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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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David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
02:43 UT
[Posting this for John because there's been some sort of problem--on our end--with his original attempt. - David]

From: Calidore

I am pleased to announce the release of my latest paper, titled
"An Atlas of Piper's Galaxy".

Over the past 17 months, I have tried to do a thorough job of
research and analysis, and believe that I have found a way to
resolve almost all of Beam's discrepancies as to ship speeds and
distances. This has led to some conclusions, and maps, which I
think fans of H. Beam Piper's work will find interesting. The
color-coded star charts, more than thirty in number, cover the
entire length of the Terro-Human Future History, from the Terran
Federation to the Fifth Galactic Empire.

The atlas is available in pdf format, in two parts. These can
be accessed from John Carr's Hostigos website
(www.hostigos.com), under Free Downloads; and also on the H.
Beam Piper Memorial website (www.h-beampiper.com) under piper's
galaxy. A third part, currently in progress, will contain
several appendices to the atlas, as well as the endnotes.

I would like to express my grateful appreciation to John F. Carr
and his webmaster Mark Richardson for providing the ways and
means to share this paper with Piperdom at large.


"He entered the big oval room, lighted from overhead by the
great star-map in the ceiling, and crossed to his desk, with the
viewscreens and reading screens and communications screens
around it..." (Galactic Emperor Paul XXII, in "Ministry of
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
02:00 UT
From the Archives: "Terran Federation Expansion"

Here's another post from the PIPER-L archives, from May 2001. This may be John Anderson's first post to the old PIPER-L.

As we've come to expect from him here (and from his work in ~The Rise of the Terran Federation~), John had some rather extensive and detailed thoughts about the development of the early Terran Federation.

Subject: TF Expansion
From: John Anderson
Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 12:01:33 -0400

TF Expansion

1. Introduction

This was originally written in response to Mike McGuirk’s ‘Why Fenris?’ posting. Hopefully my fellow list-members won’t mind a (very) late entry in the discussion. The only answer I saw as to why a seemingly profitless (and definitely inhospitable) planet like Fenris was colonized was by William Taylor. ‘Greed and stupidity. You have the rights to swampland in Florida, you advertise the sunshine and don’t mention the hurricanes and gators.’ Human nature being what it is, such a deceptive—or even outright fraudulent—practice would indeed seem likely, and probably accounts for the settlement of some worlds. This is made more feasible by the long interstellar travel times during the TF, allowing one to get away with it. ‘You murder your grandmother, or rob a bank…and if you make an off-planet getaway, you’re reasonably safe. Of course, there’s such a thing as extradition, but who bothers? Distances are too great, and communication is too slow’ (4DP/LSP, pg. 196). Also, when Hugo Ingermann flees Zarathustra with 250,000 sols of illicit sunstones, ‘you know how slow interstellar communication is…He’ll get to some planet like Xipototec or Fenris or Ithavoll [or] Lugaluru and dig in there, and nobody’ll ever find him.’ (FaOP, pg. 214) The only criminals the TF makes a persistent effort to find are those who commit crimes far more serious than fraud, like Anton Gerrit the enslaver, and it takes Bish Ware 15 years to catch him. But assuming some worlds like Fenris are colonized in such a manner, they are likely exceptions to the rule, since the TF ultimately consisted of ‘almost five hundred planets’ (CC, pg. 242). A larger cause should be looked for in the driving force of planetary settlement, which probably includes the following. This shows one (though not the only) important aspect of the overall process, and possibly another reason why Fenris was colonized.

2. Limited Land in Greece

Piper compares the colonization of Mars and Venus to ‘when the Greek city-states were throwing out colonies across the Aegean’ (Empire, pg. 55). By extension, the TF’s interstellar expansion parallels the Greek colonization of the greater Mediterranean/Black Sea region. A major factor in Greek expansion was too many people in relation to the amount of arable land. Greece is mainly mountainous (as is Asia Minor), and ‘The lack of cultivable land and its inevitable consequences—debt, slavery, and famine—were one of the causes of the great migratory movement which lasted for two centuries.’ (The Harper Atlas of World History, pg. 42)

