Saturday, 16 September 2017

Jerry Pournelle

I had hoped that Radio 4's Last Word would have had something to say about the  Sage of Chaos Manor who departed this life just over a week ago. Chaos Manor was Pournelle's description of his home base, full of assorted computing machinery, from which he wrote a regular column for Byte magazine. I had been introduced to the latter as part of a bargain bundle of magazines (still in storage somwhere, if the weevils have not got to them) which I bought when I first made tentative steps towards converting from "the big iron" to personal computers. Pournelle's great contribution was to write from the perspective of the intelligent user, rather than that of the geek*.

Pournelle's day job was as a writer of SF, usually in partnership with Larry Niven. I must admit to having read only Footfall, which I found quirky but baggy.

Here are some more informed obituaries, from The Register, the New York Times and a personal friend.

*Our own late, great, Guy Kewney was towards the geek end of the scale, having worked as a Leo programmer, but since he could also write beautifully was in the same small pioneering league as Pournelle.

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