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Welcome to the H. Beam Piper mailing list and discussion forum. Initiated in October 2008 (after the demise of the original PIPER-L mailing list), this tool for shared communication among Piper fans provides an e-mail list and a discussion forum with on-line archives.
 
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1490
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
02-23-2017
01:29 UT
These guys are digging in shale, not flint. Their diggers are on caterpillar treads, not contragravity. But they dig up fossilized sea creatures to be used as gemstones.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/ammo...nada-gems-1.3993105

They don't glow like sunstones, but they are very colourful!
1489
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
02-19-2017
17:46 UT
~
Jon Crocker wrote:

> And I think you're right about the Hartley Yarns, looks like an
> offshoot of the fourth level Europo-American subsector.

That seems to be John's take in his ~Time Crime~ expansion, though I think it's also reasonable to treat the Hartley Yarns as a stand-alone setting.

With a bit of work they might even be shoe-horned--some more easily than others (the "time-shifting" of Hartley's consciousness in "Time and Time Again" calls to mind Beam's own hesitation about "The Edge of the Knife")--into the Terro-human Future History.

I have the honor, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera,

David
--
"I remember, when I was just a kid, about a hundred and fifty years ago--a hundred and thirty-nine, to be exact--I picked up a fellow on the Fourth Level, just about where you're operating, and dragged him a couple of hundred parayears. I went back to find him and return him to his own time-line, but before I could locate him, he'd been arrested by the local authorities as a suspicious character, and got himself shot trying to escape. I felt badly about that. . . ." - Tortha Karf (H. Beam Piper), "Police Operation"
~
1488
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
02-19-2017
17:34 UT
~
Jon Crocker wrote:

> It's interesting to see - I'd bet that the Whelan covers had better
> sales, though.

Yes, I think Whelan's work helped a great deal to introduce--or reintroduce--readers to Piper in the late '70s and early '80s

I'd known about this Orbit (UK) edition of ~Sapiens~--it's in the Zarthani.net bibliography--but I'd never seen the cover illustration before. It's obviously the same artist who did the cover illustration for the Orbit edition of ~Little Fuzzy~ but I've not been able to identify a name.

Yeek.

David
--
"Do you know which books to study, and which ones not to bother with? Or which ones to read first, so that what you read in the others will be comprehensible to you? That's what they'll give you [at university]. The tools, which you don't have now, for educating yourself." - Bish Ware (H. Beam Piper), ~Four-Day Planet~
~
1487
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
02-19-2017
17:25 UT
It's interesting to see - I'd bet that the Whelan covers had better sales, though.

And I think you're right about the Hartley Yarns, looks like an offshoot of the fourth level Europo-American subsector.
1486
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
02-18-2017
22:50 UT

Cover art for UK edition of Fuzzy Sapiens, Orbit/Futura 1977
1485
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
02-13-2017
03:32 UT
~
The Hartley Yarns and Piper's Terro-human Future History

[Been working on this as part of a little project and thought I'd share it here.]

In his Hartley yarns, H. Beam Piper began a future historical setting which is somewhat different from his more fully-developed Terro-human Future History. The setting begins with Piper's first published story, the 1947 yarn "Time and Time Again" in which a dying Allan Hartley "re-awakens" in his childhood past—and in his fourteen-year-old body—with the intact memories of his life up to his apparent death in the Third World War. Successfully convincing his father, Blake Hartley, of the veracity of his future "memories," Hartley and his father begin planning, in 1945, to take advantage of Allan's knowledge of the future to avert the Third World War by getting the elder Hartley elected President in 1960.

The Hartleys appear in two other Piper yarns. In 1950's "The Mercenaries," set in 1965, Blake Hartley is now President of the United States, a key member of the Western Union, and an adult Allan Hartley is a wealthy former patron of the MacLeod Research Team. The MacLeod Team is a band of "free scientists" beset by treachery while working under contract on the super secret Philadelphia Project, aimed at launching a spaceship to the Moon and building a lunar military base which will enable the Western Union to dominate the world.

