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1891
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
10-11-2018
17:24 UT
~
Last Week: 10th Anniversary Celebration!

Zarthani.net's Piper Mailing List (and Discussion Forum) celebrated its 10th anniversary on October 4, 2018:

https://www.quicktopic.com/42/H/tnfVKeAH3s4T/p0001.0001

In celebration of this anniversary Zarthani.net is holding a fundraising "virtual raffle." One each of the 1975 Garland hardcover editions of ~Space Viking~ (http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?263267) and ~Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen~ (http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?20650) will be given away as raffle "prizes." These hardover facisimiles of the respective original Ace paperback editions are both used books in very good condition.

Virtual raffle "tickets" are US$10 each, submitted via PayPal using the two buttons here:

http://www.zarthani.net/anniversary.htm

You can purchase as many "tickets" as you want. The raffle "drawings" will be held on or shortly after October 25, 2018, so buy your raffle tickets now!

Cheers,

David
--
"Oh, my people had many gods. There was Conformity, and Authority, and Expense Account, and Opinion. And there was Status, whose symbols were many, and who rode in the great chariot Cadillac, which was almost a god itself. And there was Atom-bomb, the dread destroyer, who would some day come to end the world. None were very good gods, and I worshiped none of them." - Calvin Morrison (H. Beam Piper), ~Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen~
~
1890
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
10-11-2018
00:01 UT
~
Thanks, gentlemen. I'm convinced. The guy with the grizzled beard must be Lourenço Gomes.

Now, of course, I'm confused about the younger, khaki-short-wearing guy with the candy. Seems we agree he's not named, his role is unclear and he doesn't seem to show up later, like Quinton, Murillio and Gomes (because he stays on Uller). He does seem sort of superfluous to the activity at hand--though he seems to know a lot about how the nuclear prospecting works. If I didn't know better, I might suggest he was an Uller Company ~commissar~. . . .

It does leave me wondering what Beam what up to there. I imagine Jon is correct that some of this was editing. You can see that in the way this scene changes from the ~Petrified Planet~ version to the (shorter) ~Space Science Fiction~ version. Perhaps the "prologue" was added after the original draft of the novel was submitted, in haste late in the publication process.

I suppose we'll never know.

Cheers,

David
--
"The Quintons had to leave France about the same time; they were what was known as collaborationists." - Paula Quinton (H. Beam Piper), ~Uller Uprising~
~
1889
CalidorePerson was signed in when posted
10-10-2018
23:15 UT
I agree that the man with the beard is Dr. Lourenco Gomes. It’s the guy with the bag of candy that’s unnamed. I always assumed that Dr. Murillo was in charge of the group performing the A-bomb operation, but also agree that Beam doesn’t make it clear.

The main relevant quote is on pages 2-3 of the Prologue, broken here into sequential installments, as Piper describes the characters in “The big armor-tender” floating a thousand feet above Niflheim.

“The chief engineer sat at his controls, making the minor lateral adjustments in the vehicle’s position which were not possible to the automatic controls.”

That’s one character.

“One of the radiomen was receiving from the orbital base; the other was saying, over and over, in an exasperatedly patient voice, “Dr. Murillo. Dr. Murillo. Please come in, Dr. Murillo.” ”

That’s two more characters, the speaking radioman being identified as Ahmed on page 3.

“At his own panel of instruments, a small man with grizzled black hair around a bald crown, and a grizzled beard, chewed nervously at the stump of a dead cigar and listened intently to what was—or for what wasn’t—coming in to his headset receiver.”

That’s another character, separate from the chief engineer and the radiomen.

“A couple of assistants checked dials and refreshed their memories from notebooks and peered anxiously into the big screen.”

That’s two more characters, one of them identified as de Jong on page 5.

“A large, plump-faced, young man in soiled khaki shirt and shorts, with extremely hairy legs, was doodling on his notepad and eating candy out of a bag.”

And that’s another character, separate from the others, and particularly from the bearded man mentioned previously. This seems certain, because he is a “young man”, while the man with the beard must be much older, as his head is bald on top. In addition, the bearded man is “small”, while the young man is “large”.

Moreover, the young man with the hairy legs and candy doesn’t seem very busy, since he is idly doodling on a notepad, while the older bearded man seems much busier at his panel of instruments. “The man with the grizzled beard put his face into the fur around the eyepiece of the telescopic-‘visor and twisted a dial.” (ibid.) That this is Dr. Gomes, a nuclear engineer whose job is to set off the nukes on Niflheim, is confirmed on page 5. “ “As soon as [Murillo] gets here, I’ll touch it off,” the bearded man said. “Everything set, de Jong?” “Everything ready, Dr. Gomes,” one of his assistants assured him.”…Gomes stabbed the radio-detonator button in front of him.”

Though Piper left out the ‘grizzled’ this time (probably because it would have been redundant), Gomes is “the bearded man”, meaning the only one on the armor-tender mentioned as having a beard. So the small, balding bearded man is Dr. Gomes, while the young man with candy is the unnamed character. This is also confirmed on p. 7, when “the large young man with the hairy legs” (still unnamed) talks with the bearded Dr. Gomes, who has joined the younger man’s conversation with Paula Quinton. The young candy-man is also mentioned as bringing out a bottle for celebratory drinks, while Gomes clears a space on his desk for the cups, which Paula brings over. (p. 8) So all three of them have a drink—as well as the others, “except [for] the chief engineer, who wanted a rain-check on his”; plus Gorkrink of course, because of his people’s “taboo against Ullerans and Terrans watching each other eat and drink”. (p. 9)

In sum, I count 14 characters in the Prologue. The chief engineer, the two radiomen (one being Ahmed), the bearded Dr. Gomes, his two assistants (one of them de Jong), the young hairy-legged candyman, Paula Quinton, the four men outside in personal-armors (one of them Dr. Murillo), Gorkrink (also outside in a personal-armor at first), and another assistant who helps the chief engineer keep the armor-tender steady after the nukes are detonated. (p. 6) But since he (or she) is mentioned as being “one of the assistants”, this last character could be the other assistant helping Dr. Gomes along with de Jong. If so, that would make the total 13.

