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Welcome to the Zarthani.net 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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^     All messages            2009-2024 of 2024  1993-2008 >>
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03:19 UT
From the Archives: "Discovering Piper"

Below, another message to the old PIPER-L mailing list, from twenty years ago this week, way back in January 2000, when several of us Piper fans were describing our first encounter with Piper's work. Then a very special, new member of the list chimed in:

Subject: Re: Discovering Piper
From: John Carr
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 19:51:37 -0800


I first started reading Piper in the '50s in 'Astounding Science Fiction,'
but didn't really discover him until the late '60s, when a theatre arts
friend of one of my roommates (at the time, I was living with 2 girls, Jerri
and Vicki -- ALA 'Three's Company' -- and he was Jerri's friend) loaned me
his copy of LORD KALVAN OF OTHERWHEN. This guy was a 'real' character; he
would occasionally wear a 7th Cavalry troopers' uniform to school (San Diego
Stage University). He considered LORD KALVAN one of the greatest military
fiction novels of all time; he loaned me his copy, I read it and agreed.
(Interestingly, he was not a science fiction fan.) Since most of Piper's
novels weren't published until the early sixties -- and were out-of-print by
then -- I bought my own copies of LORD KALVAN OF OTHERWHEN, COSMIC COMPUTER
and SPACE VIKING at used book stores. I was amazed by the wealth of detail
and the power of Beam's prose. Piper was a true storyteller; maybe the best
we've had this century. John W. Campbell -- the famed editor of
'Astounding/Analog' -- compared Beam's stories to the classics, such as
TREASURE ISLAND and ROBINSON CRUSOE. My belief is that -- since Piper is
constantly re-discovered -- over time Piper's books will join the list of
young adult (because they're fun and very readable and not 'serious,' AKA
real 'literature') classics in centuries to come, despite Ace's attempt to
keep them well hidden. Actually, the effort new readers undergo to locate
Piper's books may actually help them become classics, since most young
adults don't respond well to books they are spoon-fed! The books that I
believe will attain classic status are LORD KALVAN OF OTHERWHEN and SPACE
VIKING. LITTLE FUZZY and COSMIC COMPUTER are -- and will remain -- lesser
works, but will probably remain in print as Robert Louis Stevenson's minor
works do, such as KIDNAPPED.

>>A couple of questions for the list: Who actually owns the rights to
>>write in Piper's universe?

Ace Books. Jerry Pournelle has Beam's permission to write in Piper's

>>How would one go about getting permission to write a story set in
>>Piper's TFH or Paratime?

You can't. Ace is not even publishing Piper's own books, much less wanting
(or more importantly 'allowing') anyone else to do so. It's a closed/locked
door. If you want to write a novel for practice, or to give to friends --
go ahead. But don't expect to ever publish it as a mainstream SF novel.
Ace doesn't want to see or hear about Piper pastiches. I remember one Ace
editor, I talked to at a convention in the '80s, laughing about a would-be
author who sent them a 'new' Paratime novel each and every year. They
didn't even bother to read them, just tossed them into the circular file.
No other publisher will touch them.

>>In one of the prefaces to one of the Ace paperbacks that Jerry Pournelle
>>was the only writer who had such right.

True. He had Piper's permission, and has Ace's as well.

>>And, welcome to the list John!

Thanks, Tim.


John Carr

John, who had just joined the mailing list a few days earlier, was responding to questions offered by Piper fan Tim Tow, who is still with us here today. This was John's first post to the mailing list; the original message is available here:


An archive of most of the other posts that week about "Discovering Piper" is also available here:



"I was going to write like James Branch Cabell, which would have taken a lot of doing. Before that, I was going to write like Rafael Sabatini, and like Talbot Mundy, and like Rider Haggard, and even, God help us all, like Edgar Rice Burroughs. . . . Eventually I decided to write like H. Beam Piper, only a little better. I am still trying." - H. Beam Piper, "Double: Bill Symposium" interview
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03:20 UT
Another Year of H. Beam Piper Discussion

The annual subscription fee has now been paid--with support from several Piper fans! Thank you to those of you who have made contributions in support of the Piper Mailing List (and this Discussion Forum).

