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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            1966-1981 of 1981  1950-1965 >>
1981
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
05-19-2019
17:26 UT
~
2019 Muster of Piper Irregulars

As the Irregulars prepare for the annual Muster in Hostigos next weekend take a look at this extensive visual tour of locations in ~Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen~ provided by Piper fan Dennis Frank:

https://web.archive.org/web/20080829175352...d_Kalvan/Tour01.htm

And here's a bit of our adventure during the first Muster--well, the second, actually--fifteen years ago:

https://web.archive.org/web/20080819174120...an/Hostigos2004.htm

And the Irregulars at the Waffle House at the beginning of the 2008 Muster:

http://www.zarthani.net/Images/irregulars_muster_2008.jpg

Smooth travels this year, Irregulars.

Down Styphon!

David

P.S. The first actual Muster--though it wasn't called that yet--occurred way back in 1988:

http://www.zarthani.net/hostigos_1988.htm
--
"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~
~
1980
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
05-15-2019
03:27 UT
~
2019 Irregulars' Muster

> I'd just like to confirm the meeting location
> for the Irregular's Muster on May 18. Is 1229
> N Atherton St, State College the correct address?

Dave has gotten his confirmation off-line but for anyone else who's going, the Irregulars will meet at the Waffle Shop on Atherton around 10am.

Cheers,

David
--
"I have heard it argued that fandom tends to make a sort of cult of science fiction, restricted to a narrow circle of the initiated. This I seriously question." - H. Beam Piper, "Double: Bill Symposium" interview
~
1979
Dave EdenPerson was signed in when posted
05-10-2019
22:18 UT
Hello, I'd just like to confirm the meeting location for the Irregular's Muster on May 18. Is 1229 N Atherton St, State College the correct address? I'm looking forward to meeting whoever is there.
1978
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
05-04-2019
04:15 UT
In Lord Kalvan, the timeline where Corporal Morrison emerged was on Aryan-Transpacific.

Here's a link to a news item from a nearby sector, one Europo-American timeline. A local reporter submitted this, photos of their own tribe that didn't migrate.

http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20190502-i...-last-of-the-aryans

I'm not seeing any blondes. But, in a pinch, if we need a Willem Dafoe lookalike, we could consider recruiting the older gent in the fourth photo.
1977
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
04-24-2019
04:45 UT
LOL! And then no Wagner. Trust us.
1976
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
04-22-2019
05:22 UT

Drink Evri-Flave!
1975
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
04-21-2019
03:37 UT
I hope I haven't mentioned this before - there's a little local grocery store nearby, and on the shelf there was a brand of fruit-flavoured sodas with the brand name Effevre, from France, with an accent on the last letter that I don't know how to duplicate here.

It reminded me of Evri-Flave, the drink from Hunter Patrol. It's not many times I do a double-take at a bottle of fizzy water at the store!
1974
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
03-31-2019
05:32 UT
My wife picked up a book from the library the other day, “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” by Stephen Hawking. I was reading one of the sections, “How did it all begin?” talking about the formation of the universe(s) and came across this part:

“M-theory, which is our best candidate for a complete unified theory, allows a very large number of possible histories of the universe. Most of these histories are quite unsuitable for the development of intelligent life. Either they are empty, or too short lasting, or too highly curved, or wrong in some other way. Yet, according to Richard Feynman’s multiple-histories idea, these uninhabited histories might have quite a high probability.”

Don’t ask me to explain M-theory, I can’t – but that section struck me as being very similar to a quick overview of paratime – a very large number of possible histories, all those different levels, and so many uninhabited fifth-level timelines. Maybe Piper was on to something!
1973
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03-30-2019
04:42 UT
~
John "Calidore" Anderson wrote:

> He would say, "Hell, you think you're right and I think
> I'm right, and we're never going to agree. So let's
> call a truce and have a drink."
>
> (Looks, smiles.) "Make it several."

Hear, hear! ;)

Cheers,

David
--
"And there were the Australians, picking themselves up bargains in real-estate in the East Indies at gun-point, and there were the Boers, trekking north again, in tanks instead of ox-wagons. And Brazil, with a not-too-implausible pretender to the Braganza throne, calling itself the Portuguese Empire and looking eastward." - Lee Richardson (H. Beam Piper), "The Answer"
~
1972
CalidorePerson was signed in when posted
03-29-2019
18:07 UT
David “PiperFan” Johnson wrote (about the dating events),

>I’ve mentioned this before, but we have a basic disagreement here between the
>dating of the succession of Venus (and thus the dating of WWIV). You prefer the
>date in the ~Empire~ Chronology for the succession of Venus (174 AE) and I prefer
>the date shown in Beam’s “The Future History” for WWIV (106-109 AE). I don’ know
>where the date in the ~Empire~ Chronology comes from but there is plenty of internal
>evidence in Beam’s work to support the WWIV dates in “The Future History.” Indeed,
>you can see me making a guess at the dates of WWIV (circa 101-108 AE) based
>upon the internal evidence in Beam’s work back on the old PIPER-L mailing list here:

>https://web.archive.org/web/20080310091549...-l&T=0&F=&S=&P=3632

>That guess, from May 2003, was made three and a half years ~before~ I got my hands
>on a copy of “The Future History” from Peter Weston (and posted it shortly thereafter
>on Zarthani.net.

Yes, it is an excellent guess. Congratulations; you have successfully paralleled what I believe were the excellent ‘guesses’ (deductions) made by John Carr and Jerry Pournelle that the secession of Venus occurs in AE 174 and the Second Federation begins in AE 183.
  
However, your statement that our disagreement involves “the succession of Venus (and thus the dating of WWIV)” is incorrect. Our disagreement is when the secession of Venus occurs. You believe it roughly coincides with WWIV; I believe it happens much later. Your “plenty of internal evidence in the Future History” consists of several vague sentences by Piper that cover the fifty-year period before WWIV, and roughly seventy years after; a total of over a century. That is hardly definitive enough to conclusively connect the secession of Venus, which is not even mentioned by name in “The Future History”, with WWIV.

>Putting the dates aside for the moment, it seems to me like post-Revolution America
>is a poor model for the Future History Venus. Venus is described throughout the
>Federation era as a corrupt and seemingly backward place, sort of a Federation version
>of what used to be called a “banana republic.” That seems rather different from the
>American experience, at least through the period when Beam was writing…

And,

>This again is conjecture, unrelated to anything we can find in Beam’s actual work.
>The chronically corrupt Member Republic of Venus seems to be a poor analog to
>the post-Revolutionary history of the United States. (There’s also nothing in Beam’s
>work—certainly not the single French Canadian on the ~Cyrano ~ expedition any
>more than the Andean Martian in ~Uprising~--to suggest that the Martian colonies
>are somehow modeled on British-controlled Canada.

Here, as in a previous case, I believe you are misconstruing ‘parallel’ for ‘equivalence’. There are simply similar historical forces at work, which result in a parallel revolution. This is also true of the System States War, in which the parallel of ‘America’ is now the Federation itself, while the Alliance parallels the Confederacy. So the culture of Venus is a side issue. There will certainly be similarities with the early US; as in Venus being a rough, jungle-covered frontier planet compared to Terra, like America was a rough, forest-covered frontier continent compared to Britain. (And Venus is a warmer planet than Mars, just as America has a warmer climate than Canada.) But there will also be differences, as in Venus being more swampy and ‘tropical’ in climate than the average topography and climate in eastern America.
  
These differences probably play a role in the development of Venusian culture, which will contribute toward making its society different from that of the early US (and thereby likely explaining the perennial corruption). The differences also include the fact that it is a different time period (so we have interplanetary spaceships rather than intercontinental sailing ships), which also contribute to a different culture, and I don’t think Piper would exactly copy the model anyway. The important point is that the ‘general shape’ of the historical situation is the same, which is why we end up with a parallel of the American Revolution in the early Federation’s history, and later a Civil War parallel.
 