Now for a little speculation. During the time that Dr. Gomes is busy with his instruments, making sure that everyone is back aboard before he fires the nukes, the young man talks with Paula Quinton and offers her some of his candy. Like him, she doesn’t seem busy either, since she “lounged with one knee hooked over her chair-arm”. (p. 3)

Making a couple of guesses, I would say that Paula’s idleness is probably because she’s an extraterrestrial sociographer, not a nuclear scientist or technician. She can’t help with any of the A-bomb stuff, as that is outside her area of expertise. She’s undoubtedly there because of Gorkrink, the native Ulleran working with the Terrans on Niflheim. (pp. 5, 8, 9) The unnamed young candy-man’s job doesn’t seem to be specified, but he could be a geologist, since he tells Paula a lot about the elements and minerals underground, which will be brought up by the shots. (pp. 4-5) And after the detonations, he tells her that when the shockwaves get down far enough, they’ll really break things open, resulting in a volcanic eruption “every bit as good as Krakatoa, on Terra, in 59 Pre-Atomic.” (p. 6) So if not a geologist, he could be a vulcanologist. (Possibly a grad student in one of these disciplines, to bring in Jon's idea.) But like Paula, the unnamed young man is not a nuclear scientist, so he doesn’t have a lot to do while they place the bombs, and Gomes sets them off.

Incidentally, Piper included a bit of irony with regard to Dr. Gomes. He can’t wait to get off Niflheim. “I’ve had about all of Niflheim I can take, now. The sooner I get onto a planet where they don’t ration the air, the better I’ll like it.” (p. 7) The irony is that he travels to Uller, where, two weeks after his first breath of unrationed air, he is killed in the native revolt.

General von Schlichten says, “Where Dr. Lourenco Gomes, the nuclear engineer who came in on the Pretoria, two weeks ago? Send out for him, and get him in here at once.” There was another awkward silence. Then Kent Pickering, the chief of the Gongonk Island power-plant, cleared his throat. “Why, general, didn’t you know? Dr Gomes is dead. He was killed during the first half hour of the uprising.” (p. 148) This is a major blow to General von Schlichten, who was “counting heavily on Dr. Gomes to design a bomb of our own.” (p. 149) And this exchange connects Dr. Gomes’ setting off the nukes on Niflheim with the nukes they hoped he would build for them on Uller.

Thus, poor old, grizzle-bearded Gomes is dead. That means his soul has departed. So does he end up in heaven or in hell? Because it’s interesting that Beam makes Gomes the one who says “They call Terra God’s footstool; well, I’ll give you one guess who uses [Niflheim] to prop his cloven hoofs on.” (p. 7) One would hope that the good doctor goes to heaven, but as a nuclear engineer and the detonator of nuclear weapons which cause a Krakatoa-size eruption (and “On Satan’s Footstool”, no less), Gomes is certainly an expert on ‘hellfire’!

I agree that with Piper’s wealth of characters, it can get confusing. Sometimes I actually draw little sketch figures on a sheet of paper, to help me figure out who’s who in a particular scene.

John

PS. When first mentioned, Dr. Gomes has a “dead” cigar in his mouth. That's probably a coincidence, but Beam just might have been including a deliberate foreshadowing of the doctor’s death on Uller.
1888
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
10-10-2018
01:42 UT
I think you're right, he's acting like the guy in charge of the tender.

I think there might have been some edits at one point - early on, the scene describes the "small man with grizzled black hair around a bald crown, and a grizzled beard" and then a description of the man eating the candy out of a bag, "large, plump-faced, young man in soiled khaki shirt and shorts, with extremely hairy legs, was doodling on his notepad and eating candy out of a bag."

A couple pages later, it states:
"As soon as he gets here, I'll touch it off," the bearded man said. "Everything set, de Jong?"
"Everything set, Dr. Gomes," one of his assistants assured him.

Then later:

"You going on to Uller on the City of Canberra?" Lourenco Gomes asked. "I wish I were; I have to stay over and make another shot, in a month or so, and I've had about all of Nefelheim I can take, now. The sooner I get onto a planet where they don't ration the air, the better I'll like it."
"Well, what do you know!" the large young man with the hairy legs mock-marvelled.

I'd guess that if the bearded man is Doctor Gomes, then the young man with hairy legs is the mystery person. A young Company Exec? Sounds rather casually dressed for that, even in that social environment. A grad student, perhaps?
1887
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
10-07-2018
20:33 UT
~
Who is the "man with the grizzled beard"?

I've read the prologue to ~Uller Uprising~, set on Niflheim, dozens of times:

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19474/19474-h/19474-h.htm#PROLOGUE

but I have never been able to sort out who the "man with the grizzled beard" is. It isn't Lourenço Gomes. (He's the guy with the bag of candy.) It doesn't seem to be the radioman communicating with Murillo's party. His actions suggest he might be the commander of the armor-tender--he's not the "chief engineer" who's operating the craft--but he doesn't seem to get a name. That's odd given that Beam was so good at giving so many minor characters names. Even the radioman gets a first name at least: Ahmed.

The way the dialogue is written it's difficult at times to tell whether it's the "man with the grizzled beard" or Gomes who's speaking but there are clearly two different characters present. It's just that one of them never seems to get a name.

This scene is abbreviated in the ~Space Science Fiction~ version ("Ullr Uprising"); the "man with the grizzled beard" remains but still isn't named.

Any ideas?

Znidd suddabit!

David
--
"The Federation Government owns a bigger interest in the Company than the public realizes, too. . . ." - Carlos von Schlichten (H. Beam Piper), ~Uller Uprising~.
~
1886
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
10-05-2018
04:22 UT
10th Anniversary Celebration!

Zarthani.net's Piper Mailing List (and Discussion Forum) celebrates its 10th anniversary ~today~:

https://www.quicktopic.com/42/H/tnfVKeAH3s4T/p0001.0001

In celebration of this anniversary Zarthani.net is holding a fundraising "virtual raffle." One each of the 1975 Garland hardcover editions of ~Space Viking~ and ~Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen~ will be given away as raffle "prizes." These hardover facisimiles of the respective original Ace paperback editions are both used books in very good condition.

