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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
04:04 UT
Transition to H_Beam_Piper@simplelists.com

By now you should have gotten an e-mail invitation to the new H. Beam Piper mailing list. It should be up-and-running, with messages archived at:


Once you've confirmed your invitation (by e-mail) you can post messages directly simply by sending an e-mail message to:


Please go ahead and post a brief acknowledgment to let us know you've made it!

All messages are still moderated so you likely won't see your message immediately but it will get back to your e-mail inbox shortly.

(I tried to make sure that those of you who were subscribed to "daily digests" here will continue to get a "daily digest" for the new list. Apologies if I've not gotten this correct in your particular case. Let me know if I can help to get messages delivered as you would like to receive them.)

There are still a few details I'm working out--like a message footer with all the necessary info--but I should have most of these in place by this coming weekend.

If you did _not_ get an e-mail invitation to join the new list--and are still interested in H. Beam Piper discussion--please send me an e-mail message at "piperfan (at) zarthani (dot) net" and I will work to get you transitioned.

I'll keep this list up for now but please start posting your Piper content to the new list from here on out.


David SoobyPerson was signed in when posted
22:48 UT
I'll second what Tim said!

Thank you very much, David, for maintaining this list. It's great that there is still a forum for discussion of Piper's works in a real internet forum context, rather than using FaceBook, which unfortunately so many discussion groups have migrated to. The format of FB encourages quick "sound bite" type posts, and discourages more thoughtful, longer posts; and it is not set up to easily scroll back to see what was posted more than just a few days ago.

(There are other, much more important reasons for avoiding use of FaceBook, but I won't climb up on that soapbox here.)
Tim TowPerson was signed in when posted
05:51 UT
Thanks for maintaining this list and now migrating it to a new location. Appreciate it.

Regarding the covers, the cover illos are pretty aligned with the stories. The Ace Paperbacks were notably good with the covers for the Piper collection. Nowadays I find a lot of the cover illos a bit over the top and in some only loosely tied to the stories.

Definitely the covers were selling tools in the past especially for magazines, probably a bit less so especially for named book authors who get away with just plain text on covers a lot of the time.
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
02:48 UT
Piper Mailing List and Discussion Forum Will be MOVING!

Just received news this evening that QuickTopic, the provider of our our mailing list, is ceasing operations in December. (I have no details about the circumstances which have led to this decision, not that they matter particularly.)

I'll be looking to identify a new provider prior to Nov. 27th, the date when new messages will no longer be able to be posted to the mailing list. Archived messages will remain available at QuickTopic until Dec. 11th.

I have a separate archive that I've been maintaining manually at Zarthani.net which currently has all past messages through the end of last year:


I'll work to ensure that all 2021 messages are captured here too.

No effort is required on your part for the shut-down but do watch your inbox for details on how to join us at the new location. (Any suggestions on a good place to move to would be appreciated.)

It's my intention that we bring along everyone currently participating here to the new location (if you continue to be interested). My apologies in advance to anyone who may get lost in the shuffle. If you find yourself in early 2022 wondering what happened to the Piper mailing list please don't hesitate to contact me directly at Zarthani.net and I will do my best to help you return to the fold.


"Good things in the long run are often tough while they're happening." - Otto Harkaman (H. Beam Piper), ~Space Viking~
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
02:32 UT
Jon Crocker wrote:

> I do think the "Omnilingual" cover is the best Piper cover,
> but that's after reading the story.

Yes, Freas's illustration is wonderful, both the way it presents Martha Dane--it was rare to see a woman on an ~Astounding~ cover; and her two layers of clothing made her stand-out as compared to most women on sci-fi pulps of that era--and because of the way it portrays the not-quite-human Martians in the mural in the background.

> Which one would grab someone, looking at all the
> magazines on the rack? I think they tried all the angles
> with the samples shown.

I have a large print of Schoenherr's cover for (the first instalment of) ~Space Viking~ hanging on my wall but I have to admit it is perhaps not the most striking illustration. (Part of what I like about it also comes from reading about the spherical starships in the story.)