>Even without your attempt to use the American Revolution as the historical model—
>and when you want to date that using your ‘key’ and the ~Empire~ Chronology date—
>it’s clear from Beam in “The Future History” that the “First Federation begins to crack
>under the strains of colonial claims and counter-claims of member states.” This seems
>to be a broader-based problem rather than something focused on Venus specifically.
>Furthermore, the unfolding of “colonial claims and counter-claims by member states
>is something rather different from the revolt of the American Colonies against the British
>Empire. But, in general, we agree that the succession of Venus from the “first” Federation
>--whenever it occurs—is part of the process of disintegration and transformation from
>the U.S.-led “first” Federation to the Southron-led “second” Federation.

Right; we do agree that the secession is closely connected with the transition from the First to the Second Federation. In the first part of your paragraph, however, you seem a bit confused about what I said. I am not the one who is connecting the secession of Venus with the colonial claims and counter-claims of the First Federation’s member states. That’s your scenario. The competing claims are certainly one of the main factors which lead to WWIV, during which forces of the various North Terran nations try to conquer each other’s off-world colonies (and which I believe is modeled on Queen Anne’s War). But I think it’s a bit of a stretch to interpret ‘competing claims and counter-claims’ to include a ‘secession’, which seem to refer to different events; nor do I believe that Venus is yet unified enough to do so.
 
The secession of an entire planet is much more likely, in my opinion, to happen sometime after WWIV, which results in one of the “wars of colonial pacification and consolidation”. Venus ‘consolidates’ itself and secedes, and the Federation attacks it. So very much like the Americas in the colonial period, I believe that Mars and Venus (and probably the other celestial bodies in the Solar System) are divided into many smaller political units at the time of WWIV, and the nations of North Terra are struggling to gain supremacy over them. A subset of their struggle for supremacy over Terra itself.

>I don’t think there is any “treaty” marking the transition from “first” Federation to “second.”
>As Beam puts it in “The Future History” (and describes in several places in his Future
>History yarns), WWIV results in the “complete devastation of [the] Northern Hemisphere
>of Terra. There is no one left in the North to make any treaties (though there may be
>rump elements of the U.S. and some other Northern states in the Southern Hemisphere
>or even, perhaps, among the remnants of their former off-world colonies).

Again, you seem to be talking more about your own scenario than mine. My interpretation of the evidence in Piper has Venus secede from the completely unified Terra long after WWIV. So the deduced treaty would be between the now Southern-dominated Federation (paralleling unified Britain), and the now-unified Venus (paralleling the united colonies, or US). This ‘Treaty of Venus’ officially ends the war between Terra and Venus, as the Treaty of Paris officially ended the war between Britain and America; but does not necessarily document that the First Federation has ended, and the Second has begun. It just occurs at that time, because the result of the war—presumably a defeat for Terra, assuming that Venus wins like the Americans did—has a strong political effect on Terra, causing a major change in how the Federation is constituted.

>As Beam further explains in “The Future History,” rather than being formed by a
>war-ending treaty, the “Second Federation [is] organized by South Africa, Australia
>and New Zealand, Brazil, the Argentine, etc.” What Beam has described here is
>something rather different from what historians had in mind in the transition from
>”first” to “second” British Empires. It’s also a process where the role of the rebellious
>Venus is secondary at best. Indeed, Beam’s very next sentence says there are
>”wars of colonial pacification and consolidation; the new [Terran Federation] imposes
>a System-wide pax.” These are the Southrons bringing to heel those off-world colonies,
>including Venus, which had “cracked” and “strained” the “first” Federation, leading
>to WWIV and the destruction of civilization in the Northern Hemisphere of Terra.

As I have admitted before, “The Future History” does seem to suggest that the Second Federation is formed soon after WWIV. But again, Beam does not explicitly state this, and “The Future History” is very ambiguous about the time both before and after WWIV, a period covering many decades. His reference to South Africa and the other countries can certainly be taken to mean what you say, and I get why you prefer that interpretation. But it could also mean that the people of South Terra—in which former nations such as South Africa and Brazil are now states or provinces of the global nation—have had enough of the First Federation (which I believe has become somewhat ‘tyrannical’ by this time, a tyranny which provoked the Venusians to secede) and are replacing it with something better.

To support this contention of uncertainty regarding Piper’s statements, let’s take a closer look. Right before WWIV, he gives us four sentences summarizing many events. These are separated by subject matter. Two sentences of socio-politico developments (exploration of the Solar System and tensions due to overlapping claims) followed by two sentences describing technological developments and their economic consequences (collapsium, financial dislocations). Are we to assume that the technological and economic developments happen *after* the socio-political ones? Maybe; but it is much more likely that they occur concurrently, since Beam is simply giving a general description of events that happen in the “First Century A.E.”

After WWIV, we see the same thing. Piper gives us two sentences describing politico-military events (the creation of the Second Federation and colonial wars) followed by two sentences describing technological advance (the development and first use of hyperdrive). This makes it *look* like the System-wide pax is achieved before the development of hyperdrive theory, particularly since this time Beam provides a few dates. But none of the politico-military events are dated, and since Piper again separated them by subject, we can’t be certain that they occur in a linear fashion. More likely, they happen concurrently, as with the political and technological developments before WWIV. Thus, while hyperdrive theory *may* be developed after the System-wide pax is established, it could just as easily occur during the wars of pacification and consolidation. And my ‘key’ shows that’s exactly what happens. The development of hyperdrive theory (AE 172) occurs before the secession of Venus (AE 174), and the subsequent war associated with it.

Even the order of stated events in this part of “The Future History” is not certain. Under the First Century heading, Piper says “Contragravity, direct conversion of nuclear energy to electric current, and collapsed matter for radiation shielding.” This seems to suggest that contragravity is developed before collapsium, and—because they are mentioned after the first landing on Mars—that it also occurs sometime after 1996 (AE 53). But in the non-THFH story “The Mercenaries”, Beam has Kato Sugihara make the first breakthrough in developing collapsed matter in 1965, and this is necessary in order to insulate the first spaceship to Luna (presumably a nuclear-powered rocket) against cosmic radiation. (Worlds, pp. 36, 37, 38)

Contragravity is not mentioned in the story, and probably has not been developed yet since the characters are still using ground-cars to get around, rather than aircars. So here we see collapsium being invented before contragravity, not after. Moreover, the year 1965 is AE 22, which is well within the First Century, and therefore agrees with the development of contragravity in “The Future History”. So that begs a couple of questions. In the THFH proper, is collapsium really developed after contragravity, or does it happen before? And is it invented after AE 53 as “The Future History” seems to suggest, or before WWIII, to help shield the Kilroy on its trip to Luna? All we can really say for certain is that it happens sometime in the First Century. Furthermore, if the undated events before WWIV are not necessarily in the correct order, then the undated ones following WWIV (including the formation of the Second Federation and colonial wars) might not be either.

This is why I believe we should be careful when applying “The Future History”. As a summarizing document, it is prone to errors being introduced, due to the compression of many events over many years into a few sentences.

>I don’t disagree that there are some dating problems with “The Future History.”
>In particular, there often seems to be the sort of mistake that would be made by
>someone “who remembered too late that there was no C.E. Year Zero.” (The
>problems with ~Four-Day Planet~ also exist within that novel itself!) Whether this
>was Beam’s confusion or an error in Weston’s transcription—or perhaps both—is
>something we’ll likely never know but I am much more reluctant to throw out the
>dates shown in “The Future History” for WWIV, particularly because there is so
>much internal evidence in Beam’s work—as my old 2003 guess on the PIPER-L
>list makes clear—which also points to those dates.

>That internal evidence—and “The Future History”—puts the secession of Venus
>circa 105 AE, which, using your “key,” would have us looking for the historical
>model circa 1706, well before the American Revolution. This is, as you’ve mentioned,
>the period of the War of the Spanish Succession—and the Great Northern War—which,
>considered together, seem like a pretty good model for a global war which results
>in the end of civilization in the Northern Hemisphere.

