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1543
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
07-06-2017
02:58 UT
~
Jon Crocker wrote:

> - and one of their ships came to a sad end at Baldur, and 'The
> Sample' broke off from it and was found by geologists from
> the University of Paris-on-Baldur, millennia later. There's
> more of it still up in the hills somewhere, I'm sure.

So, I'll take that as a "yes" about there being another Baldur yarn in our future! The interesting hook here would seem to be the explanation for why we don't find any mention of the discovery of the "Sample Builders" on Baldur in any of Beam's subsequent Terro-human yarns.

(FWIW, I've always been comfortable with the "inter-fertile" Freyans being indigenous. I mean, the moment we accept hyperdrive we have already wandered outside what our contemporary scientific understanding tells us is possible in "the real world," right? If one _must_ account for the inter-fertility of Freyans and Terrans in some fashion then I think you (and Wolf) have it right, that some sort of "ancient astronauts" must have gotten one group from one planet to another. Pushed in that direction, I would opt for the Fuzzies as the lost descendants of those "ancient astronauts," relying upon Beam's own presentation of them as seemingly alien to Zarathustra's biosphere--which is what Tuning ran with in ~Bones~. Besides, that presents the possibility of Star-faring Fuzzies showing up in Terro-human Space at some distant point in the future!)

Yeek!

David
--
"Considering the one author about whom I am uniquely qualified to speak, I question if any reader of H. Beam Piper will long labor under the misunderstanding that he is a pious Christian, a left-wing liberal, a Gandhian pacifist, or a teetotaler." - H. Beam Piper, "Double: Bill Symposium" interview
~
1542
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
07-06-2017
01:14 UT
Thanks, David!

The background to 'The Sample' started in part with Uller Uprising - Paula Quinton said "one of my great-grandmothers was a Freyan." Uller Uprising was published in 1952, and the next year they discovered DNA.

Of course now, over sixty years later, we know the only way Freyans and Terran humans could have kids is with either massive medical intervention, or they're really the same species. So I decided to go with 'same species'.

Which meant that someone had to transplant humans from Terra to Freya. Local technology not being up to the task, I decided someone else did the deed - and one of their ships came to a sad end at Baldur, and 'The Sample' broke off from it and was found by geologists from the University of Paris-on-Baldur, millennia later. There's more of it still up in the hills somewhere, I'm sure.

The unexpected part of it is, Second Genesis in the same book goes in a completely different direction! So as a bonus, this book presents solutions from two near-adjascent timelines of Paratime.
1541
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
07-04-2017
19:05 UT
~
Jon Crocker wrote:

> I'm enjoying your stories in "Rise of the Terran Federation", David.
> Great stuff!

Thanks, Jon. I enjoyed "The Sample" too and was pleased to see your work in the collection. Was great to learn a bit more about the early years on Baldur. But I want to know _where_ did "the Sample" come from? Is there another Mercedes Lee yarn in our future?

For those of you who haven't yet heard the news, ~The Rise of the Terrran Federation~ is now available at Pequod Press:

http://www.h-beampiper.com/book_info.php?id=HBP_19

John F. Carr's latest collection of Beam's work and new Terro-human Future History material includes:

"Terro-human Future History Chronology" (an updated version)

"Preface: The Terro-Human Future History" by John. F. Carr

"Genesis" by H. Beam Piper

"Second Genesis" by Wolfgang Diehr

"The Early History of the Terran Federation" by John Anderson

"The Condottieri" by H. Beam Piper and David Johnson

"The Edge of the Knife" by H. Beam Piper

"The Spine of the Knife" by David Johnson

"Omnilingual" by H. Beam Piper

"The Satchel" by David Johnson

"Grandfather Encounter" by David Johnson

"The Chartered Companies of the Terran Federation" by John Anderson

"The Sample" by Jonathan Crocker

The book has a wonderful dust jacket illustration by Alan Gutierrez:

http://alangutierrezart.deviantart.com/art...ederation-615378060

Enjoy!

