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    << 1624-1639  1608-1623 of 1802  1592-1607 >>
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
00:25 UT
Terry "Tanith in Oz" Glouftsis wrote:

> So if I'm right then this means Federation Colonial
> control and it excludes a chartered companies
> running the planet. Is it then reasonable to suggest
> a company could be licensed to run the Uranium
> mines, an outsourcing if you will?

It might help here to go back and read the discussion on this point in "When in the Course--." The ~Stellex~ crew are hoping to get a Charter to Freya by negotiating an exclusive agreement with the natives. They mention that such arrangements had previously been negotiated on Thor, Loki and Yggdrasil.

(I think the references to the "Charterless Zarathustra Company" in ~Fuzzy Sapiens~ are really just Grego being snarky. Sure, the terms of the Zarathustra Company's charter must have changed substantially after Fuzzy sapience was recognized but they hardly became "charterless.")


"You know what Lingua Terra is? An indiscriminate mixture of English, Spanish, Portuguese and Afrikaans, mostly English. And you know what English is? The result of the efforts of Norman men-at-arms to make dates with Saxon barmaids." - Victor Grego (H. Beam Piper), ~Fuzzy Sapiens~
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
19:23 UT
The federation made the Uller company take Niff and exploit it in order to get any contract on Uller.
Tanith in OzPerson was signed in when posted
14:59 UT
Hi all.

I think Gimli is a Class IV world. It can't have a sophont race and be a Class III because that contradicts Piper's own rules that are used in Little Fuzzy.

So if I'm right then this means Federation Colonial control and it excludes a chartered company running the planet. Is it then reasonable to suggest a company could be licensed to run the Uranium mines, an outsourcing if you will?

Is that consistent with Federation policy?

I am aware that it is mentioned in Fuzzy Sapiens that a Gimli Company made an agreement with the natives to mine. I have a plan to explain this (so don't fear I'm not going to contradict it) but I'm worried about how the Colonial government would fit.

Can anyone help? Does the Federation engage in outsourcing mineral extraction to private companies?

Edited 08-10-2017 15:41
Deleted by author 08-10-2017 14:33
Tanith in OzPerson was signed in when posted
06:07 UT
John "Calidore" Anderson wrote:

> Assuming I’m right, Gimli may have been intended to play a larger role sometime later in the Future History.
> It is my belief that one day, Gimli will come out from its ‘behind the scenes’ role and be an important
> planet in its own right. This idea is dealt with at length in my paper “Gimli the Unusual”, finished late
> last year.

I love how Gimli looks to be coming out swinging in the next anthology. That's awesome. I assume then John that your paper looks at the Future and how Gimli fits in during the fall or even the interregnum?. I completely understand if it's embargoed for the upcoming anthology, but given what I've been talking about is there anything you think I should incorporate or include so your paper matches the ideas I have for Gimli?

I love what you did in Rise of the Terran Federation, and if John Carr likes the short story I come up with, then your paper and my story would make an excellent fit together.


Edited 08-09-2017 06:45
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03:58 UT
Terry "Tanith in Oz" Glouftsis wrote:

> It was not my intention to suggest that Piper was
> ever wrong,

Don't sweat it, Terry. We all know Beam made mistakes. Was there only one "para-peeping" Verkan Vall? How does Walt Boyd know what the Zarathustran veldtbeest grown in the carniculture vats on Fenris is?

One Piper fan has been telling us for years that Beam _intentionally_ introduced various "math errors" throughout his work. . . .

> Right now I'm conducting a lot of research on a
> historical underpinning for the story

I'm looking forward to reading it.

Be well,

"I my 'teens, which would have been the early '20's, I decided that what I really wanted to do was write; I wasn't quite sure what, but I was going to write something. About the same time, I became aware of science fiction, such as it was then, mostly H.G. Wells, and fantasy, Bram Stoker, H. Rider Haggard, and then I began reading newer science (more or less) fiction--Burroughs, Merritt, Ralph Milne Farley, Ray Cummings, _et_al_. This was the Neolithic, or Hugo Gernsback Period of science fiction, and but this time I was a real 200-proof fan." - H. Beam Piper, "Double: Bill Symposium" interview
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03:17 UT
John "Calidore" Anderson wrote:

> Why build a Navy base on Xerxes when you have one
> on Gimli, not too far away?

There may be a naval base there for reasons similar to why there are fire stations in new housing developments (even when that may not be the most ideal location for them): the government granting the concession insists that the commercial venture receiving the concession build them as a condition of the concession. This parallel to fire stations in housing developments works especially well for a Federation with a military that isn't tasked with defending against foreign foes. . . .