Virtual raffle "tickets" are US$10 each, submitted via PayPal using the two buttons here:

http://www.zarthani.net/anniversary.htm

You can purchase as many "tickets" as you want. The raffle "drawings" will be held on or shortly after October 25, 2018, so buy your raffle tickets now!

Cheers,

David
--
"Oh, my people had many gods. There was Conformity, and Authority, and Expense Account, and Opinion. And there was Status, whose symbols were many, and who rode in the great chariot Cadillac, which was almost a god itself. And there was Atom-bomb, the dread destroyer, who would some day come to end the world. None were very good gods, and I worshiped none of them." - Calvin Morrison (H. Beam Piper), ~Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen~
~
1885
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
09-29-2018
04:35 UT
~
Jon Crocker wrote:

> Well, obviously, their batteries have gone through
> dramatic improvements over what any Fourth Level
> Europo-American would call a battery. And, given the
> room-temperature superconductor main coil in the
> boomerang unit, such a charge was more than adequate
> for the small-scale power requirements.

Perhaps. What seems clear is that Beam saw the small devices as not being able to carry their own power, unlike the vehicle- / craft-size conveyors. This may have been some of the same "pre-miniaturization" mindset which led to Merlin being so large in the Terro-human Future History.

> I've been thinking on that part, and perhaps a good
> analogy would be the layers of rock strata in a hilly
> region. Yes, this main belt is shale, but that belt curves
> with the terrain, and bits of shale have broken off into
> the sandstone above, and occasional bits of sandstone
> have crumbled down into cracks in the shale.

Could be. There is this basic uncertainty about what it means to travel "through" Paratime. We know about the "thirty minutes" of travel time for the transposition field to form and un-form but what we don't know is whether it takes "longer" to travel from any particular place in Paratime to another. For example, are Second Level time-lines "closer" to First Level (because they are more similar in character) than are Third Level time-lines?

In other words, is there a sort of "linearity" in "para-distance" which corresponds in some manner to Paratime Levels? If that's the case, "where" is Fifth Level? Is it, as its name suggests, "beyond" Fourth Level? And if that's the case, then is any trip from First Level to Fifth Level "longer" than any trip from either of those Levels to a Fourth, Third or Second Level time-line? Or could it be that Fifth Level is actually in the "opposite" direction, "closer" to First Level than it is to Second, Third or Fourth Level? (And let's not even talk about the possibility of "orthogonal" directions in Paratime!)

I think the answer to these questions, based solely upon what we get from Beam, might be "don't know."

> there was a comment in Lord Kalvan that the University
> was going to get 'those five adjoining timelines for
> controls' but we don't know if there were only five
> adjoining timelines, or there were a bunch of adjoining
> timelines and the University only got five of them.

That's interesting. I'd always assumed the latter.

> > There is an off-hand sort of comment somewhere
> > about the Paratimers traveling about the time-lines
> > "within range of the Ghaldron-Hestor transposition
> > field" or something like that.
>
> I remember that - given the ability of the Paracops to
> put a staging base pretty much anywhere, I don't know
> what that range would be.

In other words, this observation would tend to imply that the Paracops _haven't_ established any "way-stations" because, you're right, there would be no such range limitation were "way-stations" to be used.
 
> > I think if this is what the structure of Paratime was like
> > then you wouldn't have the level / sector / subsector /
> > belt framework. It wouldn't be "Hispano-Columbian
> > subsector" but merely "X023, Y587, Z614, Q461, B3901"
>
> Perhaps. To get all 'meta' about it, I can't see an editor
> readily agreeing to that. To a Paratimer that had perfect
> recall, no problem - the casual reader, no.

I think you're right. Things like "Europo-American Sector, Hispano-Columbia Subsector" are great hooks to readers. Beam would get that as a storyteller before it ever went to an editor. So perhaps he was merely tending more to his storytelling here than to his universe-building.

> Vall nodded and handed him the time-line designation
> list. "See any kind of pattern in there?" he asked. ..."Yes.
> I'd say that all the numbers are related in some kind of
> a series to some other number. Simplified down to
> kindergarten level, say the difference between A and B
> is, maybe, one-decillionth of the difference between X
> and A, and the difference between B and C is
> one-decillionth of the difference between X and B, and
> so on-"
>
> From that we can assume two things. Home Time Line
> has kindergarten,

;)

> and the timelines are all designated solely by numbers,
> unless they automatically translated the letters into ascii
> values, or binary, or something. If it's just numbers, that
> suggests that it's not a 'brick wall' approach.

There is another scene somewhere where Verkan and Tortha are guessing the general "location" of a time-line solely from an explicit numerical designation (which seems to be using something greater than a base-ten numerical system).

But numerical designation could still suggest a "grid" system. Consider the simple, two-dimensional hex numbering system for Traveller subsector maps. Even though I prefer a "taxonomy / strata" model of Paratime for dramatic reasons, unfortunately, I don't believe what we get from Beam precludes a "wall / grid" model.

> > Couldn't you stop on some intermediate time-line to
> > take a break?
>
> Oh, definitely, and I'm assuming that's been done, just
> as you say, but at some point, with your earlier points
> about how the trading companies would be in things for
> the long haul, centuries of established operations and
> the like, if you have a listing of a zillion empty planet
> earths just waiting for fishing boats and strip-mine
> operations, is there a need for another twenty or thirty?

Well, one possibility that fits what we get from Beam, including the notion that "Known Paratime" is "bounded," would be that any "way-stations" themselves are very old, perhaps having been established in an early era of Paratime "exploration." There are no Paratimers alive today whose great-great-grandparents were born when the last "way-station" was established, or something like that.

It could even be that these "way-station" time-lines have themselves come to be considered to be part of "Fifth Level" by now even though they are not "para-proximate" to the "main collection" of Fifth Level time-lines. . . .

Cheers,

David
--
"I remember, when I was just a kid, about a hundred and fifty years ago--a hundred and thirty-nine, to be exact--I picked up a fellow on the Fourth Level, just about where you're operating, and dragged him a couple of hundred parayears. I went back to find him and return him to his own time-line, but before I could locate him, he'd been arrested by the local authorities as a suspicious character, and got himself shot trying to escape. I felt badly about that. . . ." - Tortha Karf (H. Beam Piper), "Police Operation"
~
1884
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
09-29-2018
03:29 UT
~
[Changing gears a bit here.]

