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SciFi Author (and Byte Columnist) Jerry Pournelle Has Died (jerrypournelle.com) 221

Long-time Slashdot reader BinBoy writes: Science fiction author and Byte magazine columnist Jerry Pournelle has died according to a statement by his son Alex posted to Jerry's web site. A well-wishing page has been set up for visitor's to post their thoughts and memories of Mr. Pournelle.
Pournelle's literary career included the 1985 science fiction novel Footfall with Larry Niven, which became a #1 New York Times best-seller -- one of several successful collaborations between the two authors. In a Slashdot interview in 2003, Larry Niven credited Jerry for the prominent role of religion in their 1974 book The Mote in God's Eye.

Wikipedia also remembers how Byte magazine announced Pournelle's legendary debut as a columnist in their June 1980 issue.
"The other day we were sitting around the BYTE offices listening to software and hardware explosions going off around us in the microcomputer world. We wondered, "Who could cover some of the latest developments for us in a funny, frank (and sometimes irascible) style?" The phone rang. It was Jerry Pournelle with an idea for a funny, frank (and sometimes irascible) series of articles to be presented in BYTE on a semi-regular (i.e.: every 2 to 3 months) basis, which would cover the wild microcomputer goings-on at the Pournelle House ("Chaos Manor") in Southern California. We said yes."
Slashdot reader tengu1sd fondly remembers Pournelle as "frequently loud, but well reasoned." He also shares a link to a new appreciation posted on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America site. And Slashdot reader Nova Express also remembers Pournelle's Chaos Manor website "later became one of the first blogs on the Internet."
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SciFi Author (and Byte Columnist) Jerry Pournelle Has Died

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  • by Fuzi719 ( 1107665 ) on Saturday September 09, 2017 @09:55AM (#55164547)
    I very much enjoyed the "Mote" series of novels.
    • I've only read two but they were excellent - and they're among the best movies never made. Imagine the organised chaos of More Prime done in good CGI.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yes the Byte era. Eyes filled with wonder, not so jaded and cynical back then. Computers had possibilities instead of limitations.

    • Yes, this exactly, every new item at chaos manner got explored as much as reviewed.
    • by klui ( 457783 )

      Alas.

  • A sad day (Score:4, Informative)

    by Wolfrider ( 856 ) <kingneutron@nOSPAM.yahoo.com> on Saturday September 09, 2017 @10:01AM (#55164589) Homepage Journal

    --He was a major contributor to the "great fiction" genre. He will be missed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 09, 2017 @10:06AM (#55164613)

    I used to think he was intelligent and thoughtful capable of cutting through the crap, yet sadly his last "post" exemplifies all that I later found mistaken and flawed in his approach.

    Maybe he isn't quite as much of a flaming ideologue as some of the die-hards here, but it still reeks of a bias, a sneering condescending disdain for the liberals that he blames for all the problems of the world.

    All supported with a litany of aphorisms to recite until they are ingrained into your very soul.

    Sad to lose such a man, but we lost him to his own bitterness many years ago.

    • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Saturday September 09, 2017 @10:22AM (#55164709) Homepage

      I'm imagining a beyond-the-grave interview from Heinlein. Pournelle was a pantywaist compared to RAH.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "a sneering condescending disdain for the liberals that he blames for all the problems of the world."

      They are not the cause of all the problems in the world, just for being wrong about all the problems of the world - even when compared to the old Greatest Generation Democrats.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Thanks for using your mod points as a "I disagree" button, I'll give you a chance to waste them some more.

      The fact is, Pournelle succumbed to the worst commandment of all, not criticizing his fellow "conservatives" as declared by his Saint, the Great Reagan.

      Against my better judgment, but to give the benefit of the doubt, I've read a few more pages of diaries. What do I see? The standard right-wing catechisms.

      For example, the usual song-and-dance over Confederate statues, and esteem for the fabled Lee.

      • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Saturday September 09, 2017 @01:27PM (#55165721) Journal

        The whole "KKK are extremist Democrats" is an absurd statement. That was true 70 years ago before the Dixiecrats basically split from the Democrats. And where did most of the Dixiecrats ultimately end up? In the Republican Party.

        • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Saturday September 09, 2017 @01:51PM (#55165827)

          The grave dude. If they're still voting, you can bet it's D.

          • Which totally explains why their spiritual grandchildren are such big Trump fans...

