Harvey Paul Honsinger, aged 60, passed away on Sunday August 23, 2020 in Lake Havasu City, Arizona after a month-long battle with COVID-19.
Paul was born January 21, 1960 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He graduated from Lake Charles High School and studied political science and history at the University of Michigan. He received his Juris Doctorate from Louisiana State University where he served as an associate editor of Volume 45 of the Louisiana Law Review. He was an instructor, student government advisor, counselor, and proud alumni of the Governor’s Program for Gifted Children in Louisiana. He was an Attorney and Military Science Fiction author and editor. His works include the Man of War series: To Honor You Call Us, For Honor We Stand, and Brothers in Valor.
Paul had a wide variety of interests which included but weren’t limited to history (Byzantine in particular), religion, politics, multiple branches of science, education, art, cooking, astronomy, space travel, writing, and more. He answered many questions on Quora.com and some of his answers were published in Forbes, Apple News, Huffington Post, Slate FR and others.
He had an astounding number of friends who meant the world to him. He never hesitated to drop whatever he was doing to lend a sympathetic ear, a shoulder to cry on, or a word of advice. He was a committed family man who would do anything and everything for those he loved. He was a loving, considerate, and thoughtful husband. A proud and devoted father. A dedicated son and doting brother.
He is survived by his wife, Kathleen Honsinger; his daughter, Sarah Grace Honsinger; his mother, Judith Arceneaux Honsinger; his sister and brother in law, Kathlene H. and Patrick Deaville; and his nephew, Patrick Austin Deaville. He is preceded in death by his father, Harvey G. Honsinger. His ashes will be interred with his family in Mont Belvieu, Texas. Words of comfort can be shared with the family at his Facebook page: H. Paul Honsinger. Memorials may be given to the Friends of the Governor’s Program for Gifted Children.
Paul’s sister, Kathlene, shares childhood memories.
Paul had a voracious appetite for knowledge on a wide variety of subjects which began at birth and persevered throughout his life. He learned to read at a very early age, breezing past the children’s books and moving straight to those containing answers to what became an endless list of questions.
By the age of 3 Paul understood what a lightyear was, he knew the distance from Earth to the moon and the sun, and other like concepts. He didn’t have an eidetic memory, but he came close to it at times. He remembered almost everything he saw, read, or heard whether it was an article in a scientific magazine, the Declaration of Independence, or every word to every song in a Gilbert and Sullivan musical. When he spoke on a subject you could be sure that it was well researched and backed up with documentation.
Paul was always interested in the mechanics of how and why things worked. It didn’t matter what it was. He craved knowledge and understanding about anything and everything in his world.
Our paternal grandmother gave Paul a microscope and chemistry set for Christmas when he was in the 2nd or 3rd grade. Thank goodness we had tile on the bathroom walls where he set up his science laboratory. You could always tell by the smell wafting throughout the house, the broken test tubes, and the black soot staining the tiles in a V shaped pattern when he was combining elements for a grand stinky or combustible event.
He made slides using warts, skin, hair, blood, mucus, dirt--you name it, he viewed it under the microscope at the highest magnification possible. To Paul, there was no such thing as “too much information”.
Dad’s Cousin Virgil gave Paul a very strong magnet. He learned that if you run a magnet in one direction on a metal item repeatedly, it would magnetize it. Paul being Paul, he naturally decided to experiment with this nifty new phenomenon on various small metal items. Like Mom’s sewing scissors.
Before long Mom’s scissors resembled a porcupine with all the pins and needles stuck to them. You could physically see the sewing pins jump to the scissors and of course we measured how far the pins could be from the scissors before they started to move. This experiment was particularly inconvenient for Mom whenever she used her sewing machine.
Paul also make the mistake of walking in front of the TV with the magnet. Oh what pretty colors our TV made when he did that! Unfortunately, the pretty colors stayed on the screen after he walked by. OOPS. We were going to get the belt for sure.
Dad borrowed a special device from KPLC-TV to demagnetize the TV. This was when there was only one TV in the house and we were lucky that it was color. Paul’s ass was saved! The magnet, however, was placed in time out on the back of the refrigerator for safe keeping.
Paul had a life long fascination with a variety of subjects, including the weather. He was given all sorts of devices for his weather station. Barometers, thermometers, wind speed gadgets, rain fall gadgets-- anything that the novice weather boy could get their hands on back in the early 60’s.