In 1951's "Day of the Moron," set in 1968, a Hartley, presumably Blake still, is President when the Melroy Engineering Corporation, a cybernetic-control systems company (which had worked previously on the Philadelphia Project), becomes embroiled in a labor dispute while contracted to support the Long Island Nuclear Reaction Plant. President Hartley attempts to intervene in the labor dispute by ordering naval technicians to the troubled nuclear power plant.

Some enthusiasts argue that Piper's Hartley yarns are part of his Terro-human Future History despite the fact that Piper himself does not mention any of the Hartley yarns in his delineation of the Terro-human yarns in the article "The Future History." The principal reason one might be inclined to include Piper's Hartley yarns in his Terro-human Future History is the mention of an "Islamic Caliphate" in the Terro-human yarn "The Edge of the Knife" and the mention of an "Islamic Kaliphate" (sic) in "The Mercenaries." But the Islamic Caliphate of "The Edge of the Knife" is friendly to the United States and eventually joins the U.S.-led Terran Federation while the Islamic Kaliphate of "The Mercenaries" is an adversary of the U.S.-led Western Union. (These two different U.S.-led blocs, Terran Federation and Western Union, suggest distinct settings too.)

Another possible commonality between the Hartley Yarns and the Terro-human Future History is the Third World War, which occurs in Allan Hartley's "original timeline" in 1975. A Third World War is also mentioned in several Terro-human Future History yarns but "The Edge of the Knife" dates this war in 1973. The Third World War of "The Edge of the Knife" is a brief conflict--the "Thirty Days' War"--consisting primarily of strategic missile exchanges between the United States and its foes. On the other hand, the Third World War in "Time and Time Again" is a much more protracted conflict which includes a "transpolar air invasion" of Canada, the fall of Ottawa to enemy forces, and an eventual siege of Buffalo, New York (where the original Allan Hartley meets his apparent demise). These very different portrayals suggest two different wars and thus two distinct settings.

Another possible connection between Piper's two future history settings is the centrality of the U.S. Philadelphia Project, an effort to launch a spaceship to the Moon and build a lunar missile base. In "The Edge of the Knife" the Philadelphia Project was also the name of the effort by the United States to launch a spacecraft to the Moon. The successful launch of the Philadelphia Project's _Kilroy_ spacecraft leads to an effort to construct a lunar missile base and, ultimately, enables the U.S. to prevail in the Third World War. Likewise, the Philadelphia Project is mentioned in both "The Mercenaries" and "Day of the Moron" and is described in "The Mercenaries" as a U.S.-led effort to launch a spaceship to the Moon and to build a lunar military base. But there is an important difference. While several competing Moon efforts by U.S. adversaries are mentioned in "The Mercenaries" (even the Islamic Kaliphate has one) there is no mention of any competing efforts in "The Edge of the Knife." Indeed, one of the provocations that lead to the Third World War in "The Edge of the Knife" are protests on the part of its adversaries about U.S. efforts to build a military base on the Moon. One would hardly expect such protests if those adversaries, as is the case in "The Mercenaries," were themselves involved in their own lunar base undertakings.

Other than the Philadelphia Project, nowhere in any of the Terro-human Future History yarns Piper identifies in his essay "The Future History" do we see references to any of the characters or events portrayed in the Hartley Yarns. No mention of Allan Hartley or his father Blake. No mention of the MacLeod Research Team nor of the "free scientists" phenomenon more generally. No mention of the Melroy Engineering Company nor the disaster at the Long Island Nuclear Reaction Plant. And the Islamic Kaliphate notwithstanding, there is no mention of the Western Union or its other competitors: the Fourth Komintern or the Ibero-American Confederation. Likewise, there is no mention in any Hartley yarn of the Terran Federation, the Thirty Days War, the secret U.S. "Operation Triple Cross" plan to build redundant launch facilities to supply the Lunar Base, nor the lunar spaceship _Kilroy_ from "The Edge of the Knife." The absence of such linkages, which are so very characteristic of Piper's Terro-human Future History yarns, confirm what Piper himself implies in "The Future History": the Hartley yarns are distinct from his Terro-human Future History.

