadiness and Nationwide Safety (Air Pressure Directorate of Doctrines, Concepts and Desires) (1968)[42]
  • The Strategy of Technology with Stephan T. Possony, PhD and Francis X. Kane, PhD (1970)[43]
  • A Step Farther Out: The Velikovsky Affair. Galaxy Science Fiction, February 1975, pp. seventy 4–eighty 4.
  • A Step Farther Out (1981)
  • The users records to small pc programs (1984)
  • Mutually Assured Survival (1984)
  • Adventures in Microland (1985)
  • Manual to Disc Working Gadget and Uncomplicated Computing (1989)
  • Pournelle’s PC Communications Bible: The Closing Manual to Productivity With a Modem with Michael Banks (1992)
  • Jerry Pournelle’s Manual to DOS and Uncomplicated Computing: DOS over Uncomplicated (1992)
  • Jerry Pournelle’s Windows With an Perspective (1995)
  • PC Hardware: The Definitive Manual (2003) with Bob Thompson
  • 1001 Pc Phrases You Want to Know (2004)



With Larry Niven[edit]

With others[edit]


Other media[edit]

  • Triangulation[47] – Dr. Pournelle used to be interviewed by Leo Laporte for 2 episodes of Triangulation (Episodes 90 and ninety five) in 2013.
  • This Week in Tech – Dr. Pournelle has looked a decision of times as one of many panelists on the podcast This Week in Tech, including episode 427 on October Thirteen, 2013; episode 463 on June 22, 2014; and with Larry Niven in episode 468 on July 27, 2014.
  • He also looked within the science documentary movie Target… Earth? (1980).

Anthology (as editor)[edit]

  • Unlit Holes (1981)
  • The Survival of Freedom (1981) with John F. Carr
  • Nebula Award Tales Sixteen (1982) with John F. Carr
  • Imperial Stars, vol 1, The Stars at War (1986)
  • Imperial Stars, vol 2, Republic and Empire (1987)
  • Imperial Stars, vol 3, The Crash of Empire (1989)
  • There Can be War (anthology sequence, Vols I-IX edited with John F. Carr), Vols I–X