This time you seem to be confusing Piper’s statements in “The Future History” and elsewhere with your own interpretation of them. The date of the secession is simply unknown, and the internal evidence is inconclusive. These colonial wars could follow right after WWIV as you’ve suggested, but since Beam provided no dates, they could just as easily occur several decades later. Numbered examples from British history would include the First and Second Afghan Wars (separated by 36 years) and the First and Second Boer Wars (separated by 18 years). So the Second and Third Interplanetary Wars—or however many there are—could similarly follow the First Interplanetary War (WWIV) by many years. And I think it far more likely that they do, rather than happening in rapid succession, as you appear to believe.

>Here, I think, is the better model for the secession of Venus. Rather than being
>modeled on the American Revolution, I think the tertiary theaters of the War of
>Spanish Succession where European powers battled for control of colonies in
>North America, South America, South Asia and Southeast Asia are more like
>what was probably happening on Terran colonies throughout the Solar system
>during WWIV.

But Queen Anne’s War did not involve a ‘secession’, which implies a declaration of independence, whether officially proclaimed or not. It simply involved fighting between the forces of the European states, plus colonial militias, which were trying to conquer each other overseas territories. This suggests that during the First Interplanetary War, the forces of the various North Terran nations (plus armed colonists) try to conquer each other’s off-world colonies. That’s it; no secession included.

>There is much conjecture here which rests on a foundation that rejects the dates
>provided for WWIV by Beam in “The Future History.” It’s conjecture—rather than
>deduction or extrapolation—because there isn’t anything tied to Beam’s work which
>suggests there was some additional conflict beyond WWIV. (Interesting that you’ve
>chosen to dump Beam’s dates for that conflict but keep his mention of the “wars of
>colonial pacification and consolidation.” That seems like some heavy-handed cherry-
>picking to me, especially since Beam seems to suggest in the same paragraph that
>these wars are completed and a “System-wide pax” imposed within ten years, i.e.
>by 119 AE—smack-dab in the middle of the period of a “completely unified world”
>foreseen by Chalmers in “Edge” too.)

Nowhere have I rejected Beam’s date for WWIV; I gladly accept it. What I do ‘dump’, if you will, is your connection of WWIV with the Secession of Venus. There doesn’t seem to be anything conclusive in Piper which makes your deduction that they are closely connected events any more certain than mine that they are not; and my ‘key’ provides good reason to believe they are separated by several decades.

This is supported by comparing Beam’s socio-political sentences in “The Future History” for the pre- and post-WWIV eras. His pre-WWIV references to the exploration of the Solar System and competing claims of member states suggest that these events happen over many years, not necessarily within ten years after the first landing on Mars. Particularly because the ‘cracking’ of the First Federation almost certainly refers to the tensions which precede the outbreak of WWIV in AE 106. In the same manner, the post-WWIV references to the formation of the Second Federation and colonial wars could easily mean that these events happen over many years, not necessarily “within ten years” of WWIV. That is simply your surmise, your deduction.

As for an “additional conflict beyond WWIV”, I assume you mean “on Terra”. If so, this is true, and the main reason I did not insist that the French and Indian War is the model for an off-world colonial war between WWIV and the Secession of Venus. That event is not certain (and I said it was not), since Beam was vague about whether “the revolt of the colonies on Mars and Venus” is the same as the secession of Venus, or a different conflict.

>One of the things you’ve done in dumping Beam’s dates from “The Future History”
>for WWIV is to miss their alignment with the “completely unified world” that Chalmers
>”foresees” in the period 2050-70 AD (108-128 AE). This is the period immediately
>following WWIV, when the Southrons are establishing the “second” Federation and
>imposing that “System-wide pax.” This is a bit of what I mean when I say that there
>is internal evidence in Beam’s work which fits well with the dates he’s provided in
>”The Future History.” You’ve overlooked—or dismissed—this by choosing the date
>from the ~Empire~ Chronology for the secession of Venus.

I have not dismissed or dumped what Beam has said; I simply interpret what he has said differently than you. I do ‘dismiss’ certain dates in “The Future History”, but that is because they are contradicted by statements he makes in some of his stories. Nor have I missed the alignment of WWIV with Terran unification. My original post agrees that the completely unified world occurs right around the time of WWIV (and I believe is modeled on the unification of Britain which occurred during the War of Spanish Succession). That seems certain, given the evidence in Piper which consists of actual dates. But again, it is your interpretation of what Beam says next that I disagree with. I have not overlooked or dismissed his date for the secession of Venus, for the very good reason that he never provided one. It is you who have assumed that this occurs around the time of WWIV. You have every right to make that assumption, and to base your scenario on it. I just happen to disagree with it, because my research has led me to different conclusions.
 
>Here, I think, is a highlight of something which has been nagging at me about your
>”key” thesis. Too often it seems you’re committed to the “key” being the only connection
>between the models you find in actual history and Beam’s fiction. I think you can do
>better than that by looking not solely to the “key” but also more closely at the ~substance~
>of what Beam has left us. When something Beam has written doesn’t fit your “model”
>(or your “key”), the solution shouldn’t be to pitch out Beam’s “error.” The solution should
>be to take a second—and third, if necessary—look at your models.

With all due respect, my friend, I believe I have looked at the substance of what Beam has left us at least as much as you have. I accept the vast majority of it, particularly with regard to dates, and greatly wish he had provided more. I only ‘pitch out’ Beam’s errors when they become obvious, as in his mid-IV century date for Four-Day Planet, which is refuted by the story itself. Where there are contradictions, ambiguous references or downright omissions, I try to deduce which is the best or most likely answer. And I believe the ‘key’ provides a great means to do just that, at least for the early Federation period.

In the case of “The Future History”, it is evident that I take it with a larger grain of salt than you. That is, I view it more skeptically, given its errors and ambiguous statements, the latter of which—despite what you would have us believe—don’t necessarily mean what you think they do, and can be interpreted in more than one way. Given my analysis of its summarized content as provided above, perhaps it is you who should take another look.
 
I understand why you do not find my ‘key’ thesis convincing; in turn, I don’t find your counter-arguments persuasive. But I certainly thank you for reviewing the models and giving me feedback, which (as in other instances) has actually helped my thinking on several points. Perhaps I am taking the ‘key’ too seriously, but it seems to me that events line up too well, and explain too much, to be mere coincidence.

>That's what Beam would have done.

Maybe he would. But since none of us ever had the good fortune to meet Piper, now it is you who are engaging in conjecture (and it is conjecture). So permit me to respond with what I THINK Beam would have done.

He would say, “Hell, you think you’re right and I think I’m right, and we’re never going to agree. So let’s call a truce and have a drink.”

(Looks, smiles.) “Make it several.”

John
1971
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03-23-2019
17:13 UT
~
John "Calidore" Anderson wrote (more about the Thirty Days' War and WWIV):

> the future histories I had read seemed to use historical
> models in a random manner (such as Asimov) or not at
> all (Niven). So if Piper had used an actual timeline, it
> would make his Future History a huge improvement over
existing ones, or at least the ones I was aware of. It would
> 'feel' like a real history, because its course was based on
> real history.

I think sci-fi "future historians" don't do this because it unnecessarily constrains their dramatic ends. It seems like you're beginning to recognize that Beam often chose his historical models "in a random manner" too--because what he was trying to do was to write good yarns rather than trying to craft a "history of the future" which "would feel like a real history" in the manner you've suggested.

> Piper's official Future History began with Uller Uprising,
> published in 1952. Since this was at a 'hot' point in the
> Cold War (the Korean War was then raging), I believe
> the ideological component was not only present, but
> paramount. In 1952, everyone was convinced that a
> nuclear war with the Communist Bloc was inevitable,
> and could happen at any time.

Again, these are assumptions you're making about the "real world" Beam was living in, not details you're pulling from his work. Sure, this was what was happening in Beam's world, but there's ~none~ of this in his fiction.

One of the things that makes ~Uller Uprising~ so remarkable is precisely the way it "tramples on" the ordinary expectations of Beam's readers at the time he was writing. No one picking up a copy of ~The Petrified Planet~ in 1952--or of the ~Space Science Fiction~ serial in which "Ullr Uprising" appeared in 1953--would have expected a story (less than a decade after WWII had come to an end) with a hero and a heroine who were descendants of Nazis and Vichy French! (Even today this remains a jarring turn.) Beam was all about turning the ideological sensibilities of his time upside-down and inside-out in his fiction (particularly in ~Uller Uprising~).

