Saying Good-bye to Jerry Pournelle

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Jerry Pournelle passed away in his sleep on 8 September 2017. Dr. Pournelle was a long-time fan and writer of science fiction. He won multiple awards for his writing, and served as president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 1973. Wikipedia says he was noted as the first science fiction writer to publish a work typed on an electronic word processor. His most recent public appearance was as a presenter at the Dragon Awards last week-end in Atlanta.

Dr. Pournelle leaned to military SF and in recent years edited a series of anthologies published by Tor and Castalia House called There Will be War. As part of memorial activities, the first volume of this series will be free on Kindle for three days beginning on 10 Sep 2017. You can go here to download this from Amazon. You can also check in at Dr. Pournelle’s blog page here to leave a Well-Wishing message for his family and friends. RIP Jerry.

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Review of “Seven Kill Tiger” by Charles Shao

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Another Rabid Puppy recommendation. This story was published in Jerry Pournelle’s There Will Be War Vol. X

Chinese business manager Zhang Zedong is concerned that production in his African mining operation has fallen again this quarter, and that General Xu will think this is because of excessive greed on the part of management. Zhang blames the problem on the local crime rate, and he comes up with a plan to reduce the problem. Scott Berens of the CDC tracks an outbreak of a new virus in Zambia, and identifies it as an anomaly because of the pattern. He alerts co-worker Philip Thompson to check it out, and Thompson thinks the Chinese may have weaponized a polio vaccine. After notifying the military about this, Thompson infers the US has also weaponized viruses. At home, he is approached by a Chinese agent who has a deal to offer.

This is an interesting story line, and this should be a fully developed story, but the action doesn’t develop the way I expect it to. The characters are flat. The straight-forward narrative means there’s no rising action, no feel of conflict, no drama and no climax. On the positive side, it has high diversity, as it concerns Chinese business investment in Africa and features Chinese characters.

Two stars.

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