3. Terran Mismanagement

This factor seemingly applies to Terra as well. Verkan Vall, speaking of our Fourth Level Europo-American timeline, says, ‘Those people, because of deforestation, bad agricultural methods and general mismanagement, are eroding away their arable soil at an alarming rate. At the same time, they are breeding like rabbits. In other words, each generation has less and less food to divide among more and more people…A series of all-out atomic wars is just what that sector needs, to bring their population down to their world’s carrying capacity’ (Paratime, pg. 145). Even if Paratime and the THFH are separate series, the same idea seems to apply in the latter one. Vall apparently lives in a 1965-equivalent time; after this in the THFH we have WWIII, WWIV, and the Mars-Venus Revolt. In other words, ‘a series of all-out atomic wars’; the M-V Revolt possibly involves nukes as do the previous two world wars. These bring down the population somewhat, but this doesn’t solve the problem, as the conflicts unfortunately also destroy most of Terra’s arable land.

4. Population Pressure

After the Northern Hemisphere is destroyed, population pressure is probably the driving force behind the colonization of Antarctica, the ‘reclamation projects’ (Fed, pg. 213) in the Northern Hemisphere, early interplanetary expansion, and the settling of new worlds after hyperdrive is developed. Lothar Ffayle says, ‘You want us to build up population pressure like Terra in the First Century?’ Trask replies, ‘With three and a half billion people spread out on twelve planets? They had that many on Terra alone.’ (SV, pg. 10) Also, ‘the curse of overpopulation hadn’t put its mark on the Freyan mind as it had on the Terran.’ (Fed, pg. 276) Consider that the much larger northern continents, with their vast croplands in the temperate zones, have been laid waste. This means about 70% of Terra’s land surface has been destroyed. Only the relatively small landmasses of South America, southern Africa, and Australia/New Zealand—as well as ice-covered Antarctica—are left. Of these, New Zealand has a small amount of arable land due to its small size, Antarctica has none at all, and South Africa/Australia have only limited amounts because of nearby deserts (Kalahari, Outback). While South America is larger and its croplands are more extensive, it still has nowhere near the area and agricultural capacity that the North did. Moreover, the Amazon rainforest covers a wide area of the continent, but this in fact might be cleared because of the great need for more farmland, due to survivors from the Atomic Wars fleeing south.

5. Refugees

Though some refugees from the ruined Northern Hemisphere would go to the planetary colonies, most probably go to the Southern Hemisphere, as General Lanningham did (UU, pg. 169). South America being the largest surviving continent would probably mean it attracts the most people. This would support the clearing of the Amazon basin, but this presumed multitude of immigrants would still exacerbate the problem. There is just not enough land to go around, even with the colonies on Luna, Mars, and Venus. Luna obviously has no arable land; in addition, it requires the construction of ‘burrow cities’ (4DP/LSP, pg. 31). Mars is habitable, but has to undergo the ‘First Terraforming’ (Em, pg. 54), and Venus sounds like a humid, tropical planet. It would seem to take some time to make the latter two fully habitable, while Luna might require ‘hydroponic farms’ (4DP/LSP, pg. 33) in the burrow cities, as Fenris does. Therefore, in addition to its influence on Antarctic colonization and Northern reclamation, population pressure could also be a major factor behind the continuous expansion of the TF for many centuries; possibly new habitable planets are not discovered fast enough to keep pace with population growth. The case of Zarathustra might support this.

As soon as its classification is changed from Class-III to Class- IV, the Zarathustrans expect a flood of immigrants ‘from all over the Federation, scrambling to get rich overnight’ (LF, pg 172). This is a ‘land rush’ (FS, pg. 34), apparently similar to a ‘gold rush’; land seems to be in short supply and extremely valuable. Another parallel is the settlement of the American West. As soon as an area was opened to white settlers, a flood of immigrants poured in; one motive force was population pressure in the eastern US and (especially) Europe. This could help explain why a marginally habitable planet like Fenris, and presumably other ‘questionable’ worlds like it, was colonized. These would include the ‘Mercury Twilight Zone and Titan’ (4DP/LSP, pg. 31) in the pre-Interstellar period.