> Gimli’s strategic location seems to continue into the
> interregnum. In Space Viking, Gimli is where Prince
> Bentrik rallies the loyal Mardukan navy ships, which
> are then joined by Trask’s ships and go on to liberate
> Marduk.

Or, it could be that the Mardukan Navy ships gathered at Gimli because it hadn't yet been raided by Dunnan's Vikings as the other Mardukan trade-planets had been. That may be simply because Gimli was closer to Marduk than were planets like Tetragrammaton and Audhumla. We just don't know.

> And since Gimli (or rather, Gimle) apparently means
> “protected from fire”, it may be that the planet survives
> the Interstellar Wars intact. Probably because it is
> well defended with TF Navy ships (who ‘Gimli’, or ‘fire’,
> on enemy vessels), at least at first.

The Interstellar Wars were not a conflict between the Terran Federation and some external foe. The Interstellar Wars were a series of civil wars between various parts of what had been the Terran Federation. This means that _every_ battle was one with (former) Terran Federation Navy ships on _both_ sides (as would have been the case for the Alliance Navy in the System States War). Because Gimli wasn't a major Federation planet, the Navy forces at Gimli were most likely pulled from there at some point as the rump Federation retrenched. If they weren't pulled from Gimli by the Federation then they were probably taken over by--or joined up themselves with--one of the "civilized planets" as it broke away from the Federation and were perhaps also pulled from Gimli to defend the "home" planet. That may have been Marduk or it could have been another "civilized" planet. Again, we just don't know.

> Afterward, Gimli declines and becomes a simple
> trade-planet of Marduk. But seeing how the planet
> is an important source of uranium (which provides
> nuclear ‘fire’ for civilian and military use, another
> reason Piper may have used that spelling), I think it
> would make sense for the Mardukans to occupy the
> old TF base.

I agree that Gimli's fissionable ores will be attractive to the "civilized planets" which survive the Interstellar Wars but whether it was controlled continuously from the time of the withdrawal of the Federation to the Viking era by the same "civilized planet" is something we just don't know. In fact, those ores make it seem more likely that it was a planet that was often fought over during those dark centuries. . . .

> Piper couldn’t have made it much clearer than that.
> He didn’t say he sent his friend ‘to the Gimli system’,
> he said ‘to Gimli, the planet’. The Navy base with its
> destroyers is on the planet Gimli, and not somewhere
> else in its system. I don’t see how that reference can
> be interpreted any other way.

Beam refers to the Sol System and to the various parts of the Gartner Trisystem. There is the System States Alliance, of course. There is some discussion of the Beta Hydrae system (interestingly, not the Beta Hydri system Clark introduces) in ~Uller Uprising~. There is some discussion in ~Space Viking~ of the Tanith and Marduk systems when the issue of Dunnan's hiding ships is examined. (Beowulf's off-world settlements in its system are briefly mentioned when the "civilized" nature of Beowulf is remarked upon.) There is some discussion of the Aditya system in "A Slave is a Slave" when the issue of Imperial control is being explained. There is some discussion of the Kwannon system which is pertinent to the voyage around the planet to view the two suns. If I recall correctly, at no point in three novels does Beam refer to the Zarathustra system--despite the Naval Base being on Xerxes (and the Terra-Baldur-Marduk spaceport on Darius).

I guess what I'm trying to say is that in most cases Beam does not distinguish between the planet--Fenris, Freya, Svantovit, Gram, Odin, Zarathustra, Indra, Ashmodai, Osiris, Baldur, Ishtar, Fafnir, Aton, Belphegor, Mimur, Xochitl, etc., etc., etc.--and its system. It does not therefore seem obvious that Beam is telling us that Gimli has no moon just because he didn't identify it as the "Gimli system." Gimli may not have a moon, sure, but I don't think Beam was telling us that in ~Four-Day Planet~.

Monster Ho!

"A girl can punch any kind of a button a man can, and a lot of them know what buttons to punch, and why." - Conn Maxwell (H. Beam Piper), ~Junkyard Planet~
Tanith in OzPerson was signed in when posted
03:11 UT
Hi all.

I just wanted to apologise to anyone I may have offended by suggest Piper introduced "errors". It was not my intention to suggest that Piper was ever wrong, and on reflection I do agree saying that was a little harsh. John Carr has said Piper never did anything by accident, and suggesting the notion of an error flies in the face of that.

I'm sorry for that. I have been asked to employ more complex ways of thinking, and I will take that advice to heart.