Jon Crocker wrote:

> Or maybe the Paratime version, Crossroads of Destiny.

I recently acquired the classic alternate history anthology ~If It Had Happened Otherwise~:

http://www.uchronia.net/bib.cgi/label/squiifitha.html

First published in the U.S. in 1931 as ~If: or History Rewritten~, it's certainly possible that Beam had read this book. It has an interesting piece by Winston Churchill which begins with a Confederate victory in the American Civil War:

http://www.uchronia.net/label/churleehad.html

Beam's approach in "Crossroads of Destiny" is the same one adopted by Churchill: the story is written from the perspective of someone in an alternate universe grasping at our actual universe. Churchill's piece also ends with some musing about an alternative Prussian ruler that could be "Wilhelm II in Exile at Doorn," the image mentioned by Selim von Olmhorst in "Omnilingual" (when folks are trying to decide whether image captions might help them to understand the ancient Martian language). (There is another piece in the anthology which uses, in part, the "correspondence" style Beam uses in "Operation R.S.V.P.")

I suppose we'll never know if ~If It Had Happened Otherwise~ was a source of inspiration for Beam but, if not, there are some remarkable coincidences between it and his work.

Cheers,

David

--
"Ideas for science fiction stories like ideas for anything else, are where you find them, usually in the most unlikely places. The only reliable source is a mind which asks itself a question like, 'What would happen if--?' or, 'Now what would this develop into, in a few centuries?' Or, 'How would so-and-so happen?' Anything at all, can trigger such a question, in your field if not in mine." - H. Beam Piper, "Double: Bill Symposium" interview
~
1883
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
09-28-2018
05:13 UT


>Agreed, and yet, in "Temple Trouble" the wires are described as being attached to a "hand-held battery" before the ball is >activated and disappears. This is why it seems like some sort of "charge-up" function to me, like a power-storing >capacitor or some-such thing. . . .

Darn, forgot about that. Hmmm...

Well, obviously, their batteries have gone through dramatic improvements over what any Fourth Level Europo-American would call a battery. And, given the room-temperature superconductor main coil in the boomerang unit, such a charge was more than adequate for the small-scale power requirements.


>(Given that most of the Paratime yarns were written before most of the Terro-human Future History yarns, perhaps Beam >hadn't quite figured out just exactly what "nuclear-electric conversion" was yet. . . .)

I hadn't realized that. Interesting.

>Unlike a grid or matrix, a "taxonomy" allows for undiscovered "para-regions" which, when discovered, would simply be added >as new "branches"--sectors, subsectors, belts--to the "taxonomy."

I like that, actually. I've been thinking on that part, and perhaps a good analogy would be the layers of rock strata in a hilly region. Yes, this main belt is shale, but that belt curves with the terrain, and bits of shale have broken off into the sandstone above, and occasional bits of sandstone have crumbled down into cracks in the shale.

There's not much reference about what sort of arrangement there is - there was a comment in Lord Kalvan that the University was going to get 'those five adjoining timelines for controls' but we don't know if there were only five adjoining timelines, or there were a bunch of adjoining timelines and the University only got five of them.

> Or flesh out the "taxonomy." ;)

Agreed.

>There is an off-hand sort of comment somewhere about the Paratimers traveling about the time-lines "within range of
>the Ghaldron-Hestor transposition field" or something like that.

I remember that - given the ability of the Paracops to put a staging base pretty much anywhere, I don't know what that range would be.

>I've posited a "Sixth Level" before, those time-lines "beyond" Fifth Level where the Paratimers haven't bothered
>to venture. Perhaps you get far enough into those multitudes of "empty earths" and the divergences start to get
>pretty radical, leading not to just "empty earths" but rather to time-lines where, among other things, sapience
>emerges in a different family of species besides _Homo_. . . .

Ah, what a Twilight Zone episode this would have made!! Or maybe the Paratime version, Crossroads of Destiny.

>I think if this is what the structure of Paratime was like then you wouldn't have the level / sector / subsector /
>belt framework. It wouldn't be "Hispano-Columbian subsector" but merely "X023, Y587, Z614, Q461, B3901"

Perhaps. To get all 'meta' about it, I can't see an editor readily agreeing to that. To a Paratimer that had perfect recall, no problem - the casual reader, no.

The only hint on the designations would, I think, be in Time Crime, it took me a little while to find the quote -

Vall nodded and handed him the time-line designation list.
"See any kind of pattern in there?" he asked.
..."Yes. I'd say that all the numbers are related in some kind of a series to some other number. Simplified down to kindergarten level, say the difference between A and B is, maybe, one-decillionth of the difference between X and A, and the difference between B and C is one-decillionth of the difference between X and B, and so on-"

From that we can assume two things. Home Time Line has kindergarten, and the timelines are all designated solely by numbers, unless they automatically translated the letters into ascii values, or binary, or something. If it's just numbers, that suggests that it's not a 'brick wall' approach.

>Given that the balls can't move in physical space this wouldn't seem to provide much more information than would a
>high-speed camera taking pictures or shooting video through the "walls" of a conveyor while it's transpositioning.

True, sorry - I was thinking the first run would be a quick-and-dirty proof of destination - if you're thinking that paratime is not a perfect grid of timelines, your first job would be determining the boundaries of each timeline, then the follow-up missions with photorecon flying saucers.

>Couldn't you stop on some intermediate time-line to take a break?

Oh, definitely, and I'm assuming that's been done, just as you say, but at some point, with your earlier points about how the trading companies would be in things for the long haul, centuries of established operations and the like, if you have a listing of a zillion empty planet earths just waiting for fishing boats and strip-mine operations, is there a need for another twenty or thirty?

Jon
1882
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
09-27-2018
20:17 UT
~
Reminder: 10th Anniversary Celebration!