For those of you who made a contribution I'd like to offer a little reward. I will send you any one of the following Piper-related paperbacks from the Zarthani.net hoard (at no charge):

~Space Viking~, Ace, 1963 (F-225), with cover illustration by Ed Valigursky (two copies)

~The Cosmic Computer~, Ace, 1964 (F-274), with cover illustration by Ed Valigursky (two copies)

~Alternatives~ (anthology), Robert Adams and Pamela Crippen Adams, eds., Baen, 1989, with "Kalvan Kingmaker" by Roland Green and John F. Carr (short story expanded into ~Kalvan Kingmaker~; two copies)

~Armageddon!~ (anthology), Jerry Pournelle and John F. Carr, eds., Tor, 1989, with "Siege at Tarr-Hostigos" by Roland Green and John F. Carr (short story expanded into ~Siege of Tarr-Hostigos~; one copy)

Please let me know if you'd like one of these small tokens of appreciation. (I will distribute them on a first-come, first-serve basis so let me know your top two or three choices in case someone else gets your first choice ahead of you.)

If nothing catches your interest here, please have a look at the rest of the Zarthani.net Piper Hoard:


I only have duplicates of the more common items (mostly the Ace reprints) but if you'd rather have one of those, and I have a duplicate, I'll be happy send it along instead.

Here's to another year of Piper discussion!

"Why not everybody make friend, have fun, make help, be good?" - Diamond Grego (H. Beam Piper), ~Fuzzy Sapiens~
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
19:01 UT
Hello Piper Fans:

It's time again to pay the annual fee ($US54) necessary to keep this mailing list and forum archive free of advertisements and to enable features like image posting. You can support this shared resource by making a contribution in an amount of your choice using the PayPal link at the top of the Discussion Forum page. (You don't need a PayPal account to make a donation, just a credit card.)

I will pay the fee again this year, regardless of any contributions, but I do use this annual ritual as an indicator of interest in Piper-related discussion at Zarthani.net. Looking at the message traffic over the past year, it seems we're paying a bit less than a dollar and a half per message sent to the two dozen or so of us who are subscribed to the mailing list. (I don't know how may people might be reading the forum archive without being subscribed to the mailing list.) So I hope you'll take advantage of this opportunity to express your interest in continued Piper-related discussion.

Thank you for whatever amount of support you choose to provide.

Have a merry solstice holiday, however you celebrate it, and best wishes for the New Year.

"I always was a present-peeker [on] New Year's. . . ." - Elaine Karvall (H. Beam Piper), ~Space Viking~
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
21:39 UT
A few years back I picked up a hardback copy of Murder in the Gunroom - it didn't have a name plate from a former owner, but it did have a name and address stamped inside. I guess the first owner liked her books and had a stamp made.

The address listed is 1148 N Tacoma St, Allentown, Pa.

On a whim I looked it up on google streetview last week, it's a nice little house.

Then it hit me, it was almost like punching in a frequency-combination to get info from a screen-pickup, it's not live of course.
Dave EdenPerson was signed in when posted
05:12 UT
There's only brief mention of Piper but I thought some of you may be interested to know that John Carr is on the "Baen Free Radio Hour" podcast this past week. Don't be fooled by the mistaken middle initial in the podcast description, they got it right in the interview. Here's a link:
https://www.baen.com/podcast You can also access the podcast from various other podcast apps.
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
06:04 UT
Here's a question - how long have Verkan and Dalla been together this time?

In 'Last Enemy', after Verkan has the duel with the three Statisticalists, Verkan gets a note from Dalla. He smiles at the postscript, and remembers that it had been "twenty years ago, when he'd been eighty and she'd been seventy." They then rekindle their relationship after the romantic shootout towards the end of the story.

I couldn't find a time reference in 'Time Crime', I may have missed one, but they're still together.

