Old Stories, new collection: The Best of Jerry Pournelle

The Best of Jerry Pournelle edited by John F. Carr, Baen Books 2019 trade paper, science fiction and biographical essays

While this is a new collection, many of the stories are decades old.

Summary (from the publisher):

“For the better part of five decades, Jerry Pournelle’s name has been synonymous with hard-hitting science fiction. His Falkenberg’s Legion stories and Janissaries series helped define the military sf genre, as did his work as editor on the There Will Be War series of anthologies. With frequent collaborator Larry Niven, he co-wrote the genre-defining first contact novel The Mote in God’s Eye, which was praised by Robert A. Heinlein as “possibly the greatest science fiction novel I have ever read.”

Here, all of Pournelle’s best short work has been collected in a single volume. There are over a dozen short stories, each with a new introduction by editor and longtime Pournelle assistant John F. Carr, as well as essays and remembrances by Pournelle collaborators and admirers.”

My take: I enjoyed this a lot. It had been a while since I read any Pournelle (and then almost always with Niven). I’m now tempted to reread The Mote In God’s Eye. 


  • Introduction
  • Survival with Style
  • Peace and Honoe
  • Jerry Pournelle’s Future History by Larry King
  • The Mercenary
  • The Hospital visit by David Gerrold
  • First Patrol
  • Spirals with Larry Niven
  • The Science and Technology of Jerry Pournelle
  • Reflex with Larry Niven
  • The Secret of Black Ship Island
  • Remembering A Master of Excellence by Steven Barnes

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Science Fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Old Stories, new collection: The Best of Jerry Pournelle

  1. In another example of Synchronicity, I just picked up a half-dozen Jerry Pournelle paperbacks including his Future War anthologies. I enjoyed Pournelle’s work with Larry Niven, too.

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I’ve been meaning to read the collaborations with Niven for decades but something else has always gotten in the way (or they were too long). I have read negative things about him personally, but I am not involved in any of the SF wars.

    • Some people, Steve is one, I believe, won’t read him because of his personal life and opinions. I try to separate the person from the work, and judge the work (writing, music, art, etc.) on it’s own merits. I liked the stories in this collection.

  3. I may have read one Jerry Pournelle story in my life. It is possible that I’ve read none, but there is a nagging thought at the back of my mind that I actually did some years ago. This collection looks and sounds like something I would like to pick up.

    • Carl, you might have had, or if not probably should try, The Mote in God’s Eye.

      • Looking back I think the only Pournelle I did read was a few years ago when a friend gave me a copy of volume 6 of There Will Be War so that I could read “The Highest Treason” by Randall Garrett. I remember reading his nonfiction introduction to the book. I know I have some books with his stories in them, possibly even have a copy of Mote.

  4. tracybham says:

    Now you have me interested in The Mote in God’s Eye. And this collection. I will put them on a list for the future, I have to get through some of my backlog first.

  5. Cap'n Bob Napier says:

    I read the ones where a team of Special Forces style soldiers went back in time to fight at the Alamo, the Little Big Horn, and Gettysburgh. Highly enjoyable.

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