QuickTopic logo Create New TopicNew Topic My TopicsMy Topics News
Zarthani.net banner

H. Beam Piper Mailing List and Discussion Forum

Skip to Messages
Welcome to the H. Beam Piper mailing list and discussion forum. Initiated in October 2008 (after the demise of the original PIPER-L mailing list), this tool for shared communication among Piper fans provides an e-mail list and a discussion forum with on-line archives.
 
Membership in this moderated list/forum is by invitation only. (If you'd like an invitation please request one by sending an e-mail message to the Moderator.) In order for your messages to be approved for posting to the list you must be both registered with the QuickTopic site (click the "Sign In" link at the top-right of the page) and subscribed to receive messages from the list by e-mail (click the "Get email" button below).
 
Moderation will focus on keeping the discussion related to H. Beam Piper in a broadly interpreted sense. Off-topic posts or ad hominem comments will not be approved for posting and repeat offenders may be banned from posting to the list.
 
There is an annual subscription fee required to keep this list/forum free of advertisements and to provide expanded functionality such as the capability to post images. You can support the continued ad-free availability of this shared resource by making a contribution using the PayPal Donate link at the top of the page. (You don't need a PayPal account to make a donation, just a credit card.) Thank you for whatever level of support you can afford.
^     All messages            1515-1530 of 1530  1499-1514 >>
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~
~
1527
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
05-12-2017
05:56 UT
~
James "jimmyjoejangles" Romanski wrote:

> Is there other stuff? Fuzzy stuffed animals or something?

This was amusing:

http://www.leviathanstudios.com/figures/fuzzy.html

Yeek!

David
--
"Why not everybody make friend, have fun, make help, be good?" - Diamond Grego (H. Beam Piper), ~Fuzzy Sapiens~
~
1526
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
05-11-2017
23:44 UT
~
David "Piperfan" Johnson wrote:
"I have to admit that's one of the most unusual bits of Piper-abilia I've seen in a while."

Is there other stuff? Fuzzy stuffed animals or something?
Also grandma(my) was a Johnson from New Brunswick, Canada. Probably doesn't mean much though.
1525
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
05-11-2017
15:03 UT
~
James "jimmyjoejangles" Romanski wrote:

> Just was browsing through ebay in search of any interesting
> Piperabilia and came across a metal sign with the cover of Cosmic
> Computer on it. Kind of cool, not the Ace the original.

Here is is:

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/122469881503

I have to admit that's one of the most unusual bits of Piper-abilia I've seen in a while. It's a reproduction of the cover art from the 1964 Ace publication with Ed Valigursky's illustration (as opposed to the 1980s reprint with the Whelan cover illustration).

Good luck.

David
--
"Why Walt Disney bought the movie rights to ['Rebel Raider'], I've never figured out. Will Colonel Mosby be played by Mickey Mouse, and General Phil Sheridan by Donald Duck? It's baffling. However, I was glad to get the check." -- H. Beam Piper, The Pennsy interview, 1953
~
1524
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
05-11-2017
01:04 UT
Just was browsing through ebay in search of any interesting Piperabilia and came across a metal sign with the cover of Cosmic Computer on it. Kind of cool, not the Ace the original. Also it seems like someone stumbled into an old Ace warehouse. There are a number of the Ace eighties aditions on ebay now being billed as new and unread. So if that interests you, and you would like to pay seventy dollars or so go check them out on EBay.
Edited 05-11-2017 01:30
1523
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
05-06-2017
18:42 UT
I knew it wasn't that kind of forum. Thanks though.
1522
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
05-06-2017
16:43 UT
~
[A bit of List housekeeping here.]

James,

> David Johnson wrote:
>
> > James "jimmyjoejangles" Romanski wrote:
>
[snip]
>
> --
> "And just how do you define the term 'fool', Mr. Melroy?"
> -- Doris Rivas (H. Beam Piper), "Day of the Moron"

I want to be clear that this quote was not meant to be any sort of a response to what you had written. It was just the only Hartley yarn quote I had handy. Looking at it in hindsight I can see that it might have been interpreted differently than it was intended and I apologize for any offense which might have been taken. Please rest assured no offense was intended.