In my usual way I've tried over the last few weeks to reconcile radical views on Gimli, some of them contradictory and competitive with one another. In this attempt I've said a couple of things, whilst shooting from the hip, that I never truly would have considered, but I said any way whilst trying to come to a decision.

If at times I have seemed contradictory I too apologise for this.

But after reading the input from all of you here (and I value everything said), and having off board discussions with some others I'm relatively happy with where I'm going now.

There's only one Gimli. I have become convinced of it, so this is the direction I will be going. And I do believe Piper deliberately underplayed the importance of the planet; this is a theme I'm going to explore. Gimli is strategic and is very important to commerce due to the uranium deposits, but it has a nasty little secret. Again I'm going to explore this.

Gimli is very near to Marduk, Space Viking makes that crystal clear. Though I've struggled to reconcile the notion of Fenris also being close, David's idea of zig zagging spacelanes makes the struggle moot. Gimli can be near Fenris if you adopt 3 dimensional thinking and if you accept the proclivity of people to under represent distance. By this method characters who talk about Gimli being near Fenris are similar to people who say Melbourne isn't far from Sydney, when in actual fact it is a large distance. This is perfectly fine to accept and helps overcome what appears to be an inconsistency that some of us may have overdulged in and possibly conflated. Here I'm going to accept Piper didn't make mistake, so I have to find a way to explain it. I think David's views here are an excellent way to reconcile it.

And David suggested a number of ideas of why Gimli came to be named. I had already tried to come to some sort of reason on my own, but I have now merged one of mine with a ring hypothesis he floated (amongst other alternatives). I will contend that Gimli has a debris ring caused not specifically by the breakup of a moon but by an in system catastrophe eons ago that shifted the orbit of the planet. This tectonic movement seriously changed the planets ancient surface and also led to many debris being ejected into orbit. (This of course doesn't preclude the possibility of a small moon in orbit also being destroyed though, so I won't rule that out).

As such the natives have a religious belief in the ring. When they look up they see a golden roof and so much of their literature and even their homes have golden motifs, and arches (this mirrors the Egyptian idea of Zeptepi - As in Heaven, so on Earth). When Terrrans made this connection the Captain of the first survey team thumbed through Norse myths until he found the name the planet now has.

I've also calculated Gimli is a 5 month journey directly from Terra. I feel this makes some sort of sense as numerous sources does convince me its slightly closer to Terra than Zarathustra.

But the planet wasn't colonised in a manner similar to the other worlds. It was actually bypassed for a time until Uranium was found. Therefore I'm creating the Chartered Marduk Company, and I'm contending they settled Gimli as a mining settlement. Gimli has remained small for years, but it has grown slowly over time.

I'm aware by the Empire eras that Gimli has a University at Brannerton. There's even evidence to suggest Gimli had it's own chartered company in the Federation era. I will not ignore these facts but I've come up with a way to make them fit in the tale I'm crafting (I'm being vague on this, on purpose).

But going back to the mining theme of the planet I feel it's ripe for South African and Australian colonists. I've always wanted Australians to have more of a presence in the Terro-Human time line, and on Gimli I can see an opportunity. As such I've already created a map, and I've even sketched what the sophont race looks like, but for now I'm keeping the circle small on all of that.

It's been fun playing in the sand box, and I hope you all like the direction I'm going in.

Right now I'm conducting a lot of research on a historical underpinning for the story (to keep it consistent with Piper's own beliefs) and soon I hope to have something ready.


Edited 08-09-2017 03:26
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
01:48 UT
Terry "Tanith in Oz" Glouftsis wrote:

> I thought this might explain the weird notion
> of Galactic South West by trying to fix a location
> from which it might be measured.

Given that Beam never used this sort of terminology elsewhere I'm wondering if it wasn't actually the work of an editor at Putnam. It makes no sense but it does sound like the sort of thing that was common in science-fiction of that era aimed at "juveniles."

Monster Ho!

"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
CalidorePerson was signed in when posted
18:42 UT
Terry wrote—

>>Based on this I think Gimli is a free standing planet.

That is my feeling as well; I don’t think Gimli is a moon of a gas giant.

>My supposition is that Gimli has a large debris ring orbiting it. This golden
>ring is called the Golden Roof by the natives, and this is why the planet is
>called Gimli (Gimli means Golden Roof). From the surface looking up you'd
>see the ring and it literally would look like a golden roof.