David
--
"Ideas for science fiction stories like ideas for anything else, are where you find them, usually in the most unlikely places. The only reliable source is a mind which asks itself a question like, 'What would happen if--?' or, 'Now what would this develop into, in a few centuries?' Or, 'How would so-and-so happen?' Anything at all, can trigger such a question, in your field if not in mine." - H. Beam Piper, "Double: Bill Symposium" interview
~
1540
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
07-01-2017
23:26 UT
I'm enjoying your stories in "Rise of the Terran Federation", David. Great stuff!
1539
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
06-05-2017
01:15 UT
~
James "jimmyjoejangles" Romanski wrote:

> makes a good point though about no satellites throughout. HE
> came pretty damn close in Uller Uprising though, when they fit
> orbital repair unit with sensors and send it up.

That converted spacecraft was originally used to repair satellites which were part of a telecommunications network. (The Kragans have a telecast-station at Kankad Town which communicates with the satellites.) It may be that these are surplus devices which the Company has brought to Uller from Niffelheim (where artificial satellites are, of necessity, ubiquitous).

Jon Crocker wrote:

> I checked the copyright dates of the stories, hoping to see Uller
> Uprising written after Four Day Planet - which would make sense,
> satellites would have been around longer and a better idea of
> their capabilities would have gotten out to people, but from
> what I see, they were actually written in the other order.

Yes, ~Uprising~ being the first Terro-human Future History yarn makes the paucity of satellite technology in later yarns especially awkward. That does tend to support linkage to the unusual situation on Niffelheim, though why the Uller Company didn't sell more of those satellites on other planets still seems odd.

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~
~
1538
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
06-05-2017
00:53 UT
>I think more than just a convenient plot device, satellites were simply a sort of technology that Beam never envisioned.

I think you're right - and I was going to point out that Uller Uprising is where he came closest to having them, but someone beat me to the punch!

I checked the copyright dates of the stories, hoping to see Uller Uprising written after Four Day Planet - which would make sense, satellites would have been around longer and a better idea of their capabilities would have gotten out to people, but from what I see, they were actually written in the other order. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

Shrug. This won't be the first time we've noticed technical inconsistencies between stories - I think Piper was more concerned about the storytelling angle than technical uniformity.
1537
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
06-04-2017
16:02 UT
Could be the Fenris company never got around to putting them up. There was still a large portion of uncharted land. Or maybe they were something the company could pluck out of orbit to recoup some of the losses. Maybe some enterprising freighter captain stole them to sell on another planet. But the state that Fenris is in when our story takes place is a poor planet that may not be able to support a satellite system. This was not what my original post was about but I got a convo going at least. DAvid makes a good point though about no satellites throughout. HE came pretty damn close in Uller Uprising though, when they fit orbital repair unit with sensors and send it up.
Edited 06-04-2017 16:15
1536
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
06-04-2017
16:01 UT
~
Jon Crocker wrote:

> > but I'll be darned if I can explain why a planet like Fenris
> > doesn't seem to have any satellite telecommunications
> > technology. . . .
>
> Plot requirements probably cover that one. Fenris having a
> satellite makes far too much sense for it to be otherwise.

Sure, I can see that (like the haphazard-but-plot-convenient transporter malfunctions on ~Star Trek~), especially given the state of disrepair into which Fenris had fallen.

But there is little or no satellite technology throughout the Terro-human Future History. The crew of the ~Stellex~ seems to have surveyed Fenris from their ship. Even the Empire task force that attacks Aditya relies primarily upon its starships for "situational awareness."