Sorry,

David
--
"Why not everybody make friend, have fun, make help, be good?" - Diamond Grego (H. Beam Piper), ~Fuzzy Sapiens~
~
1521
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
05-06-2017
16:27 UT
~
John "Calidore" Anderson wrote:

> But as [Carr] points out, “Piper is clearly working out
> some of the background he used in later TFH stories.” (FED,
> pp. xxiv-xxv) So I consider the Hartley yarns to be a sort of
> ‘proto-Future History’. A preliminary attempt, superceded by
> the more firmly grounded and thought-out THFH.

I agree this is a reasonable assumption. Beam was writing lots of different stuff in the period when he wrote the Hartley yarns including the first several Paratime yarns and even they went through some "growing pains." (I'm thinking here of things like the multiple "para-peeping" Verkan Valls in "Police Operation" and the way the origin of the different Paratime Levels changes from that yarn to ~Lord Kalvan~.)

> As a proto-THFH, Piper could have easily adapted certain
> elements from the ‘Hartley Future History’ (or HFH, if I may
> call it that) into his main Future History at some later date.

Another reasonable assumption.

> Particularly because, as you noted in your post, the
> Philadelphia Project has the same name in the THFH as in
> the HFH. In the HFH, the Philadelphia Project is presumably
> begun under President Hartley, who hails from Pennsylvania,
> and therefore steered the project to his home state.

Perhaps. Or, perhaps as Beam often did, he simply placed the Hartleys _and_ the Philadelphia Project in _his_ home state. (I am reminded here of the Penn State scientist in "Omnilingual" and, of course, of a particular Pennsylvania state trooper.)

> > but "The Edge of the Knife" dates this war in 1973.
>
> It actually dates it in 1974. According to Professor Chalmers’
> calendar, “Edge” begins on “October 16, 1973” (EMP, p. 17).

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.

(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.")

Bottom line, I think, is that the dating of the "Third World War" is one place where the Hartley yarns might be shoehorned into the Terro-human Future History (though the _character_ of the Wars in each setting is much more difficult to reconcile).

> I agree about the significant lack of linkages in the THFH to
> the HFH, but would discount the lack of linkages in the other
> direction. The Hartley stories were written, and take place,
> before Piper’s acknowledged THFH tales. It is therefore not
>surprising that these earlier tales don’t mention future events
> and projects, especially those which are classified.

Actually, Beam was pretty good at this sort of thing. Consider, for example, his depictions of the Sword Worlds and the Space Vikings in "Ministry of Disturbance" and "A Slave is a Slave," both written before ~Space Viking~ and yet both set _after_ that yarn in the Future History.

YMMV,

David
--
"You had a wonderful civilization here. . . . You could have made almost anything of it. But it's too late now. You've torn down the gates; the barbarians are in." - Lucas Trask (H. Beam Piper), ~Space Viking~
~
1520
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
05-06-2017
04:56 UT
~
James "jimmyjoejangles" Romanski wrote:

> THe Mercenaries deals directly with collapsed matter. IT's one of
> the secrets they are trying to protect because they invented it.

What? There's _science_ in "The Mercenaries"? I guess I missed that trying to figure out the mystery. ;)

I stand corrected.

David
--
"As to Heisenberg compensators . . . I'd rather rely on reversing the polarity of the neutron flow." - Tom Rogers, H. Beam Piper Mailing List and Discussion Forum, July 15, 2015
~
Edited 05-06-2017 04:57
1519
CalidorePerson was signed in when posted
05-06-2017
01:34 UT
A delayed response to David Johnson’s earlier post on the Hartley stories.

David wrote,

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

Your post is a very good summary of the differences, and similarities, between the Hartley tales and the THFH. I agree that, as published, the three Hartley tales do not belong in the Future History. John Carr says as much in his Introduction to Federation. But as he points out, “Piper is clearly working out some of the background he used in later TFH stories.” (FED, pp. xxiv-xxv) So I consider the Hartley yarns to be a sort of ‘proto-Future History’. A preliminary attempt, superceded by the more firmly grounded and thought-out THFH.
  