> So in creating his Future History, I don't think Beam
> would have ignored the most important geopolitical fact
> of that time.

If Beam were interested in conforming to the "important geopolitical facts" of his time, he would ~not~ have written a yarn which featured the descendants of Nazis and French collaborationists as hero and heroine!

> While he was not explicit (perhaps he felt he didn't
> need to be), the Eastern Axis almost certainly refers to
> the Communist Bloc, in my opinion.

I agree it's reasonable to assume that the "Eastern Axis" included Russia and China--though the addition of India gives it an interesting twist--but it's not obvious at all that Beam envisioned the conflict which led to the Thirty Days' War as essentially ~ideological~. When Beam tells us that the Eastern Axis was at the UN trying to get the U.S. Lunar Base "demilitarized" and "internationalized"--ideas swirling around about Antarctica at the time "Edge" was being written (with the U.S. and Britain on opposite sides)--he's writing about good old ~realpolitik~, not an ideological struggle. (This is an important point to keep in mind when trying to understand what happens in ~WWIV~ too.)

> The postwar, bipolar world was East versus West, so
> we get the Eastern Axis against the 'Western Allies', or
> Terran Federation.

This doesn't fit with the withdrawal of Canada from the British Commonwealth. With that tidbit Beam is showing us the beginnings of a rift between the United States and Britain. The Canadian on the ~Cyrano~ expedition tells us that Canada ends up in the U.S.-led Terran Federation. So where does Britain--and the rest of the Commonwealth--end up in the Thirty Days' War? What does the rift between the U.S. and Britain mean for Western Europe? Does France--which began the first steps in its withdrawal from NATO's military structure in the period between the time when Beam wrote "Ministry of Disturbance" and "Oomphel in the Sky"--stick with the Americans or join with the British?

These are all questions we would never even consider if we tried to understand the conflict which leads to the Thirty Days' War simply in terms of the "real world" Cold War.

> The great ideological struggle of the Twentieth Century
> (which could be called the 'Wars of Ideology') therefore
> parallels the great religious struggle of the Seventeenth
> Century (the Wars of Religion).

Perhaps, but it's not at all clear from what Beam left us that what he was writing about in the conflict which led to the Thirty Days' War was the same thing as the "great ideological struggle of the Twentieth Century."

> The moonbase concept is a kind of 'planetary excalibur',

That is a marvellous metaphor! It should have been "Operation Excalibur" instead of "Operation Triple Cross." ;)

> Thus, there is no parallel for the moonbase in the Thirty
> Years War.

Here is Beam writing his future history "in a random manner," like Asimov. ;)

> But the US lunar base changes the equation, allowing
> the US/Federation to destroy the Soviet Union (and
> perhaps the whole Eastern Axis), which is (are) "utterly
> overwhelmed under the rain of missiles from across
> space".

That's what we get from Beam. This, I think, is why we don't see any Chinese--or Russians--in later Future History yarns. The vast majority of them were killed in the Thirty Days' War--and to the extent there was any post-War recovery it was undone by the destruction of the Northern Hemisphere in the Fourth World War (leaving only the "Eurasian barbarians" that the young "second" Terran Federation officer Reginald Fitzurse campaigned against).

> This secures 'world supremacy' for the US-led Terran
> Federation.

You're forgetting Britain and its Commonwealth (from which Canada withdrew to join the U.S.-led Terran Federation). Yes, the Eastern Axis--Russia, China and India--are destroyed in the Thirty Days' War but the United States ~also~ "suffers grievously." If Britain and its Commonwealth--and perhaps a few other nations, like France--managed to "sit out" the Thirty Days' War then it may not be the case that the U.S.-led Terran Federation "secures world supremacy" in its aftermath.

> but the rest of your question again takes us into the
> full overview section, where I show my method for
> identifying the parallels between the modern nations
> involved in WWIII and WWIV, and their historical models
> in the Thirty Years War and War of Spanish Succession.
> Basically, in both of these eras, France was the most
> populous nation in Europe. This means its parallel in
> WWIII and WWIV should be the most populous nation
> in the world, which is China. That this aligned the
> "Sun King" with the leader of China, traditionally called
> the "Son of Heaven", seemed a point in its favor.

I think China is decimated in the Thirty Days' War. India (and Russia) too. Given the destruction also suffered by the United States, the most powerful bloc in the post-Thirty Days' War world may be the British Commonwealth--augmented by the French Union. I don't know whether or not your effort to draw an analogy between the historical French "Sun King" and some post-Communist Chinese "Son of Heaven" works but it does seem like your premise might benefit from a bit closer attention to what Beam left us in his work.

> The second part of your statement is actually an
> argument in favor of my scenario. For if Red China is
> the main enemy in WWIV, its total destruction means
> that few Terran Chinese will survive, particularly those
> with Mandarin names.

We're agree on what happens to China in Beam's Future History; we just disagree on which War it happens in. The fact remains there's nothing in what Beam left us which would indicate that China was a principal adversary in the Fourth World War. On the other hand, we do get bits from Beam which suggests that Britain may have managed to stay out of the Thirty Days' War and a great deal which makes clear that former British Commonwealth nations in the Southern Hemisphere "come out on top" in the aftermath of the Fourth World War (in no small part by "managing to stay out" of the Atomic Wars), which means some other nation (or bloc), a Northern Hemisphere nation (or bloc), must have been a principal combatant in the Fourth World War.

Beam doesn't tell us which nation (or bloc) that might be, but he leaves us some clues. None of them point to China.

> That's a keen observation. As an American ally and
> former Security Council member of the disbanded UN,
> Nationalist China probably becomes an early and
> important member of the Terran Federation.

On this point we are agreed.

> And in the overview section, I show that during the
> Thirty Days' War, Federation forces from Taiwan
> (Nationalist Chinese, Americans) do invade the
> mainland. Its model is the Spanish invasion of
> eastern France in the Thirty Years War. This
> invasion was subsequently defeated, however,
> suggesting that the Nationalist/American invasion
> of eastern China is ultimately a failure.

I doubt there's time in the Thirty Days' War for any large-scale ground action. But it seems likely that "first" Terran Federation forces--in which the Nationalist Chinese (and perhaps even the Japanese and the South Koreans) likely would play a prominent role--would undertake post-War occupation and reconstruction in eastern Asia. Thus, it seems unlikely that a potential adversary to the U.S.-led "first" Terran Federation would arise in eastern Asia--devastated in the War, occupied by the "first" Federation in its aftermath--in the period between the Thirty Days' War and WWIV.

> Moving on to WWIV, the major Western or democratic
> powers of the Terran Federation now parallel the
> 'democratic' powers of the Grand Alliance in the War of
> Spanish Succession

Except that, if you take away the British Commonwealth (and possibly France, and therefore, likely much of northwestern Europe), then the U.S.-led Terran Federation ~isn't~ a bloc of "the major Western or democratic powers." It is instead, a bloc of member-states like Japan (where Sachiko Koremitsu was born) and West Germany (where one of Selim von Ohlmhorst's parents was born) which are still very, very new to democracy at the time Beam was writing, member-states like Turkey (where von Ohlmhorst's other parent was born) and Pakistan and Iran, member-states like Nationalist China and South Korea and, perhaps, Indonesia, and perhaps even member-states like Portugal and Spain and Greece, all of which had authoritarian governments with little or no experience of democracy at the time Beam was writing.

Then consider the U.S. itself in the aftermath of the Thirty Days' War. It's suffered "grievously," with major cities nuked into oblivion by the nuclear missiles of the Eastern Axis. Much of the nation probably ends up under martial law with substantial "emergency powers" in place for an extended period after the War. The post-War U.S. is a ~de facto~, if not ~de jure~, non-democratic state.

Bottom line is, the post-Thirty Days' War "first" Terran Federation--the U.S. and its allies--looks very different from the U.S. (and its major allies) at the time Beam was writing. It's both less "Western" ~and~ less "democratic," especially in comparison to Britain and the Commonwealth nations of the Southern Hemisphere. . . .