[Comments welcome, of course.]

David
--
"Do you know which books to study, and which ones not to bother with? Or which ones to read first, so that what you read in the others will be comprehensible to you? That's what they'll give you [at university]. The tools, which you don't have now, for educating yourself." - Bish Ware (H. Beam Piper), ~Four-Day Planet~
~
1484
CalidorePerson was signed in when posted
02-08-2017
01:29 UT
David wrote:

>You've convinced me. But, wow, his uncanny near prediction of the eventual fate of "Nova >Zembla"
>almost leaves me wondering if Beam actually could "remember the future" like Ed Chalmers!

Yes, a fascinating coincidence—assuming it was!

>All possible, I suppose, but a great deal of speculation beyond what was in the yarn itself. It
>could just as well be that there wasn't a Second World War in this setting, leaving the battle
>between Communist and Nationalist Chinese forces to play out very differently--and with
>Nanking ending up being the capital of the UPREA.

And

>Again, this is another possibility that is nevertheless a rather large leap beyond what we see in
>the yarn. Indeed, one striking thing about this setting is the complete absence of any
>references to the United States (or Europe). That may have simply been part of the "schtick" of
>the yarn but it's telling if Beam actually had a well-considered alternate setting in mind here.

Right. My speculations were based on the assumption that “Operation R.S.V.P” is a timeline in the Paratime universe, and I tried to figure out how the two Eastern blocs in Beam’s story could have arisen. Many different permutations are of course possible. But though “Operation” can easily fit into the Paratime universe, there is actually no evidence Piper intended it as such. It feels more like a ‘stand alone’ story, which I assume is why John Carr included it in the Worlds collection rather than Paratime. Indeed, in his short introduction, John suggests it is simply Piper’s take on the concept of nuclear brinkmanship.

>Some interesting postulating. It's a shame we don't have more from Beam to go on.

Thanks, and agreed!

And finally,

> Wolfgang "Calidore" Diehr wrote:

You flatter me, but it’s really John “Calidore” Anderson. I tried to join the Forum as myself, but was informed that the name was already taken. Guess I should have signed my post!

John
1483
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
02-04-2017
20:27 UT
"New Little Fuzzy Review"
I'd give the review one star.
The reviewer spends half the time talking about how Piper goes into too much detail, and the other half talking about details of his other works.
1482
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
02-04-2017
20:01 UT
~
New ~Little Fuzzy~ review

Over at Galactic Journey, where they have already posted reviews of "Ministry of Disturbance," "Oomphel in the Sky," and "Naudsonce" (as part of overall reviews of the respective magazine issues in which they first appeared), there is a new review of ~Little Fuzzy~:

http://galacticjourney.org/january-23-1962...ipers-little-fuzzy/

The review is written by someone who has larger perspective of Beam's work overall, which is a nice touch.

(Galactic Journey is engaged in a rather interesting exercise, blogging "in the past," such that the review is written as if ~Little Fuzzy~ has just been issued. It's a perspective Ed Chalmers might have appreciated!)

Yeek!

David
--
"He started for the kitchen to get a drink, and checked himself. Take a drink because you pity yourself, and then the drink pities you and has a drink, and then two good drinks get together and that calls for drinks all around." - Jack Holloway (H. Beam Piper), ~Little Fuzzy~
~
1481
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
02-03-2017
01:20 UT
~
Wolfgang "Calidore" Diehr wrote:

> Operation R.S.V.P. was published in 1951. But according to
> wikipedia, Novaya Zemlya was not used as a nuclear test site
> until 1954. (And as a consequence was probably a secret
> installation.) So was Piper ahead of his time, or was there
> another reason for his choice? Looking at a map, "Nova Zembla"
> (to use his spelling) is almost directly north of Afghanistan,
> placing the Ameer's missile's flight path between Moscow and
> Nanking. And the distance traveled makes it plain that it could
> reach both cities. The Ameer was therefore giving both of his
> neighbors a "shot across the bow", which of course is explicit
> in the story.

