Obituary Note: Jerry Pournelle

Jerry Pournelle, a prolific author, editor and columnist on a variety of topics, including science fiction, military matters, space, technology and politics, died on Friday. He was 84. He also had positions in the aerospace industry and was a political advisor.

His first novel, Red Heroin, an action/adventure mystery, was published in 1968. Among his best-known books were Footfall and Lucifer's Hammer, both written with Larry Niven, two of many collaborations with Niven, one of several writers with whom he collaborated. He received five Hugo and three Nebula nominations and, in 1973, was the first winner of the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer (when the finalists included George R.R. Martin!).

Pournelle contributed for years to BYTE magazine and continued to write his Chaos Manor column/blog, maybe the first that looked at computers from the user's point of view, until his death. He also was science columnist for the National Catholic Press, a columnist for Analog SF Magazine and science editor/columnist for Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine. He was a past president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and last year won the National Space Society's Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in "promoting the goal of a free, spacefaring civilization."

Cat Rambo, president of the SFWA, commented: "I frequently interacted with Jerry, sometimes agreeing, other times not so much, but always knowing our arguments were motivated by a mutual love of SFWA and the genre. As someone seeing behind the scenes of the Emergency Medical Fund (Jerry was one of the stewards), I came to realize how much generosity lurked in him, each time brought out by an applicant's situation. I will definitely miss Jerry and think of him with fondness."

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