6. Less Land = Fewer Animals

The shortage of arable land would mean less fodder for livestock, as what grain was available would first go toward supporting the human population. This would result in fewer meat animals. In addition to hydroponics, Fenris also has a ‘carniculture plant’ (4DP/LSP, pg. 33); the limited croplands may also have been a driving force behind the development of carniculture products. Synthetic substitutes for meat would help alleviate the problem, and its use on hyperships would be a more practical habit than keeping a bunch of animals (plus their feed) on board. This practice would then parallel the old ‘salt beef’ and ‘salt pork’ ship-board rations of the Age of Sail, but like their historic parallel, they are no match for the real thing. Trask takes some of the ‘heavy-bodied unicorns’ of Khepera to Tanith, which ‘might prove to be one of the most valuable pieces of loot’ (SV, pg. 80). This is because ‘Every Viking ship had its own carniculture vats, but men tired of carniculture meat, and fresh meat was always in demand.’ (ibid, pg. 102) Though mainly caused by the loss of Northern Hemispheric pastureland, the shortage of horses may also be explained by the limited amounts of grain for fodder. ‘Almost everybody thought horses were as extinct as dinosaurs.’ (4DP/LSP, pg. 2)

7. Reclamation Projects

Although the Brazilian rain forest may be cut down for farmland, the similar flora of Indonesia is not available for immediate clearing and planting, as it was presumably involved in the Atomic Wars. In ‘The Answer’, ‘there were the Australians, picking themselves up bargains in real-estate in the East Indies at gunpoint’ (WoHBP, pg. 175), and it also mentions ‘the Boers, trekking north again’ (ibid). Though probably contaminated due to fallout, both regions (Indonesia and Central Africa) may thus be among the first areas to have reclamation projects. This could also include Portugal, as the Brazilians begin ‘looking eastward’ (ibid) toward their erstwhile colonial founder, which might leave the reclaiming of the Caribbean and Central America to be initiated by Venezuela and Colombia. The later campaigns against the ‘Eurasian barbarians of North Terra’ (Fed, pg. 213) seem to indicate these early efforts were successful, and extended northward. This quote is from ‘When in the Course’, and Freya is presumably settled at least half a millenium before the TF begins breaking up. Northern Terra may therefore be largely reclaimed by the late Federation period. But when it is bombed back into the Old Stone Age during the Interstellar Wars, the result is worse than the earlier Atomic Wars. These at least left the Southern Hemisphere intact, to preserve civilization and reclaim the North, while the later conflict doesn’t leave enough people and technology to rebuild Terra. And with the end of the TF and the onset of the Interstellar Wars, no other world is able to spare the resources for such an effort. Assuming Terra is incorporated in the 1st Galactic Empire, it remains barbarous for at least another half-millenium.

8. Carrying Capacity

Though the idea is (probably) proven incorrect with our current population of 6 billion, in Piper’s time the carrying capacity of the Earth was apparently believed to be much smaller. Beam’s limit could be supplied by Marduk, which ‘had a population of almost two billion’ (SV, pg. 155), and is a fully-civilized planet at the time. This figure is supported by Trask, who says, ‘If there were two billion people on Gram—which I hope there will be—Gram would have cities like this too.’ (ibid) The above quote giving Terra 3.5 billion people in the 1st Century AE means the planet is running at 175% of carrying capacity, which supports population pressure being a driving force in interplanetary and stellar expansion. First Level Paratime Terra (Paraterra?) also might—indirectly—support this. The planet ‘was completely exhausted twelve thousand years ago’ (LKoO, pg. 246), when it ‘had a world population of half a billion, and it was all they could do to keep alive. After we began paratime transposition, our population climbed to ten billion, and there it stayed’ (Para, pg. 63). Of these, about ‘a billion and a half are on Home Time Line at any one time; the rest are scattered all over Fifth Level, and…all over Fourth, Third, and Second.’ (LKoO, pg. 246) A half billion is far below carrying capacity, which might seem about right on an exhausted Terra. But the 1.5 billion of the rebounded population of Home Time Line are not just on Paraterra, since there are ‘Just enough of us to enjoy our planet and the other planets of the system to the fullest; enough of everything for everybody that nobody needs fight anybody for anything.’ (Para, pg. 63, emphasis added) Thus, ‘Paramars’ and ‘Paravenus’ are also inhabited; the ‘billion and a half’ are spread out over the 3 worlds at least, and some may even be on Luna, Mercury Twilight Zone, and Titan, as in the THFH. The 1.5 billion total would then seem to make sense as Mars was exhausted before Terra was colonized, and Terra was exhausted before transposition was discovered. I don’t know whether Venus was colonized before or after they began paratiming; if after, it might not have been exhausted, possibly making it the breadbasket of Home Time Line.