In 'Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen' at the end of chapter 8, when defending his choice of outtime hobby locations, Vall says "I'm only a hundred and thirty" which could mean they were together for a good thirty years.
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
02:55 UT
I don't want to get into current real-world politics. I will say that no one ten years ago who posited this current US political situation would have been likely to get many people to believe them. It's like that bit in Back to the Future - "Who is the President of the United States in 1985?" So I can sympathize with Piper, attempting to come up with something reasonable for a 'short haul' of 50 years or so.

Some things Piper seemed bang-on about - there was the bit in Lord Kalvan when, not long after his arrival, ex-Officer Morrison realized that he wouldn't need to get a shave and no one would take him for a beatnik or an Amishman. Which seems much like what a police officer might be worried about.
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
18:49 UT
From the Archives: "Hartley's America"

Below, another message to the old PIPER-L mailing list, from eighteen years ago, way back in October 2001, which examined Beam's depictions of America's "future history":


Subject: Hartley's America
From: Steve Newton
Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 00:13:59 -0500

Having returned from what someone called "lurker mode" once. . . .

It seems to me that in looking at Piper's Hartley stories and how they fit
today's situation (at least in tone), there are a couple of points worth

Piper arguably saw the US is a death-struggle with Communism to be played
out through nuclear war or the threat thereof. While he was evoking the
Cold War, there are a lot of similarities to the current mindset vis a vis
the war on terrorism. But what interests me is the underlying assumptions
Piper makes about what will be necessary to win such a war. . . .

First, he assumes a significant militarization of the US under an
increasingly authoritarian government. In Moron we get a vision of nuclear
power plants guarded by US Army troops, anti-rocket defenses, Atomic Power
Police, legions of undercover agents, and everyone in management sworn in
as a pistol-packing Federal deputy marshal. Ground Forces Command sits in
the middle of Manhattan. The Philadelphia Project has involved just about
every scientific resource in the country, and one can only contemplate the
money necessary to build the redundant resupply launch sites for the
moonbase. In "Hunter Patrol" he visualizes a war that goes on for longer
than a decade, in which Americans are routinely rotated in and out of
combat on foreign soil. There is very little room for, or mention of, any
political dissent; in Day of the Moron a strong undercurrent is not just
that there are morons, but that organized labor pursuing its goals in an
essentially wartime situation is both unpatriotic and imbecilic. I wonder
at the state of civil liberties in this particular country.

Moreover, in Piper's future America this concentration on nuclear power and
the Philly Project are not without their consequences. You can write some
of these elements off to Piper's personal failure to discern future trends,
but I think it is instructive to note that, by our standards,

Computers never--even in the Federation period--achieve the development
we've actually accomplished by the end of the 20th Century.

There is no interstate system, and based on several references to travel in
Moron and EotK, the road system is nothing to write home about, most people
in urban areas have to use mass transit, and the upper class professionals
get around it all by flying private aircraft. . . .

Between Piper's Hartley stories and his Federation stories there is a
distict line regarding ethnic mixing. All those mixed-race/mixed-culture
characters that begin showing up in Uller are conspicuously absent in his
American pre-1973. I would suspect that there was never a civil rights
movement, per se, in Hartley's America.

All of which is by no means an attempt to paint Piper as favoring any of
these developments, but instead I suspect he saw them as consequences of
the centralized government power that would have to be marshalled in order
to win the nuclear arms race and WW3. That's also why I see the 30 days
war as ending, in Piper's mind, in a very Toynbeean US-dominated universal
state with all the stagnation and authoritarian power that implied.

In other words, it is interesting to wonder where, absent the cold war,
technological and social developments would have taken us, and it is
important to speculate about the costs of this new war. In neither case am
I arguing that either the Cold War nor the Terror War should not be (or
have been) prosecuted, I'm just pointing out that, as Piper consistently
showed, large historical events have significant (usually unintended and
often undesirable) consequences.



Steve's original message is available here:



"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~
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
02:50 UT
That's interesting.

Hope the Vargr doesn't meet the priests of Strephon before the local Uncle Wolf!
Gregg LevinePerson was signed in when posted
18:12 UT
DJ, this is bizarre. It seems in that fleeting thing called real life, I might have actually known the fellow behind that strange but good idea. Reason being is that his author's profile, comes surprisingly close to describing the chap as I'd last exchanged e-mail with him, within the past twenty or so years.