You've convinced me. But, wow, his uncanny near prediction of the eventual fate of "Nova Zembla" almost leaves me wondering if Beam actually could "remember the future" like Ed Chalmers!

> So another reason could be that Nanking is more centrally
> located. Beam does not define the member states of the UPREA,
> but one would guess that it includes Manchuria (separate from
> China in "Hunter Patrol"), Sinkiang (Xinjiang) and Tibet, with Han
> China being the "Russia" of this imitation Soviet Union. The UPREA
> could also include North Korea, Mongolia and North Vietnam,
> since they are East Asian peoples. The Russians might have
> something to say about the former two, but I assume history
> progressed a bit differently on this timeline, which after all is
> suggested by the "alternate" names Piper used.

I suppose the "central location" makes sense but the capital at Nanking also suggests a markedly different setting from our actual world. Korea was divided between Soviet and American clients--erupting into war five weeks after Beam sold "Operation R.S.V.P."--suggesting that it would be an unlikely UPREA member unless this setting's history was rather different from that of eastern Asia in the actual Second World War. Mongolia was also balancing between China and Soviet Russia in this period so it's tough to make any guesses there given its absence from the story. (It could even possibly be in an "independent" position similar to that of the Ameer's Afghanistan.) Vietnam was engulfed in war with its former French colonizers in the period when Beam was writing the yarn so again it's difficult to make a guess about its relationship to the UPREA in the absence of any specific information. All in all it seems to me that if Beam was writing on the basis of any broad-ranging assumptions for this setting they were rather different from actual history. Making Nanking the UPREA capital may simply have been one way he was signalling that.

> In fact, "UEESR" suggests that the divergence occurred before the
> creation of our USSR in 1922.
>
> But back to China. Perhaps the Japanese crippled the Kuomintang
> during WWII (I assume the war happened here), so that the
> Communists were the only group powerful enough to continue the
> fight. With the defeat of its Nationalist ally, and the Japanese on
> the verge of conquering China, the United States would be forced
> to ally with Mao, as it did with Stalin (assuming these men are this
> timeline's leaders). Stalin was particularly brutal to the Germans
> who invaded his country, and Mao would be at least as brutal to
> the Japanese who invaded his. Particularly in order to repay
> the infamous Rape of Nanking. And that repayment could be
> symbolically hammered home with a triumphant Communist
> march into Nanking in 1945, rather than 1949, as in our timeline.
> The avenged and liberated city would be China's capital once again!

All possible, I suppose, but a great deal of speculation beyond what was in the yarn itself. It could just as well be that there wasn't a Second World War in this setting, leaving the battle between Communist and Nationalist Chinese forces to play out very differently--and with Nanking ending up being the capital of the UPREA.

> Furthermore, with the Kuomintang out of the picture, the US
> could even give their Communist Chinese allies Taiwan, with the
> President's blessing. That could have been promised in a "Yunan
> Conference", paralleling the Yalta Conference in Europe. And
> assuming the alliance with Mao was an early one, the President
> could have also promised them Korea. South Korea might not
> exist on this timeline; the whole peninsula may be part of the
> UPREA.

Again, this is another possibility that is nevertheless a rather large leap beyond what we see in the yarn. Indeed, one striking thing about this setting is the complete absence of any references to the United States (or Europe). That may have simply been part of the "schtick" of the yarn but it's telling if Beam actually had a well-considered alternate setting in mind here.

Some interesting postulating, Wolf. It's a shame we don't have more from Beam to go on.

I have the honor, etc., etc., etc.,

David
--
"You either went on to the inevitable catastrophe, or you realized, in time, that nuclear armament and nationalism cannot exist together on the same planet, and it is easier to banish a habit of thought than a piece of knowledge." - H. Beam Piper, ~Uller Uprising~
~
1480
CalidorePerson was signed in when posted
01-24-2017
15:05 UT
“Operation R.S.V.P.” was published in 1951. But according to wikipedia, Novaya Zemlya was not used as a nuclear test site until 1954. (And as a consequence was probably a secret installation.) So was Piper ahead of his time, or was there another reason for his choice? Looking at a map, “Nova Zembla” (to use his spelling) is almost directly north of Afghanistan, placing the Ameer’s missile’s flight path between Moscow and Nanking. And the distance traveled makes it plain that it could reach both cities. The Ameer was therefore giving both of his neighbors a “shot across the bow”, which of course is explicit in the story.