            • You've got nothing but pretend dude. Look at the #s of people in the KKK. It basically no longer exists. About the same number of idiots as Antifa. Lunatic fringe is lunatic, duh.

        • Actually, the election evidence shows that the GOP absorbed the Peripheral South and gained in the South primarily from the importing transplants into the region, not by converting Dixiecrats and Democratic Party KKK leaders like Robert Byrd into Republicans. The racist Democrats in the Solid South primarily stayed Democrats. The GOP got more votes from the non-racists, both among the existing population and from immigrants from other States to turn the South into their voting block, beginning with the least (not most) racist States. The details have been written up in many places, but here’s one I found with a quick Google search [claremont.org] if you’re looking for more details.

          To quote that article in relation to the myth you keep trying to spread:
          "Starting in the 1950s, the South attracted millions of Midwesterners, Northeasterners, and other transplants. These "immigrants" identified themselves as Republicans at higher rates than native whites. In the 1980s, up to a quarter of self-declared Republicans in Texas appear to have been such immigrants. Furthermore, research consistently shows that identification with the GOP is stronger among the South's younger rather than older white voters, and that each cohort has also became more Republican with time. Do we really believe immigrants were more racist than native Southerners, and that younger Southerners identified more with white solidarity than did their elders, and that all cohorts did so more by the 1980s and '90s than they had earlier?

          In sum, the GOP's Southern electorate was not rural, nativist, less educated, afraid of change, or concentrated in the most stagnant parts of the Deep South. It was disproportionately suburban, middle-class, educated, younger, non-native-Southern, and concentrated in the growth-points that were, so to speak, the least "Southern" parts of the South."

          Or as the NY Times put it [nytimes.com]:
          "In the postwar era, they note, the South transformed itself from a backward region to an engine of the national economy, giving rise to a sizable new wealthy suburban class. This class, not surprisingly, began to vote for the party that best represented its economic interests: the G.O.P. Working-class whites, however — and here’s the surprise — even those in areas with large black populations, stayed loyal to the Democrats. (This was true until the 90s, when the nation as a whole turned rightward in Congressional voting.)

          The two scholars support their claim with an extensive survey of election returns and voter surveys. To give just one example: in the 50s, among Southerners in the low-income tercile, 43 percent voted for Republican Presidential candidates, while in the high-income tercile, 53 percent voted Republican; by the 80s, those figures were 51 percent and 77 percent, respectively. Wealthy Southerners shifted rightward in droves but poorer ones didn’t."

    • The new Slashdot standard modelled after the great Sir Richard Stallman - rejoice at someone's death while playing word acrobatics in pretending not to! As Ron Burgundy would say, Stay Classy, AC!!!
  • I never got tired of BYTE's amusing cover price of "32 bits". Pournelle's dispatches from Chaos Manor were always entertaining, even after he disparaged our PC utility, Automator MI.
  • by Megane ( 129182 ) on Saturday September 09, 2017 @10:23AM (#55164715) Homepage

    Back in '87, the tax laws were changing so that you couldn't deduct magazine subscriptions as a business expense. That didn't matter to me, but they made a special offer of a six-year subscription for $99. By the time that ran out in '93, Byte had gotten... boring. It seemed like it was nothing but reviews, and stuff that would mostly be of interest to IT department types. Except for one thing, Jerry's column. That was the only reason left for me to care about Byte, and it wasn't enough to get me to renew again.

    It was good to read about the various problems he would encounter and overcome, and it was also good to know that someone else cared about keyboard layouts. Back around that time, lots of crap was being done to keyboard layouts, obviously by people who had never learned to touch-type. The worst were the broken backspace key (usually a backslash between +/= and a tiny backspace key) making the right pinky have to go too far, something between Z and left shift making the left pinky have to go too far (hey, if the Europeans do it, it must be good!), and big return keys, usually resulting in the \| key pushing something else around. But I've been a Mac guy since 1985, and Apple managed to avoid such annoyances in their keyboards. Fortunately, a sane layout won, at least in the US.

    I still have a couple of old Northgate keyboards, and a stack of Model Ms that I acquired over the years, and I hope to get around to replacing their guts with a "bluepill" board running my own USB code. But it won't do me a lot of good, since most of my typing these days is done on a laptop, where there just isn't room for a good mechanical keyboard.

    Anyhow, I tried to see if I could look at his most recent Chaos Manor postings, but it appears that the database behind it has overloaded. At least the page linked in TFS seems to have been made static.