I like this idea very much. It’s in keeping with Piper’s practice of naming planets (usually for gods), and then finding an ‘internal’ physical reason for the Terrans who discover it to give it that name. Such as “Odin, with its two moons, Hugin and Munin”, named for the Allfather’s news-gathering ravens; “or Freya, where…the women were so breathtakingly beautiful”, paralleling the Norse goddess of beauty and love. (UU, pp. 15)

Perhaps Gimli once had a large moon, but tidal forces brought it too close to the planet, and it broke apart; there’s a theory that this may some day happen to Luna. Alternately, Gimli’s ring could be a mass of material that never coalesced into a moon, though you might want to figure out why that is. The golden color could be caused by whatever material the ring is made of, or perhaps Gimli’s sun is a bit yellower than Sol, and sunlight is the reason.

As an aside, although the Norse hall of Gimle has a golden roof, the name appears to mean “the place protected from fire” (https://www.nordicnames.de/wiki/Gimle) Probably reflecting the fact that Gimle escapes the world conflagration set by Surtur after Ragnarok. That Piper uses the form ‘Gimli’ may be an example of his humor, as Gimli with an ‘i’ means ‘fire’. (www.thenamemeaning.com/Gimli) As the location of a Federation Navy base, “fire!” is a command that one would presume is heard often on Gimli, in naval training exercises at first, and later during the Interstellar Wars.

I agree with those who think there is only one planet Gimli. On the other hand, since Piper included two Asgards, one a planet, the other a city on Odin, there could be a city named Gimle, somewhere in the Federation. Perhaps on Ithavoll, the planet named for another region which, like Gimle, survives the Norse Ragnarok. But I would guess that Ithavoll's capital is more likely Gladsheim, described in the Gylfaginning as a meeting hall in Ithavoll where the male Aesir gather for council. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladsheimr) Since the capital of the planet Odin is Asgard, I would further speculate that the capital of the planet Asgard could be named Valhalla, Odin's hall in Asgard; thereby connecting Piper's two Asgards through Odin. (The capital of planet Asgard should perhaps rather be named Hlidskjalf, Odin's high seat from which he observes the Nine Worlds. But 'Hlidskjalf' seems an awkward name, while Valhalla is just flat-out cool.)

>>I don't profess to be correct, but the planet having a majestic ring just
>>feels right to me. I want Gimli to be special and this way I think it would be.

I believe Gimli is special. I disagree with those who assert that Piper used Gimli simply as a go-to planet, or a convenient plot device. Remember what John Carr said; “Beam…did nothing by accident.” (Fed, p. 200) Why is Gimli mentioned so often? I think because it’s at a strategic location, somewhere between Terra and Odin (at the center of the Federation) and planets like Zarathustra and Marduk (out near the frontier), though closer to the former. From that location, Navy ships can respond to problems in either direction with dispatch, as suggested by Four-Day Planet. “There’s a Navy base there, and always at least a couple of destroyers available.” (p. 199) One would presume they are ‘always’ available because Gimli is responsible for patrolling a large sector of Federation space.

The Federation Navy base on Xerxes is built a couple centuries later. Why build a Navy base on Xerxes when you have one on Gimli, not too far away? One reason would be to more closely monitor the important Terra-Baldur-Marduk Spacelines route, which makes stops at Zarathustra but apparently not Gimli. Another reason would be Federation expansion. Over time, the frontier has been slowly getting farther out, which would mean the base on Gimli would become responsible for patrolling more and more planets at greater distances. At some point, perhaps when Zarathustra is colonized, the Federation may have decided that it needs to build another base in this strategically important sector. And from its Persian name, Zarathustra is a bit farther out from Terra than Norse-named Gimli is. Placing it closer to the present frontier.

Gimli’s strategic location seems to continue into the interregnum. In Space Viking, Gimli is where Prince Bentrik rallies the loyal Mardukan navy ships, which are then joined by Trask’s ships and go on to liberate Marduk. Since Marduk later founds the First Galactic Empire, this would seem to be a crucial event in the Future History. In effect, though indirectly, ‘Gimli helps save the galaxy’.

Although Piper portrays Gimli as a ‘lesser’ planet, not on the same level as Odin or Isis or Marduk or the other major civilized worlds, it is my considered opinion that the many references are his subtle way of saying “This planet is more important than it seems.” Assuming I’m right, Gimli may have been intended to play a larger role sometime later in the Future History. It is my belief that one day, Gimli will come out from its ‘behind the scenes’ role and be an important planet in its own right. This idea is dealt with at length in my paper “Gimli the Unusual”, finished late last year.

>>And because of this Gimli has to be a small Mars or Terra type planet.

Another interesting idea, and quite possible. It would be even more advantageous for the Federation to build a Navy base on strategically-important Gimli if it is smaller, or at least less dense, because either way it would have lower gravity. Lower gravity would make it easier for Navy ships to operate from Gimli. It would serendipitously also support my version of the Gimlian natives. I don’t think Piper gave any details about them (and if he did, someone please let me know), but in my paper I speculate they are taller than Terro-Humans.