If I were a Space Viking one of the first things I'd do when raiding a planet like Beowulf would be to throw out a swarm of satellites (orbital versions of the "snoopers"--we'd call them "drones" today--that the crew of the ~Hubert Penrose~ used to keep tabs on the Svant village and that Conn Maxwell used to scout pirate-held Barathrum Spaceport). Even though the missiles and "counter-missiles" of the Viking era are able to transmit imagery back to the ship, adversaries still disappear "behind the planet" in the midst of battles because no one thinks to deploy a few of these things in orbit (especially defenders who could deploy them ahead of time thereby allowing them a fair chance of stealthily avoiding detection by "satellite killers").

I think more than just a convenient plot device, satellites were simply a sort of technology that Beam never envisioned.

Monster Ho!

David
--
"A lot of technicians are girls, and when work gets slack, they're always the first ones to get shoved out of jobs." - Sylvie Jacquemont (H. Beam Piper), ~Junkyard Planet~
~
1535
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
06-04-2017
15:23 UT
>but I'll be darned if I can explain why a planet like Fenris doesn't seem to have any satellite telecommunications technology. . . .

Plot requirements probably cover that one. Fenris having a satellite makes far too much sense for it to be otherwise.
1534
David SoobyPerson was signed in when posted
06-04-2017
03:36 UT
David Johnson wrote:

> Even putting aside the ubiquitous mobile communications
> we take for granted today, telecommunications technology
> generally is one of the places where Piper's writing
> seems the most clunky to the contemporary sci-fi reader."


It's the underlying electronic tech that hasn't been miniaturized, as it has been in our culture. I'd argue they're still using analog circuits. The words "digital" and "transistor" appear nowhere in THE COSMIC COMPUTER. I'd argue their entire tech has no use of transistors, and there is a limit to how far you can miniaturize vacuum tube tech.

Cell phones in our culture remained much too expensive for widespread use until cheap microprocessors were developed. With no transistor tech, that will never happen in the Piperverse.

THE COSMIC COMPUTER mentions "positronic brains and neutrino-circuits" (ch. II), and it is specified in chapter XXI that Merlin is a positronic computer. I'm not sure what a "positronic" computer is -- Asimov invented that term, naming them after the (at the time) newly discovered positrons, to give his robots a "high tech coolness" factor. But exactly what a "positronic" computer is in the Piperverse... who knows?

It think it is a big mistake to try to describe Piperverse electronics as if they are similar to what we use today. The lack of cell phones, and the size of Merlin, are easy to understand if things can never be miniaturized. Piperverse robots are certainly far more capable than ours, so in many respects their computer tech is more advanced than ours. This is pure speculation, not supported by the canon, but perhaps their "neutrino-circuits" are the electronic equivalent of human brain neurons, and perhaps their computers use advanced analog circuits which don't need the massive amount of coding in their software that our computers use. Our digital computers are thought to have an advantage because they're universal, and can be programmed to do anything. But perhaps Piperverse robots achieve greater ability and sophistication because they can be given more general instructions, leaving it to the analog circuits to interpret and carry out those instructions, rather than having to have millions of individual instructions in the robots' programs.

* * * * *

The lack of using satellite communications is not as easy to explain. There is no good reason why they wouldn't use that for high-priority messages, and to maintain communications with a survey team down on a planet. The Piperverse equivalent of a satellite phone might not be man-portable, but any scientific outpost should have one, the Navy should use them as a matter of course, and any corporation that can afford a computer (see Victor Grego's company in FUZZY SAPIENS) should be able to afford one, too.

All just my opinion, of course, but what is not arguable is that in the Piperverse, computers remain large and rare:


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Conn, from what you've learned of computers generally, how big would Merlin have to be?" old Professor Kellton asked.

"Well, the astrophysics computer at the University occupied a volume of a hundred thousand cubic feet. For all Merlin was supposed to do, I'd say something of the order of three million to five million."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--THE COSMIC COMPUTER chapter II


-------------------------
Clear ether!
Lensman (aka David Sooby)
1533
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
06-01-2017
13:36 UT
I'm saying that they used the camera to make blue films.
1532
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
06-01-2017
05:22 UT
~
James "jimmyjoejangles" Romanski wrote:

> So just finished Four Day Planet. I couldn't help but notice that
> Oscar and the bachelor officers of the Pequod were the only guys
> who had video equipment on board. SO my real question is did
> Ralph Boyd run a special Channel for "home videos"?