Dad cemented a very tall metal post to the house that was higher than the roof. At the top of the pole were black spinning cups for measuring wind speed, and a rod to indicate wind direction. There was a cable that ran down inside the pole to a digital display with the results.
For one meteorological experiment, Paul used his hard earned allowance of fifty cents per month to buy three huge orange helium balloons. He placed a personal message to whoever might find the balloons in a metal film capsule which he then secured to the balloon strings. With all of the neighborhood kids present he launched the balloons in the open school yard, which was on our same block.
The experiment was a success. The finder of the capsule reported that when she found it some 56 miles northeast of Lake Charles that only one balloon was intact and still somewhat inflated, and that it had only taken a few days for it to find its way to her.
Paul built plastic and wooden rockets from kits that were designed to be used for display purposes. Once complete, he launched them using some of his chemistry set combustibles as fuel. The neighborhood kids would gather and countdown to lift off just like NASA, then follow the rocket’s path with binoculars. Similar to the movie October Sky but this happened before the movie came out.
He loved all things space related. He had space sheets on his bed, photos from NASA of the first lunar space walk and space craft that were professionally framed and hung on his walls. He watched anything that was remotely sci-fi on TV like Star Trek or Lost in Space, and read books from all of the popular sci-fi writers that were available to him at the public library.
It rains quite a bit in LA so what else is there to do but play in the rain? One benefit of the rain was that it brought various species of worms to the surface for us to gather. Thin, long horse hair type worms and your traditional thick, fat earth worms to name a few. Paul decided to do a cryogenic experiment to see if, after being frozen and defrosted, any of the test subjects survived.
The perfect device for containing the worm specimens was an ice tray. We collected various lengths and thickness of worms, placed one in each cube, then filled it with water and popped it into the freezer. One of the fatter worms did survive for a few minutes after being quickly defrosted. Sadly, we were forced to cut our experiment short and dispose of our specimen samples when Dad discovered that the ice cubes in his nightly adult beverage contained worms.
Every spring the local school would get a fresh mound of loose orange sandy clay to build up the baseball field. Before the sand was spread for the season it was the perfect environment to make tunnels for little match box cars. It was also fun to see who could get enough speed on their bike to defy gravity by making it fly over the mound. Paul was fearless and clumsy and had more band aids than any another kid I knew.
Paul could spend hour upon hour with his Lego blocks. He made space ships and docking stations and had star wars even before the movie came out. His fascination with all things space related continued on the playground at our local park one block away from us. There was a multi-level rocket ship there that he was extremely fond of. One day he decided he was going to stick his big head out through the metal bars at the top of the space ship.
His head went through the bars easily enough, but he couldn’t get his head back through because of his big Honsinger ears. He caused quite a commotion as everyone on the playground attempted to come to his rescue. They tried to bend the bars, twist his neck, and fold his ears, but nothing worked. Before someone decided to call the fire department, I ran all the way home and got Mom. We returned to the park with a big can of Crisco and greased him up. He was saved.
Paul was an avid reader who as mentioned earlier, remembered everything he read. The good side of that was that he was smart and knew a lot. The down side was that he also knew whenever someone got their facts wrong. Including his teachers. He helpfully pointed out errors in their lessons, and let them know that the text books were out dated because it was recently discovered that . . . . . This particular trait made him very popular with all of his teachers, of course.
He was so smart, but a little absent minded. There was one year when Mom and Dad had to replace his windbreaker at least four times. He never could remember where he left them. Mom and Dad finally gave up and said, “You’re just going to have to get cold and wet until the seasons change because we can’t afford to buy anymore windbreakers.”
In his teen years, Paul let his crew cut grow out into a massive mound of dark black, coarse, wiry hair. With a little experimentation we found that his hair could absorb almost two quarts of water before starting to spill onto his face.
Even as a child Paul would start an argument simply so that he could practice arguing all the points possible to win his case. It didn’t matter what his personal stance really was on a topic. He would take the side that he thought would get the best rise out of his opponent. This was what we called the Argument Game. Sometimes you didn’t even know you had been sucked into it until it got heated. He eventually became a skillful debater. He even did it competitively and won regional and state awards. It also served him well during his years as an attorney.
The summer after 6th grade he was admitted to the Governors Program for Gifted Children. It was there that he bloomed. It was like a light went on within him that could never be extinguished.