Zarthani.net's Piper Mailing List (and Discussion Forum) will celebrate its 10th anniversary on October 4, 2018:

https://www.quicktopic.com/42/H/tnfVKeAH3s4T/p0001.0001

In celebration of this anniversary Zarthani.net is holding a fundraising "virtual raffle." One each of the 1975 Garland hardcover editions of ~Space Viking~ and ~Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen~ will be given away as raffle "prizes." Don't These hardover facisimiles of the respective original Ace paperback editions are both used books in very good condition.

Virtual raffle "tickets" are US$10 each, submitted via PayPal using the two buttons here:

http://www.zarthani.net/anniversary.htm

You can purchase as many "tickets" as you want. The raffle "drawings" will be held on or shortly after October 25, 2018, so buy your raffle tickets now!

Cheers,

David

P.S. Please share this message with any Piper fans who might be interested in participating in the raffle. If someone here could also "cross-post" this message on the Yahoo Piper list that would be much appreciated.
--
"Oh, my people had many gods. There was Conformity, and Authority, and Expense Account, and Opinion. And there was Status, whose symbols were many, and who rode in the great chariot Cadillac, which was almost a god itself. And there was Atom-bomb, the dread destroyer, who would some day come to end the world. None were very good gods, and I worshiped none of them." - Calvin Morrison (H. Beam Piper), ~Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen~
~
1881
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
09-27-2018
20:09 UT
~
Jon Crocker wrote:

> I'd think any "n-e c" cell would have more power than
> anything the return units could pick up from field effects,
> so I don't know if I'd suggest they were power leads.

Agreed, and yet, in "Temple Trouble" the wires are described as being attached to a "hand-held battery" before the ball is activated and disappears. This is why it seems like some sort of "charge-up" function to me, like a power-storing capacitor or some-such thing. . . .

Though the Paratimers mention nuclear-electric technology several times it's usually in the context of some out-time time-line. I don't recall Beam ever describing nuclear-electric conversion being used on/by First Level. So maybe there aren't any "n-e c" cells in those message and "boomerang" balls. (Given that most of the Paratime yarns were written before most of the Terro-human Future History yarns, perhaps Beam hadn't quite figured out just exactly what "nuclear-electric conversion" was yet. . . .)

> Exploration - If each and every timeline had strictly defined
> limits that never varied, you'd never need to survey
> anything, you'd just spin the dial and go there. It would
> be like bricks in an infinitely large wall, once you figure
> out the pattern, you could go to any given brick at any time.

Possible, yes, but the way a given time-line designation--and the Paratime "structure" of levels and sectors and subsectors and belts--allows Tortha and Verkan to guess the character of a given time-line suggests a "taxonomy" for time-line identification rather than a grid or (three-dimensional) matrix, your "brick wall" model. Unlike a grid or matrix, a "taxonomy" allows for undiscovered "para-regions" which, when discovered, would simply be added as new "branches"--sectors, subsectors, belts--to the "taxonomy."

Still, I think both of these models fit with what we have from Beam.

> If they do explore, that means that timelines are not
> constant in the paratime reference system - the bricks
> are shaped differently, arranged differently, so someone
> would have to go 'map the bricks'.

Or flesh out the "taxonomy." ;)

> Or - the physical timeline is exactly that, an infinite brick
> wall.

There is an off-hand sort of comment somewhere about the Paratimers traveling about the time-lines "within range of the Ghaldron-Hestor transposition field" or something like that. This statement implies that there's "more" to Paratime than what First Level civilization has "come to recognize" (whether fully "explored" or not). But this observation doesn't help us to understand which of these two models is the one that best describes Paratime.

> The reason to survey then becomes finding out who will
> be there. Is that brick in the Macedonian-Mithras belt, or
> is it part of Ninth Eternal Constantinople belt instead?

The way a time-line designation allows Tortha and Verkan to guess the sector and/or subsector suggests that the character of a time-line is related to its "location." If Paratime is a "brick wall" then a time-line at any place on that wall will tend to be similar to the nearby time-lines. So "surveying" would be done to understand the differences which establish subsectors and belts (and whatever "intermediate" category names there might be between the centuries-long variations between sectors, e.g. "Europo-American"--diverging half a millennium ago, and belts, diverging just a handful of decades back, e.g. "Axis Victory").

> Which leads to fifth level - everybody knows that fifth
> level is basically empty. After four zillion empty earths,
> who needs more? So the exploration office is a nice quiet
> place.

I've posited a "Sixth Level" before, those time-lines "beyond" Fifth Level where the Paratimers haven't bothered to venture. Perhaps you get far enough into those multitudes of "empty earths" and the divergences start to get pretty radical, leading not to just "empty earths" but rather to time-lines where, among other things, sapience emerges in a different family of species besides _Homo_. . . .

> Let's agree the physics of it is a "change the settings on
> the dials" approach. There would be five or seven
> variables, XYZQB or whatever.

I think if this is what the structure of Paratime was like then you wouldn't have the level / sector / subsector / belt framework. It wouldn't be "Hispano-Columbian subsector" but merely "X023, Y587, Z614, Q461, B3901" (or whatever set--or range--of coordinates identify it). There's no reason for Paratimers to pay attention every time some Fourth Level "Italian," working for the "Spanish monarchy," sails from the Major Land Mass to "discover" the Minor Land Mass.

> You'd set a squadron of return balls to cover the range of
> x.1, x.2, x.3, y.1, y.2, y.3 etc between the top and bottom
> range that you'd be surveying on this run.

Given that the balls can't move in physical space this wouldn't seem to provide much more information than would a high-speed camera taking pictures or shooting video through the "walls" of a conveyor while it's transpositioning. What you really need for a survey is something which can travel around on a given time-line (like those contragravity drones which get mistaken for "flying saucers" on some Hispano-Columbian subsector time-lines.)

> You could further say that the autoreturn units have a
> limited range - you'd need a manned mobile platform
> within fairly short range, so it's not a matter of letting
> your autonomous units continually survey forever.

These devices seem more like those contragravity disks than the message or "boomerang" balls. . . .

> but, there's going to be a limit on how much time people
> want to spend in transit. After a couple days in a
> conveyor, most people are ready to call it.