I think perhaps the most striking illustration of a Piper yarn is Schoenherr's ~Analog~ cover for (the first instalment of) ~Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen~ (i.e. "Gunpowder God"). Freas's cover illustration for the second instalment--"Down Styphon!"--is also pretty cool but, again, hard to make sense of until you've read the story.


"There ain't no pictures in it; nothing but print. It's a Literate book." -- Olaf Olafsson (H. Beam Piper & John J. McGuire), ~Null-ABC~
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
14:06 UT
I do think the "Omnilingual" cover is the best Piper cover, but that's after reading the story. Which one would grab someone, looking at all the magazines on the rack? I think they tried all the angles with the samples shown.
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03:48 UT

Screen capture: "Day of the Moron" from ~The Box~ (2009)
Tim TowPerson was signed in when posted
16:54 UT
This is great. I always wanted to see the original presentations. Regarding Day of the Moron, that cover and issue was shown and even the title mentioned in the 2009 film, The Box, which is based on the Richard Matheson story, Button, Button, which also was a Twilight Zone episode.

I always wondered if the Day of the Moron placement and reference was a subtle nod to H. Beam Piper.
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
01:34 UT
Jon Crocker wrote:

> The "unrelated cover illustrations" seem to run the
> gamut - on the one hand, I'm kind of curious if there
> was in fact a story about a fish-lady stealing a radio
> set from the guy in the deep-sea diving gear. On the
> other, I wonder if the guy who wrote the later "Silver
> Surfer" ever saw that "Amazing" cover with the ladies
> in yellow on the galactic surfboards.

Definitely some fascinating art in ~Astounding~ (and ~Analog~) "back in the day."

It's interesting too to see when there was cover art commissioned to illustrate Beam's yarns. "Last Enemy" is great, "Time Crime" is remarkably subtle and clever, and the cover illustration for "Day of the Moron" is the best thing about that sad yarn.

One of the cool things about these pulps being posted online is that we get to see the ~interior~ illustrations too. (I have some of those up at Zarthani.net but there are others here I've yet to get to.)

Remember Ashmodai! Remember Belphegor!

"They were turning into the main hallway, between the rows of portraits of past emperors, Paul and Rodrik, Paul and Rodrik, alternating over and over on both walls." — H Beam Piper, "Ministry of Disturbance"
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
04:37 UT
Thanks for posting those! The "unrelated cover illustrations" seem to run the gamut - on the one hand, I'm kind of curious if there was in fact a story about a fish-lady stealing a radio set from the guy in the deep-sea diving gear. On the other, I wonder if the guy who wrote the later "Silver Surfer" ever saw that "Amazing" cover with the ladies in yellow on the galactic surfboards.
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03:46 UT
New Piper Originals at Zarthani.net!

I've just added links for electronic versions of all of Piper's work originally published in either ~Astounding~ or ~Analog~, included in each case within the entire issue of original publication, to the "First Publications" bibliography:


This includes not only originals like the serializations of ~Time Crime~, ~Null-ABC~ and ~Space Viking~ but also the first two parts of ~Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen~--"Gunpowder God" and "Down Styphon!"--originally published in ~Analog~.

Wonderful to see the original text with the original illustrations (when there were any) in place.

Bonne journée,

"Do you know which books to study, and which ones not to bother with? Or which ones to read first, so that what you read in the others will be comprehensible to you? That's what they'll give you [at university]. The tools, which you don't have now, for educating yourself." - Bish Ware (H. Beam Piper), ~Four-Day Planet~
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03:57 UT
From the Archives: "Confederacion"

Twenty years ago this month, Piper fan Steve Newton posted some fascinating thoughts to the old PIPER-L mailing list, about the pre-Federation history of South America, imagining the "Ibero-American Confederacion" from the Hartley yarns also to be an element of the Terro-human Future History.

Subject: Confederacion
From: Steve Newton
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2001 23:23:29 -0400

I have been thinking that if I am going to argue the case that the Southern
nations had been following strategies consistent with their own self-
interest for a long time prior to WW4, I should show how this might have
happened. David’s comment that the Lanningham quote doesn’t preclude the
possibility that someone in the South had atomic weapons also played into
this conception. What I am essentially attempting to do is lay the
groundwork for precisely how the South manages to stay out of the second,
more destructive, nuclear confrontation. The timeline below is by no means
directly drawn from Piper; only four entries have even indirect connections
to actual Piper quotations. So this is definitely apocrypha, yet along the
lines that David argues for his Commonwealth history: if this sequence is
not what Piper would have written himself, it at least attempts to be
consistent with the clues we do possess.

