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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.
 
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^     All messages    << 1953-1968  1937-1952 of 1977  1921-1936 >>
1952
Dave EdenPerson was signed in when posted
01-22-2019
01:46 UT
Thank you for the welcomes, everyone.

> So, what's your favorite Terro-human Future History yarn, now? Favorite Paratime yarn? Favorite from the rest?

The first Fuzzy book, hands down. But outside the Fuzzies in the Terro-Human future, my favourite is probably Four-Day Planet. I think I've read all the Paratime stories except Kalvan, which I'm in the middle of. I really liked Gunpowder God, so I imagine I'll feel the same way about Kalvan after I finish reading the complete, extended dance mix version of Gunpowder God. Among the others: Murder in the Gunroom. It is so vivid, I feel like I'm there in the countryside and towns, getting rained on and following Jeff Rand around.


> We've talked about this a bit here before (except for the tone--I love that insight). These days, it's one of the things that makes > his settings seem "alien" to contemporary readers. It's the same sort of reason why Matthew Weiner described ~Mad Men~ as
> "science-fiction."

That's very interesting. I didn't know that some contemporary readers thought that, but I haven't met any contemporary readers other than my son who has read the Fuzzy books. I only know one other Piper fan, through Twitter, and I think he's older than me.


> You're right that this sort of detail makes for good writing, but isn't this sort of thing in say, those scenes in Port Carpenter on > Koshchei, part of what makes some of Beam's work seem "old fashioned" these days? All those conveyor belts and spools of wire and
> aerial antennas. . . . Wonderful, concrete detail but not what I imagine a future automated factory would like. (Ghu, not even what > one looks like today, more than half a century into Beam's future.)

Indeed, Port Carpenter and Koschei are part of what I had in mind. Yes, it's true that some details seem "old fashioned". Tapes are for recordings are another good example. I'm thinking more of the mundane details of maintenance shops, etc. The nature of the tools and equipment would change, but Piper is projecting an imagined future where industrial workshops have a similar feel. Of course we don't know how accurate this will end up being, but I really like the way it "looks" in his stories.
1951
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
01-19-2019
16:57 UT
Welcome Dave!
1950
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
01-19-2019
05:17 UT
~
Dave Eden wrote:

> Hello everyone, just joining the forum.

Welcome, Dave. Always good to "e-meet" a new Piper fan.

> I've been a Piper fan since I was a teenager in the late 80s,
> when working at a book store I noticed an interesting slim
> volume on the shelf with a cute fuzzy creature and a tough
> looking gentleman with a white moustache.

That Michael Whelan; his cover illustrations brought so many folks to Beam's work!

> I stayed just a Fuzzy fan until recently. I had re-read the
> Fuzzy series a few times over the years and thoroughly
> enjoyed it, but never got around to Piper's other work.
> Now that I have, I'm hooked, and am systematically
> reading his entire corpus.

So, what's your favorite Terro-human Future History yarn, now? Favorite Paratime yarn? Favorite from the rest?

> I particularly enjoyed John Carr's biography as well.

John efforts to share parts of Beam's writing and life have been a wonderful gift.

> I like "ground based" sci-fi, written from the perspective
> of someone who knows and enjoys hiking, camping and
> hunting. Piper does that very well, and this is perhaps why
> his work "ages" well.

That's an interesting point, that is obvious now that you mention it but never seemed to occur to me before. It's there in the Fuzzy yarns, obviously, but also in yarns like "Naudsonce" and "Omnilingual." "Police Operation" and "Temple Trouble" too.

(And, I've just realized, in my own "The Satchel" and "Grandfather Encounter," though, being a city-kid, likely not nearly as well done as by Beam.)

> I also love how Piper, immersed as we all are in the
> culture of his day, projects a future where everyone
> smokes, cocktail hour is an unchanging sacred rite, and
> everyone speaks with the mature tone you only hear
> in classic movies.

We've talked about this a bit here before (except for the tone--I love that insight). These days, it's one of the things that makes his settings seem "alien" to contemporary readers. It's the same sort of reason why Matthew Weiner described ~Mad Men~ as "science-fiction."

> Another detail I really enjoy is how he describes
> industrial environments, something he knew at least
> as well as the Pennsylvania countryside. The details
> about workshops and warehouses, I don't recall seeing
> that anywhere else, and it really helps bring his settings
> to life.