    • by Jahta ( 1141213 ) on Saturday September 09, 2017 @10:59AM (#55164899)

      Chaos Manor was always one of the first things I read in Byte. I liked Jerry's (sometimes brutally) honest reviews; he only wrote about things he actually used himself. And of course his humour; writing about the infamous Clipper chip (a proposed mandatory cryptography module with a backdoor for law enforcement) he wrote that if you believed the assurances that the backdoor would not be abused, "then I am Queen Marie of Romania".

    • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Saturday September 09, 2017 @11:06AM (#55164947) Homepage

      Ah yes, Northgate keyboards.

      That was when the world was, well, noisier. But it felt so good....

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      I remember those years. I made a wall poster with the front cover of every BYTE magazine. It's strange to see each magazine cover and know that was one month of your life at high-school and college.

      The early 1970's magazines covered electronics, circuit boards and home brew electronics as home computers weren't around then. Everyone had to make their own S-100 rack based systems. Having a graphics card was an optional extra for those systems. In the late 1970's, micro-processors came along, and there were a

      • by Dynamoo ( 527749 )
        Robert Tinney was the cover artist. I did for a short time have a print of the pirate ship with a floppy disk sail until some idiot threw it away. A brilliant artist.
    • by Dynamoo ( 527749 )
      Keyboards were almost a religion with Pournelle. I sort-of agreed with him - a proper big SHIFT key next to the Z, a big reverse-shaped L RETURN key and a decent sized backspace key. I remember he was also keen on having the ESC key next to 1 which I think is not such a good idea, and CTRL next to A can have some unexpected side effects these days. I never used a Northgate keyboard, but Gateway 2000 and TeleVideo used some of the same principles and were the best keyboards I ever used.
  • Damn it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AJWM ( 19027 ) on Saturday September 09, 2017 @10:41AM (#55164805) Homepage

    I read Jerry's science fiction back when he was writing for Analog Science Fiction magazine, and later had the opportunity to work with him at Byte magazine. Byte even flew me out to Chaos Manor to get him up to speed on their new BIX system, a computer conferencing system (a pre-Web forerunner to systems like /., Ars Technica, etc.) based on software I wrote. He invited me to a party where I met the likes of Larry Niven, Bob Silverberg and Poul Anderson.

    I later worked with him, Niven, Anderson and a number of other writers, scientists and astronauts as part of the Citizens Advisory Council on National Space Policy. We (mostly he) helped get the DC-X project started -- reusable, vertical-takeoff-and-landing rocket technology that SpaceX built on for their Falcon launcher.

    He inspired me to start selling my writing, both non-fiction and later fiction. In fact, by a series of events I won't go into here (but involving the Council and an International Space Development Conference) he led to me meeting the woman I later married. When we had twin boys, we briefly (very briefly) considered naming them Jerry and Larry.

    His passing isn't a complete surprise; he was getting on in years and he had had health issues in recent years, but it is still sad to see him gone. My condolences to his family, who were all very gracious when I visited his home.

    Ad astra, Jerry.

  • by bfwebster ( 90513 ) on Saturday September 09, 2017 @10:52AM (#55164873) Homepage

    I got to know Jerry personally when I started writing for BYTE back in 1984. While I had read his BYTE column as well as much of his science fiction writings to date (both solo and with Larry Niven), what I didn't appreciate until some fact time with him was how much he knew about so many subjects. "Chaos Manor" (his name for the house that he and Roberta lived in in Studio CIty) was so named because of the shelves and stacks of books everywhere, on every conceivable subject. Jerry had a BA/MA in psychology and a PhD in political science; he was also an army vet, and did a lot of consulting for the US government, both in terms of the military and the space program. He also had what was pretty much a photographic memory. When I would argue with him on subjects, he'd bring up facts and figures from a vast array of sources.

    He also didn't suffer fools gladly, which is why he ticked off so many people. :-) Also, he knew too much for them to prove him wrong, which these days is an unforgivable sin. ..bruce..

    • Cool Story. Must have been an honor. Thanks for sharing.

    • by AJWM ( 19027 )

      Hey Bruce! Sorry that it's under such circumstances, but it's good to hear (if indirectly) from you again. Your post is spot on.

      -- al, from BIX

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Except some of the "fools" he didn't suffer weren't fools at all, and it was Pournelle who took pointlessly contrarian positions. His views on Climate Change, biology and vaccines were not the views of a thoughtful man, but rather someone who just had emotional responses to things he didn't like. As I say elsewhere, I enjoyed his writing, but he became a full on crank by the 1990s.

      • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

        I knew Jerry in meatspace (from about 1990 onward), and while he was often loudly opinionated, he was never a crank. His views were always reasoned, and he was careful about distinguishing the factual from the emotional. And he was never swayed by political correctness.

        I wasn't a fan, and I didn't particularly like him, but I learned to respect him.

  • by Orgasmatron ( 8103 ) on Saturday September 09, 2017 @11:26AM (#55165055)

    I seem to be a bit unusual in that I didn't learn about him from reading his science fiction books, and I didn't learn about him from reading his magazine columns. A search for some computer problem led me to an entry in his day book where he had dealt with a similar problem.

    Nowadays, we'd call it a blog, making it possibly one of the oldest such on the internet, but the format at the time was one page per week, with new topics added at the bottom as the week went on. There was a second one, for his correspondence. For many years, every Monday, I would load up the pages from the previous week and read bits and pieces as free time presented itself.

    I didn't always agree with him, but the wisdom available (from him and his incredible readership via email) was unmatched.

    In addition to current events and computers, he also included pieces on his family, his dogs, his health, opera, TV, etc. Reading it for a while, it felt like you knew him. So, one day when I was in LA, I took a wrong turn and ended up, I suspect within a few blocks from his house. I mused that if I had known I was going to be that close, I should have made arrangements to stop in to meet him and shake his hand.

    When I got home a few days later, I emailed him to ask if he accepted drop-ins, should I ever find myself out that way again. He said that he'd be delighted, assuming that he was home and didn't have other plans, of course.

    Sadly, I haven't been out west since then, and now I've missed the chance.

    I would like to add one thing - it would be nice if people remembered his small, but meaningful, contribution to the space program, and also his role in helping win the Cold War.

  • by rbrander ( 73222 ) on Saturday September 09, 2017 @11:36AM (#55165105) Homepage

    I recently had a "whatever happened to" moment and spent an evening reading his more recent opinion posts, and it was kind of sad to see him become more hardened into an increasingly bitter-sounding, yes, even Trumpist view of the world over time. The one where civilization is always falling into disrepair from the gradual takeover of ever-expanding bureaucracy and government control.

    Go back a ways and you can see all the attitudes there - the "Fallen Angels" book from 1991 isn't just about how an ice age is far more likely than this liberal global warming theory (which the liberals in the book stick to even as mile-high ice sheets wipe out Canada and are eating Wisconsin), it's about how government with liberal concerns becomes a kind of fascist dictatorship, controlling individual economic choices and oppressing honest scientists who won't toe a party line.

    And then there's Mote in Gods Eye which proposes an enemy which must be inherently treated like an enemy no matter how nice and reasonable they are as individuals, because as a race, they breed like flies... and just can't help but displace us utterly from the universe if we let them out of their cage. Which are defeated by a hereditary nobility, because feudalism turned out to be the best way to bring order to our race in an age of star travel.

    But you know something? It didn't work. Not on me, nor on a bunch of friends I have that all enjoy SF; we all read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress without turning libertarian, and I must have read Starship Troopers 3 times but am not militarist, and certainly Jerry and Larry didn't turn me into a feudalist who fears that the teeming hordes of populous countries will overrun us like army ants. It was all just fiction, I enjoyed it, by my core politics were not particularly affected by it.

    People who get upset when authors weave their opinions into their work all need to take a deep breath: if YOU can see it, can you possibly credit the rest of us with seeing it, too? We can filter our own inputs, honest: we live in a world of advertising. [Criticized for advertising certain products to the very young, advertisers today plead back that their sneakiest approaches can't break through the suspicious natures of modern kids: by nine, they know the toy isn't really as fun as it looks on TV.]

    So, yeah, I sputtered with disbelief at his column when Obamacare was enacted, raging that for the first time in his life he was now held responsible for the medical care of complete strangers - I supposed he'd never before in his life considered complete strangers over 65, despite being there himself - but I bid him farewell with sorrow. He gave me a lot of fun hours in fantasyland, and a lot of fun hours reading about the latest in WORM drives (look it up) and literally a hundred other technologies that have come, and mostly gone, all building the world's most exciting industry. I thank him for his opinions even though I shared few; testing my reasoning against his was good for me.