  1. ^ a b Pournelle, Alex (2017-09-08). “Passings….”. Chaos Manor. Retrieved 2017-09-08. 
  2. ^ The SFWA Expedient Masters, Vol. One edited by Frederik Pohl, 1999, NY, NY, pg. 12
  3. ^ The Watch from Chaos Manor, June 20, 2003
  4. ^ “Transcript”. studentclearinghouse.org. University of Washington Registrar’s Say of job. 
  5. ^ “Behavioural observations of the effects of personality wants and leadership in small dialogue groups” itemizing, University of Washington Libraries
  6. ^ The American political continuum; an examination of the validity of the left-appropriate mannequin as an instrument for discovering out up to date American political “isms.” itemizing, University of Washington Libraries
  7. ^ “Yorty Advertising campaign Reorganized; Henry Salvatori Takes Cost”, KENNETH REICH, Los Angeles Times, April 15, 1969.
  8. ^ “Will Be Joyful to Meet Bradley to Heal Any Wounds, Yorty Says”, Los Angeles Times, Would possibly well maybe well also 29, 1969.
  9. ^ “Key Assistant to Yorty Quits After 2 Weeks”, Los Angeles Times, September 30, 1969.
  10. ^ “UTLA Captures 6 of 9 Positions on Teacher Council”, HARRY BERNSTEIN, Los Angeles Times, October 29, 1970.
  11. ^ “The First Wanted of Airpower: The Case for Air Pressure Laboratories”, Air & Dwelling Power Journal, Principal Daniel E. Bullock, September 29, 1999.
  12. ^ “Rods From God”, JONATHAN SHAININ, The Recent York Times, December 10, 2006.
  13. ^ “Deep Influence”, JERRY POURNELLE, Dr. Dobb’s Journal, October 1, 2005. Pournelle goes into some detail; the watch used to be labeled.
  14. ^ “Take a look at of Tail-First Landing: Science Fiction Presents Rocket a Enhance”, CHARLES PETIT, San Francisco Epic, June 17, 1993.
  15. ^ The Total, Vol. 7, No. 6.
  16. ^ a b “Hot Topics”, JON BREAM, Superstar Tribune (Minneapolis–Saint Paul), Would possibly well maybe well also 2, 1995.
  17. ^ “The Fact Is Out There”, ALEXANDER STARR, The Recent York Times, August 9, 1998.
  18. ^ Watch 502 January 21 – 27, 2008.
  19. ^ The Watch From Chaos Manor, Watch 668 March 28 – April 3, 2011, Jerry Pournelle.
  20. ^ Amazon.com, J.R. Pournelle.
  21. ^ In maintaining along with his son, Alex Pournelle, The Watch from Chaos Manor, Dr. Pournelle’s blog.
  22. ^ Pournelle, Jerry. “Chaos Manor blog”. Archived from the usual on 2015-06-15. 
  23. ^ “Goddard Kinds Movie Production Unit”.
  24. ^ “Janissaries”. IMDb. 
  25. ^ a b Lemmons, Phil (June 1984). “BYTE’s Recent Have faith about”. BYTE (editorial). p. 6. Retrieved October 23, 2013. 
  26. ^ a b Pournelle, Jerry (July 1980). “Omikron TRS-eighty Boards, NEWDOS+, and Sundry Other Issues”. BYTE. p. 198. Retrieved October 18, 2013. 
  27. ^ Pournelle, Jerry (December 1980). “BASIC, Pc Languages, and Pc Adventures”. BYTE. p. 222. Retrieved October 18, 2013. 
  28. ^ Pournelle, Jerry (March 1983). “Myth in Bloom, Zeke II, CBIOS Traps, Language Debate Continues”. BYTE. p. 218. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  29. ^ Pournelle, Jerry (October 1984). “Minor Problems”. BYTE. p. 317. Retrieved October 23, 2013. 
  30. ^ Pournelle, Jerry (November 1984). “NCC Reflections”. BYTE. p. 361. Retrieved October 23, 2013. 
  31. ^ “Chaos Manor Experiences”. Chaos Manor Experiences. Retrieved 2017-08-31. 
  32. ^ Notes from a Survival Myth
  33. ^ “Jerry Pournelle’s Chaos Manor”. Jerrypournelle.com. 2011-06-25. Retrieved 2017-08-31. 
  34. ^ Mondediplo.com
  35. ^ “Le Monde, SDI, Dwelling, and The Council”. Jerrypournelle.com. Retrieved 2017-08-31. 
  36. ^ “Bush Scientific Be taught Funding Lags Inflation Yet again”. FuturePundit. 2007-02-05. Retrieved 2017-08-31. 
  37. ^ “Most in vogue Chaos Manor mail”. Jerrypournelle.com. Retrieved 2017-08-31. 
  38. ^ “The Iron Law of Bureaucracy”. Jerrypournelle.com. 2010-09-eleven. Retrieved 2017-08-31. 
  39. ^ James Wheatfield, “Controversial Politics in Contemporary Thrillers, Science Fiction and Tale” in Barbara Brown (Ed.) “Trends in Literature and Well-liked Tradition within the First Decade of the Twenty-First Century”
  40. ^ Heinlein Society 2005 Heinlein Award
  41. ^ NSS, Acclaimed Science Fiction Author Dr. Jerry Pournelle Wins the Nationwide Dwelling Society Robert A. Heinlein Award, April 12, 2016 (accessed April 24 2016)
  42. ^ “Steadiness and Nationwide Safety” (PDF). 2011. 
  43. ^ “The Strategy of Technology”. Jerrypournelle.com. Retrieved 2017-08-31. 
  44. ^ TWiTTriangulation (6 February 2013). “Triangulation 90: Jerry Pournelle”. Youtube.com.  PODcast Interview with Jerry Pournelle
  45. ^ Jerry Pournelle (26 October 2011). “A official day; Iron Law and NASA”. Chaos Manor. 
  46. ^ “Chat Log: January seventh, 2012”. Larry Niven. 7 January 2012. 
  47. ^ “Triangulation”. Twit.tv. 

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