My whole point is to show that the South, especially Latin America, did not
intend to sit passively on its hands while the growing confrontation
between capitalism and communism threatened nuclear war. Let me know how
you find this. . . .

A note for David: this timeline also presents my answer to who settled
Antarctica and why (and when). It is not necessarily inconsistent with
your own scenario with the US moving in later, as it might be easier to
move in and take over a going concern, or the US colonies might be
competitors (after all, Antarctica is a pretty big place. But I persist in
thinking that Argentina and Chile would have gone there first if world
attention was diverted to a building confrontation in the North (which
means there was no international treaty to keep the area pristine).


An Early History of the Ibero-American Confederacion:


ARGENTINA: Generalmajor Horst von Schlicten escapes to Argentina during
the collapse of the Third Reich.


CENTRAL AMERICA: US-sponsored coup against left-leaning government of
Guatemala installs a military government, restoring previously nationalized
holdings to United Fruit Company.


SPAIN: Death of Franco in airplane crash; “Little Civil War” breaks out
over succession of power.


SPAIN: Restoration of the Spanish Hapsburg monarchy under King Juan I; at
his coronation announces the “Hapsburg Doctrine” that since the Hispanic
and Latin American nations clustered around the Atlantic share a common
cultural heritage and economic future that they should be free to pursue
them without the interference of the great capitalist and communist power
blocs; he reaches a secret bilateral agreement with the Batista government
in Cuba to support it in power against “Communist agitators”; 25,000
Spanish troops, including Foreign Legion and Azul Division veterans embark
for Cuba.


CUBA: Cuban Revolution opens on 1 January; Batista government collapses,
but Spanish Expeditionary Corps under General Eugenio Morales holds Havana
and key enclaves on the coast; with the tacit agreement of the US that Cuba
is “better Catholic than Communist,” the Spanish Navy transports
reinforcements to the island, which by the end of the year have reduced
Castro’s forces to an ineffectual guerilla movement in the hills


CUBA: King Juan I of Spain announces the formal re-annexation of Cuba,
appointing Morales as Governor-General; US reluctantly recognizes this
action based on Hapsburg assurances that “Spain has answered the call of a
traditional responsibility, and has no further territorial ambitions in the
Western Hemisphere”; US is nonetheless asked to give up naval base at
Guantanamo Bay.


SPAIN: Juan I announces the creation of the Ibero-American Confederacion,
consisting of Spain, Portugal, Brazil, and Argentina; Statement of First
Principles declares the Confederacion to be non-aligned with any other
major power bloc, promising neutrality in international conflicts, and
denying use of port facilities or air space to military forces of the
Western Union or Eastern Axis.


CENTRAL AMERICA: CIO [Central Intelligence Organization] identifies
Spanish Legionnaires among the leadership cadres of the “Free Guatemala”
guerilla movement that has sprung up against the US-backed military


CENTRAL AMERICA: After a series of battlefield defeats, military
government in Guatemala agrees to free elections and power-sharing with
the “Free Guatemala” movement

SPAIN: Confederacion announces the inauguration of the Cavor Project, at
an undisclosed location (eventually to be set up in the re-captured
Malvinas; see 1967).


MEXICO: Vera Cruz Accord adds Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, and
Costa Rico to Confederacion (only extreme US military pressure keeps Panama
from joining Confederacion); Confederacion also announces a fifty-
mile “exclusion zone” restricting non-member military vessels and aircraft
from operating along member nations’ coasts; Western Union and Eastern Axis
both denounce this action


SPAIN: King Juan I announces the creation of a unified Confederacion
military force, to be commanded by newly promoted Marshal Morales with
former Argentinian Defense Minister, Horst von Schlicten, as Chief of the
General Staff.

AFRICA: With covert Confederacion and Eastern Axis aid, British and French
colonial possessions in west Africa unify and declare their independence as
the “New Songhai Empire.” New Songhai signs treaties of friendship with
Confederacion and pledges non-alignment in East-West conflicts.