David wrote,

>>I think, perhaps, two (and a half?) data points
>>isn't quite enough to say "usually."

That’s a good point, though it must be admitted that Piper didn’t give us many data points to work with. A little further research reveals at least six for certain. There’s the Federation base on Gimli, the base on Xerxes, Barathrum Spaceport (which is probably a military spaceport, since the volcano’s rim is defended by 250-mm guns and missile-launching stations), and Marduk has at least three; the Moonbase, “the Malverton Navy Yard” and “the Antarctic Naval Base”. (SV, p. 227) Two of these six bases are on moons, a total of 33%.

We can add at least two possibles. The US Lunar fortress built before WWIII, which I think probably becomes the Federation Space Navy’s first off-world base after that war. But this is balanced by Beowulf, which does not appear to have a moon. When Trask’s ships approach for their raid, some of Beowulf’s ships are in orbit, while others are rising from the surface. (ibid., p. 95) This suggests that the Beowulf Space Navy has at least one base on the planet.

Including these gives us 8 data points, 3 of which are on moons, or 37.5%. So it appears that Piper’s space navy bases are located on planets more often than on satellites. If you have a moon, great; a lunar base is certainly desirable, for the very reason you mention. Lower gravity allows ships to come and go more quickly and easily. But you can get along without them, as the cases of Gimli, Poictesme and Beowulf seem to suggest.

>>There is also a Federation Navy proving-ground on Mars.

I didn't include that in the above calculations, because I don’t think a Navy base and a Navy proving ground are the same thing. The Federation proving ground on Mars is for the testing of nuclear weapons (UU, p. 4); I don’t think you’d want to base Navy ships and personnel close by!

Piper’s Mars is mostly desert, which makes testing nuclear weapons there perfectly reasonable. At least until the “First Terraforming” (Emp, p. 54) makes the planet more habitable.

>>We don't know if there is a Mardukan naval base in the Gimli
>>system at all. The Mardukan ships marshalling there, some of
>>them, at least, may have landed on the planet but that doesn't
>>mean there is a naval base on the surface. Gimli is described
>>as a Mardukan trade-planet, never as a naval base, and the
>>Mardukan Navy ships were there originally because they'd been
>>dispersed to the trade-planets by the Makannists.

True. But it has always been my impression, perhaps because the allied fleet is met by a Mardukan Admiral (Bargham), that they are at the old Federation base on Gimli. I may be wrong, but that’s my impression. And since Gimli (or rather, Gimle) apparently means “protected from fire”, it may be that the planet survives the Interstellar Wars intact. Probably because it is well defended with TF Navy ships (who ‘Gimli’, or ‘fire’, on enemy vessels), at least at first. Afterward, Gimli declines and becomes a simple trade-planet of Marduk. But seeing how the planet is an important source of uranium (which provides nuclear ‘fire’ for civilian and military use, another reason Piper may have used that spelling), I think it would make sense for the Mardukans to occupy the old TF base.

You may well be right that the Mardukan Navy doesn’t occupy the base in Space Viking. But if so, I submit that it certainly would later on, when the rejuvenated monarchy begins the expansion of Marduk, eventually becoming the Mardukan Empire. Gimli’s apparent location more than halfway to Terra and Odin, plus its uranium supplies, would be strong incentives for the Mardukans to fortify the planet.

>>Bottom line is, I don't think we get anything from Beam
>>in ~Viking~ that tells us anything about where in the Gimli
>>system the Federation naval base mentioned in ~Four-Day
>>Planet~ might have been.

No, but we do get in in Four-Day Planet. “What I did was send my friend, who is a Colonial Constabulary detective, to Gimli, the next planet out. There’s a Navy base there, and always at least a couple of destroyers available.” (FDP, p. 199) Piper couldn’t have made it much clearer than that. He didn’t say he sent his friend ‘to the Gimli system’, he said ‘to Gimli, the planet’. The Navy base with its destroyers is on the planet Gimli, and not somewhere else in its system. I don’t see how that reference can be interpreted any other way.

Tanith in OzPerson was signed in when posted
17:10 UT
Yes as more of you post about it, the more a zig zaging for the space lanes makes sense. And I do like the idea of a railroad theme creeping in from Piper's own experiences. It makes sense to me.

But I;m forced to agree that trying to find the star of Fenris is an exercise in futility. What I meant by suggesting Betelguese was that Orion, though in the Northern hemisphere is also seen in the South. It's more correct to call Orion equatorial, but from the Northern hemisphere it is a much more southerly constellation than Ursa Major and even the pole star in Ursa Minoris. I thought this might explain the weird notion of Galactic South West by trying to fix a location from which it might be measured.