You're right that this sort of detail makes for good writing, but isn't this sort of thing in say, those scenes in Port Carpenter on Koshchei, part of what makes some of Beam's work seem "old fashioned" these days? All those conveyor belts and spools of wire and aerial antennas. . . . Wonderful, concrete detail but not what I imagine a future automated factory would like. (Ghu, not even what one looks like today, more than half a century into Beam's future.)

> Lastly, I love how he works in his knowledge and
> appreciation of firearms, in a way that satisfies fellow
> connoisseurs but doesn't intrude on the story.

With something as simple as a "Mars Consolidated" pistol Beam showed his storytelling mastery, telling us something about the settlement of the Solar system and the economy of the early (first) Federation with with just a couple of words. . . .

Thanks for sharing a bit of what you find interesting in Beam's work.

Cheers,

David
--
"Let's see yours. Draw--soul! Inspection--soul!" - Foxx Travis (H. Beam Piper), "Oomphel in the Sky"
~
1949
Lord KalvanPerson was signed in when posted
01-19-2019
03:45 UT
David, welcome to the Piper mailing list. In answer to your question, this years Irregular's Muster will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2019. We will be meeting at the Waffle Shop on North Atherton at 10:00 a.m. All Piper fans are welcome. I will be there along with Dennis Frank, our guide. This year we will be visiting some of the sites mentioned in Great Kings' War, as well as the usual Piper sites.

John Carr
1948
Lord KalvanPerson was signed in when posted
01-18-2019
20:58 UT

The new "Paratime Police Chronicles" hardcover is now available from the Hostigos.com website and Amazon. For some reason, I'm having trouble putting up the e-book on Kindle -- Sigh. However, as of today, the e-books (mobi and e-put) editions are available at the Shop at Hostigos.com.

John
1947
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
01-18-2019
20:25 UT
Welcome aboard.
1946
Dave EdenPerson was signed in when posted
01-18-2019
17:00 UT
If someone can please share the date of this year's Irregulars' Muster, I'd greatly appreciate it. I'd love to attend, and I'll probably need to book a day or two off work and would like some lead time. Thank you.
1945
Dave EdenPerson was signed in when posted
01-18-2019
17:00 UT
Hello everyone, just joining the forum. I've been a Piper fan since I was a teenager in the late 80s, when working at a book store I noticed an interesting slim volume on the shelf with a cute fuzzy creature and a tough looking gentleman with a white moustache.

I stayed just a Fuzzy fan until recently. I had re-read the Fuzzy series a few times over the years and thoroughly enjoyed it, but never got around to Piper's other work. Now that I have, I'm hooked, and am systematically reading his entire corpus. I particularly enjoyed John Carr's biography as well.

What do I like about Piper? More generally, his writing is direct and readable, but not dumbed down. In terms of specifics, I'll try to summarize a few. I like "ground based" sci-fi, written from the perspective of someone who knows and enjoys hiking, camping and hunting. Piper does that very well, and this is perhaps why his work "ages" well. Conceptions of starship combat may not survive as well over the decades (although I suspect David Weber's Honorverse will fare pretty well, but that's another topic). I also love how Piper, immersed as we all are in the culture of his day, projects a future where everyone smokes, cocktail hour is an unchanging sacred rite, and everyone speaks with the mature tone you only hear in classic movies. Another detail I really enjoy is how he describes industrial environments, something he knew at least as well as the Pennsylvania countryside. The details about workshops and warehouses, I don't recall seeing that anywhere else, and it really helps bring his settings to life. Lastly, I love how he works in his knowledge and appreciation of firearms, in a way that satisfies fellow connoisseurs but doesn't intrude on the story.

I look forward to discussing Piper with you all.
1944
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
01-17-2019
02:32 UT
~
~The Paratime Police Chronicles~

I've just received the latest Paratime book, John Carr's new anthology, which includes three of Beam's Paratime Police yarns and four new Paratime yarns by John, along with an introductory essay by Eric Fisher.

It's a beautiful book with a dust jacket by artist Sean Bodley, a newcomer to Piper's work:

https://seanbodley.com/about/

You can get your copy at Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Paratime-Police-Chr...-Vol/dp/0937912727/

And perhaps the very best part is that this is "Volume 1," with another book, which will include Beam's Piper novellas and more Kalvan work from John, on its way soon.

Down Styphon!