> the Franco-Spanish Alliance in the WSS becomes the
> model for an 'absolute' or totalitarian 'Sino-Hindic Axis'
> in WWIV.

There is nothing from Beam which suggests that China (or India) might be the WWIV adversary to the U.S.-led "first" Federation. Nor is it clear from what Beam has left us that the post-Thirty Days' War "first" Federation is the paragon of democracy our Cold War sensibilities might lead us to assume.

As he did in ~Uller Uprising~ with his hero von Schlichten and his heroine Quinton, it may be that Beam had something rather different in mind for the combatants and the nature of the conflict in WWIV from what readers of his era--or those of us today still making similar assumptions--would expect to be the case.

Cheers,

David
--
"It is not . . . the business of an author of fiction to improve or inspire or educate his reader, or to save the world from fascism, communism, racism, capitalism, socialism, or anything else. [The author's] main objective is to purvey entertainment of the sort his reader wants. If he has done this, by writing interestingly about interesting people, human or otherwise, doing interesting things, he has discharged his duty and earned his check." - H. Beam Piper, "Double: Bill Symposium" interview
~
1970
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03-23-2019
16:27 UT
~
Jon Crocker wrote:

> An alternate theory is that all those A-bombs disturbed
> the spacetime continuum enough that it ruined
> Chalmers' ability to see the future. Then by the time
> the eddies subsided, Chalmers had passed away from
> old age.

That would do it! (Though what this might forebode for all those "planetbusters" as the Old Federation came to end boggles the mind.)

> But, there were rumours that Chalmers wrote a number
> of manuscripts of his visions of the future...

That's a wonderful story idea. It could begin with a prologue where Chalmers is locked away at Northern State, writing furiously . . . and some nurse or orderly who was an aspiring amateur historian. . . .

Cheers,

David
--
"And don't let anybody else see any of it. Keep it safe for me." - Edward Chalmers (H. Beam Piper), "The Edge of the Knife"
~
1969
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
03-23-2019
03:25 UT
An alternate theory is that all those A-bombs disturbed the spacetime continuum enough that it ruined Chalmers' ability to see the future. Then by the time the eddies subsided, Chalmers had passed away from old age.

But, there were rumours that Chalmers wrote a number of manuscripts of his visions of the future...
1968
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03-21-2019
14:30 UT
~
John "Calidore" Anderson wrote (about "The Edge of the Knife"):

> I’m glad you like the idea that Professor Chalmers is
> modeled on Nostradamus. The parallels between the
> two men are quite extensive, as the overview section
> will show. And we know that Piper modeled people
> as well as historical events. “Jerry Pournelle still
> remembers many an evening spent with Piper
> discussing _historical figures_ and events and
> how they might apply to the future.” (John Carr,
> Introduction to Federation, p. xix, emphasis added)
> As a well-known historical figure, Nostradamus is
> almost an obvious choice for a science-fiction author
> to model a character on, but as far as I’m aware, Piper
> is the only one who has done it.

I want to be clear that what I like is the way your suggestion of a parallel between Chalmers and Nostradamus resolves the troublesome aspects of Chalmers' "foresight" in a Future History which has no other indications of such capabilities existing (or even that recognizes Chalmers to have existed). I'm not at all convinced though that Nostradamus actually was used by Piper as a model for Chalmers. (We have nothing from Pournelle to suggest this specific link either.) If Beam had modelled Chalmers on Nostradamus, he wouldn't have been tentative in "The Future History" about including "Edge" as a Future History yarn. And, even more likely, he would have dropped a hint or two into a later Future History yarn which referred to the "prognosticating professor." But he didn't do that. We're still talking about Nostradamus centuries after he lived, so why aren't folks in the Future History still talking about Chalmers?

(It doesn't work to say, here, something like, "Well, Chalmers is different because he was 'hiding' or because records of his 'foresight' were destroyed in the Thirty Days' War," because in doing so you've veered away from the very model you're trying to use. That sort of "cherry-picking" would undercut your proposition.)

I think it works to claim that Chalmers was "sort of like" Nostradamus, in the sense that he was someone who claimed he could see the future but who remained controversial for doing so, without anyone ever able to conclusively prove--or disprove--his claims. That allows Chalmers to "fit" into an otherwise "harder science-fiction" Future History, but doing more than that--like your effort to guess at Chalmers' future based upon the later part of the life of Nostradamus--wanders into speculation, without some concrete confirmation in Beam's other Future History works. Is it possible? Yes. Is it likely? Not very.

> > Future History (much less in Beam's larger body of
> > work). Beam's uncertainty about "Edge" suggests he
> > understood it to be a stand-alone work, or at least
> > had the potential to be read that way. That seems
> > an odd observation for him to make if he'd crafted
> > the story using a meta-fictional "key" which tied
> > it to the other yarns.
>
> Piper’s mention of the Terran Federation in “Edge”
> indicates that this is a THFH tale.

Only if we ignore Beam's comments about the yarn in "The Future History." Besides, Beam "mixed-and-matched" all the time, as with the Philadelphia Project which appears both in "Edge" and in the non-Terro-human Future History "Hartley" yarns, or with the "Islamic Caliphate" and the "Islamic Kaliphate," similar names, yet different things in different universes.

And let's not even try to consider the Freyan Hostigi in "When in the Course--"! ;)

We have to remember that what Beam was doing was trying to make a living as a writer, not trying to build some entirely-consistent, tightly-connected fictional universe(s). He re-used ideas when it suited his dramatic--and commercial--purpose to do so, not (necessarily) to connect the different yarns in which he used them.

> Otherwise, it would be part of the Paratime series,
> in which no such Federation is mentioned (and the
> evidence suggests that he kept the two series separate);
> or his non-THFH future history stories, which use the
> United Nations or Reunited Nations for the near-future
> global state.

That isn't the case at all. I'm repeating myself, but it could easily be a "stand-alone" yarn, like "Dearest" or "The Answer" or "Hunter Patrol."

> So in this case, I think you’re being a little too strict in
> applying Piper’s statements.

I think, here, we have a fundamentally different philosophical approach. I look at what Beam has left us as a sort of metaphorical "box." It's a complicated "box" will all sorts of "pockets" and "extensions" and internal "sub-boxes" and even the occasional "dead end." But when we're trying to make sense of his work we have to "live within" ~all~ of that "box." We can't "discard" something he's left us merely because we don't understand how it "fits" into the "box." If there's a short-coming it's almost always ~ours~, not ~Beam's~.

From this perspective, there is no such thing as being "too strict" in paying attention to what Beam left us. What Beam left us is what he left us, all of it. We should abandon it only in the most extreme circumstances.

> Particularly ones from “The Future History”, which we
> know contain a number of errors.

Yes, there are places where there are apparent contradictions in what Beam has left us. But even there we have to be very careful in deciding what's "wheat" and what's "chaff." If we "throw out" something we have to "throw out" the smallest bit possible and do it in a way that still "fits" with everything else that's left. We can't start "tearing out" whole components of the "box" he's left us just because it fits some idea we have or some model we've constructed ourselves.

> Beam seems to have been somewhat confused when he
> wrote the piece, possibly because it was a rush job to
> placate Peter Weston so he could get back to writing
> saleable stories. I don’t take his “possible inclusion” too
> seriously; I consider Chalmers as unquestionably part
> of the THFH. Especially because, if we leave Chalmers
> out, then we must also throw out nearly everything we
> know about the beginning of the Terran Federation,
> information about which comes almost exclusively
> from “The Edge of the Knife”.

There is nothing Beam told us in "The Future History" about "The Edge of the Knife" which contradicts what we find in the yarn itself. The "confusion" you're trying to attribute here to Beam is actually a "made up" conflict between what Beam wrote in "The Future History" and the model ~you've~ "deduced" and want to apply to Chalmers. That's a very, very different exercise from one that's trying to resolves a genuine conflict in what Beam left us (like, say, when the events of ~Four-Day Planet~ take place).

