Roberta and Jerry Pournelle

Jerry Pournelle Leaves a Legacy of Helping New Writers (1933-2017)

It was in 1986 that Jerry Pournelle heard about L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest from Algis Budrys, the famed science fiction editor and writer, who assisted L. Ron Hubbard to get the Contest started. Jerry agreed to be a Contest judge in the second year and started judging immediately.

Jerry was chosen for several reasons: he was a legendary figure in both science and science fiction—a truly Renaissance Man. This included his mastery of the épée as well as other deadly weapons, his two PhDs, his master’s degree in statistics and systems engineering, his bachelor’s degree in mathematics, and his chairmanship of the Citizen’s Advisory Council on National Space Policy.

In the world of SF, his contributions included editorship of many anthologies and multiple New York Times bestselling novels, notably with fellow Contest judge Larry Niven—The Mote in Gods Eye, Lucifer’s Hammer, Footfall and Oath of Fealty.

Throughout the years, Contest organizers called upon Jerry to vote for the winning stories, to attend the annual awards event and Writer’s Workshop, and best of all, to impart his wisdom based on years as a successful writer to the newly published winners of the Writers of the Future Contest. In return, Jerry always enthusiastically accepted and presented very informative information.

Jerry will be remembered in his later years of the Contest for his lighthearted sense of humor with the winners on event day. Just ask most any first place winner and they will have a story to tell.

We will miss you Jerry, but your brilliance shines on, and will, way into the future.

7 replies

    Please gift the best greating to All You just be The Great Idol about literature that the majoy feelings My own deep soul. Maybe, in the future, the success will be wave to Me that one time with The Great Nobel Price or The Famous Position belongs The Universe. For Me, I always talk with The Universe ” Dear Sir/Madam Dr. I be just only THE PUPIL forever so that. Because, Dr. had been borned the first Me and next to belongs Me. I can more talent the all things but I know truth the one that Dr. had been studied the first already. Although, I proud of The Universe just so Dr. had been come the first already. Dear Dr. , I be just only THE PUPIL forever so that!


    Dear Drs. , please gift the shortest story about The Men Universe with topic ” The awful brid and the eagle brid ”
    _ At the forest, had been the awful brid because it be look ugly, bad about things but that it always thinks more the future will be proud of like these eagle birds with The Earth. So that, the awful bird often hard do excersie to less weight, keep its full body the best. These eagle birds heard that talk face with it ” You be just only the awful bird so stupid can not make war with Us – These Big Bang Idols belongs The Universe, You know? ” The awful bird silent less after reply ” Dear Drs. , Maybe I am the awful bird but I thinks that The No. 1 be different The No. 2 so both can proud of with The Style belongs every One not photo together. Although, I be still the awful bird belongs The Universe to forever but please registe Me with The Universe be the awful bird so more talent accept The No. 2 but not photo from who other, dear Drs.!

  3. Penny D. Wenman
    Penny D. Wenman says:

    … Well, I certainly appreciate Dr. Jerry Pournelle’s description of the ‘brick by brick’ method, as a sure fire failure methodology of the writing process … I’ve just viewed the Documentary: K 2019 Khufu Pyramid (& all the others); Technology of unsurpassed material science; (brick building); & superb engineering magnificence, founded on an astonishing base of geometry & mathematics … an awesome testament to the brilliance of the ancient world … a ‘must watch’; worth every moment (it’s a lengthy documentary, but, I guarantee you’ll be very reluctant to even press the ‘pause’ button, throughout) … you won’t be disappointed … the ‘brick’ metaphor is very accurately depicted here … yes, we must be master craftsmen; if we’re going to assemble our ‘masterpieces’ … so, write hearty mates … & enjoy the process … effortless, when you know the ‘tech’ …

  4. Penny D. Wenman
    Penny D. Wenman says:

    … further commentary here … I just love L.Ron’s electric typewriter … I am now quite dependent on the ‘glowing screen’ of my laptop … but, I’ll tell you, I’ve had some wonderful typewriter’s in the past … even a multi-language translator … I’m seriously considering buying a typewriter again, as, I loved the freedom of the non-glare & forced focus on the page … there is something of liberty to be just ‘free’ with the words & a direct connect with the imagination & the un-obstrusive page … the freshness of paper is still a tactile experience for me … & say, don’t I have awful punctuation & grammar! … I love the chastisement of brushing up seriously in these aspects of writing … so, forward ho’ with the pen … forward ho’ with the keyboard & free vision as I ‘write’ with the keys of a typewriter …

  5. Brad
    Brad says:

    I totally agree with Dr. Parnelle on the point about standard English grammatic style.

    I am so distracted trying to read anything in inventive methods of throwing words together (and there have been some in recent stories of Quarterly winners. I want the story. I don’t want to wade through a marsh of ferns that might appear occasionally as a snake in my peripheral vision. That is not my objective to get to the other shore where great comfort awaits. It is a distraction, and to be hones, I actually do not finish some of the stories that I read in Writers of the Future when the grammatical composition is a distraction from the actual story and plot I do want to find out about. Nuff said!

  6. Robert Delaware
    Robert Delaware says:

    Brilliant practical advice. It sums the simplicity of what to work at as a writer. Thank you, I found it very grounding, but, with application, from which I can soar.


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