RIP Jerry Pournelle

I just noticed the news that Jerry Pournelle has passed away. I was a big fan of his old BYTE column. Since BYTE went away, I’ve been an occasional reader of his blog, where he continued the same kind of writing that he did for BYTE. (Plus a lot of random stuff that wouldn’t have made sense in BYTE, much of which was interesting.) I haven’t read too much of his SF, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read, and I’ve always meant to read more of it.

The kind of writing I do here on my blog, when I’m writing about computing, has definitely been influenced by the way Pournelle wrote, both in his BYTE column and his blog. (Just to be clear, while my writing style might be influenced by Pournelle’s, I’m not nearly as good a writer, of course.) I often write from what I might call the “power-user” point of view, writing about my own experiences using a particular software package or piece of hardware. I’m not writing a review or anything even vaguely formal. I’m just writing an account of my own experience, with the benefit of applying some useful perspective, hopefully, and an informed opinion, honed over many years of messing with computers.

I don’t see too much of that kind of writing on the web anymore. (And I don’t see it in magazines, since there aren’t any magazines left covering general computing the way BYTE did.) There are SF authors with great blogs, like John Scalzi and Charles Stross, and of course plenty of hardware/software/gadget blogs, but nobody quite like Jerry Pournelle.

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