    Jerry-haters can take some comfort, if you feel mean today: Jerry's fondest youthful dreams for The Future (i.e. now) were all cruelly disappointed. We got no moonbase, no space industries, no asteroid miners. Worse yet, while Jerry may have convinced himself that NASA bureaucracy and general liberal anti-science budget cutting were at fault, I doubt it; he was opinionated but not irrational. And the painful fact is that no private industry was ever found for space.

    Jerry's stories always featured a booming space industry by 2020 because zero-gee manufacturing was going to lead to ultra-fast computer chips, amazing new drugs, and ultra-strong materials. No such private, commercial reason to build in space ever materialized, despite billions of dollars of publicly-funded experiments to find such industrial processes. That's a shame for a space dreamers, but it's nobody's fault, it's just a scientific fact about the universe: space is way harder to conquer and way less rewarding than we hoped. Some front

    • Yet we live in a time when private entrepreneurs are opening up space as never before.

      • by rbrander ( 73222 )

        Unless you mean "as [private industry has] never before", I beg to differ.
        Call me when Elon has done six moon landings, a few Mars crawlers, and some gas giant probes.

        • by Boronx ( 228853 )

          Well, he's opening it up in the sense of making the easier stuff cheaper.

        • Call me when Elon has done six moon landings, a few Mars crawlers, and some gas giant probes.

          Yes: to conceal a crappy argument, move the goalposts.

          • by rbrander ( 73222 )

            Sorry, didn't intend to: what were those previous goal posts? It was fair to say a few suborbital flights are "opening up space as never before"? I always had the goalposts of "doing more than NASA has already done" for that sentence, and my reply did admit that if he meant "by private industry" then his comment was agreed to.

    • When I first learned that unsterilized female ferrets would die if they didn't mate, I thought of The Mote In God's Eye. Then I learned that the ferrets could be saved with the proper chemical treatment, and realized that Mote had an incurable flaw. I suggest that the flaw was recognized by the authors, and deliberately ignored because it would have destroyed the plot.
    • Pournelle never had any grasp of that very fundamental thing in human endeavor called "economics", which is where all space-mining, colonies-on-the-moon fantasies and such fail if they ever touch it in the slightest degree. Spaceflight hardware of any sort is simply too expensive to move "off Earth" without increasing economic productivity by another couple of orders of magnitude. When it takes the labor of 100,000 to put one man in space (paying the bills, or building and maintaining the systems) space tra

  • Of the two columns I looked forward to in each issue of Byte in the early 1980's, it was Circuit Cellar and Chaos Manor. I met Jerry Pournelle at BayCon 2006 [wikipedia.org]. He was on a panel to debate whether or not the Founding Fathers would support data encryption. Pournelle's believe they would even though the U.S. Constitution doesn't mention encryption, as they were using ciphers to write coded messages [theatlantic.com] to avoid having their communications intercepted by the British government. I didn't start reading Pournelle's sci
  • Both for his SF and his Byte columns.

    My obituary [lawrenceperson.com].

  • by lhowaf ( 3348065 ) on Saturday September 09, 2017 @01:28PM (#55165725)
    It was personal back then - owning a computer, that is. Whether you had a shining masterpiece or a pile-of-junk, it was yours and you were deeply and personally invested. People sometimes named their computers (Mr. Pournells's main computer was, "Golem") but, named- or un-named, our computers represented huge investments in time, energy and cash. Before the megacorp-driven commodity market that the computer industry has become, the PC scene was an effervescent, always-changing wonderland of new companies, new software and new products (even new product categories). In the crowded, low-rent sections of ComDex, there were hopeful and brilliant engineers hawking their latest doodads, hoping to change the world. Most failed but that didn't stop anybody from trying. What a great time it was and Byte magazine tried to pack all that into each of its issues. You definitely wouldn't want to get hit in the head with one of those issues! Jerry Pornelle's column helped to distill some of that spirit from the swirling mass of cards and code and hardware. Thanks, Jerry. You lit a path for many and entertained many more.
  • Does anyone here besides me remember BYTE for the incredibly clever artwork on their covers where someone would make sculptures out of electronic components? I used to love looking at that.

  • As gentlemen, we can disagree about details of his philosophy or politics, and still have respect for the man. I think no one here would dispute that we have lost a first class mind and highly capable writer. Let us then celebrate his work, let us raise a mouse (or a glass if you prefer) in his honor, for one of our own has fallen and he shall be with us no more. 8-(

  • Warning: here be spoilers!