But I'll cop to it not being a very strong idea, now that I've been reminded Fenris has a G4 star, I stand corrected. So it's not Betelgeuese then, it can't be. I'd thought the distance was suspiciously similar, but it turns out to be rather insignificant. Sometimes if it's too good to be true....

Oh what we'd all give to see that map Piper once had!

However the idea of Gimli being near the middle of a number of zig zagging space lanes does offer food for thought. By this method we can then reasonably suggest its both "near" Marduk and "close" to Fenris. It's a good solution. Kudos.

David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
15:21 UT
Jon Crocker wrote:

> I would also expect there to be ships on direct
> Terra-Odin or Terra-Marduk or anywhere else
> where there was enough of a market able to pay
> a premium for direct travel/shipping to avoid
> taking forever.

Agreed, though Beam never showed us these ships/lines because he didn't tell yarns set on the "rational" or "civilized" planets.

There were also various sorts of "independent" freighters who apparently plied the spaceways in irregular ways. This is how folks are worried news of the Fuzzies would get to "the nearest planet," Gimli, and how disreputable folks might begin a trade in Fuzzy furs.

How these folks got around the apparent local monopolies of the large spacelines is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps there were regulations which governed the sizes or capacities (or frequencies) of itinerant traders or something like that.


"Why not everybody make friend, have fun, make help, be good?" - Diamond Grego (H. Beam Piper), ~Fuzzy Sapiens~
David SoobyPerson was signed in when posted
15:09 UT
Terry "Tanith in Oz" asked:

> I can't recall if the star of Fenris is actually mentioned or
> not, but could it be in orbit of Betelguese? Beteleguese is
> roughly 650 light years from Earth.

It's best to just forget about using any named star as the star around which a habitable planet orbits, unless it happens to be very, very near Terra; for example, Alpha Centauri. (Dr. John D. Clark specified Beta Hydri as the star for Uller. Clark gives the distance as 21 light years; more modern measurements put it at ~24.33 ly.)

Without exception, prominent stars in the sky such as Betelguese and Sirius are very hot, very bright stars which will burn thru their life cycle much too fast to ever allow complex life to evolve on planets orbiting them, as well as putting out so much lethal radiation that nothing bigger than a microbe -- one well buried far underground -- would be likely to survive long enough to reproduce.

Habitable planets will orbit boring dwarf stars, which are much too dim and too numerous to be given a unique name by people peering thru telescopes. Such dim stars will be merely assigned a catalog name-and-number. Individual names would be given to stars by those explorers actually going out and surveying planets, and likely they would only bother naming stars which had planets worthy of exploitation or settlement. In fact, I think it would be the usual case that the planet would be named first, and the star only later. Perhaps even then, the star might remain without a unique name unless and until early colonists decided it needed one.

Clear ether!
David "Lensman" Sooby
David SoobyPerson was signed in when posted
13:53 UT
David "Piperfan" Johnson said:

> If the "Galactic southwest" means something like that
> quadrant of space above the southern half of the Western
> Hemisphere then we're talking about a huge volume of
> space--essentially one quarter of all of Terro-human space.
> (That region would seem to revolve as Earth revolves on its
> axis but let's put that odd detail aside for the moment and
> assume we're taking a snapshot at, say, noon GMT on Day
>One of the Atomic Era.)

This would be an entirely unreasonable, not to mention pretty useless, interpretation of what "Galactic southwest" would mean. North and South in relation to the galaxy -- not to Terra -- would refer to the shape and rotation of the entire Milky Way galaxy, not to our little planet. The axis of rotation of the galaxy is well-known, as is the direction of the galactic center. The direction of "Galactic north" and "Galactic south" is pretty obvious.

That doesn't necessarily mean that Federation astrogators use the galactic core as the origin point for interstellar astrogation. Since the core is tens of thousands of light-years away, it would make far more sense to use Terra's sun (Sol) as the origin point, and draw a line thru Sol to use as the north/south axis; an axis parallel to the galactic axis. The rotation or orbit of Terra around Sol would be irrelevant here, as would be the actual angle of Sol's axis of rotation.

East and west would be more arbitrary, but obviously a line drawn between Sol and the galactic core would be something on which to to base directions. One might suggest that galactic "east" would be the direction in which the galaxy rotates, just as Terra revolves to the east as the sun rises and sets. But that would be pretty arbitrary and the Federation might well use some other direction for "galactic east".