--John A. Anderson

‘Well, don’t do any fighting with planet busters at twenty paces.’ (FS, pg. 30)
--Leslie Coombs


John's original message is available here:



The first extrasolar planets, as they had been discovered, had been named from Norse mythology--Odin and Baldur and Thor, Uller and Freya, Bifrost and Asgard and Niflheim. When the Norse names ran out, the discoverers had turned to other mythologies, Celtic and Egyptian and Hindu and Assyrian, and by the middle of the Seventh Century they were naming planets for almost anything." -- H. Beam Piper, "Graveyard of Dreams"
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
02:44 UT
Hello Truefindings. Please send me a message using the contact form:



"It's all pretty hush-hush, but this term Terran Federation is a tentative name for a proposed organization to take the place of the U.N. if that organization breaks up." - Major Cutler (H. Beam Piper), "The Edge of the Knife"
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
18:01 UT
From the Archives: "Martians, Martians and Freyans"

Another post from the PIPER-L archives here, this time from way back in September 1997, by Nathan Brindle, who was also the administrator of the old mailing list.

Nathan had some thoughts about the Martians of "Genesis" and the potential implications they might have for the Martians of "Omnilingual" and perhaps even the Freyans of "When in the Course--."

Subject: Martian origin of Terro-humans (and maybe Freyans???)
From: Nathan Brindle
Date: Wed, 10 Sep 1997 13:53:49 -0400

One thing you might want to consider in re the Martian origin of
Terro-humans would be the story "Genesis" in _Worlds of H. Beam Piper_.
While Carr's note at the beginning puts it into the Paratime universe, I
see nothing specific in the story that places it absolutely into Paratime;
it could as easily be considered part of the TFH, particularly considering
the physical similarity of Martians and Terrans as described in
"Omnilingual". I never saw anything in "Omnilingual" that would indicate
that the two races were so different as to be different species altogether.
 I also think Carr didn't know what he was talking about half the time when
he wrote these forewords and little prefatory blurbs, as you can see by
looking at my contributions over time to this list :) so I have no problem
placing "Genesis" into either series, <particularly> because of "Omnilingual".

In re the Freyans, I've often wondered why Beam didn't give the Freyans
some kind of mythological creation story (e.g., "Why are we here and how
did we get here?") which might have been the kind of thing that
technologically-savvy Federation citizens would have recognized as a story
about humans being taken from Earth to Freya by "aliens" back in the midst
of pre-history, or even as a story that would be linkable to the Martian
origin theory. If he'd wanted to link WITC with "Genesis" he could have
done it like this: The first expedition to colonize Earth failed (as far
as the people back on Mars knew) and so they decided that it was impossible
to colonize Earth (maybe because of the gravity differential, which Beam
completely ignored). Therefore they turned their sights to escaping to
another solar system, developed a hyperdrive (or even slowships would have
sufficed I suppose), and managed to get at least one colonizer ship off (to
Freya) before Mars became unlivable. For whatever reason this Freyan
colony also decivilized (who knows why; plague, warfare, famine) and had
just managed to get itself back up to a medieval kind of economy by the
time the Federation crew came along. Thus it would be possible that the
two races would be interfertile. (Again notice how <I've> conveniently
ignored the gravity differential problem:)

Of course this is speculation and I have no idea if Beam even considered
it, but if you <really> want to go whole hog you may as well dream big :)
I think someone mentioned once that WITC might have been a first cut at a
story that Beam <really> wanted to place in the Paratime universe (which he
did, of course, with "Gunpowder God" et al.) but was afraid might be
considered too derivative and thus unsaleable (as he would later be told
regarding "Fuzzies and Other People")...and WITC <really> isn't that great
of a story to begin with...


Nathan's original message is available here:



"Lord Kalvan is a Martian." - Jackson Russell, H. Beam Piper Mailing List and Discussion Forum, July 6, 2015
Edited 09-27-2020 18:02
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
02:48 UT
Interesting new (2019) collection here:


It features stories "written by the unsung women authors of yesteryear" so nothing by Beam but that cover illustration is Kelly Freas's rendering of Martha Dane from the original publication of "Omnilingual" in the February 1957 issue of ~Astounding~:


(Freas's widow--his second wife--wrote the Forward for the collection so she may have had something to do with choosing that image.)