    My favourite story about Pournelle is the synchronicity between "Footfall" and SDI. Footfall is probably one of the very best novels of the alien invasion genre. At one point, the president of the United States calls a conference of SciFi writers to look for ideas on how to defeat the alien invaders. Shortly afterwards (in real life), Reagan calls a conference of SciFi writers to come up with ideas for the Strategic Defence Initiative. Pournelle was part of that group (and his wo

  • Jerry is one of the few names I clearly remember from the many years I followed Byte. As a young, non-English-speaking boy, Byte is partly responsible for my interest in computers — and for my domain of English, mainly of a technical variety.
    So, in the later years I didn't like so much Jerry's viewpoints, but he was a clear influence in my life, and in my choice of career.
    Anyway... Thanks for all the fish.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday September 09, 2017 @10:35PM (#55167597)

    There is a great article [pjmedia.com] from author Sarah Hoyt on Jerry, who by all accounts was really helpful to other writers - I liked a lot of JP stuff but it's even more impressive to think of all the other great SF the world has today he may have helped foster.

    Of special note is that Jerry was truly open minded and not really part of the political spectrum as some here are trying to paint him. From the article:

    In fact, that to me was Jerryâ(TM)s characteristic: in an age riven by deep political divisions, he refused to draw a political line, and associated with people on both sides of the spectrum, treating all as humans and worthy â" or not worthy â" of his attention. (Yes, I do remember a few comments of âoeweâ(TM)re done hereâ in answer to less-than-stellar arguments.) If anyone drew a political color line, it was not Jerry. In fact, he urged me more than once to be forgiving of things that colleagues on the left side of the spectrum said while in the heat of battle. Heâ(TM)d point out the good things theyâ(TM)d said â" or done, or written â" and find excuses for their more intemperate behavior.

    It's worth remembering that these days, if you do not agree with some people 100% they will consider you a vile enemy, to be tarnished and dismissed. The world is better off with people like Jerry, who welcome discussion from all and treat everyone as human regardless as viewpoint. We would all do well to remember his example.

  • by Wizardess ( 888790 ) on Sunday September 10, 2017 @12:35AM (#55167835)

    I met Jerry decades ago at a Soldier of Fortune convention to which my then boyfriend had dragged me. As the days progressed my attire morphed somewhat, to John's obvious delight. In those days I was pretty decent looking. Then I got sadder and wider instead of wiser. So I was dressed down somewhat extremely when John and I were sitting at one of the Sahara Hotel's (RIP) bars awaiting Jerry's presentation. We were talking about an observation I, an engineer in the RF communications field, had noticed. I asked John to back me if I went over to ask Jerry about it.

    Jerry had just been approached by a trophy hunter who tried to bed the macho men at the SoF convention and write a book about it. Jerry had brushed her off. So I walked over. He expected another proposition. "May I ask a question about the people here at the convention?"

    He allowed me to ask. So I asked something like this (the exact quote is lost in time), "For a collection of men who are obviously interested in the art of warfare why in heck is there no communications equipment on display along with the firearms in the huckster room?"

    Jerry performed the best double-take I have ever seen. His expression went through states faster than I could register. Finally with a mildly bewildered look he allowed as how he didn't know and that it was indeed a good question. Then we went off to his presentation.

    Some time later I got into my car with John and we went to the local Science Fiction and Fantasy club, LASFS. Jerry was there and recognized me. We had fun talking dirty, I mean techie both PCs and novels.

    Along about 1985 when BYTE Magazine's online service BIX was being beta tested Jerry whispered to me during a LASFS meeting, "Don't leave before you talk to me." So outside we talked. He gave me the instructions for accessing BIX's beta test. I didn't know he was a damn pusher! {^_-} It infected me so badly that by the time BIX's lights were turned out I was the head moderator on the system and getting paid for my addiction.

    During all this time I never once saw Jerry as anything other than an old style gentleman to those who treated him fairly and decently. If I had to grade how much I respected him on a scale of one to ten it would be something like 15. We didn't always agree. But he respected me and I respected him. (And I still think the Commodore Amiga was better than either the Macintosh or the IBM PC of the same era. {^_-})

    Damn I'm going to miss him even though I've been expecting it and dreading that it would happen someday. Warranties expire. His did. Mine is in the process. Still, losing him is a serious loss. I sit here imagining his parade ground tenor happily giving God some computer advice to make his job easier or spinning yet another good yarn.

    Jerry, please rest in peace. Your legacy will live on for a long time.

    {^_^} Joanne Dow

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