Well, given that ~Four-Day Planet~ was a "young adult" yarn, I'm not sure I understand your question . . . (but I think the guy you have in mind is Adolf Lautier, the entertainment promoter).

The interesting thing about Boyd's (and Lautier's) telecasts was that they were broadcast from a telecast station--the way Beam would have watched television in Williamsport. No cable and no satellite feeds. (When the ~Javelin~ was lost in Hermann Reuch's Land there was no satellite transmission available.) Even putting aside the ubiquitous mobile communications we take for granted today, telecommunications technology generally is one of the places where Piper's writing seems the most clunky to the contemporary sci-fi reader.

I can offer in-setting explanations for why Merlin was so large--remnant electromagnetic pulse shielding "locked in" from the days of the Atomic Wars--and for why everyone smokes--the vegetable equivalent of carniculture that produces tobacco without carcinogens--but I'll be darned if I can explain why a planet like Fenris doesn't seem to have any satellite telecommunications technology. . . .

Monster Ho!

David
--
"A girl can punch any kind of a button a man can, and a lot of them know what buttons to punch, and why." - Conn Maxwell (H. Beam Piper), ~Junkyard Planet~
~
1531
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
05-30-2017
02:47 UT
So just finished Four Day Planet. I couldn't help but notice that Oscar and the bachelor officers of the Pequod were the only guys who had video equipment on board. SO my real question is did Ralph Boyd run a special Channel for "home videos"?
1530
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
05-20-2017
03:23 UT
~
John "Calidore" Anderson wrote:

> You do not state, David, your timeline of events as to how the
> Thirty Days' War could happen in 1973. I believe I can make a
> good guess, but unless you can provide some evidence to
> support your reasoning, a 1973 date for the Thirty Days' War
> appears to be untenable. . . .

Really? "Untenable"? You say that like it matters what my opinions about the inconsistencies in "The Edge of the Knife" might be. It most assuredly doesn't, at least not to anyone but me.

You've done a good job of laying out many of the inconsistencies in the yarn which leaves us in agreement on that point: the story contradicts itself, repeatedly, leaving us to make our own assumptions and draw our own conclusions about several points. I wouldn't make some of the same assumptions you've made about some of the inconsistencies being instances of Beam's intentional signalling of Chalmers' confused mental state but I can't say your assumptions about this are wrong (much less "untenable"). We merely have different opinions.

I think you'll find a fairly consistent perspective from me, going back many years to our time together on the old, defunct PIPER-L mailing list, which tends to resist efforts to read more into the story, or the collection of stories, than what is there explicitly from Beam. You seem to prefer a different approach and that's a-okay with me.

As I mentioned in my last message on this topic, whether the Thirty Days' War occurs in 1973 CE, or 1974 (or even 1975) is fairly inconsequential. It doesn't really help us connect the Terro-human Future History to the Hartley yarns because the character of the Third World War / World War III itself is so very different in the two settings, despite their proximity in Christian Era dating. And as you rightly point out, the difference of a year or two (or three) is essentially meaningless in the millennia which comprise the Terro-human Future History.

Be well,

David

P.S. Fifty-three years ago today, Calvin Morrison accidentally stumbled into a paratemporal transposition conveyor.

P.P.S. I'm sorry I will miss the Irregulars' Muster tomorrow in State College. Best wishes to all who rendezvous in Hostigos.
--
"Considering the one author about whom I am uniquely qualified to speak, I question if any reader of H. Beam Piper will long labor under the misunderstanding that he is a pious Christian, a left-wing liberal, a Gandhian pacifist, or a teetotaler." - H. Beam Piper, "Double: Bill Symposium" interview
~
1529
CalidorePerson was signed in when posted
05-19-2017
17:54 UT
David wrote,

>A close reading of “The Edge of the Knife” suggests there are several
>inconsistencies in the internal dating, as Beam mentions specific years,
>months, seasons, and university terms. One has to ignore some of these
>whether one decides the “Thirty Days’ War” occurs in 1973 or 1974 but
>my choices lead me to settle on 1973.