What you're doing here is finding some (apparent) contradictions in one bit of "The Future History" and then using them as an excuse to "throw out" other parts of "The Future History" that ~aren't~ contradictions of what Beam has left us (but rather merely don't fit your model well).

> If we take as a given that Chalmers is in the Future
> History,

We can't "take this as a given." It is a direct contradiction of Beam's own tentativeness on this point. Beam was tentative because he recognized that Chalmers' "foreseeing" doesn't fit well with the "harder science-fiction" of the rest of his Future History works. There's nothing ~contradictory~ in that that uncertainty. It's accurate and reflects a genuine aspect of the story he told in "Edge."

> and assuming he is modeled on Nostradamus,

As I've mentioned, even though I ~like~ this assumption (or at least the idea of the fictional Chalmers being "explainable" in terms similar to those which explain the actual Nostradamus), it's not at all likely that a direct modelling is actually what Beam was doing. Just because we might like (what) the assumption (does) doesn't make it so.

> then the AE 1 = 1601 AD equation explains
> Pottgeiter’s reference that Nostradamus is “about a
> century late” for him. The statement is true to the
> character, as Pottgeiter is a professor of medieval
> history, but it’s also a subtle hint that Piper’s
> Nostradamus, Ed Chalmers, appears in the THFH
> ‘about a century late’.

I understand what you're trying to do here. I'm merely suggesting you've wandered well into shaky ground. You've made two big leaps ~away~ from what Beam has left us in an effort to "shoe-horn" your model into place. I'm pointing out that in doing so, it's gotten more and more difficult to accept what you're doing as being reasonable extrapolation. Is it possible? Yes. Is it likely? Not very.

> Rather than conjecture, the word I would use is
> ‘deduction’ or ‘extrapolation’.

We seem to have rather divergent understandings of the specific meanings of those terms. . . .

> The ‘disappearance’ angle is an excellent point. But
> unlike the rosy-future endings of The Cosmic
> Computer and Space Viking, the end of “Edge” is
> hardly a happy or hopeful one.

This is an interesting point. I'm not sure I agree--Chalmers' quick planning with Pottgeiter at the end is clearly intended to leave the reader with a hopeful expectation of his future--but I agree the hopefulness is much more muted than is the case at the end of ~Junkyard Planet~ and ~Space Viking~.

That doesn't mean I'm ready to accept your claim that Chalmers' future can be modelled on that of Nostradamus in his later life but it does leave me willing to entertain the possibility that Chalmers doesn't die in that mental institution (either during the War or in its aftermath).

But if Chalmers doesn't end his days in the mental institution then he becomes, like Merlin, another "great mystery." We never get another indication in any other Future History yarn that Chalmers survives. We have no evidence that he was somehow able to "take advantage" of his ability to "foresee" the future.

That leaves lots of room for "dreaming" about Chalmers' future, but if we're going to engage in that exercise then we need to find ways to connect that "dreaming" with other parts of what Beam has left us. From what I've seen so far of your effort to model Chalmers' future on the later life of Nostradamus, there's been very little indication of that sort of connection. You're not able to point to something Beam left us in the rest of his Future History and say, "Here is evidence that Chalmers survived and became influential."

> so Chalmers should do his best work after AE 31
> (WWIII). That he resumes this work is suggested at the
> end of “Edge” (late AE 30). Becoming an advisor to the
> US and/or Federation governments after WWIII should
> enable Chalmers to help secure the postwar peace, by
> providing accurate forecasts (based on his real
> knowledge of future events) which enable government
> leaders to adopt good and effective policies to deal with
> what’s ahead.

Perhaps, but where are the connections to what Beam left us? We can't just make them up. There has to be some connection from Beam himself, like the way the ~Hubert Penrose~ in "Naudsonce" connects to "Omnilingual" or the way Lord Koreff in "Ministry of Disturbance" connects to ~Space Viking~. Beam was ~great~ at this, so where is the indication in a subsequent Future History work that Chalmers may have survived and come to use his "foresight" for "good"?

> And if Ed’s advisory job is with the secretive Politico-
> Strategic Planning Board (which he never worked for in
> “Edge”, but could be invited to join after WWIII due to the
> wartime deaths of some of its members), his
> contributions could remain “pretty hush-hush” as Major
> Cutler says (Empire, p. 48).
>
> Thus, by entering the ‘clandestine world’, Chalmers might
> indeed disappear from the Future History, even while
> helping it.

Sorry, but this doesn't work. It is suggesting there ~aren't~ any connections that Beam left us, so let's "make up" whatever we want. Here, I would offer, is a pretty clear distinction between "conjecture" and "deduction" or "extrapolation."

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
~
1967
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03-19-2019
04:55 UT
~
John "Calidore" Anderson wrote (about Venus):

> OVERVIEW OF HISTORICAL MODELS IN THE EARLY
> FUTURE HISTORY

> WWIV obviously occurs after WWIII in AE 31, and
> probably sometime before the Secession of Venus in AE
> 174 (timeline in Empire).

I've mentioned this before, but we have a basic disagreement here about the dating of the succession of Venus (and thus the dating of World War IV). You prefer the date in the ~Empire~ Chronology for the succession of Venus (174 AE) and I prefer the date shown in Beam's "The Future History" for WWIV (106-109 AE). I don't know where the date in the ~Empire~ Chronology comes from but there is plenty of internal evidence in Beam's work to support the WWIV dates in "The Future History." Indeed, you can see me making a guess at the dates of WWIV (circa 101-108 AE) based upon the internal evidence in Beam's work back on the old PIPER-L mailing list here:

https://web.archive.org/web/20080310091549...-l&T=0&F=&S=&P=3632

That guess, from May 2003, was made three and half years ~before~ I got my hands on a copy of "The Future History" from Peter Weston (and posted it shortly thereafter at Zarthani.net).

So, we'll have to keep these different ideas about the dates in mind as I respond to your historical models for the Venus secession.

> The timeline in Empire places the secession of Venus in
> AE 174, and adding 1600 makes its historical model
> 1774 AD; that is, the American Revolution.

Putting the dates aside for the moment, it seems to me like post-Revolution America is a poor model for the Future History Venus. Venus is described throughout the Federation era as a corrupt and seemingly backward place, sort of a Federation version of what used to be called a "banana republic." That seems rather different from the American experience, at least through the period when Beam was writing. . . .

> Piper similarly relates the Secession of Venus to the
> end of the First and beginning of the Second Terran
> Federations. “And after Venus seceded from the First
> Federation, before the Second Federation was
> organized.” [9]

[Moving reference up from below here, for context.]

> [9] H. Beam Piper, Space Viking (New York, NY: Ace
> Books, 1963), p. 13

> The secession therefore seems to be the catalyst for the
> fall of the First Terran Federation, an interplanetary
> organization confined to the Solar System, and centered
> on normal-space trade between the ‘great island’ of Terra
> and its ‘continental’ Venusian and Martian colonies, as
> well as with such minor celestial ‘islands’ as Ceres,
> Callisto, Ganymede and Titan; followed by the rise of
> the Second Terran Federation, which in the following
> (Third) century AE begins its interstellar expansion of
> colonization and hyperspace trade to eventually become
> a vast empire spanning at least 500 worlds spread over
> “a space-volume of two hundred billion cubic light-years.”
 [10]

[Again, relocating the reference for context.]

> [10] Ibid., p. 32

Even without your attempt to use the American Revolution as the historical model--and when you want to date that using your "key" and the ~Empire~ Chronology date--it's clear from Beam in "The Future History" that the "First Federation begins to crack under the strains of colonial claims and counter-claims of member states." This seems to be a broader-based problem rather than something focused on Venus specifically. Furthermore, the unfolding of "colonial claims and counter-claims by member states" is something rather different from the revolt of the American Colonies against the British Empire. But, in general, we agree that the succession of Venus from the "first" Federation--whenever it occurs--is part of the process of disintegration and transformation from the U.S.-led "first" Federation to the Southron-led "second" Federation.