Right now I'm busily writing a crossover for a neighboring list, in the realm of "Doctor Who meets Tom Swift" as it happens. The list itself is on that subject, that of Tom Swift.

As for your message, why not forward it to the regular Piper list? There must be people there who're interested.
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
16:16 UT

Intriguing call for submissions for Lord Kalvan/Traveller cross-over fan fiction here:


~Freelance Traveller~ is a great webzine. Traveller's already incorporated Piper's Sword-Worlds, so it will be fascinating to see what happens when a shipwrecked Vargr shows up in the Great Kingdoms. . . .

Oath to Galzar!

"Oh, my people had many gods. There was Conformity, and Authority, and Expense Account, and Opinion. And there was Status, whose symbols were many, and who rode in the great chariot Cadillac, which was almost a god itself. And there was Atom-bomb, the dread destroyer, who would some day come to end the world. None were very good gods, and I worshiped none of them.” - Calvin Morrison (H. Beam Piper), ~Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen~
CalidorePerson was signed in when posted
03:32 UT
David “Piperfan” Johnson wrote,

>Then I read for the first time, King Solomon’s Mines and it was obvious that
>Von Schlichten was modeled on Haggard’s Captain John Good, not just in
>how he looks, but his personality as well. It’s uncanny actually.

When I first read King Solomon’s Mines back around 2007, I made much the same connection. Not necessarily in personality; Captain Good is the least of Haggard’s three main characters, and seems to provide a greater share of the comic relief, unlike the more serious and lordly Sir Henry Curtis, or the worldly and practical Quatermain. In addition, John in unlucky in love in KSM and its sequel Allan Quatermain, while Carlos is successful with Paula Quinton. And finally, Good has two sets of false teeth (KSM, p. 6), while I’m pretty sure Carlos has all his natural dental equipment! (In this, Captain Good parallels Beam Piper rather than von Schlichten.)

But in outward appearance and profession, you’re right. Unlike the bearded Quatermain and Curtis, Captain Good is a clean-shaven military man, like General von Schlichten, and his immovable monocle definitely stands out. It stays put through all their journeys in southern Africa; across deserts, over mountains, through battles, and even during falls into rivers and down slopes. After the climactic battle in Kukuanaland between the forces of the usurper King Twala and the rightful King Ignosi, Quatermain and Curtis look for and find their friend. “Good did not move, and we concluded that our poor comrade was done for. Sadly we came towards him, and were indeed astonished to find him pale and faint indeed, but with a serene smile upon his face, and his eyeglass still fixed in his eye.” Later, the three escape from King Solomon‘s mines, “And yet it is a solemn fact that Good‘s eyeglass was still fixed in Good‘s eye. I doubt whether he had ever taken it out at all. Neither the darkness, nor the plunge in the subterranean river, nor the roll down the slope, had been able to separate Good and his eyeglass.” (ibid., pp. 157, 205)

Similarly, General von Schlichten’s monocle stays put through many events in Uller Uprising. Particularly several battles, which include Carlos engaging in hand-to-hand fighting against a mob of Ullerans in Konkrook and then King Firkked in Skilk. Even when King Yoorkerk turns Rakkeed the false prophet over to the Terrans, it doesn’t surprise von Schlichten enough for it to fall out. This causes one of his officers to lose a bet. “Pay me, Them; he didn’t drop it.” (UU, pp. 18-20, 128-129, 143)

Of course, we all know that von Schlichten finally loses his monocle at the end of the story. “I never expected to see it, but at that it took three A-bombs to blow you loose from your monocle.” But von Schlichten denies the eyepiece was forced out. “I didn’t lose it…I just jettisoned it. Don’t you know, lieutenant, that no gentleman ever wears a monocle while he’s kissing a lady?” (ibid., p. 185)

But that Carlos loses his monocle is perfectly appropriate, because Good finally loses his. Near the end of the sequel Allan Quatermain (spoiler alert), the three men are involved in another war, this time in central Africa. And Quatermain receives a wound that proves mortal. As his death draws near, Good weeps, and his monocle falls out. Allan tries to smile. “At last…I have seen Good without his eye-glass.” (AQ, p. 273)

So it’s an emotional outburst (great sadness) which forces Good’s monocle out, paralleled by the emotional outburst (great passion) which led Carlos to lose his monocle.

