Found out late last night that Jerry Pournelle passed away a few days ago on the 8th of September. The news left me saddened. I’ve been meaning to write him a note ever since I reread Lucifer’s Hammer last summer to mention the influence he (and Larry Niven) had on me as a boy. I read their collaborations (Mote in God’s Eye, The Gripping Hand, Oath of Fealty, Footfall, Inferno) rather rapaciously. I also read his solo works (King David’s Spaceship, Janissaries, A Step Farther Out) with great enthusiasm. I can’t say I agreed with much or even any of his politics as I got older, but he argued his positions reasonably and literately, especially when compared to today’s standards. He felt like a well-educated, well-spoken uncle whose company I enjoyed, even if I disagreed with him on most things political.

It is a sad marker of one’s own aging when the heroes of your childhood and adolescence pass away. I feel older today than I did yesterday. Bereft of something incompletely known and now lost forever.

Maybe I’ll reread Mote in God’s Eye. I remember being so enthusiastic after finishing that novel when I was 13 that I spend nearly an hour telling the whole story beat-by-beat to a friend.

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