Still, Beam's portrayal of Dane in "Omnilingual" has always seemed to me to be one of the indications that he was "ahead of his time" in so many ways. It's nice to see him recognized for that here, even if only tacitly.


"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~
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03:42 UT
John "Calidore" Anderson wrote:

> In the "Port Sandor Times" . . .

Wonderful to see that someone has noticed ~Port Sandor Times~! Mostly just a concept at this point but hopefully there will be more content soon. Happy to consider submission from everyone.

> > Personal energy weapons never appear in the Terro-
> > human Future History but a Paratime Police officer is
> > seldom caught without a handy "sigma-ray needler."
> I must request a correction, as energy weapons do appear
> in the THFH. In "The Keeper", set 30,000 years in the future,
> Southrons equipped with "negatron" blasters steal the Crown,
> when Raud is away from home hunting with Brave.

Of course! Thanks for the correction. I've made the update here:



"Britain was a great nation, once; the last nation to join the Terran Federation. . . ." - Lord "Dranigo" Dranigrastan (H. Beam Piper), "The Keeper"
CalidorePerson was signed in when posted
03:27 UT
In the “Port Sandor Times”, David “Piperfan” Johnson wrote—

>Personal energy weapons never appear in the Terro-human Future History but a Paratime Police officer is seldom caught without a handy “sigma-ray needler.”

I must request a correction, as energy weapons do appear in the THFH. In “The Keeper”, set 30,000 years in the future, Southrons equipped with “negatron” blasters steal the Crown, when Raud is away from home hunting with Brave.

Bold is left to guard the Crown, but is killed by one of the Southrons, leaving “a sickening stench of burned flesh and hair.” From the evidence left behind, Raud figures out what happened. “The four men had entered, knowing that they would find Bold alone. The one in the lead had had a negatron pistol drawn, and when Bold had leaped at them, he had been blasted. The blast had caught the dog from in front—the chest cavity was literally exploded, and the neck and head burned and smashed unrecognizably. Even the brass studs on the leather collar had been melted.”

Raud knows this to be true, because “Every Southron who came into the Northland, even the common crewmen on the trading ships, carried some kind of an energy weapon. They were good only for fighting—one look at the body of Bold showed what they did to meat and skins.” (Empire, p. 228)

Raud takes Brave and follows the four men; Vahr Farg’s son and three Southrons. He assumes the weapons they carry include “three negatron pistols”, one for each of the latter. “He knew about negatron pistols, too. They shot little bullets of energy; they were very fast, and did not drop, like a real bullet, so that no judgment of range was needed. But the energy died quickly; the negatrons lived only long enough to go five hundred paces and no more.” (Ibid., p. 231)

When Raud catches them up, a firefight ensues. Raud kills one of the Southrons, and stays out of range of the others. “The third man had drawn his negatron pistol and was trying to use it; thin hairlines of brilliance were jetting out from his hand, stopping far short of their mark.” They are later able to get within range, so that when Raud kills a second Southron, he has to run away fast. “Before he was twenty feet away, the place where he had been exploded; the force of the blast almost knocked him down, and steam blew past and ahead of him. Ignoring his pack and ice-staff, he ran on, calling to Brave to follow. The dog obeyed instantly; more negatron-blasts were thundering and blazing and steaming on the crest of the ridge.” (Ibid., pp. 236, 237)

In the end, Raud encounters the other two face-to-face. He kills the last Southron, and sacrifices Brave in order to get at Vahr Farg’s son, who by now has one of the dead Southron’s blasters. “Brave… launched himself straight at the throat of Vahr Farg’s son—and into the muzzle of Vahr’s blaster. He died in a blue-white flash.” (Ibid., p. 238)

Raud’s statement that all the Southrons carry “some kind of energy weapon” implies that there are other types, besides the negatron pistols. Sigma-ray needlers? Possibly, since the discharge of Paratime needlers don’t seem to be explosive. But given the existence of negatron pistols, negatron rifles are a definite possibility. As energy weapons are “only good for fighting”, these rifles would be carried by Southron security forces and/or Imperial troops at the Space Navy base. (Ibid., p. 223)