Finally he was around people he didn’t have to correct, some of whom were smarter than he was. People who could teach him more than he already knew. People who had similar fascinations with everything around them. People who understood him, and who he understood in return. You could feel his new found energy.
He attended every summer through high school, then returned as a counselor, a debate teacher, and was later appointed to their board of directors. While at the GPGC one summer he was attributed to instigating and constructing the world’s largest live “Risk” game board in the McNeese State University quadrangle using people as movable pieces to show when countries were lost and won. This was done to achieve status in the Guinness Book of Records, and just to have fun, of course.
Paul’s curiosity knew no boundaries when he was a child. Thankfully, he carried that excitement for learning and discovery into his adult life. He developed a number of health issues over the years that slowed him down physically, but mentally he never missed a beat. His favorite invention of all time was the personal home computer. It provided him with all the information he could ask for on any subject he could think of right at his fingertips. Not a day went by that he didn’t strive to learn something new.
H. Paul Honsinger describes himself as a "reformed attorney." After practicing law for more than twenty years, as well as trying his hand at teaching, selling Pontiacs and GMC pickup trucks, and counseling teenagers, Honsinger retired from the practice of law. He now writes full time and is an Active Member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. He lives in rural Mohave County, Arizona with his wife, stepson, and two fantastically eccentric cats. His daughter is pursuing a Master's Degree in Music Composition at a university in Southern California.
His wife, Kathleen, is better known as the successful fantasy-romance author, Laura Jo Phillips, the author of the well-loved "Soul-Linked Saga," as well as the "Orbs of Rathira" Trilogy, and the "Hearts of ICARUS" series.
He is a native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and a graduate of Lake Charles High School, the University of Michigan, and the Louisiana State University law school. His father, the late Harvey G. Honsinger (1934-2012) was well known in Lake Charles, both as the Chief Director at KPLC-TV and, in a second career, as the District Administrator of the Department of Corrections, Division of Probation and Parole for all of Southwest Louisiana.
Space and military history are H. Paul Honsinger's life long passions. Lacking the physical attributes to be an astronaut or a soldier, and not endowed with the mathematical ability essential to become an Aerospace Engineer or an Astronomer, he "settled" for a career in law. But, the study of space and war have always been a part of his life. He became an amateur astronomer, made himself an expert on the history of space exploration (if you ever tell him that the moon landings were a hoax, expect an argument; expect to be destroyed), and never stopped studying the history and the art of war.
Paul started reading science fiction at the age of seven (starting with "Between Planets" by Robert Heinlein) and has been a lifelong fan of the genre. He also developed an interest in military history upon seeing the movie "Patton" on television in 1972 when he was twelve. He has spent years studying in detail the campaigns of Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, Lee, Grant, Jackson, Halsey, and Patton and--perhaps most significantly--thinking deeply and precisely about what it would be like if the principles of warfare and the laws of physics were realistically and logically applied to combat in outer space.
He never thought he would be a fiction writer. His wife, Kathleen, one day pointed at his computer chair and said: "Sit. Start writing. Now." The result was the first draft of Chapter 1 of "To Honor You Call Us" (the Prologue was written later). Paul tremulously presented it to Kathleen and asked "am I wasting my time?" She said "no" and the rest of the novel followed. Paul's goal is simple: to write military science fiction done right--stories in which the alien enemies are believable foes, fighting for a plausible reason, with weapons that don't violate the laws of physics, and where the tactics used by both sides make some sort of geometric and military sense. He wanted to bring to space the same kind of realistic adventure one finds on the sea in the novels of Patrick O'Brian and C.S. Forester. Why not, he thought, tell realistic human stories against the background of a realistic military conflict that just happens to be set 300 years in the future? And why not try to evoke in the imaginations of readers vivid images of what the lives of these men would be like, fighting for the survival of mankind among the stars, thousands of light-years from home?
Paul believes that, even though it is usually set in the future, Science Fiction can be as "real" as any other literary genre. No matter what instrumentalities he may control, no matter what power he may have at his fingertips and what wonders await him in the year 2315 and beyond, Man will still be Man, and it should be possible to write stories of that time that engage us, that move us, that touch us, and that inspire us today.
Learn more about Paul and his exciting military science fiction series, "Man of War," as well as his other works, by visiting his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/honsingerscifi (please remember to click the "Like" button while you're there!). Paul also blogs about the series, Science Fiction, and other topics, at http://hpaulhonsinger.com.
Paul loves hearing from readers. Please feel free to write to him at email@example.com.