Conucopia

Jerry Pournelle

Rev. 11-Aug-1999

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(from Progress Report 3)

Dr Jerry E. Pournelle received his B.S. in psychology and mathematics, an M.S. in experimental statistics and systems engineering and PhD.s in both psychology and political science from the University of Washington [www].

Pournelle is an outspoken advocate of technological progress. He is chairman of the Citizen's Advisory Council on National Space Policy, and has served as a board member of L5.

His novels include A Step Farther Out, The Endless Frontier, King David's Spaceship, Janissaries, Clan and Crown: Janissaries II, Storms of Victory: Janissaries III, The Mercenary, Prince of Mercenaries, Falkenberg's Legion, Prince of Sparta, and Go Tell the Spartans.

Footfall, one of several collaborations with author Larry Niven, held the number one spot on the New York Times [www] bestseller list. Another bestseller, Lucifer's Hammer, reached number two. Additional joint works include The Mote in God's Eye and Inferno, a retelling of Dante's work.

Pournelle won the first John W. Campbell Award in 1974 and has received nominations for both Nebula and Hugo awards. His "Chaos Manor" column ran in BYTE magazine from 1979 until the magazine ended in 1998, and his website [www] carries columns, photos and observations.

His most recent novel, Starswarm, was released in in 1998 by Tor Books [www]. It should appear in paperback this August.


There are two outstanding reasons why I chose Dr. Pournelle to be the GoH of Conucopia. The first is his ongoing labors to promote the continued advancement of humanity into space. This is a calling through which he shares his hope and enthusiasm in our possible future, and his willingness to propagate information that fans might not otherwise discover on their own. The second reason is that in his writing he has the ability to draw you into a story and the struggle of the characters within. My favourite work by him to date remains, King David's Spaceship, one of a select few books that I have enjoyed rereading many times. Please join me in celebrating his contribution to the enrichment of Science, Science Fiction and our lives.

Christian B. McGuire, chair@99.nasfic.org


His Words Go Marching On

from Progress Report 1

Jerry Pournelle has been writing longer than you think. His early stories are to be forgotten now, as they appeared in those scandal-hinting, title-teasing magazines you have to fight your way through to find the few SF titles. They were good practice, and they led up to a couple of Berkeley espionage novels: Red Heroin and Red Dragon, under the name "Wade Curtis". An astute reader, taking a closer look at a book with a cover blurb by Robert Heinlein, would have found the real author's name on the copyright page.

"Peace with Honor" appeared in Analog [www] the same month Red Dragon was published, (May 1971). It was the first piece of published science fiction and the first piece of the future history tapestry of the CoDominium, the Empires of Man, the Moties, and John Christian Falkenberg.

Falkenberg made his first appearance in "The Mercenary" (Analog, July 1972); by then A Spaceship for the King had been serialized by Analog, (Dec. 1971--Feb 1972), and two Nuclear General stories were included in the same issues--the void left by John Campbell's unexpected death caused these to appear under the "Wade Curtis" label. DAW [www] published the book version of "Spaceship" in February 1973, and two CoDominium stories followed in Analog--on the basis of this work, members of the 1973 World Science Fiction Convention (Torcon 2) awarded the first John W. Campbell Award for best new writer to Jerry Pournelle. George Alex Effinger, George R. R. Martin, and Lisa Tuttle were among the runners-up.

A major work was being prepared offstage. What was intended to be the epitome of first contact novels was written in collaboration with Larry Niven over a three-year period. The Mote in God's Eye turned out to be four times its original length, and a big success (over 250,000 copies in print, Hugo and Nebula nominee), complete with infamous typo.

More collaborations with Niven have been published, (Inferno, and Lucifer's Hammer are just two examples). Among his Falkenberg novels are West of Honor and The Mercenary, and we haven't heard the last of John Christian yet. (And there's that dungeon...) Other series have sprung up: the Hansen Enterprises stories that began in "High Justice" continue in Exiles to Glory (Galaxy and Ace Books); there are two more Nuclear General stories--but the first of these was sold to The Last Dangerous Visions (maybe next year). "Bind your Sons to Exile" was expanded and published by Ace in their illustrated SF series. There will be the sequel to H. Beam Piper's Space Viking.

I haven't even mentioned non-fiction yet! The Strategy of Technology, written with S. T. Possony in 1970, is used as a textbook at the Air Force Academy [www]. Since early 1974, he's been science editor of Galaxy. He has also written a feature column, "Chaos Manor", for Byte magazine almost since its inception until the magazine folded in May 1998.

Look for his latest book Starswarm where "Kip suspects that the voice in his head that guides his decision-making is some sort of artificial intelligence, a chip implanted in his skull by his parents before they were persecuted and killed. Now, through the chip, he learns that his own well being, and that of his home, outpost Starswarm, is in grave danger."

-Gavin Claypool


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