The flight path is closer to Moscow than Nanking, and only crosses Soviet territory; probably because the USSR (sorry, UEESR) shares a long border with Afghanistan, making it a greater threat to the country than China. The more so because the Ameer states that both of his communist neighbors are contesting over the right to conquer India, which for the Russians would obviously entail rolling over Afghanistan along the way.

Why is Nanking the capital of the UPREA? Possibly because Peking is too close to the Russian border, making it vulnerable to conventional attack. The two communist blocs are already at odds (the Khakum River dispute), and for the Chinese to similarly threaten far-distant Moscow would be next to impossible.

On the other hand, Russia and China were communist allies at first, meaning the defense issue should not have been an early concern. So another reason could be that Nanking is more centrally located. Beam does not define the member states of the UPREA, but one would guess that it includes Manchuria (separate from China in “Hunter Patrol”), Sinkiang (Xinjiang) and Tibet, with Han China being the ‘Russia’ of this imitation Soviet Union. The UPREA could also include North Korea, Mongolia and North Vietnam, since they are East Asian peoples. The Russians might have something to say about the former two, but I assume history progressed a bit differently on this timeline, which after all is suggested by the ‘alternate’ names Piper used. In fact, ‘UEESR’ suggests that the divergence occurred before the creation of our USSR in 1922.

But back to China. Perhaps the Japanese crippled the Kuomintang during WWII (I assume the war happened here), so that the Communists were the only group powerful enough to continue the fight. With the defeat of its Nationalist ally, and the Japanese on the verge of conquering China, the United States would be forced to ally with Mao, as it did with Stalin (assuming these men are this timeline’s leaders). Stalin was particularly brutal to the Germans who invaded his country, and Mao would be at least as brutal to the Japanese who invaded his. Particularly in order to repay the infamous Rape of Nanking. And that repayment could be symbolically hammered home with a triumphant Communist march into Nanking in 1945, rather than 1949, as in our timeline. The avenged and liberated city would be China’s capital once again!

Furthermore, with the Kuomintang out of the picture, the US could even give their Communist Chinese allies Taiwan, with the President’s blessing. That could have been promised in a "Yunan Conference", paralleling the Yalta Conference in Europe. And assuming the alliance with Mao was an early one, the President could have also promised them Korea. South Korea might not exist on this timeline; the whole peninsula may be part of the UPREA.

A final reason for the choice of Nanking could be the fact that communists are anti-monarchists. Lenin moved the Soviet capital to Moscow at least partly because St. Petersburg was the Tsarist capital. (Moscow was also more centrally located, like Nanking.) And since Peking was the Imperial capital of China, Nanking would be a natural choice for an anti-monarchist capital. Which in fact it already was, being the capital of the Chinese Republic since 1912, after the last Emperor abdicated. Assuming that event also occurred on this timeline, that would place its divergence with ours somewhere between 1912 and 1922.

Very interesting connection between Piper’s story and real history, though. Thanks for the inspiration, David!
1479
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
01-22-2017
23:05 UT
~
Operation R.S.V.P.: Nanking and Nova Zembla

Reread "Operation R.S.V.P." recently:

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/18261/18261-h/18261-h.htm

and noticed a couple of interesting items.

The first is Beam's choice for the capital of the "United Peoples' Republics of East Asia." Beam makes Nanking (Nanjing) the capital of this East Asian communist federation, rather than Peking (Beijing), which was the capital of the People's Republic of China at the time Beam was writing "Operation R.S.V.P." This seems an odd choice, especially because Nanking had been the capital of the Chinese Nationalist government, before it was forced to Taiwan by the Communists. (It seems especially odd because Beam leaves the capital of the "Union of East European Soviet Republics" at Moscow. One wonders why he didn't also place the quasi-Soviet federation capital at Leningrad/St. Petersburg.)