ARGENTINA: With British attention diverted toward the crisis in west
Africa, Argentina seizes the Falklands [Malvinas] Islands; the islands
immediately become the center of the Cavor Project.


CHILE: Chile joins Confederacion.


ANTARCTICA: Confederacion adjudicates Chilean-Argentine claims to
Antarctica by mandating the Madrid Division of Territorial Claims.

SOUTH ATLANTIC: Confederacion detonates atomic bomb east of the Malvinas

SOUTH AFRICA: Signs bilateral trade agreement with Confederacion despite
British pressure; agreement requires that South Africa not allow Western
Union permanent basing status.


CENTRAL AMERICA: Citing national security, President Hartley moves 50,000
additional US troops into Panama and effectively (if not nominally) annexes
the country to direct US control; Confederacion and Eastern Axis both
denounce the action.

ANTARCTICA: Chile and Argentina place permanent colonies in Antarctica;
Confederacion establishes naval base there; US, UK, and USSR bases receive
formal notice that only “civilian scientific research” will be permitted at
their facilities.


SPAIN: Juan I announces the Confederacion’s “Peaceful Ocean” Initiative,
which seeks to place the entire South Atlantic Ocean off-limits to non-
Confederacion vessels and aircraft armed with atomic bombs or missiles, and
to restrict passage of all other non-Confederacion military vessels and
aircraft to specific mid-Ocean corridors.

ARGENTINA: Confederacion conducts successful test launch of IRBM with the
capability to reach targets in either the US or USSR.


Steve's original message is available here:


Bonne journée,

"That's probably why the Southern Hemisphere managed to stay out of the Third and Fourth World Wars." - Carlos von Schlichten (H. Beam Piper), ~Uller Uprising~
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
14:27 UT
From the Archives: "THFH: Even the villains have P.h.d.'s...."

Here's another item from the archives, a post from twenty-one years ago this month, with some observations about Beam's Terro-human Future History characters.

Subject: THFH: Even the villains have P.h.d.'s....
From: Theo D. Light
Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2000 23:51:35 -0600


Most of the characters in Piper's work seem to have a surprisingly high
level of "formal" education. Even the two minor criminals in "Fuzzy Sapiens"
(Heckerd and Novaes, I think?) were a geologist and a zoologist-- which even
in the future must require extensive post-secondary education.

Also in the Fuzzy novels-- Gerd VanRiebeek (xenobiologist), Ben Rainsford
(something similar), the two lawyers-- Branhard and Coombes, the mammologist
who later becomes head of the Science Center whose name escapes me (Juan
something?), as well as the "pure scientists" Kellog, Mallin, etc. And of
course the various doctors, judges, psychologists, and biochemists that the
novels abound with. One gets the feeling that a lot of smart people
emigrated to Zarathustra.

Then there are the scholars/alien rights workers in "Uller Uprising", who
seem to play an important and accepted role in various Terran Colonial
Societies. For that matter Gerd Van Riebeck remarks that a good
xenobiologist can ALWAYS find a job anywhere. Nifflheim is full of Mining
Engineers-- and that takes a ton of schooling.

Or how about the various individual specialists in the First Contact team of
"Naudsonce"? Audiologists, Forensic Archaeologists, Master Tool and Die
Analysts, etc.

And of course at any time and in any place, being a sailor is a matter of
lifelong education-- whether in the US Navy or aboard the Terra-Odin-Baldur
commercial starships.

What other examples can YOU add to this list?

My point is that in Piper's future a majority of the people seem to have a
lot more education than we see today in America. To me this makes sense-- it
is an almost inevitable result of the increases in technology that comes
with a hyperdrive civilization.

I was also struck by how prescient Piper's description of the Terran
education system from "Oomphel in the Sky" was-- more than forty years ago
he had figured out the principles of interactive audio-visual computer
assisted instruction. (Jack (?) Gilbert, who features in that story-- is
also a young man-- with a Master's Degree.)