I must respectfully disagree; a close reading of “The Edge of the Knife” very strongly points to 1974. Almost all of Piper’s inconsistencies of internal dating are easily explained, and don’t really matter, anyway. Let’s look at the references; and if I’ve missed anything relevant, please let me know.

Professor Chalmers precognitively states to his class that Khalid ib’n Hussein is assassinated “In 1973, at Basra.” (Empire, p. 13)

“Nineteen seventy-three—why, that was this year. He looked at the calendar. October 16, 1973. At very most, the Arab statesman had two and a half months to live.” (ibid., p. 15)

The next day, which would be October 17, Dean Whitburn summons Professor Chalmers to his office, where he requests his “immediate resignation”, believing him to be insane. (ibid., pp. 19, 20)

A month later, at the large roundtable conference discussing Chalmers’ precognition of the assassination, which occurred just as predicted, Whitburn confirms the date. “Yes, I demanded this man’s resignation on the morning of October Seventeenth, the day after this incident occurred.” (ibid., p 45)

So the story opens in the fall of 1973. There seems to be no question about that. Khalid is assassinated a month later (ibid., p. 30), making it mid-November, 1973.

After that occurs, the future information that comes to Chalmers is “The period of anarchy following Khalid’s death would be much briefer, and much more violent, than he had previously thought…The revolt at Damascus would break out before the end of the month [meaning late November 1973]; before the end of the year [late December 1973], the whole of Syria and Lebanon would be in bloody chaos, and the Turkish army would be on the march.” (ibid., p. 54)

“The period of anarchy following Khalid’s death” refers to the Middle East, not the whole world, as evidenced by the subsequent events in the quote, all of which refer to that region. In fact, earlier on Chalmers said just that. “…period of anarchy in the Middle East; interfactional power-struggles; Turkish intervention.” (ibid., p. 16) But though peace soon returns, and the murdered Khalid is “eventually” succeeded as head of the Caliphate by his son Tallal (ibid., pp. 16-17), it doesn’t last too long. For the short but “general war in the Middle East” (ibid., p. 36), which presumably lasts from late 1973 into the early months of 1974, is just a precursor to the also-brief, but much more serious, Third World War.

“There would be an Eastern-inspired uprising in Azerbaijan before the middle of the next year [meaning before July 1974]; before autumn [early to mid-September 1974], the Indian Communists would make their fatal attempt; the Thirty Days’ War would be the immediate result.” (ibid., p. 55)

“And Blanley College was at the center of one of the areas which would receive the worst of the thermonuclear hell to come. And it would be a little under a year…” (ibid., p. 56) A little under a year from the story’s current date of mid-November 1973 would be about mid-October 1974. This squares with WWIII beginning “before autumn”, because it means the Thirty Days’ War lasts from about mid-September to mid-October 1974.

In sum, we have two specific references placing “The Edge of the Knife” in the fall of 1973, and two specific references placing the Thirty Days’ War in the following year, which is 1974.

Now let’s look at the inconsistencies.

1) Ed tells his attorney, Stanley Weill, that his ability to prehend future events “started a little over three years ago…Just after New Year’s, 1970.” (ibid., p. 21) That would seem to suggest “Edge” begins in February or March, 1973, rather than October.

2) This appears to be supported by “He came into his office that morning tired and unrefreshed by the few hours’ sleep he had gotten the night before, edgy from the strain, of trying to adjust his mind to the world of Blanley College in mid-April of 1973.” (ibid., p. 29) If Chalmers predicted in mid-March that Khalid would be murdered, then a month later would indeed be mid-April.