Couldn't you stop on some intermediate time-line to take a break? It would be relatively easy to construct a "hidden way station" on many primitive Fourth Level time-lines but even on the more advanced time-lines, including Third and Second Level time-lines, you just have to choose a time-lime where some sort of apocalyptic destruction has occurred. These way-stations could then be easily resupplied from Fifth Level on a routine basis.

Cheers,

David
--
"Oh, my people had many gods. There was Conformity, and Authority, and Expense Account, and Opinion. And there was Status, whose symbols were many, and who rode in the great chariot Cadillac, which was almost a god itself. And there was Atom-bomb, the dread destroyer, who would some day come to end the world. None were very good gods, and I worshiped none of them.” - Calvin Morrison (H. Beam Piper), ~Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen~
~
1880
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
09-27-2018
02:43 UT
Lots to cover -

No idea what the lose wires on the autoreturn balls would be. If we're going to stipulate they use small nuclear-electric conversion cells, which certainly makes sense for one of Piper's worlds, I'd think any "n-e c" cell would have more power than anything the return units could pick up from field effects, so I don't know if I'd suggest they were power leads.

I'd submit that paratemporal transits would take a lot of power, I'd go with them being field sensors as opposed to power transfer coils, sort of like the pitot tubes on modern jets. The wires cannot be mounted to antennas for many and various technical reasons I won't bore you with here, and in transit, it hardly matters. ;)

Exploration - If each and every timeline had strictly defined limits that never varied, you'd never need to survey anything, you'd just spin the dial and go there. It would be like bricks in an infinitely large wall, once you figure out the pattern, you could go to any given brick at any time. If they do explore, that means that timelines are not constant in the paratime reference system - the bricks are shaped differently, arranged differently, so someone would have to go 'map the bricks'.

Or - the physical timeline is exactly that, an infinite brick wall. Any brick can be reached at any time by adjusting the settings on the control desk. Since each and every one of those time lines is the same physical earth, just stay away from the trouble spots at certain times - Mount Saint Helens, Krakatoa, that sort of thing. The reason to survey then becomes finding out who will be there. Is that brick in the Macedonian-Mithras belt, or is it part of Ninth Eternal Constantinople belt instead?

Which leads to fifth level - everybody knows that fifth level is basically empty. After four zillion empty earths, who needs more? So the exploration office is a nice quiet place.

Let's agree the physics of it is a "change the settings on the dials" approach. There would be five or seven variables, XYZQB or whatever. You'd set a squadron of return balls to cover the range of x.1, x.2, x.3, y.1, y.2, y.3 etc between the top and bottom range that you'd be surveying on this run.

You'd send them out, get them back, and see how many ended up where. It may turn out that x.1 and x.2 take you to the same place - just like on a radio dial, if you have an analog dial, you can get the radio station not just at top dead center but a little to each side as well. For example, if you have a constant XYZ, and vary Q - q.1 thru q.4 take you to the same timeline, but q.5 and q.6 are completely separate.

You'd send out bunches at a time, see where they ended up, and note which ones did not come back. You'd add the viable settings to your report, and move on to the next batch.

You could further say that the autoreturn units have a limited range - you'd need a manned mobile platform within fairly short range, so it's not a matter of letting your autonomous units continually survey forever.

Also, any conveyor has a maximum efficiency. Given the ten thousand years the Paratimers have been doing this, I'd say there have been improvements and refinements and the unit that Vall uses can transit through a lot further range of paratime than the early Mark 1s could - but, there's going to be a limit on how much time people want to spend in transit. After a couple days in a conveyor, most people are ready to call it.

Some thoughts!
1879
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
09-26-2018
02:45 UT
~
John Carr writes:

> I'm working on a Paratime novel (the one that explains what
> happened to Verkan and Dalla at the end of "Down Styphon!")

Very much looking forward to this, by the way. ;)

> 1.) I assume, from the fact that the Paratime Police are able to
> limit unrestricted Paratime travel to non-police First Level
> inhabitants, that the Paratime Police conveyors do not have a
> governor, that is, are not restricted.

I think Jon raises some interesting points about how the Paratime Police might accomplish these restrictions: whether they do it technologically (e.g. via "governors" in individual conveyors) or through regulatory regimes such as "licenses." Unfortunately, we can't tell from "Temple Trouble" which it might be because both out-time companies have "franchises"--one for uranium, one for oil--on that time-line and so are both "authorized" to be there.

> How else could they travel to un-surveyed time-lines otherwise,
> such as their search for Kalvan throughout Aryan-Transpacific,
> Styphon's House Subsector?

There's clear indication they travel to "un-surveyed" time-lines but it's not clear to me that anyone ever travels to an _undiscovered_ time-line.

Let me see if I can explain what I mean. We know that as a conveyor is traveling through a given time-line that time-line is briefly visible and potentially even "visitable" in the fashion by which Calvin Morrison ends up in Hostigos. So while a conveyor might travel through an "un-surveyed" time-line like those around the one where Morrison ended up these are still "discovered" time-lines (that may even have been "catalogued" through automated means which are able to distinguish each time-line as a conveyor travels trough it, even if they're being traversed too quickly for humans to distinguish them).

So, those other Styphon's House Subsector time-lines might be "un-surveyed" but they may very well have been identified and "catalogued" previously.

Still, this begs the question of how the Paratimers travel into genuinely "new" time-lines (which they had to do, at some early point, even of it's possibly an unlikely occurrence during Verkan Vall's tenure as a Paracop).

> We know from "Temple Trouble" that outtimers are restricted
> in where they can travel. I assumed that the Paratime Police
> Routing Department provides the companies with a route to
> and from the exploited time-lines. One of the Paratime Police's
> jobs is to keep outtimers from straying from their designated
> time-lines.

Yep. It remains to be determined whether they accomplish this technologically or through regulation (and enforcement). I don't recall any evidence one way or the other (but this wouldn't be the first thing I've overlooked in Beam's work). My vote is via regulation both because it sets up more interesting dramatic possibilities and because, practically, a technological restriction can be defeated relatively easily with sufficient funds and effort (e.g. just hire a former conveyor governor technician who's fallen down on his luck--or is mad at his old boss).

> 2.) The big question is how do the Paratime Police find or travel
> to these "new" time-lines? What mechanism do their conveyors
> use or have that the commercian conveyors do not?

