Jerry Pournelle, the writer behind The Mote in God’s Eye, The Mercenary and Lucifer’s Hammer, has passed away at the age of 84.
Image: Orbit’s cover for The Mote in God’s Eye. Art by Lee McLeod.
In the realm of science fiction, Pournelle is known for his collaborations with Larry Niven and Steven Barnes as a champion of the New Wave of sci-fi, and more widely as the first author to publish a novel exclusively written on a personal computer. But Pournelle is also beloved for his regular columns in the pages of Galaxy Science Fiction.
Although his fiction work was criticised as being one of the driving forces of the often-conservative military sci-fi genre, Pournelle’s Galaxy column A Step Farther Out — eventually collected as a hardback volume — offered a view of the future where humanity would “survive in style”, looking at scientific advancements and offering hopeful glimpses of a world many believed was on the brink at the heights of the Cold War. Pournelle’s advocacy for science extended into the real world too; he championed the space program as part of the Citizens’ Advisory Council on National Space Policy under the Reagan administration in the ’80s.
Pournelle passed away after a short illness, and our thoughts are with his family and friends.