Jerry Eugene Pournelle (August 7, 1933 September 8, 2017) was an American science fiction writer and editor, computer journalist, and blogger, best known for his Military SF and Space Opera, and his frequent collaborations with Larry Niven. The largest part of his output as an SF writer was the sprawling and influential CoDominium series, but he had written a great deal more, including the novelization of Escape from the Planet of the Apes.
As a journalist, he had a regular column in Byte Magazine called "Chaos Manor", where he regularly reviewed and commented on both hardware and software from the perspective of an ordinary user. "Views from Chaos Manor" is now the name of his blog (although he dislikes the term "blog").
He has also written on military tactics for the Tabletop Game industry.
He was known for his extremely conservative political views—he reportedly described himself as "somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan." He served on a citizen's advisory commission under President Ronald Reagan, and was friends with former Republican Speaker of the House (and fiction writer) Newt Gingrich. Rumors that the two would collaborate on an SF novel had not panned out.
He was the very first winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1973.
Works with a page on this Wiki:
- The CoDominium series, including:
- Footfall (with Larry Niven)
- Inferno (with Larry Niven)
- Lucifer's Hammer (with Larry Niven)
Selected other works:
- Fallen Angels (with Larry Niven and Michael Flynn)
- The Heorot series (with Larry Niven and Stephen Barnes)
- The Janissary series
- Oath of Fealty (with Larry Niven)
Tropes in his other works:
- Arcology: Oath of Fealty. The arcology of Todos Santos is just outside Los Angeles and has a somewhat hostile relationship with the city.
- Asteroid Miners: In the short story "Tinker", the Asteroid Belt is dominated by a consortium of multiplanetary corporations. In a subversion of the genre, the corporations are the good guys and the rugged, individualistic asteroid miners are the bad guys.
- Captured by Cannibals: A non-culinary example: In Burning Tower (with Larry Niven), Arshur the Wanderer enters Aztlan with the other heroes and is immediately crowned king. He's given four virgins as body servants, a palace to live in, everyone in the city follows his every order... and a week later he's drugged, dragged to the top of a pyramid, and is "sent to the gods" by having his heart cut out and sealed in a stucco wall.
- Eco-Terrorist: The FROMATES (FRiends Of Man And The Earth) terrorist group in Oath of Fealty. They totally oppose the arcology Todos Santos and commit kidnapping, attempted arson, murder and attempted mass murder in their campaign to destroy it (and everyone living in it).
- Filk Song: Fallen Angels (with Larry Niven and Michael Flynn) includes several existing filk songs, and tuckerizations of several filkers (and other science fiction fans).
- Heroic Seductress: In Oath of Fealty: Tony Rand, the chief engineer of the Todos Santos arcology, needs to come up with a plan to rescue someone from police custody. He's talking over his plans with a woman named Delores Martine. Because of problems in his personal life, he can't concentrate and starts to lose control of himself, so Delores repeatedly seduces him to calm him down so he can think.
- Interfaith Smoothie: The Janissaries has a world that has both Christians and pagans, with the pagan religion being very loosely based on Classical Mythology. When a Christian nation enters into a political alliance with two pagan nations, a bishop has a rather convenient revelation that the two religions in fact worship the same god, resulting in the creation of a politically backed syncretic religion.
- Knockout Gas: In Oath of Fealty, The Todos Santos arcology uses knockout gas as part of its internal security system.
- Literary Allusion Title: The Children's Hour (with S.M. Stirling), novelette and later novel from the Man-Kzin Wars series, is a reference to a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
- Motive Decay: Discussed with his Iron Law.
- Shameful Strip: In Oath of Fealty, at the end of the novel the captured ecofanatic saboteurs and some common criminals are stripped naked, painted, tattooed and left for the police to find.
- Too Dumb to Live: In Oath of Fealty, the plot is initiated by a group of teenagers who, as a prank, try to sneak into a heavily surveillance filled arcology while carrying a box labeled "bomb". They take just enough precautions to defeat all of the nonlethal methods of stopping them. The abject stupidity of this act is very heavily lampshaded, and spawns the repeated phrase "Think of it as evolution in action." At one point they even break through a door which has a sign that warns, "If you enter here YOU WILL DIE!" Among other skull and crossbones-type warnings.