So, if we assume the prohibitions are regulatory, it may simply be a matter of launching a conveyor off into the "unknown."

But it's possible that most conveyors--civilian / commercial _and_ Police--aren't even able to do this because there is no "Setting 11," no way to activate the controls in a fashion that would take the conveyor "beyond" known time-lines. Ordinarily, few folks (try to) do this, partly because it's "prohibited" and partly because there's plenty to exploit among the "known time-lines." That uranium franchise in Temple Trouble is _centuries_ old. These are not nimble commercial enterprises intent upon finding new opportunities. When they're looking to "grow the business" they look to do it at the expense of a competitor working in established time-lines.

It's sort of like why space travel has faltered in the "real universe." There's no money that can be made in orbit, or on the moon, or on Mars or Venus, that can't more easily be made somewhere right here on Earth. (I'm talking about making money doing something, not merely doing something that can only be done in space.) The same premise holds for the First Level civilization and "Known Paratime." There are already plenty of "discovered" but as yet "un-surveyed" time-lines so why bother looking for new ones?

Furthermore, First Level civilization is stagnant and parasitic. There are no First Level para-explorers looking to go "where no one has gone before."

> Certainly, Piper had them traveling all over Paratime, but
> omitted mentioning how? Or did I miss it?

I don't recall him having any Paratimers travel to "un-discovered" or uncatalogued regions of Paratime. They were, instead, ingestigating previously "un-surveyed" time-lines which were nevertheless already known to exist. (If we think about the way those "short numeral" time-line designation codes allow folks like Verkan and Tortha to get a general sense of where a time-line is located we can assume that there is a sort of "taxonomy" of designations which allows them to identify time-lines they have "discovered" but haven't visited.)

Presumably it's possible to build an "exploration conveyor" that is able to seek out new time-lines but for most conveyors, Police or civilian / commercial, this is simply an unnecessary function. The destination controls can be set for any time-line "in the catalogue" but don't have the ability to choose destinations which aren't "catalogued." (Sort of like trying to put "outer space" coordinates into the auto-pilot latitude-longitude selector on a commercial jet inertial guidance system. "Co-pilot, come to 201 mark 15. . . .")

Bottom line is that "boldly going where no one has gone before" is a specialized--and possibly obsolete or archaic--activity for First Level civilization, beyond the general purview of the Paratime Police.

>3.) Which brings up another question, what "drive" or "force"
> is used to propel the conveyors from Home Time Line to other
> levels and sectors?

This is a whole other can of para-worms! I'm always confused by those "loose wires" on the automated surveillance "balls." What in the heck were those for? Were they transmitting _power_ to some onboard battery or were they transmitting some sort of "initiation" signal to a primitive onboard computer that could only initiate the "boomerang" return sequence? I could never figure out a purpose that required the external signal--or power--in the first place. (If it's a signal why not simply build in a switch, after having "programmed" the mission details in advance?)

The only thing that even makes any kind of sense is that they are activating some sort of "wind (or "charge")-up power" device. The power from the wires transfers power to the ball which is stored mechanically / electrically in some sort of gyroscope-battery-thingy that runs down after a bit and the ball returns. But that's still ridiculous from the standpoint of the full-size conveyors which--however they're powered--don't require those wires.

(And let's not say it has something to do with the size. The Paratimers mention time-lines which have the "nuclear-electric conversion" technology which is ubiquitous throughout Beam's Terro-human Future History yarns so why not use a small one of those?)

Bottom line is, I don't think we get much at all from Beam about how the conveyor's--or the "boomerang" balls--are powered. Jon's "right hand rule" about the transposition field dynamics is as good as anything else we have (and is pretty clever, you have to admit). It might be called the "Crocker Effect." ;)

Down Styphon!

David
--
"Why, you--You parapeeper!" -- Morvan Kara (H. Beam Piper), "Police Operation"
~
1878
David SoobyPerson was signed in when posted
09-26-2018
02:17 UT
Jon Crocker said:

> Finding new timelines is another decision - is it a matter of "tuning the dial"
> to the right settings to take you outtime? Or does each new timeline have to be
> plotted by the supercomputers down in the secure vaults underneath the Paratime
> Commission Building?

I submit it's merely a matter of setting dials.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
When he [Verkan Vall] was alone, he went to the coffer, an almost featureless rectangular block without visible lock or hinges...

Inside were four globes of gleaming coppery mesh, a few instruments with dials and knobs...

..."I will find a location for an antigrav conveyer to land, somewhere in the woods near Hostigos Town; when I do, I will send a message-ball through from there."

Then he replaced the mouthpiece, set the timer for the transposition-field generator, and switched on the antigrav. Carrying the ball to an open window, he tossed it outside, and then looked up as it vanished in the night. After a few seconds, high above, there was an instant's flash among the many visible stars. It looked like a meteor; a Hostigi, seeing it, would have made a wish.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--LORD KALVAN OF OTHERWHEN, ch. 6, pp. 61, 66


Clearly this describes use of a "message-ball"; it seems likely that a "boomerang-ball" is similar in function and in appearance. Presumably the boomerang-balls are only used for high-altitude aerial surveys; close-up surveys are apparently made in person by explorers or police.

It's possible to build a conveyor which is locked to shuttling back and forth between two timelines:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
...found out which was their conveyer. It was a fixed-destination shuttler, operative only between Home Time Line and Police Terminal, from which most of the Paratime Police operations were routed.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--"Time Crime", PARATIME p. 166