3) As well as, “But I knew, in the spring of 1970, that the first unmanned rocket would be called the Kilroy, and that it would be launched sometime in 1971…I knew about it over a year in advance.” (ibid., p. 22) This seems to hint that Ed received the information about the Kilroy only a few months after his precognitive gift appeared, and this is roughly three years before “Edge” begins, placing the story likewise in the spring.

4) At the end of the story, Chalmers tells Max Pottgeiter, “you remember what I told you about the Turks annexing Syria and Lebanon?...When that happens, get away from Blanley.” (ibid., p. 59) This makes it sound like the thermonuclear hell will hit the Blanley area not long afterward, rather than nine months later.

So, what gives? Are we in the fall of 1973, or the spring of 1973?

The important point here is that it doesn’t really matter. Because Chalmers quite clearly states, not once but twice, that the Thirty Days’ War occurs in the NEXT year, not the current one.

Nevertheless, let’s see if we can explain the inconsistencies.

2) Even if we grant Chalmers’ “mid-April of 1973” reference, “a little under a year” from that time would place WWIII in mid-March 1974. So the Thirty Days’ War occurs in 1974 either way. However, mid-March is late winter, which does not square with his clear statement that WWIII begins in late summer.

The mid-April reference therefore appears to be erroneous.

That this is so is supported by the fact that, at this point in the story, Professor Chalmers is at his lowest ebb. Right after the “mid-April of 1973” quote, Marjorie asks Ed if he has seen the morning paper (describing the assassination of Khalid, which has just happened). “He shook his head. He ought to read the papers more, to keep track of the advancing knife-edge that divided what he might talk about from what he wasn’t supposed to know, but each morning he seemed to have less and less time to get ready for work.” (ibid.)

The strain of being thought of as insane by the Dean, by the students, some of the faculty and even his lawyer—and not being sure they aren’t right, since he couldn’t find the note on the Kilroy, which would have proven that his precognitive ability was real (ibid., p. 27)—have caused Ed to lose more and more sleep, and drink more and more heavily. He fears he may have become deluded, and tries to suppress his precognitive gift, even to the extent of seriously considering destroying all the future history notes he made; not once, but twice. (ibid., pp. 27, 28)

This combination of pressures has caused Ed to become detached from the everyday world. Indeed, it may have “become unreal and illusory”, just as Weill warned him. “But I’ll say, now, that you’re losing your grip on reality. You are constructing a system of fantasies, and the first thing you know, they will become your reality, and the world around you will become unreal and illusory. And that’s a state of mental incompetence that, as a lawyer, I can recognize.” (ibid., p. 24)

So Ed is simply confused, disoriented, because he’s so tired and worn down. It’s not mid-April, it’s mid-November. (This seems to be based on Piper himself, who kept odd hours, and so occasionally became confused. “Got up around noon, and back to bed—seemed to have forgotten what day it was.” PBIO, p. 105) Chalmers is therefore LOSING TOUCH WITH TIME ITSELF, as suggested by the fact that he is not keeping “track of the advancing knife-edge that divided what he might talk about from what he wasn’t supposed to know”. Ironically, though, it was Ed’s attempt to suppress his precognitive ability that caused his slide into mental detachment, not his harboring of it. This confirms he was sane to begin with.

That Ed has become confused is supported by his two mistakes on the page just previous to the April 1973 quote. There, he mentions “the space-pirates in the days of the dissolution of the First Galactic Empire, in the Tenth Century of the Interstellar Era”, and that the Uller Uprising in the Beta Hydrae system occurs “in the Fourth Century of the Atomic Era.” (ibid., p. 28) Both of these statements contain errors.

The Interstellar Era begins circa AE 200, just after the “First expedition to Alpha Centauri, 192 A.E.” (PBIO, p. 213) Ten centuries after that would be the Twelfth Century AE, which is a couple of centuries after the Second Terran Federation begins breaking up, not the First Galactic Empire. (Alternately, if the Galactic Empire is indeed meant, then it should presumably read “in the Tenth Century of the Imperial Era”, not Interstellar.)

