Jerry left us yesterday…
I have actually known Jerry Pournelle since 1982, which seems like an impossible amount of time. We were not close, so no need to feel bad for me because of his passing. Give your thoughts to his family and very close friends. They are hurting today.
For me, as I assume for many others, Jerry Pournelle was one of those who always seemed to be there in the science fiction world, and I have many, many interesting memories with Jerry.
Actually, early on I only knew him as another professional writer and I sat on many panels with him. We didn’t agree about much of anything, but that was part of the fun.
But then one fine year (now lost in time), Jerry and I were teaching writing together at a small college conference for a long weekend in Southern California. And he and I were the only two there from the SF world. So we hung out together the entire weekend, sitting and talking and discussing just about everything for hours on end. As I said, we didn’t agree, but the discussions that weekend were wonderful and respectful from both sides.
He lived close by and I was staying at Harlan Ellison’s place. And it was known at the time that Harlan and Jerry were having one of their spats. So I had a blast getting to know Jerry, really getting to know him over a number of days, more than I had ever had a chance to before, while never mentioning where I was staying every night. Or telling Harlan who I was with all day for three days.
Over the last few years, since I have pretty much stopped going to conferences, I haven’t had the chance to talk much with Jerry. And again, I was not a close friend, just a friend he always had a warm smile for and a slap on the back.
I came into writing science fiction and Jerry and Larry Niven were already working at full speed. I remember coming in and being surprised that he was Wade Curtis for a number of short stories I really liked and remembered reading.
I have been inside of science fiction since the 1970s and Jerry was always there, a larger-than-life figure that left science fiction a better place for his caring and work.
Now he is gone.
That just feels wrong.