But I doubt most crosstime traders use fixed-destination conveyers. It would be like buying a truck which can only travel between two warehouses. For such restricted use vehicles, it seems you'd have to physically replace the pre-set control mechanism for another one, to change the route it traveled. While the Paratime Police might like such restrictions on civilians, the logistical problem that would create for trading companies seems like too much of a burden.

~~~~~~~~~~~
David Sooby
1877
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
09-25-2018
03:16 UT
~
Jon Crocker wrote:

> I just bought one ticket for each. Fingers crossed!

Thanks for participating and good luck!

> I was leafing through some of the posts, and had a look at
> "John Espley's Annotated Piper Bibliography" mentioned in
> post 1860 - sure enough, in the writeup of Four Day Planet
> it calls it the 'weakest'. Of course, it also states the story
> is about labour trouble on the planet Fenris, which I'd say
> was a bit of a miss.

Yeah, that part leaves me wondering if he didn't read what he dismisses as a "juvenile" at all.

Interesting tidbit here. I'd described in that post the mysterious footnote mentioning a personal letter from William Tuning. I've since found the actual reference. It's attached to the "projected" new Ace edition of ~Crisis in 2140~ ("Book "B02b") on page 173. I don't believe Ace ever reissued ~Crisis~ but it's interesting to see that Tuning seemed to have known to mention this. Also interesting is the quote from Tuning in the footnote which suggests he was working for Ace on, besides ~Fuzzy Bones~, "some edited collections of the shorter material, gathered together with annotative information." Presumably, this became the Piper anthologies edited by John Carr.

> This raised the question - what story of Piper's is the
> weakest? I haven't read Null-ABC yet, and I've asked
> here if I should bother to try to track down a copy, and
> the consensus was 'no'.

Well, I'm already on record as not being a fan of ~Null-ABC~. It's only redeeming value is that it keeps ~Lone Star Planet~ from being my least-favorite novel. (Others' mileage may vary, of course.)

For me, Beam's weakest work falls among his non-Terro-human Future History and non-Paratime yarns. The Hartley yarn "Day of the Moron" would fall "low" here, not because I don't like the politics (though I don't) but because the "lazy union workers" who absent-mindedly commit catastrophic sabotage is a too simplistic plot device. I prefer my antagonists to have some agency. . . .

Even though I enjoyed it--like popcorn--"Operation R.S.V.P." is "low" on my list too. The basic premise, that the "Ameer of Afghanistan" is able to completely out-smart two imagined Commie superpowers in a futuristic version of "The Great Game," stretches my "willing suspension of belief" beyond the limit.

"Hunter Patrol," co-authored with McGuire, is another "low" one. It's a complex story that I've found too difficult to understand. It also lacks a protagonist, a character that can be identified with positively. It's a dark yarn that isn't worth the effort to make sense of, in my view.

> The flip side is, there are many contenders for 'best', and
> not even the absolute best writer can write their best work
> all the time.

"The Mercenaries" is far and away my favorite short yarn among Beam's "other works" (and might be my all-around favorite). "The Return" is a pretty good post-apocalypse yarn too, even though I'm not a particular fan of . . . the fictional character which inspired it. "Time and Time Again" is also just a very well-written story with a wonderful relationship between Allan Hartley and his dad.

"The Keeper" is my favorite Terro-human Future History yarn. (Raud the Keeper seems the most Piper-like of Beam's protagonists, even if Jack Holloway is the "optimistic" version of Beam.) If we take that one off the table because it's so far into the Terro-human future then "Oomphel in the Sky" would be my next favorite. It's a well-crafted yarn with a wonderful portrayal of the alien Kwanns (and does a good job of rehabilitating Edith Shaw without making her a cliche').

It's tough to choose a "best" Paratime yarn because they're all pretty good. Putting aside the Kalvan novelets, "Time Crime" is my favorite because it gives the best glimpse of First Level civilization. "Last Enemy" though is a close second because the Akor-Neb civilization is one of the most well-done, creatively-imagined "alternate history" societies ever (even though I don't buy the reincarnation idea). This was the yarn that told us Beam was doing something much grander with his Paratime idea than merely trying to rewrite the Civil War.

Well, there's my two bits--worth exactly what you paid for 'em.

Cheers,

David
--
"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~
~
1876
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
09-25-2018
00:43 UT
You'd have to decide if the conveyors are physically governed with lockouts and governors, or the owners have to show a licence. At the end of Temple Trouble, the big reveal is the other syndicate was trying to get a franchise away from the current holder - maybe the conveyors are so expensive that its the owner's responsibility to keep them on the timelines they're supposed to be. After all, if they're sight-seeing on the other timeline, they're not hauling goods from where they were supposed to be.

If there were lockouts or governors, would the bad guys in Temple Trouble have been able to get to that target timeline?

After all, if lots of people are packing sigma-ray needlers, as per Vall's conversation with the rocket pilot in Police Operation, I don't think they'd care where one-off conveyor visits would go.

On the other hand, that could be a recurring theme - they implement the New Unbeatable Lockout system, it works for a while and then someone exploits a weakness, and those times are the busy periods for the paracops. Then, with the lockouts down, they have to rely on the licences and franchises, and as long as you have the paperwork to show you're approved to bring in oranges, you're okay. Too many oranges, you better show Bumper Crop Certification Form X99-7/J, and they're going to take a close look at your 'black box' recorders. Then the pendulum swings again with the release of the Even More Unbreakable Lockout system.

Lots of options there.

Finding new timelines is another decision - is it a matter of "tuning the dial" to the right settings to take you outtime? Or does each new timeline have to be plotted by the supercomputers down in the secure vaults underneath the Paratime Commission Building?

I like the "tune the dial" approach myself - not every single setting gets you to a new timeline, so if you just change the red vernier from x.32 to x.33 you end up at the same place. There's lots you could decide there, like how they use the 'photographic auto-return balls' from Time Crime as a first survey - if they don't come back, scratch that setting off the 'approved' list so no one dies trying to get there. If you set the conveyor wrong enough, well, there's another name for that monument Vall also mentioned to that rocket pilot.

The 'drive force' - there is the 'right hand rule' in physics for finding the direction of a magnetic field set up by a current moving in a straight wire. Similarly, when you activate the Ghaldron-Hesthor field generator at exceptionally high energy levels, and channel that energy through a mesh of silver-irridium alloy, it exerts a force on the conveyor that takes it to the lateral time lines. If you set the controls from A to B, you go out from home time line, B to A takes you towards it. Or you could make it more complicated than that, that sounds too much like 'reversing the polarity'.

It only happens at very high energy levels, else they would have noticed some strange effects at those big particle accelerators they have around Fourth Level Europo-American.

It took a long time to work out the details, but now with the main field coil and the flux boosters for directional control, you can exactly determine your direction and attitude and transit directly to your desired timeline.
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