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Jerry Pournelle's Future History

Jerry Pournelle passed away on September 8. His writing, his ideas, and most of all his unstoppable personality will be missed by all his fans and all those who met him.

I just finished re-reading The Mote in God’s Eye for the umpteenth time. Towards the end, there is a poignant scene when (no spoilers!) Fr. Hardy softly recites the “Requiem aeternam.” After finishing the book I looked at the internet, and found that Dr. Pournelle had just passed away. I’ve been reading his books nearly all my life.

I have been preparing several updates to this site (which has been out of date for too long). I plan to finish them very soon, but now there is sadness mixed with the enjoyment of fan work.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei.

 

 

Jerry Pournelle’s Future History forms a unified projection of a possible "future" based on Pournelle's vision of sociology and politics.

This universe is perhaps more pessimistic than the classic SF universes of Heinlein, Asimov, and Niven. Ambition, greed, and bureaucratic indifference abound, leading to horrifying tragedies. Yet there are also great heroes who triumph past intimidating odds, struggling for the survival of the human race.

Crown and Spaceship

Like Gaul, the Future History saga is divided into three parts:


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Timeline of Pournelle's Future History

This timeline of Pournelle's universe is both a chronicle of events and a chronicle of sociology. It records all events which occur in these stories -- whether center-stage or off-stage. It also contains information about how human society changes through the different eras of this "future".

Astronomy and Star-Maps

These maps situate the human-settled planets of Pournelle's future in relation to each other. Distances, travel times, and any precise astronomical locations mentioned in the stories are displayed here.

Suggested Reading Order

The Future History now fills fourteen books. What should be read first? Why were the War World stories printed with no clue as to their proper order? Should the Falkenberg stories be read before The Mote in God's Eye? These questions are answered here.



Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and High Justice

Pournelle began projecting his future in the early 1970's. When the Soviet Union collapsed, this invalidated his "future". Or did it?

Ambiguities and Difficulties

Any future history this detailed is bound to contain contradictions or quasi-contradictions. Many knots are untangled in this document.

Bibliography

A complete listing of stories and novels set in this universe, including a revision history of the older books.



Links to other Jerry Pournelle websites

There aren't many of these out there.... but I've listed the few that I know about.

Crest of the Second Empire

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Credits

The documents in this Jerry Pournelle Future History site are all written by Larry King.

All names, places, and dates are either real, or copyright by Jerry Pournelle. Presumably, those events which appeared first in Pournelle's works and subsequently occurred in real life will result in legal disputes between Pournelle and God. In any event, my contribution is solely as a historian.

This page was a long time in growing! My first timeline of Pournelle's works was written in 1979 after I read Mote. The copy I read (from the Woodland Hills library) had two sections bound in the wrong order. This added even more mystery to the book....

A number of correspondents have been helpful – especially Scott Hammond, Keith Halperin, Eric Bufford, L. Randall Berg, Kevin Trainor, Bradley Wilson, and Roland Denzel. The "Second Empire Crest" on this page was designed by Dan Thompson.

Jerry Pournelle, Don Hawthorne, E.R. Stewart, and John F. Carr have been extremely helpful in their correspondence, clarifying several important points . . . and hinting at more stories to come!



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