As a proto-THFH, Piper could have easily adapted certain elements from the ‘Hartley Future History’ (or HFH, if I may call it that) into his main Future History at some later date. And since he names no American presidents in the THFH (nor Federation presidents, for that matter), this could actually include the Hartleys themselves. Particularly because, as you noted in your post, the Philadelphia Project has the same name in the THFH as in the HFH. In the HFH, the Philadelphia Project is presumably begun under President Hartley, who hails from Pennsylvania, and therefore steered the project to his home state. This parallels how Mission Control ended up in Houston because Vice President Johnson was a Texan, as well as, not coincidentally, the head of NASA. It is therefore not outside the realm of possibility that, in the THFH, the Philadelphia Project is a Hartley creation as well.

Incidentally, given the fact that the Hartley tales were written and published in chronological order, one might infer that Beam’s original intent was to write all his future history stories in order, from the near to far future. But if so, this changed when he was approached with the idea of contributing a story to a Twayne Triplet, based on Dr. John D. Clark’s essay. A story which became Uller Uprising, the first true tale of the THFH, and in which Beam ‘jumped ahead’ several centuries.

>>Another possible commonality between the Hartley Yarns and the Terro-human Future History is the Third World War, which occurs in Allan Hartley's "original timeline" in 1975. A Third World War is also mentioned in several Terro-human Future History yarns but "The Edge of the Knife" dates this war in 1973.

It actually dates it in 1974. According to Professor Chalmers’ calendar, “Edge” begins on “October 16, 1973” (EMP, p. 17). Khalid ib’n Hussein is assassinated a month later, in mid-November, 1973. In the months that follow, the UN falls apart, there is “general war in the Middle East”, the Terran Federation is organized, and finally Tallal ib’n Khalid brings the Islamic Caliphate into the Federation just about when the Thirty Days War breaks out. (ibid., pp. 30, 36) This occurs in mid-September, 1974. “There would be an Eastern-inspired uprising in Azerbaijan by the middle of the next year [around June 1974]; before autumn [which begins around September 20], the Indian Communists would make their fatal attempt; the Thirty Days’ War would be the immediate result.” (ibid., p. 55) WWIII would then roughly run from mid-September to mid-October, 1974.

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

His four power-blocs in “The Mercenaries” may have been intended to clearly differentiate his fictional proto-future history from the real world, while also giving him more room to creatively maneuver. Four competitors going to the Moon certainly makes the race more interesting than two. Or, perhaps he had a historical model in mind which he never revealed. But in the later THFH, he brought his near-term future history more closely in line with the bipolar real world, in which the West and East (US and USSR) were dominant.
 
I fear I must disagree with your last sentence about protesting the US lunar base. In light of the fact that getting there first allows the winner to annex the Moon (WHBP, p. 54), and thus all its resources; and, even more importantly, the lunar base insures world supremacy over all the nations of Terra (which is why the four power-blocs are “racing” to get there and build it in the Hartley yarns), one would expect just such protests from the losers. Particularly because in the THFH, the United States wins, and the loser is its main enemy, the Soviet Union. It is therefore highly probable that the Axis did in fact have its own lunar project, just as the Fourth Komintern does in the HFH (and just as the USSR did in the real world, though they denied it). But once the Kilroy won the race for the United States—and presumably enabled America to annex the Moon, as in the HFH—they were forced to change tactics. With Luna in American hands, the Eastern Axis began its two-pronged political campaign at the UN “for the demilitarization and internationalization of the United States Lunar Base”. (EMP, p. 30) These are “demands” (ibid.), not requests, and they certainly wouldn’t demand demilitarization if they didn’t consider the US Lunar Base a serious military threat—which supports its ‘world supremacy’ aspect.
 
