cover image The Best of Jerry Pournelle

The Best of Jerry Pournelle

Edited by John F. Carr. Baen, $16 trade paper (640p) ISBN 978-1-982124-17-5

This thorough collection of short works from the late Pournelle (1933–2017), interspersed with remembrances of his life from colleagues and collaborators, is an engrossing retrospective of the half-century career of a defining author of the military sci-fi genre. The tales range from the famous, like “The Mercenary,” the first story in the Falkenberg Legion series, to the lesser-known, among them “Kenyons to the Keep,” which explores a postapocalyptic California, and “The Last Shot,” an unpublished story in the Nuclear General series that Pournelle promised Harlan Ellison he would only release posthumously. Among the essays on Pournelle’s life comes a barrage of memories from Larry Niven, whose short collaborations with Pournelle are all included, and a touching recollection of an interaction between Pournelle and Ellison from author David Gerrold. Carr, Pournelle’s longtime friend and assistant, contextualizes each story in brief introductions that provide a glimpse behind the scenes for fans and will help new readers navigate this extensive collection. Lovers of classic military speculative fiction will enjoy this walk back through a brilliant career. (Nov.)