The second interesting item is Nova Zembla (Novaya Zemlya), the Arctic Ocean site of the Ameer of Afghanistan's demonstration of the new "carbon-hydrogen cycle bomb." A bit over a decade after "Operation R.S.V.P." appeared, Nova Zembla was the location of the most powerful nuclear weapons test ever. Obviously, Beam understood that Nova Zembla was a Soviet nuclear test site but it's uncanny that it ended up being the site of the biggest nuke test ever.

I have the honor, etc., etc., etc.,

David
--
"You either went on to the inevitable catastrophe, or you realized, in time, that nuclear armament and nationalism cannot exist together on the same planet, and it is easier to banish a habit of thought than a piece of knowledge." - H. Beam Piper, ~Uller Uprising~
~
1478
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
01-05-2017
02:12 UT
~
Garland hardcover of ~Lord ~Kalvan~ at ABEBooks.com

A reasonably-priced copy of the only hardcover edition of ~Lord Kalvan~ is available at ABE:

https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=21414414204

Appears to be an ex-library book, which may explain the price. Still, I'd buy it if I didn't already have one. . . .

David (not the seller)
--
"Do you know which books to study, and which ones not to bother with? Or which ones to read first, so that what you read in the others will be comprehensible to you? That's what they'll give you [at university]. The tools, which you don't have now, for educating yourself." - Bish Ware (H. Beam Piper), ~Four-Day Planet~
~
1477
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
01-04-2017
03:19 UT
~
Jon Crocker wrote:

> That might work towards why someone is naming fuzzies after
> characters in The Mikado. New Zealand, Australia, South Africa,
> all Commonwealth members...

Point taken. Though if I had undertaken an exercise like Scalzi's, I would have dumped "Ko-Ko" but kept "Government House."

Perhaps I simply don't appreciate the appeal of ~The Mikado~ but it does seem to me that one choice by Beam--Federation civilization modeled on the remnants of Commonwealth civilization which endured in (parts of) the Southern Hemisphere--was "intentional," while the other--naming a tertiary character after a figure from his contemporary popular culture--was happenstance.

Yeek!

David
--
"I was born in Antarctica, on Terra. The water's a little too cold to do much swimming there. And I've spent most of my time since then in central Argentine, in the pampas country." - Glenn Murell (H. Beam Piper), ~Four-Day Planet~
~
1476
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
01-04-2017
01:56 UT
That might work towards why someone is naming fuzzies after characters in The Mikado. New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, all Commonwealth members...
1475
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
01-03-2017
14:34 UT
~
James "jimmyjoejangles" Romanski wrote:

> he was a member of the British war cabinet during the
> first war, which is why I was confused.

You're in good company. Here's Ed Chalmers talking about that period:

"I can't recall the exact manner in which I blundered into it. The fact that I did make such a blunder was because I was talking extemporaneously and had wandered ahead of my text. I was trying to show the results of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War, and the partition of the Middle East into a loose collection of Arab states, and the passing of British and other European spheres of influence following the Second. You know, when you consider it, the Islamic Caliphate was inevitable; the surprising thing is that it was created by a man like Khalid. . . ."

Though already in decline, the British Commonwealth was a much more substantive entity in Beam's lifetime than it has become in ours. This is why elements of Commonwealth civilization survive, via Southern Hemisphere states like (pre-apartheid) Smuts's South Africa, into the Federation era. It's why, for example, Uller Company headquarters are at "Company House."

Znidd Suddabit!

David
--
"You either went on to the inevitable catastrophe, or you realized, in time, that nuclear armament and nationalism cannot exist together on the same planet, and it is easier to banish a habit of thought than a piece of knowledge." - H. Beam Piper, ~Uller Uprising~
~
^     All messages            1475-1490 of 1490  1459-1474 >>

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