> The timeline in Empire placed the end of the First
> Federation, and rise of the Second Federation, in AE 183.
> This is exactly right, as adding 1600 results in 1783,
> the very year the Treaty of Paris was signed, and which
> historians typically use as the date marking the end of
> the First British Empire and the beginning of the Second.
> [11] Wars are usually concluded by treaties, so it seems
> likely that the Treaty of Paris, which officially ended
> hostilities in 1783, is paralleled by a similar document
> in AE 183 (which I tentatively dubbed the ‘Treaty of Venus’),
> that in Piper’s Future History marks the end of the First
> Terran Federation and the beginning of the Second.

I don't think there is any "treaty" marking the transition from "first" Federation to "second." As Beam puts it in "The Future History" (and describes in several places in his Future History yarns), WWIV results in the "complete devastation of [the] Northern Hemisphere of Terra." There is no one left in the North to make any treaties (though there may be rump elements of the U.S. and some other Northern states in the Southern Hemisphere or even, perhaps, among the remnants of their former off-world colonies).

As Beam further explains in "The Future History," rather than being formed by a war-ending treaty, the "Second Terran Federation [is] organized by South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, Brazil, the Argentine, etc." What Beam has described here is something rather different from what historians had in mind in the transition from "first" to "second" British Empires. It's also a process where the role of the rebellious Venus is secondary at best. Indeed, Beam's very next sentence says there are "wars of colonial pacification and consolidation; the new [Terran Federation] imposes a System-wide pax." These are the Southrons bringing to heel those off-world colonies, including Venus, which had "cracked" and "strained" the "first" Federation, leading to WWIV and the destruction of civilization in the Northern Hemisphere of Terra.

> So what does this mean for the early Federation? First,
> the equation supports the dates in the Empire timeline
> for the Secession of Venus and the rise of the Second
> Federation as essentially correct. Piper’s short
> chronology of “The Future History”, which implies that
> the Second Federation is formed right after WWIV, [12]
> is therefore in error. This is not a major obstacle, since
> that document contains several other provable mistakes,
> most notably an almost 150-year error in the dating of
> Four-Day Planet.

I don't disagree that there are some dating problems with "The Future History." In particular, there often seems to be the sort of mistake that would be made by someone "who remembered too late that there was no C.E. Year Zero." (The problems with ~Four-Day Planet~ also exist within that novel itself!) Whether this was Beam's confusion or an error in Weston's transcription--or perhaps both--is something we'll likely never know but I am much more reluctant to throw out the dates shown in "The Future History" for WWIV, particularly because there is so much internal evidence in Beam's work--as my 2003 guess on the old PIPER-L list makes clear--which also points to those dates.

That internal evidence--and "The Future History"--puts the secession of Venus circa 105 AE, which, using your "key," would have us looking for the historical model circa 1706, well before the American Revolution. This is, as you've mentioned, the period of the War of the Spanish Succession--and the Great Northern War--which, considered together, seem like a pretty good model for a global war which results in the end of civilization in the Northern Hemisphere.

> k) AE 106-109 = 1706-1709 AD. WWIV is also called
> “the First Interplanetary War”. [17] This means that its
> extraterrestrial theater is modeled on Queen Anne’s War,
> which was the “North American theater of the War of
> Spanish Succession.” [18] Queen Anne’s War “produced
> few memorable hostilities”, [19] so the battles on colonial
> Venus and Mars are presumably minor compared to
> the major fighting taking place all over North Terra.

Here, I think, is the better model for the secession of Venus. Rather than being modeled on the American Revolution, I think the tertiary theaters of the War of Spanish Succession where European powers battled for control of colonies in North America, South America, South Asia and Southeast Asia are more like what was probably happening on Terran colonies throughout the Solar system during WWIV.

> o) circa AE 156-163 = AE 1756-1763. In addition to
> the secession of Venus mentioned by Otto Harkaman,
> Professor Chalmers foresees “the revolt of the colonies
> on Mars and Venus.” [27] This may be the same event.
> However, since Harkaman does not mention the
> secession of Mars, it could actually refer to a separate
> conflict. And between Queen Anne’s War and the
> American Revolution, there was another major colonial
> war in North America. This was the French and Indian
> War (1756-1763), which could therefore be paralleled
> by a ‘Sino-Colonial’ war on Venus and Mars (circa AE
> 156-163). If so, this would be the Second
> Interplanetary War, and one of the “Wars of colonial
> pacification and consolidation” mentioned by Piper.
> [28] The effects of the French and Indian War led to
> the American Revolution, so the effects of the deduced
> ‘Sino-Colonial War’ may similarly lead to the Secession
> of Venus.

There is much conjecture here which rests on a foundation that rejects the dates provided for WWIV by Beam in "The Future History." It's conjecture--rather than deduction or extrapolation--because there isn't anything tied to Beam's work which suggests there was some additional conflict beyond WWIV. (Interesting that you've chosen to dump Beam's dates for that conflict but keep his mention of the "wars of colonial pacification and consolidation." That seems like some heavy-handed cherry-picking to me, especially since Beam seems to suggest in the same paragraph that these wars are completed and a "System-wide pax" imposed within ten years, i.e. by 119 AE--smack-dab in the middle of the period of a "completely unified world" foreseen by Chalmers in "Edge" too.)

(I've already questioned your proposal of China as a major combatant in any war after the Thirty Days' War and I'll comment on your responses to that separately.)

> p) circa AE 174-181 = 1774-1781 AD. The
> Secession of Venus, possibly the Third
> Interplanetary War, is modeled on the American
> Revolution. The Thirteen Colonies banded together
> against the tyrant King George, and declared their
> united independence, almost exactly sixty years
> after Great Britain itself was unified. Similarly, the
> formerly-loyal colonies on Venus unite, roughly
> sixty years after Terra is completely unified, and
> secede from a First Federation which has become
> ‘tyrannical’.

One of the things you've done in dumping Beam's dates from "The Future History" for WWIV is to miss their alignment with the "completely unified world" Chalmers "foresees" in the period 2050-70 AD (108-128 AE). This is the period immediately following WWIV, when the Southrons are establishing the "second" Federation and imposing that "System-wide pax." This is a bit of what I mean when I say that there is internal evidence in Beam's work which fits well with the dates he's provided in "The Future History." You've overlooked--or dismissed--this by choosing the date from the ~Empire~ Chronology for the secession of Venus.

> The fledgling American Republic is paralleled by
> a ‘Venusian Republic’, while the Martian colonies
> parallel the Canadian colonies (Nova Scotia,
> Newfoundland, St. John and Quebec) which did
> not revolt against the British.

This again is conjecture, unrelated to anything we can find in Beam's actual work. The chronically corrupt Member Republic of Venus seems to be a poor analog to the post-Revolutionary history of the United States. (There's also nothing in Beam's work--certainly not the single French-Canadian on the ~Cyrano~ expedition any more than the Andean Martian in ~Uprising~--to suggest that the Martian colonies are somehow modeled on British-controlled Canada.)

I think there are better models for Venus in the various European colonies which "changed hands" during the War of the Spanish Succession. And if you're willing to abandon your commitment to the dates in the ~Empire~ Chronology for those provided by Beam in "The Future History" the model aligns nicely with your "key" too.

Here, I think, is a highlight of something which has been nagging at me about your "key" thesis. Too often it seems you're committed to the "key" being the only connection between the models you find in actual history and Beam's fiction. I think you can do better than that by looking not solely to the "key" but also more closely at the ~substance~ of what Beam has left us. When something Beam has written doesn't fit your "model" (or your "key") the solution shouldn't be to pitch out Beam's "error." The solution should be to take a second--and third, if necessary--look at your models.

That's what Beam would have done.

Cheers,

David
--
"There had been the time he'd mentioned the secession of Canada from the British Commonwealth. . . ."- Edward Chalmers (H. Beam Piper), "The Edge of the Knife"
~
1966
CalidorePerson was signed in when posted
03-19-2019
01:30 UT
Thanks again to David "Piperfan" Johnson for his comments on Part One; here is my second set of replies.