And Uller Uprising takes place in AE 526 (ibid.). This is the Sixth Century AE, not the Fourth. (1)

Thus, at Ed’s lowest point in the story, he not only doesn’t know what month it is, he has even become confused about his memories of the future. But the confirmation of Khalid’s assassination quickly brings him back from the edge of mental incompetence, and from then on, Chalmers is his normal, rational, precognitive self.

“At least, this’ll be the end of that silly flap about what happened a month ago in Modern Four.” (ibid., p. 30) Placing the story at this point, as stated, in mid-November 1973.

In the case of Khalid, “It gratified him to see that his future “memories” were reliable in detail as well as generality.” (ibid., p. 37) Ed’s vindication is a spectacular prediction of “uncanny accuracy” (ibid., p. 38), being correct in ten primary details. “Event of assassination, year of the event, place, circumstances, name of assassin, nationality of assassin, manner of killing, exact type of weapon used, guards killed and wounded along with Khalid, and fate of the assassin.” (ibid., pp. 45)

Notice that if we turn it around, Ed’s memories of the future are ‘reliable in generality as well as detail’. This supports his two references placing WWIII in 1974, particularly since he is perfectly rational again when he makes them.

3) As for the reference to knowing about the Kilroy over a year in advance, Chalmers does not actually state that this is exactly three years before “Edge”. The reference therefore works just as well with the fall 1973 date, and does not contradict it.

4) This is also true for the reference about Max Pottgeiter. Chalmers does not explicitly say he wants Max to leave because the nukes are about to fall. There are a number of good reasons to get him (and Marjorie Fenner) away from Blanley as soon as possible, many months before WWIII occurs. Moreover, since the Turks invade Syria and Lebanon “before the end of the year”, that means Pottgeiter leaves Blanley in late December 1973 or early January 1974. Thus, if WWIII were to break out soon afterward, it would still occur in 1974; running from, say, mid-January to mid-February.

1) Now, as for the “a little over three years ago…Just after New Year’s, 1970” inconsistency, that one is a puzzler, I admit. Chalmers is completely rational at that point in the story, so he should have said “a little over three years and nine months ago”, or “a few months less than four years ago”. My feeling is that this is an example of Piper ‘muddying the waters’ (perhaps in concert with the other inconsistencies); thereby throwing out false leads to confuse his readers. This was something of a habit with him. As Mike Knerr once said of Beam, “Like an old Indian scout, he was forever covering his back-trail.” (PBIO, p. 97)

In sum, the second inconsistency is erroneous, being easily explained by the fact that Professor Chalmers was confused and disoriented at the time, due to heavy drinking and lack of sleep (supported by the adjacent errors in his memories of the future); the third is not really an inconsistency, as it is not specifically related to the time of “Edge”; nor is the fourth, since it is not specifically related to the date of WWIII. This leaves the first as the only real inconsistency. And this one reference to early 1973 is heavily outweighed by the two references placing “Edge” in the fall of 1973, plus that they give specific dates through two different characters (October 16 by Chalmers and 17 by Whitburn), and—most importantly—that there are two references placing WWIII in the following year, 1974, while none place it in the current year, 1973.

You do not state, David, your timeline of events as to how the Thirty Days’ War could happen in 1973. I believe I can make a good guess, but unless you can provide some evidence to support your reasoning, a 1973 date for the Thirty Days’ War appears to be untenable, not to mention directly contradictory to clear dates and indications of dates in Piper. Perhaps I’ve missed something, but the references in “The Edge of the Knife” very strongly suggest—indeed, I believe they prove—that the Thirty Days’ War occurs in fall 1974.

