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Jerry Pournelle

Jerry Pournelle is a journalist and science fiction writer. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, then earned a master’s degree in psychology and a Ph.D. in political Science. Jerry Pournelle has been involved in developments in the aerospace industry. In 1973 he served as president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Here’s Jerry Pournelle’s blog.

The Mote in God’s Eye: A classic First Contact story

The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

The Mote in God’s Eye, co-written by frequent collaborators Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, is a classic First Contact science fiction story which Robert A. Heinlein called “possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read.” The story takes place in 3017 AD in the future of Jerry Pournelle’s CODOMINION universe (though it’s not necessary to have read any of those books to enjoy The Mote in God’s Eye). Humans have developed the Alderson Drive which allows them to immediately jump to certain points in space. Thus they’ve been able to colonize many planets which are ruled by a single government similar to the British monarchy.

Up to this point humans have assumed they’re the only intelligent species in the universe, but an alien spaceship has just bee... Read More

The Gripping Hand: Boring sequel

The Gripping Hand by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

The Gripping Hand (1993) is Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s sequel to their popular 1974 novel The Mote in God’s Eye, which you probably want to read first. This review will have a couple of spoilers for The Mote in God’s Eye.

Recall that by the year 3017 AD, humans had designed the Alderson Drive — an interstellar transporter which allowed them to jump out of our galaxy to colonize different star systems. Then they discovered the first alien species — the Moties — who were excellent engineers but did not know the science behind the Alderson Drive. The Moties must breed to survive and were quickly overpopulating their own star system. Because they represent a major threat to our species, the human space navy has b... Read More

Lucifer’s Hammer: Exciting disaster story

Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

When bored millionaire Tim Hamner discovers a new comet, he’s excited to finally accomplish something without the help of his family. Harvey Randall, who’s producing a TV documentary about the comet, expects his show to be wildly popular. And the American and Russian astronauts who are chosen to study the comet are proud to be chosen for such an important international mission.

All the experts said there was no way the Hamner comet would hit the Earth. But there are always plenty of people who are ready to panic — the type who start hoarding guns, ammo, and canned food. Then there are the types who are ready to prey on the panicky folks — doomsday cults declaring it’s the end of the world, or burglars waiting for the rich people to flee their expensive homes. When the comet does hit the earth, all those weirdos and the normal folks who are left must figure ... Read More

Janissaries: Modern soldiers in ancient Rome on distant planet

Janissaries by Jerry Pournelle

Captain Rick Galloway and the soldiers he commands were surrounded by hostile enemies when the flying saucer arrived and offered them a way out of certain death. They had to take it. Now they’re on a planet called Tran where they’re expected to oversee the growth and harvest of a marijuana-like plant which their alien “saviors” collect and distribute on the black market when it ripens every 600 years. A human woman named Gwen has also been dumped on the planet after her boyfriend, who was working for the aliens, talked her into coming aboard the flying saucer.

Tran is not uninhabited. It is home to several ancient civilizations who were also delivered from Earth to Tran each time the harvest was nearing readiness. Galloway and Gwen, reluctant heroes, must somehow lead the locals to fulfill the aliens’ demands, or they risk being eradicated. This involves gaining power, allying with local go... Read More

Clan and Crown: Historical military SF

Clan and Crown by Jerry Pournelle

In this second installment of Jerry Pournelle’s JANISSARIES series, the modern American military unit that was abducted by aliens and deposited on the planet Tran to oversee the harvest of psychedelic drugs for alien drug dealers is still trying to get the planet under control so they can focus on their horticultural task. Though they accomplished a lot in the first book, Janissaries, things have gotten even more complicated (politically) and they make very little progress (at least that we see) with their main goal in Clan and Crown.

Captain Rick Galloway, who is now one of the most powerful people on the planet, wishes he could give up fighting and be a teacher at the newly-formed university, but so far that hasn’t been possible. The same weather pattern changes that are increasing the growth of the psychotropic plant they... Read More

Storms of Victory: So much left to do in this unfinished series

Storms of Victory by Jerry Pournelle

Storms of Victory, the third book in Jerry Pournelle’s JANISSARIES series, begins with a wedding and a war council, two events that epitomize Rick Galloway’s interactions on the planet Tran so far — making allies and subduing enemies. Even as he solidifies one alliance with a marriage, the mood of the festive occasion is dampened by rumors of impending political and religious conflict. Besides his known allies and enemies, Rick is soon dealing with traitors, assassins, kidnappers, and teenage ninjas. Nobody can be trusted — not even his own wife. In fact, Rick’s marriage is on the rocks, a situation that provides much of the dramatic tension in Storms of Victory.

All of this drama and turmoil is preventing Rick et al from focusing on their most important job — harvesting the psychotropic plant for their al... Read More

More science fiction from Jerry Pournelle

CoDominium — (1973-1978) High Justice and Exiles to Glory are related short story collections. Publisher: With their discovery by the CoDominium Imperial Navy ending their own one-thousand-year isolation, Prince Samual’s World will become a lowly administrated colony, unless the monarch can discover the secrets of space technology.

Herry Pournelle CoDominium 1. King David's Spaceship 2. West of Honor 3. The MercenaryHerry Pournelle CoDominium 1. King David's Spaceship 2. West of Honor 3. The MercenaryHerry Pournelle CoDominium 1. King David's Spaceship 2. West of Honor 3. The Mercenary       Jerry Pournelle High Justice, Exiles to GloryJerry Pournelle High Justice, Exiles to Glory

science fiction book reviews Jerry Pournelle 1. Janissaries 2. Clan and Crown 3. Storms of Victory Birth of Fire — (1976) Publisher: Birth of Fire is a science fiction adventure novel about the Martian War of Independence as the Mars Colonies attempt to break away from the Earth Federation Government. Garrett Pittston is a member of a Baltimore street gang when he is arrested and sentenced as an involuntary colonist. He must learn to live in the harsh conditions of Mars, and learn the customs of the Mars RimRat culture. He finds himself at the center of the Independence movement although he had never intended to join. Now he must prove himself to be a Marsman.