David
--
"Why, you--You parapeeper!" -- Morvan Kara (H. Beam Piper), "Police Operation"
~
1943
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
12-27-2018
03:40 UT
Some electrons bearing gifts are en route. Happy Boxing Day.
1942
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
12-25-2018
01:19 UT
~
Piper Fans:

Once again, I've just paid the annual fee (US$49) required to keep this list/forum (and archive) free of advertisements and to provide expanded functionality such as image posting. 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 Discussion Forum page. (You don't need a PayPal account to make a donation, just a credit card.) Thank you for whatever amount of support you choose to provide.

Have a merry solstice holiday, however you celebrate it, and best wishes for the New Year.

David
--
"I always was a present-peeker [on] New Year's. . . ." - Elaine Karvall (H. Beam Piper), ~Space Viking~
~
1941
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
12-08-2018
22:38 UT

~
From the Archives: "Olson's Rule"

Below, another message to the old PIPER-L mailing list, from way back in January 1996, which, while dealing specifically with the question of whether Paratime and the Terro-human Future History are a single setting, outlines a more general concept I like to call "Olson's Rule":

---

Subject: Re: neat packages
From: Mark Olson
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 1996 13:40:41 ...

     Agreed that they *could* all fit together. Does that mean that they
     do? If you intend the definition of inclusion within Piper's future
     history to be 'one [which] would have little trouble fitting into the
     TFH as pre-30 Days War stories' then you've gotten too broad and the
     Colleen McCullough novel about Julius Caesar's political days that I
     just read would also fit in.

     I think you need something a little more positive than mere
     non-contradiction.

     It's certainly true that the Paratime and Federation/Empire (F/E)
     universes are consistant, but the only points of contact that I can
     see are:

     (1) The history of Mars as evidenced in "Omnilingual" is not
     inconsistant with a human origin on Mars about 200,000 years ago as
     required by the Paratime universe. But there is *no* positive
     evidence in any story. (I don't consider humanoid habitation of Mars
     in recent geological times to be enough.)

     (2) I vaguely remember that one of the Paratim stories refers to
     Galactic Empires or the like in the Fourth Level paratime universes.
     Again, this is not inconsistant with the two beinng connected, but
     IMHO, insufficient.

     (3) The switch of background in *When in the Course* seems to me to be
     essentially irrelevant.

     Arguing *against* their connection is the lack of discovery of
     paratime travel the F/E universe and the lack of hyperspatial travel
     in the Paratime universe. It's hard to imagine that hyperspatial
     engineers would have missed paratime if it existed in their universe.
     (Of course, that's one of the basic flaws in Piper's whole Paratime
     series, but we'll ignore that....)

     -- mlo

-----

Marks's original message is available here:

https://web.archive.org/web/20080310055937...-l&T=0&F=&S=&P=1192

I think Mark's basic point, that when we're trying to fit something into one of Beam's fictional settings we "need something a little more positive than mere non-contradiction," is spot on. I still find his argument in favor of Paratime and the Terro-human Future History being distinct settings to be compelling but more importantly I believe his "rule" is a useful one across Beam's work.

Cheers,

David
--
"Lord Kalvan is a Martian." - Jackson Russell, H. Beam Piper Mailing List and Discussion Forum, July 6, 2015
~
1940
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
11-29-2018
04:08 UT
We'd talked a bit about 'transpolar air invasions' - I came across this link shortly afterward, it said it was a US Air Force film from 1958. Yes, it's ten or twelve years after Piper wrote that story, but it's an interesting look at the sort of procedure that would have been involved with that sort of technology.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pps1xNGRzdY

With a few changes, it could be Governor General von Schlichten taking a similar briefing in Uller Uprising, there was certainly enough smoking on screen.
1939
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
11-26-2018
14:28 UT
~
Jon Crocker wrote:

> Maybe it's not a secret discovery? Maybe the powers-
> that-be prod the tabloid press to give coverage of the
> 'ancient alien menace that kidnapped Terrans and
> stranded them light-years from home', especially
> before the budget debates in Parliament.

Given Von Schlichten's suggestion of the size of the Federation Navy--even if he was engaged in a bit of hyperbole, I have to imagine that there was some form of this, even if it was just something like "one day, somebody like the Thorans, but in starships, is bound to show up in Federation space."