The problem with the term "Galactic southwest" is it indicates two-dimensional thinking, whereas space astrogation must involve three dimensions. Perhaps it is an indication of which quadrant of the Federation contains a star and its planets, but that doesn't help much if you want to point the direction to that star, or travel there. Three dimensions must include an "up" and "down" direction -- or "in" and "out" if we have already chosen "north" and "south" for galactic "up" and "down". In practice, those talking about galactic directions would have to invent new terms to avoid constantly using awkard phrases such as "galactic north" or "galactic out". We can be pretty sure that no such directional terms are in common use in the Piperverse, because they are not mentioned in any story.

Apparently in the Piperverse, only astrogators (and the Astrographic Commission) worry about the actual location of stars in three-dimensional space. ;)

Clear ether!
David "Lensman" Sooby
David SoobyPerson was signed in when posted
13:26 UT
David "PiperFan" Johnson said:

> ...we know that the spacelines of the Federation era were
> oligopolistic entities which generally enjoyed a local
> transport monopoly on the planets they visited. It seems
> likely that the regular spaceline ships only visited planets on
> which their companies had negotiated specific commercial
> arrangements.
> There were likely complex economic reasons why a
> Terra-Odin Spacelines ship traveled between Fenris and
> Gimli and a Terra-Baldur-Marduk Spacelines ship traveled
> between Volund and Zarathustra that had little to do with
> the actual locations of those planets in interstellar space.
> Rather, there were markets on Gimli--and beyond--for ships
> headed outbound from Terra (and Fenris) just as there were
> markets on Volund--and beyond--for ships headed inbound
> from Marduk (and Zarathustra).

David, I've got to hand it to you: This is a brilliant fanfix! In fact, it's one of the best that I've ever seen, because not only does it (at least partially) explain why travel between various planets in the Piperverse does not seem to bear much relation to their actual distance from each other in different stories; it also appears to explain why it was so difficult in FOUR-DAY PLANET for the locals to bypass the monopoly of the local tallow-wax buyers. Well, I'd have to go back and re-read the story to be sure, but from memory this does appear to dovetail neatly into that story, and helps plug what I've always thought was a huge hole in the story: Why didn't the locals just hire an independent freighter, or several of them, to bypass the local monopoly and take the apparently highly valuable tallow-wax to other markets for sale?

Perhaps there's a similar situation with the melon wine from Poictesme in THE COSMIC COMPUTER, altho that's a lot harder to defend because part of the story is the locals finally building their own merchant ships to take the wine to market directly, so clearly the Federation isn't enforcing any trade monopoly. But then, in that book the Federation is breaking down, and enforcement of Federation authority is very noticeably lacking in the story. In the latter case at least, it seems to be a matter of the starship owners or captains refusing to pay a higher price for the melon wine simply because they can, or because they've formed a sort of guild or cabal to engage in price-fixing, much like how -- to give a real-world example -- the De Beers company controls the commercial price of diamonds, keeping it at what by any objective standard is a vastly inflated price.

The idea of widely zig-zagging commercial routes in the Federation certainly harkens back to our early colonial era, with the classic "triangular trade route" of textiles, rum and manufactured goods from Europe to Africa; slaves from Africa to the Americas; and sugar, tobacco, and cotton from the Americas to Europe. Perhaps it's an error to think that a reference to "the next planet out" in a Piperverse story indicates the straight-line distance from Terra.

It's a bit harder to explain why passenger ships would follow the same or similar zig-zagging routes, rather than going directly from one planetary port to another, but if we follow your suggestion, David, we could suggest this is caught up in a... I think you called it "Byzantine"... commercial arrangement that has its origins in the Federation charters for exploiting each planet.

It also dovetails neatly into this bit from ULLER UPRISING:

Of course, there were worse planets than Uller. [...]

Or Niflheim. The Uller Company had the charter for Niflheim, too; they'd had to take that and agree to exploit the planet's resources in order to get the franchise for Uller, which furnished a good quick measure of the comparative merits of the two.

Also, note the historical analogy with the very powerful Honourable East India Company, which in the era of Great Britain controlled trade not only with India, but also with China. I would argue this supports my contention that the Federation exercises control over its colony worlds that is in some ways -- perhaps many ways -- closer to an Empire than a true Federation, and helps explain why the Federation has a powerful Navy with a lot of personnel in it, regardless of how many or how few capital ships it maintains in any era.