In the story, Vahr Farg’s son carries “a single loader” rifle like Raud’s, while the “light Southron rifles” carried by Vahr’s companions are autorifles. They “fired a dozen shots one after another.” These are not energy rifles, since they use them for hunting. (Ibid., p. 230)

So in both of Piper’s series, there is a progression from firearms in the early space age to energy weapons in the far future. In the Paratime series, the Martians who colonize Terra (“Genesis”) carry normal small arms; including pistols, carbines and big-game rifles. (The Worlds of H. Beam Piper, pp. 149, 153) But 100,000 years later, their descendants (at least, those on the First Level) have energy weapons. Similarly, the Terrans who begin the colonization of Mars (“Omnilingual”) carry normal pistols and rifles. (Federation, pp. 21-22) But 30,000 years later, their descendants have energy weapons.

David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
02:48 UT
From the Archives: "Empey: Intro Questions"

Here's another "introductory message" to the old PIPER-L mailing list, posted twenty-three years ago this month, which poses several interesting questions (and answers a couple too).

Subject: Greetings to the list
From: David Empey
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 1997 19:34:20 -0700

Hi, you all. I haven't seen any traffic in the few days I've
been subscribed to the list, so I guess I'll create some traffic
of my own.

In the welcome message, Mr. Brindle says:

>Since Piper's death, several authors working under the auspices of
>Ace Books (which may or may not still be the publisher...bear with me)
>have written further stories set in the TFH and the Paratime Series.
>Among these are John Carr's _Fuzzy_Bones_ and Roland Green's _Great_
>King's_War_. After the appearance of _Fuzzy_Bones_, the long-lost
>third Fuzzy novel (written by Piper in response to public demand but
>rejected by his publisher because it was too derivative of the other
>two books) was discovered in a trunk somewhere in Pennsylvania.

Two questions:

John Carr's _Fuzzy Bones_? I thought the author was William Tuning.

What do you mean, Ace may or may not still be the publisher?

I've also been perusing the list archives, and I've got a few
comments on some stuff that is rather old; apologies if these
points have been covered already.

Back in March, Will Linden wrote as follows:

> Well, perhaps someone else would be interested in illuminating what "era"
>Piper was using. (I put an "Atomic Era" item on my calendar page.)
> If he was dating from the first chain reaction, the Von Schlictens "in
>the Year Three" would have hijacked a bomber to flee Germany in 1944,
>which seems early to me. But if he was reckoning from Los Alamos, that
>would have them impossibly leaving in 1948!

From _Cosmic Computer_, Chapter XIV:

"Nuclear reactors had become simple and easier to service since
the First Day of the Year Zero, when Enrico Fermi put the first one
into operation. . . ."

That was December 2, 1942 C.E., which would put von Schlicten's escape
sometime between Dec 2, 1945 and Dec 1, 1946. Note that Atomic Era
dating has a Year Zero; otherwise Year 3 would be Dec 2, 1944 to Dec 1,
1945. I don't know enough history to know if that is possible or not.

Mark Olson was estimating the number of planets in the Federation by
counting the number of gods in the mythology of various cultures. We
have a fairly precise statement near the end of _CC_, in Chapter XXI:

"Forty years of history for almost five hundred planets had to be
abstracted and summarized" for Merlin so it could make its
predictions. This jibes with Mr. Olson's estimate of 300-1000.

To carry this line of inquiry a bit further:
In "Ministry of Disturbance", we read that there are 1365 inhabited
worlds in the Empire, and had been "when Stevan IV. . . had proclaimed
Odin the Imperial planet. . . ."

Carr dates Steven IV to 1848, so it appears that between 894 and 1848
the number of inhabitated worlds increased by about 870 or so, or
about 174%. It seems a surprising amount of exploration and colonization
went on between the fall of the Federation and the rise of the Empire.

Finally, here's some new (?) remarks of my own:

I'm rather puzzled by several features of the world as described in
_Space Viking_. First, Amaterasu. their tech level seems improbable
to me. They had no nuclear power because there were no fissionables
on the planet, but how *could* they have "lost" contragravity, not
to mention hyperdrive? The planet was evidently not flattened by
bombs, so presumably they had access to Federation-era technical
material. Surely this would have explained the basic theory of
contragravity and hyperdrive. What gives?