> Or, another wild theory - maybe the citizens don't.
> Every industry we hear about on Terra is part of a
> 'cartel', what if all those cartels were formed so that
> they could survive the staggering corporate surtaxes
> the Federation levied to support the Navy? There's
> no room for real competition, not with Executive
> Special Agents roaming the boardrooms of Terra
> and making certain the tax payments go through
> on time. The personal taxes and golf course fees
> goes to support the 'normal' stuff on Terra, and then
> the cartels and Chartered Companies pay for the
> Navy that keeps the spacelanes safe for their profits.

This is an interesting idea too. One of the reasons the Dutch East India Company was supplanted by the British East India Company was that the company was unable to meet the increasing security demands of its commercial operations and the Dutch Republic government was unable to supply them for the Company. Eventually, the British East India Company faced a similar challenge and, like every good capitalist enterprise, dumped those costs upon the British Navy--and British taxpayers--which eventually led to British government control of former Company holdings.

Perhaps the early (second) Federation government remembered this history when the Chartered Companies were established and part of the "chartering" included built-in taxation which was meant to enable Federation security efforts at the outset (rather than having the security mission dumped on the public sector after the companies were unable to fund it themselves). That sort of foresight is rare in a government but it's not like there weren't plenty of historical examples for them to draw upon.

Such an arrangement, of course, would support a view of the (second) Federation as being an institution focused primarily on protecting the interests of interstellar investors.

> You can have fun extrapolating from too few data
> points. :)

Hear! Hear!

David
--
"The Federation Government owns a bigger interest in the Company than the public realizes, too. . . ." - Carlos von Schlichten (H. Beam Piper), ~Uller Uprising~.
~
1938
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
11-25-2018
18:54 UT
David “Piperfan” Johnson wrote,

>Arctic operations--and later, antarctic operations--seemed like a reasonable and interesting science-fictional theme at
>the time Beam was writing (especially when someone was also writing about the first explorations of the Moon and Mars).

Piper wasn't the only one - I remember a story by Arthur C Clarke that had a throwaway line about 'battles on the antarctic front', it was likely written about the same time. (I can't remember the title, but it was about 'The Master', a new and global would-be dictator. His last redoubt was dug into the sides of Everest, and he had a suspended animation chamber ready to convey him a hundred years into the future. Kicker was, it used photocells to count days, and when artillery fire smashed that part of the mountain, there went his wake-up call...)

That's a good point about the IGY - for all of those radar chains, and I think the Alaskan Highway too, they could only really operate in the summer, that must have played a part in those decisions.
1937
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
11-25-2018
17:27 UT
~
James "jimmyjoejangles" Romanski wrote:

> So if we all know that the most likely Soviet attack was
> coming from the polar region, why is it such a sticking
> point?

As Jon suggests, it's merely about how _unlikely_ a "transpolar air invasion" seems to us in hindsight.

Arctic operations--and later, antarctic operations--seemed like a reasonable and interesting science-fictional theme at the time Beam was writing (especially when someone was also writing about the first explorations of the Moon and Mars).

But even by the time the DEW and the two other "lines" Jon mentioned were developed, they were intended to provide advance warning of a strategic bomber--and later, ICBM--attack, not of an "air invasion" by ground troops which might go on to capture Ottawa and lay siege to Buffalo.

The idea of a troop invasion became increasingly less conceivable with time, likely in no small part due to the U.S. and Canadian experience constructing the DEW. It was a major military operation simply to get the people and materials in place to build the radar sites in that harsh climate, much less to do any actual war-fighting. No doubt that's (part of) why there weren't follow-on efforts to "fortify" the Arctic.

That experience in the Arctic likely also contributed to the subsequent International Geophysical Year (IGY) efforts in Antarctica and ultimately to the Antarctic Treaty which "demilitarized" (and "internationalized") Antarctica. Folks truly came to recognize how harsh the Arctic and Antarctic environments were and realized they would never be able to maintain a "transpolar" military logistics operation that was less difficult than that required to launch an invasion via a longer-but-less-inhospitable route.

But as Jon has pointed out, that was all in the future at the time Beam was writing "Time and Time Again." Still, it seems Beam was paying attention to Arctic and Antarctic developments, writing about characters like Glenn Murell and using disputes over the "demilitarization" (and "internationalization") of Luna as key elements leading to the Thirty Days' War in "The Edge of the Knife" (submitted for publication as planning for the "IGY" was well underway).

Cheers,

David
--
"I was born in Antarctica, on Terra. The water's a little too cold to do much swimming there. And I've spent most of my time since then in central Argentine, in the pampas country." - Glenn Murell (H. Beam Piper), ~Four-Day Planet~
~
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