While Piper gives his main character a happier ending than Haggard, there is nonetheless another parallel. Because Captain Good is a lesser character; more of a parallel with the junior Terran officers than with General von Schlichten. And in AQ, the more lordly Sir Henry falls in love with Queen Nyleptha of the Zu-Vendi, and becomes King-Consort of the land after leading her forces to victory in a civil war. This is paralleled by Carlos von Schlichten, who falls in love with Paula Quinton, becomes King of Skilk through conquest, and leads his forces to victory over the Uprising. Paula says that “one of my great-grandmothers was a Freyan” (UU, p. 55), quite possibly making her a descendant of nobility, if not royalty. And once she marries Carlos, Paula will effectively become Queen of Skilk, paralleling Nyleptha.

Furthermore, Carlos’ title as Governor-General of Uller is confirmed after defeating the Uprising, essentially making him ‘king’ of the whole planet. In that sense, the Uprising can be considered a civil war, since some of the native rulers (such as King Kankad and King Jonkvank) fight alongside the Terrans against their fellow Ullerans. This parallels the Zu-Vendi, some of whom fight for Queen Nyleptha while others support her sister, Queen Sorais.

So Beam seems to have combined elements of Captain Good (military man, monocle) and Sir Henry Curtis (a great warrior who wins the heart of a queen and becomes a king) in the character of Carlos von Schlichten. He may have also included the worldliness and practicality of the iconic Quatermain, who sees things as they are and has no illusions about his fellow men, white or black. Because Carlos seems to be very much that sort of leader, whether it involves Terrans or Ullerans. Thus, although Piper used the Sepoy Mutiny as his historical model, I certainly agree that he included a Haggard element in Uller Uprising.

And after reading the first two books, I also agree that Haggard is well worth reading on his own account, not just in relation to Piper!

Gregg LevinePerson was signed in when posted
05:55 UT
Well stated and quoted Jon.

I've got a batch of books to read as it happens, I'm going to add the three Fuzzy books, in hardcopy to that. It happens I'm reading the Del Rey book "Nerves". He mentions in the book, (which first came out in 1942) an incident at a plant (Nuclear) in Croton. I've been wondering how the heck he figured we'd have a facility near there...... And look what happened in one of Piper's short stories on Nuclear power.

As for what you said after that DJ, I know you weren't. You were simply noting the confirmation of a factoid.

We know where the books are. Some of us own them in paperback, and some of us own the original hard copies. I wonder where the original manuscripts are stored.
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
01:18 UT
For the "Colonel Klink" image, I guess I was going more off of the comment Sid Harrington made towards the end of chapter two - "Why don't you invite her (Paula Quinton) to make the trip with you? You can be quite attractive to young ladies, when you try." But, I guess Mrs. Klink thought the Colonel handsome enough.
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
01:07 UT
Gregg Levine wrote:

> So I am allowed to error in caution, here. However the
> circumstances were correct.

My apologies, Gregg. It was not my intention to criticize you.

That tidbit may very well also appear in one of Wolf's books. I pointed to the original, Piper source because, as I said, it's always struck me as being at odds with much of the rest of Beam's work.


"I saw a man shot once on Mimir, for calling another man a son of a Khooghra. The man who shot him had been on Yggdrasil and knew what he was being called." - Jack Holloway (H. Beam Piper), ~Little Fuzzy~
Gregg LevinePerson was signed in when posted
15:25 UT
Remember DJ, when I wrote that I was working from memory. I normally remember the things I've read. But with these Piper books, which I have, I have not read then in a longish while.

So I am allowed to error in caution, here. However the circumstances were correct.
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