I don't think the Roman Empire is a good analogy for the Federation. The Federation Navy doesn't influence Federation politics or rule as the Roman Army did in its Imperial period, nor does the Federation have an Emperor or a dictatorial President. But I'd argue that the Federation exercises control over its colonies like Great Britain, or any of the Great Powers of Earth's colonial era. Not really a Federation, but a colonial empire. The analogy between the Honorable East India Company and the Chartered Uller Company is much too strong to ignore, as is the strong central (albeit distant) control by the Federation in ULLER UPRISING (and also LITTLE FUZZY and sequels), which seems much more like a colonial empire than an actual Federation.

For example:

Damnit, he didn’t want to have to intervene. No Space Navy C.O. did. Justifying intervention on a Colonial planet was too much bother—always a board of inquiry, often a courtmartial. And supersession of civil authority was completely against Service Doctrine. Of course, there were other and more important tenets of Service Doctrine. The sovereignty of the Terran Federation for one, and the inviolability of the Federation Constitution. And the rights of extraterrestrials, too. Conrad Greibenfeld, too, seemed to have been thinking about that.

“If those Fuzzies are sapient beings, that whole setup down there is illegal. Company, Colonial administration and all,” he said. “Zarathustra’s a Class-IV planet, and that’s all you can make out of it.”

“We won’t intervene unless we’re forced to. Pancho, I think the decision will be largely up to you.”

Pancho Ybarra was horrified.

“Good God, Alex! You can’t mean that. Who am I? A nobody. All I have is an ordinary M.D., and a Psych.D. Why, the best psychological brains in the Federation—”

“Aren’t on Zarathustra, Pancho. They’re on Terra, five hundred light-years, six months’ ship voyage each way. Intervention, of course, is my responsibility, but the sapience question is yours. I don’t envy you, but I can’t relieve you of it.”

It seems pretty clear that the planetary authorities on Zarathustra are exercising semi-independent, local authority in the name of the Federation's central government, and are answerable to them. Anyone who as read any of the Hornblower or Richard Bolitho novels should recognize the same relationship to the central government that a British Navy captain had, having semi-independent authority granted by -- and answerable for his actions to -- the Admiralty of the British Navy, and ultimately in theory the British Crown, altho in reality the British Prime Minister and Parliament.

The relationship between a military commander and a democratic government in the modern real world is quite different, because instant communications allow any military commander to check with his superiors or the Pentagon if he's unsure about what action to take, and the Pentagon can use a phone call to kick the decision up to the Secretary of Defense or even the President if necessary.

The lack of instant interstellar communications in the Piperverse mandates a certain amount of local control; the real question is just how much or how little control Terra exercises at a distance, and how much military power it can project to back up that control; military power in the form of troops and military ships. From ULLER UPRISING, it seems the Federation -- just like the British Empire -- relied mostly on locally recruited native troops to fight ground battles and maintain order.

It may well be that the relationship between Terra and the "civilized worlds", such as Odin and Baldur, was a true Federation, with the older "civilized" worlds having equal or near-equal political status with Terra. But certainly the outer frontier worlds had no such equal status, and there is no pretense of any actual independence by any of them until the Federation breaks down following the System States War. And then, as we see in THE COSMIC COMPUTER, that independence may not be very welcome!

Clear ether!
David "Lensman" Sooby
David SoobyPerson was signed in when posted
13:25 UT
David "PiperFan" Johnson said:

> Bottom line is, I think we could come up with an
> explanation for how two planets ended up with the
> same name. But first, we'd need to sort out that
> there _are_ actually two Gimlis.

As I believe I suggested the last time this debate came up, there is a compromise solution:

Perhaps the "Gimli" mentioned in FOUR-DAY PLANET is just the *regional* name for the planet, not the official one. As has already been pointed out earlier in this discussion, there could well be a delay of at least months, if not years, between the time that a planet was named by the discoverer, and when news of the official Federation Astrographic Commission having given that name to a planet, would filter out to outlying worlds. In the meantime, another planet might well have been named "Gimli", and perhaps those in that region of the Federation would choose to keep referring to it by the original name, rather than the official name given to "their" planet by the Astrographic Commission.

Surely everyone knows of historical examples of a place which is called by one name by the locals, but on official maps it's labeled something different.

In fact, a few months back I was helping a relative with genealogy, and ran into that problem: A city/town listed as the birthplace of someone; a city/town which did not come up in a Google search. (Even if the name was changed, it should still come up there, assuming it was changed within the last century-and-a-half or so.) It probably was the local name for a local area that's part of, or a suburb of, a larger city.

Clear ether!
David "Lensman" Sooby
^     All messages    << 1624-1639  1608-1623 of 1802  1592-1607 >>

Print | RSS Views: 24059 (Unique: 5808 ) / Subscribers: 23 | What's this?