Second, I've been wondering about the rate of raiding suggested by the
numbers Piper gives. Harkaman estimates that "there are at least
two hundred Space Viking ships in operation." If there are, say,
1000 planets in the Old Federation (I think there were probably
less), and each ship raids only one planet a year (I think they did
more, based on the examples in _SV_), then each world should be
raided, on the average, once every 5 years, shouldn't they? In addition,
there are less than a dozen and a half civilized worlds in the Old
Fed, which presumably means more than a dozen. Marduk, which is
probably the biggest power in the Old Fed, has two dozen colony
worlds, which smart raiders would not annoy. If the average civilized
world had, say, 10 colonies, that's around 150 fewer planets that
Space Vikings can afford to raid. That means that the 'raidable'
planets should get hit even more often. And yet Amaterasu was last
raided 20 years ago, and Beowulf (where you can get a lot of valuables)
was last raided 60 years ago. Why such a low rate of raiding?

Third, Fenris: Chronologically quite a puzzle! Colonized at the
end of the 4th century. Walt Boyd tells Glenn Murrell that Port
Sandor was built about a century ago, so _Four Day Planet_ must
take place in the late 5th or early 6th century--long before
Zarathustra was discovered. Boyd says Fenris is 650 light years
from Earth; that it takes about 6 months to get from Fenris to
Earth; and that a spaceship logs about 60 hours per light year.
All I can say is, oops! 650 x 60 = 39,000 hours = about 5.4 *years*.
Could it be that the "60 hours" was meant to be "6 hours", and
"4th century" was meant to be "6th century?" This would place the
date of _FDP_ at about 700 AE, neatly accounting for the presence of
Zarathustran veldbeest meat in Port Sandor. But _Uller Uprising_
takes place in the *early* 6th century (about 526, according to
_Fuzzies and Other People_) and contains references to Fenris.


Dave Empey

Dave's original message is available here:



"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~
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
18:45 UT
The Terran Spiritual and Magical Assistance Agency

I've finished a rework of "Oomphel in the Sky" which adds a new title and makes some other minor changes, including adding a few annotations, in an effort to make the yarn more accessible to contemporary readers. You can download a PDF copy here:


Let us know here what you think!


"It is not . . . the business of an author of fiction to improve or inspire or educate his reader, or to save the world from fascism, communism, racism, capitalism, socialism, or anything else. [The author's] main objective is to purvey entertainment of the sort his reader wants. If he has done this, by writing interestingly about interesting people, human or otherwise, doing interesting things, he has discharged his duty and earned his check." - H. Beam Piper, "Double: Bill Symposium" interview
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
03:38 UT
Thanks for posting the images - which book were those from?

Also - I was looking at Time and Time Again trying to figure out where the Hartley house was supposed to be. Couldn't quite make sense of the directions as given, I was able to find Brandon and Campbell easily enough.

There no longer seems to be a Union Station in Williamsport, there is a bus depot that Amtrack will deliver you to, if we assume the depot was built where the station used to be, it would be a fair walk for a paper.

Of course, Allan's friend Larry suggested a swim at the Canoe Club - if it's in the same place, it's on the other side of the Susquehanna river from their houses, and even farther to go.

If the Hartleys did live on Brandon, there are still some nice looking houses there with front porches.
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
03:02 UT

And found this Fuzzy shirt on Ebay, doesn't give Piper any credit but still pretty cool.
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
23:46 UT
James "jimmyjoejangles" Romanski wrote:

> Just got a Michael Whelan art book and these were in it

Thanks for sharing these, James. I had not seen the Fuzzy sketches before.

~Four-Day Planet~ is one of my favorite Piper illustrations by Whelan.



P.S. James has been working diligenty to post--and re-post--images but the Forum site hasn't been cooperating well. Sorry 'bout that.
"I don't understand computers: Why, I don't even understand the people who understand computers!" - Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands
  Messages 2130-2128 deleted by author between 07-31-2020 04:42 PM and 07-31-2020 04:05 PM
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
13:50 UT

That’s it
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
00:23 UT

You probably have seen most but there you are.
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