>Another complication is that in the essay “The Future History” Beam places
>the Thirty Days’ War in 32 AE which, according to the conversion he offers
>in that article would be 1975. But a close reading of “The Future History”
>itself suggests that Beam also may have “had to count on his fingers to
>transpose to Christian Era, and…usually remembered too late that there
>was no C.E. Year Zero.”)

I agree that the AE 32 reference in “The Future History” is incorrect. It should be AE 31. And you’re probably right that Beam simply miscounted; another possibility is that he forgot 1975 was the date for WWIII in the Hartley Future History, not the Terro-Human one. But there are several other suspect dates in that document. (2)

We therefore need to be careful when applying “The Future History”. It is a summary of many events over many centuries, and by their very nature, summaries are prone to include errors, or at least misrepresentations, due to compression. In judging Piper’s dates, I believe we should give precedence to the ones in his published stories, which are almost certainly more accurate than the summary of “The Future History”. (While keeping an eye out, of course, for his false trails.)

John

(1) That the Sixth Century is correct is confirmed by the inclusion of Kent Pickering, who was on Uller during the Uprising, in First Cycle. (FC, p. 199) First Cycle was intended as a sequel of sorts to Uller Uprising—being written close in time and slated to be published in the next Twayne Triplet (PBIO, p. 103)—and takes place “in the 572nd year of the Primary Dispersion” (FC, p. 4). Primary Dispersion seems to refer to the primary dispersion of electrons, or ‘first chain reaction’. Thus, Primary Dispersion is an alternate name for Atomic Era, which begins when Enrico Fermi initiates the first chain reaction at the University of Chicago, on December 2, 1942. (PBIO, p. 212)

Kent Pickering is therefore on Uller in AE 526, and Thalassa in AE 572, placing both stories in the Sixth Century. Incidentally, the difference of 46 years should make Pickering an old man in First Cycle, but this is probably alleviated by the “time-differential for hyperspace trips”. (Fuzzy Sapiens, p. 85) For men like Jack Holloway, who has been on many planets, the alleviation can be a lot. Jack is 74, but doesn’t look “much over sixty.” (ibid.) His actual age is therefore about ten years less than his numerical age. (Perhaps not coincidentally making Holloway close in age to Piper himself, who turned sixty in 1964, the year Fuzzy Sapiens came out.)

(2) One is the date for Four-Day Planet, which Beam says takes place in the “Mid-IV Century” (PBIO, p. 213). It does not; it takes place in the late-V Century. Walter Boyd says that Fenris was colonized “at the end of the Fourth Century A.E.”, or about AE 399. (FDP, p. 6) The first city the colonists built was “conventional…the buildings all on the surface. After one day-and-night cycle, they found that it was uninhabitable. It was left unfinished. Then they started digging in. The Chartered Fenris Company shipped in huge quantities of mining and earth-moving equipment…and they began making burrow-cities”. (ibid., p. 31)

That had to have taken at least a year; sixth months to Terra, and sixth months back with the equipment. (ibid., p. 6) Port Sandor is one of the burrow-cities, and was therefore built circa AE 400. According to Walt, this was “close to a hundred years ago” (ibid., p. 30), making the date of Four-Day Planet circa AE 497. That’s the late-Fifth Century, not mid-Fourth.
1528
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
05-12-2017
17:20 UT
~
Found the reference for Jack Holloway's hyperspace time-differential effect:

"Seventy-four: I was born in 580. I couldn't even estimate how much to allow for on time-differential for hyperspace trips."

This is from ~Fuzzy Sapiens~, when they're trying to sort out if the veridicator will work on a Fuzzy. Doesn't really give any details yet on what the time-differential is at this stage of hyperdrive technology but does make clear that Beam still considered hyperspatial time-dilation to be an important element of the Future History setting at the late stage at which ~Sapiens~ was written.

'Ware the damnthings!

David
--
"We talk glibly about ten to the hundredth power, but emotionally we still count, 'One, Two, Three, Many.'" - Otto Harkaman (H. Beam Piper), ~Space Viking~
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