The Axis may reckon with the possibility that the demilitarization demand will fail; that’s where the second prong, internationalization, comes in. If successful, that would place the base under UN control, which would give the USSR veto power over its use—thereby politically neutralizing the military threat it poses. UN control would certainly also entail allowing other countries to station personnel at the base. Thus, the Soviets could get some military officers and other agents up there. Even if the base were politically neutralized, however, its military importance—world supremacy—would remain. So the Soviet personnel could have a hidden agenda—to take over the base themselves. And if they did seize control, it would transfer world supremacy to the Eastern Axis at a stroke.

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

I agree about the significant lack of linkages in the THFH to the HFH, but would discount the lack of linkages in the other direction. The Hartley stories were written, and take place, before Piper’s acknowledged THFH tales. It is therefore not surprising that these earlier tales don’t mention future events and projects, especially those which are classified. For example, the last Hartley story, “Day of the Moron”, takes place in 1968, but in the 1973 of “The Edge of the Knife”, Major Cutler says that the Terran Federation and Operation Triple Cross are “hush-hush” topics. (EMP, pp. 47-48) So the TF and OTC could exist in the Hartley Future History, but are simply unknown to the general public; plus there was no reason to mention them in “Day of the Moron”, which is a story about civilian nuclear power, not geopolitics. They might have been mentioned later, had Piper written a fourth HFH tale set in the 1970s. A story, by the way, which could have answered the question of whether Allan Hartley was actually successful in preventing WWIII. And one which Beam probably intended to write, given that he included the Hartleys in three consecutive tales.
 
And finally, the Philadelphia Project is probably an outgrowth of Allan’s statement to Blake in “Time and Time Again” that “I think President Hartley can be trusted to take a strong line of policy.” (WHBP, p. 28) This implies that in Allan’s ‘first’ life, the American president elected in 1960 took a weak line of policy, which enabled the Fourth Komintern to gain the strategic upper hand. Thus, the lack of an American lunar base can help explain why the communist invasion in Allan’s ‘first’ life was successful, at least as far as Buffalo. By extension, it suggests the Soviets don’t have one either, just as in the THFH. Otherwise, they could have simply issued an ultimatum to the capitalist West: “Surrender, or be destroyed.”

Thus, possessing a Lunar base would have saved the US in Allan’s ‘first’ life, and may well do so in his second. This matches “The Edge of the Knife”, in which the US will be saved by missiles from the Lunar fortress, which obliterate the USSR. (EMP, p. 56) Though Piper has Dean Whitburn say “Operation Triple Cross…saved the country” (EMP, p. 47), OTC is simply a triplicate set of rocketports which keep the Lunar fortress supplied, and therefore keep its world supremacy role intact. OTC is an extension of the Philadelphia Project, which is what really saved the country.
     
John
1518
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
05-05-2017
13:04 UT
THe Mercenaries deals directly with collapsed matter. IT's one of the secrets they are trying to protect because they invented it.
1517
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
05-05-2017
03:56 UT
~
James "jimmyjoejangles" Romanski wrote:

> Also I would have to say that the Hartley yarns are firmly outside
> THFH. No mention of collapsium in all the elaborate shielding of
> Nif space craft in Uller Uprising.

I agree that the Hartley yarns are not Terro-human Future History yarns but I'm not sure collapsium is a good indicator because all of the Hartley yarns occur before collapsium would have been invented anyway.

I think perhaps the best indicator of the difference is the Islamic Caliphate/Kaliphate. The Caliphate of "The Edge of the Knife" is an ally of the U.S.-led first Terran Federation while the Kaliphate of "The Mercenaries" is an adversary of the U.S.-led Western Union.

Cheers,

David
--
"And just how do you define the term 'fool', Mr. Melroy?" -- Doris Rivas (H. Beam Piper), "Day of the Moron"
~
1516
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
05-05-2017
00:39 UT
I think you`re right, it`s not a consistent trend.
1515
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
05-04-2017
21:08 UT
Also I would have to say that the Hartley yarns are firmly outside THFH. No mention of collapsium in all the elaborate shielding of Nif space craft in Uller Uprising.
^     All messages            1515-1530 of 1530  1499-1514 >>

Print | RSS Views: 21806 (Unique: 5447 ) / Subscribers: 23 | What's this?