Even then Piper must have guessed that there would be advances in the field
of how real learning takes place, and that, as psychologists have since been
discovering, there are better ways of teaching that involve the use of audio
cues, computer animations and computer generated images, music, and so on.
(For a goofy but enthusiastic summary of this topic, check out "Accelerated
Learning for the 21st Century" from your local library. In between the
aw-shucks and golly-gees of its two British editors there are a number of
summaries of remarkable research about recent advances in deciphering the
structure of the brain, and how educators can use this to teach more,
better, and faster.)

I know there will be exceptions to this observation-- Jack Holloway springs
to mind. But Piper does stress that Holloway, although lacking in formal
schooling, does know a lot of science in order to be a successful prospector
on several different planets. And of course Piper's description of the
Mallorysport Tramptown has the implicit message that even in the future,
there will be people who choose to live uneducated, unambitious,
uninteresting lives. And the closure of schools is listed as one of the
critical factors in the decline of late Federation civilization that we
glimpse in "Cosmic Computer".

But still, it seems that to Piper, in the Terran Federation, people were
well educated-- more so than today-- by a significant factor.

For a man who stressed self-reliance so much, it is odd how many of the
people he chose to write about are products of an organized education
system. Piper clearly disdained the American school system-- there are some
derogatory (and accurate!) remarks about Ivy League colleges in "Lord Kalvan
of Otherwhen". But underneath it all there is a profound respect for
education itself-- the feeling that his "Self Reliant Man" was always
learning and growing.

This somewhat exaggerated respect for advanced technical and scientifc
degrees suggest that Piper was a mostly a self-educated man himself. Can
anyone comment on that? What do we know of his background?

I guess this strikes a chord with me because at age 32 I still do not have a
college degree of my own. I am really starting to feel the lack of it, and
to see how many doors are closed to me professionally (and socially! and
romantically!!!) without a formal education. So I am scrambling to attend
night classes and correspondence courses in between my military deployments.
And I also find that never having taken the time to finish college myself, I
do have a great deal of admiration myself for mining engineers and
mammologists and forensic archaeologists and so on...

Who has opinions about this subject? I challenge you to respond and refute
my claims! I sort of miss those protracted debates last month concerning
travel time from Odin to Marduk, or the efficacy of ground based Missile
defense systems in the Second Empire, or whether or not Merlin knew that it
was lying. Let's get some good Piper discussions started here again.

And that's just my two centisols on the subject.

I am

Ted Light

Ted's original message is available here:


Bonne journée,

"Do you know which books to study, and which ones not to bother with? Or which ones to read first, so that what you read in the others will be comprehensible to you? That's what they'll give you [at university]. The tools, which you don't have now, for educating yourself." - Bish Ware (H. Beam Piper), ~Four-Day Planet~
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
02:20 UT
NEW PIPER WEB SITE: www.astravian.com

John Anderson, the Dean of Piper studies, has put up his own web site: "The H. Beam Piper Research Project."

It's a great-looking site with over 18 different studies that John has worked on over the past decade or two. I've been the only one -- until now -- who has been privy to all of his wonderful studies on the works of H. Beam Piper. It's a site that every Piper fan will find engrossing and useful, especially during these trying times.

I highly recommend John's new site and I believe it's a wonderful compliment to both David Johnson's Zarthani sites and my own Piper web sites.

Finally, it is a real tribute to our favorite author, H. Beam Piper.

John F. Carr
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
01:45 UT
Thanks for posting those!

The pictures look especially cool in the middle of a heat wave.
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
20:49 UT
The Sword-World Quernbiter

This photo of an island in Quernbiter Fjord on Baffin Island in Nunavut was posted to the old PIPER-L mailing list back in August 1998:


Here's another photo of the fjord itself:


Which, of course, leaves us wondering if this was what the area around the initial landing site and settlement on the world Querbiter looked like as well.

Here's a bit about how the fjord was named:


By the leader of a 1937 scientific expedition to Baffin Bay:


Querbiter was the sword of Hákon the Good, a Tenth Century king of Norway. The world's capital may likely be called "Hákon" but on the other hand, perhaps it's called "Isbjørn" ("polar bear") after the Wordie expedition ship.


"Excalibur, Tizona, Gram, Morglay, Durendal, Flamberge, Curtana, Quernbiter; the names [of the Sword-Worlds] were a roll-call of fabulous blades of Old Terran legend." - "A Slave is a Slave"
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