More science fiction from Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

Inferno — (1976-2009) By Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. Publisher: After being thrown out the window of his luxury apartment, science fiction writer Allen Carpentier wakes to find himself at the gates of hell. Feeling he’s landed in a great opportunity for a book, he attempts to follow Dante’s road map. Determined to meet Satan himself, Carpentier treks through the Nine Layers of Hell led by Benito Mussolini, and encounters countless mental and physical tortures. As he struggles to escape, he’s taken through new, puzzling, and outlandish versions of sin — recast for the present day.

Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle Inferno, Escape from HellLarry Niven and Jerry Pournelle Inferno, Escape from Hell

Heorot — (1987-2012) By Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes. Publisher: Light years from Earth, colonists land on a planet they name Avalon. It seems like a paradise — until strange and terrifying native creatures savagely attack the Colony. It will take every bit of intelligence, courage and military-style discipline to survive…

Heorot 1. The Legacy of HeorotHeorot 1. The Legacy of Heorot, 2. Beowulf's Children 3. The Secret of Black Ship Island Heorot 1. The Legacy of Heorot, 2. Beowulf's Children 3. The Secret of Black Ship Island

Golden Road — (2000-2005) By Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. Publisher: Set in the world of Larry Niven’s popular The Magic Goes Away, The Burning City transports readers to an enchanted ancient city bearing a provocative resemblance to our own modern society. Here Yagen-Atep, the volatile and voracious god of fire, alternately protects and destroys the city’s denizens. In Tep’s Town, nothing can burn indoors and no fire can start — except when the Burning comes upon the city. Then the people, possessed by Yagen-Atep, set their own town ablaze in a riotous orgy of destruction that often comes without warning. Whandall Placehold has lived with the Burning all his life. Fighting his way to adulthood in the mean-but-magical streets of the city’s most blighted neighborhoods, Whandall dreams of escaping the god’s wrath to find a new and better life. But his best hope for freedom may lie with Morth of Atlantis, the enigmatic sorcerer who killed his father!

1. The Burning City (2000) 2. Burning Tower (2005)1. The Burning City (2000) 2. Burning Tower (2005)

science fiction book reviews Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, Oath of FealtyOath of Fealty — (1981) Publisher: In the near future, Los Angeles is an all but uninhabitable war zone, racked by crime, violence, pollution and poverty. But above the blighted city, a Utopia has arisen: Todos Santos, a thousand-foot high single-structured city, designed to used state-of-the-art technology to create a completely human-friendly environment, offering its dwellers everything they could want in exchange for their oath of allegiance and their constant surveillance . But there are those who want to see the utopia destroyed, whose answer to tomorrow’s best and brightest hope is mindless violence. And they have just entered Todos Santos….

science fiction book reviews Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, Oath of Fealty, FootfallFootfall — (1985) Publisher: They first appear as a series of dots on astronomical plates, heading from Saturn directly toward Earth. Since the ringed planet carries no life, scientists deduce the mysterious ship to be a visitor from another star. The world’s frantic efforts to signal the aliens go unanswered. The first contact is hostile: the invaders blast a Soviet space station, seize the survivors, and then destroy every dam and installation on Earth with a hail of asteriods. Now the conquerors are descending on the American heartland, demanding servile surrender — or death for all humans.

science fiction book reviews Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, Oath of Fealty, Fallen Angels Fallen Angels — (1991) Publisher: As a new Ice Age imperils the world, a lunatic fringe of the environmental movement has taken control of the U.S. government. Finding themselves abandoned by the new regime, the once-thriving space colonies must now replenish their air from scoopships that illegally dive into the atmosphere. But when Alex and Gordon’s ship is hit by a missile, they are sent tumbling to Earth — only to be hunted by authorities with ghastly plans for the two….


More science fiction from Jerry Pournelle and S.M. Stirling

Falkenberg’s Legion — (1989-1993) By Jerry Pournelle and S.M. Stirling. Publisher: Forced out of the CoDominium Navy, John Christian Falkenberg turns mercenary to protect the scattered Earth colonies so that civilization may survive the inevitable collapse of the home planet.

Jerry Pournelle and S.M. Stirling Falkenberg's Legion 1. Prince of Mercenaries 2. Falkenberg's Legion 3. Go Tell the Spartans 4. Prince of SpartaJerry Pournelle and S.M. Stirling Falkenberg's Legion 1. Prince of Mercenaries 2. Falkenberg's Legion 3. Go Tell the Spartans 4. Prince of SpartaJerry Pournelle and S.M. Stirling Falkenberg's Legion 1. Prince of Mercenaries 2. Falkenberg's Legion 3. Go Tell the Spartans 4. Prince of SpartaJerry Pournelle and S.M. Stirling Falkenberg's Legion 1. Prince of Mercenaries 2. Falkenberg's Legion 3. Go Tell the Spartans 4. Prince of Sparta

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe Children’s Hour  — (1989-1993) By Jerry Pournelle and S.M. Stirling. Publisher:  The fastest way to get ahead in Kzin society is to cut through the endless challenges and duels to the death–and take on your father. But Chuut-Riit, Planetary Governor of occupied planet Wunderland, is teaching his kits a new way–the way of the humans. And the humans don’t like it, at all. Expanded from parts of Man-Kzin Wars II and Man-Kzin Wars III.