>Was there something other than the similarity of names which led you to see the
>Thirty Years’ War as a model for the Third World War? “Thirty Days’ War” seems
>chosen specifically to indicate that a global nuclear war would be very, very, different
>from previous, modern, conventional wars. “Twenty Day’ War” doesn’t quite seem like
>long enough and “Forty-Five Days’ War” would have been a lot more awkward to
>write, so “Thirty Days’ War” may have simply been a convenient dramatic choice.
>The connection you’ve proposed here, based simply on the similarity in the naming
>conventions, does not seem to be compelling in and of itself.

And,

>Was there something other than the affinity with the “key” dates which led you to
>see the War of Spanish Succession as a model for the Fourth World War?

The equation more or less came first, and the affinity is that the Terran Federation is modeled on the British Empire. So I started with a general or overall view, then got down to the specific details. The inspiration arose from John Carr’s and Jerry Pournelle’s introductions to Federation, back in 1981. John described how Beam apparently modeled the Terran Federation on the British Empire, and Jerry wrote that “Beam firmly believed that history repeated itself; or at least that one can use real history to construct a future history.” (Preface to Federation, p. viii) At some point over the following years, the thought occurred to me that the easiest and best way to do that would be to use an actual timeline. Though no expert on the field of science fiction, the future histories I had read seemed to use historical models in a random manner (such as Asimov) or not at all (Niven). So if Piper had used an actual timeline, it would make his Future History a huge improvement over existing ones, or at least the ones I was aware of. It would ‘feel’ like a real history, because its course was based on real history.
  
The British Empire model got a boost around 1990, when I read Dr. Bayly’s Atlas of the British Empire. This gave me the idea that the First and Second Terran Federations were modeled on the First and Second British Empires. Writing these ideas down in the summer of 2000, I soon realized that this meant the Secession of Venus was modeled on the American Revolution. So it was by back-projecting from that event that the models for WWIII and WWIV were revealed. The Terran Federation is modeled on the British Empire, so the Federation in AE 174 (the Secession of Venus in the Empire timeline) would align with Britain in the 1770s (the American Revolution), and the Federation in AE 31 (the Thirty Days’ War, a major conflict) would align with Britain in the 1630s, which was in the middle of the Thirty Years War (another major conflict). Finally, the Federation in AE 114 (WWIV, as I thought at the time) ‘almost’ aligned with Britain in the next major European war, the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1713).

Thus, it appeared that Piper had aligned the great wars of the Federation’s first two centuries with the great European wars of the Seventeenth and Eighteen Centuries. The similarity of names (Thirty Days’ War, Thirty Years War) was actually something of a ‘eureka’ moment, as it suggested that my line of reasoning was on the right track. This was supported by other events which seemed to align; the unification of Terra in 2050-2070 (50-70 years before the Secession of Venus) with the unification of Britain in 1707 (almost exactly 70 years before the American Revolution), and the Cyrano’s voyage to Mars (AE 53) with Cyrano de Bergerac’s Voyage to the Moon (1650s AD).
   
My first thought for a specific date was that AE 174 paralleled the iconic 1776, so that the original ‘key’ equation was a couple years different. But it didn’t take long before I realized the events lined up best by using AE 1 = 1601 AD. It’s a more elegant solution, and as I said in my original post, WWIV’s alignment with the War of Spanish Succession became perfect eight years later, when I read “The Future History” in John Carr’s biography of Piper. To me, this confirmed the correctness of my research.
   
So you are right, though perhaps not precisely in the way you meant, that “ “Thirty Days’ War” seems chosen specifically to indicate that a global nuclear war would be very, very, different from previous, modern, conventional wars”. What took thirty years to destroy in the Seventeenth Century only takes thirty days in the nuclear-armed Twentieth. And that Piper would purposely echo the name ‘Thirty Years War’ in the Thirty Days’ War is supported by his use of the Confederate States of America (CSA) as the model for the System States Alliance (SSA). On at least some occasions, he didn’t just model the historic event or organization, but its name.

>The parallel you’ve drawn between the Thirty Days’ War and the actual Thirty Years
>War is interesting but is there anything about the _character_ of that conflict that you
>believe gives us some insight into the Thirty Days’ War? You’ve suggested a traditional
>ideological component but Beam never mentions an ideological struggle in his work.
>Sure, many of us bring a bundle of ideological assumptions to Beam’s work ourselves
>based upon our memories (and experience) of the U.S.-Soviet Union Cold War, but
>the Eastern Axis itself seemed much more worried about the genuine security threat
>posed to them by the missiles of the U.S. Lunar Base. What’s the Thirty Years’ War
>analog for that?’

Piper’s official Future History began with Uller Uprising, published in 1952. Since this was at a ‘hot’ point in the Cold War (the Korean War was then raging), I believe the ideological component was not only present, but paramount. In 1952, everyone was convinced that a nuclear war with the Communist Bloc was inevitable, and could happen at any time. Indeed, the Korean War could have exploded into just that, which was why President Truman tried to contain the conflict. Piper himself appears to have been convinced of this, and when Barry Goldwater lost the presidential election in 1964, he grew despondent, believing that the US would lose the inevitable war with Russia. (This was a contributing factor in his suicide.) So in creating his Future History, I don’t think Beam would have ignored the most important geopolitical fact of that time. While he was not explicit (perhaps he felt he didn’t need to be), the Eastern Axis almost certainly refers to the Communist Bloc, in my opinion.
 
The name ‘Eastern Axis’ would then be modeled on two factors. One, the fascist Axis of WWII, in which Germany (Central Europe) was the main foe, just as it had been the leader of the Central Powers of WWI. Two, the old ‘central’ element was updated to reflect the new main foe in ‘eastern’ Europe (the communist Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact) and the Far East (Red China, North Korea, North Vietnam). The postwar, bipolar world was East versus West, so we get the Eastern Axis against the ‘Western Allies’, or Terran Federation. The great ideological struggle of the Twentieth Century (which could be called the ‘Wars of Ideology’) therefore parallels the great religious struggle of the Seventeenth Century (the Wars of Religion).

The moonbase concept is a kind of ‘planetary excalibur’, in that whoever builds it becomes king of the world. The Cold War was about whether democratic capitalism or communism would become the prevalent politico-economic system, so in light of this, the Space Race becomes of vital importance. Because whoever gets to the Moon first can annex it, and build the Lunar fortress, thereby gaining “world supremacy” over the planet below. (Worlds, p. 30) The security threat goes both ways; if Russia gets there first, it gains world supremacy, and vice-versa. So both sides are compelled to make a maximum effort to win. We can debate whether the importance of a Lunar nuclear missile base was actually a good assumption for Beam to follow (in hindsight, I would), but beginning with the movie Destination Moon in 1950, this became another one of those Cold War ideas that seemed to make perfect sense.

Thus, there is no parallel for the moonbase in the Thirty Years War. As I will show in the overview section, the Thirty Years War ended with neither a Protestant nor a Catholic victory, meaning that the Thirty Days’ War should end with neither a Proletarian nor a Capitalist victory. And in the real world, a no-win general Atomic War is certainly the most likely outcome. But the US lunar base changes the equation, allowing the US/Federation to destroy the Soviet Union (and perhaps the whole Eastern Axis), which is (are) “utterly overwhelmed under the rain of missiles from across space”. This secures ‘world supremacy’ for the US-led Terran Federation. That was possibly a change Piper had to make, because his Future History is partly based on Toynbee’s concepts, including the ‘universal state’. And its victory in WWIII enables the Terran Federation to become the first universal state in the THFH.

>Putting aside that France tried to forge “one preponderating empire” not by taking
>over Spain directly but rather by seeking to place a friendly monarch on the Spanish
>throne, what is there in Beam’s work which leads you to make the leap to a Chinese
>Fourth World War combatant?

I would argue that King Louis’ goal was not that limited, but the rest of your question again takes us into the full overview section, where I show my method for identifying the parallels between the modern nations involved in WWIII and WWIV, and their historical models in the Thirty Years War and War of Spanish Succession. Basically, in both of these eras, France was the most populous nation in Europe. This means its parallel in WWIII and WWIV should be the most populous nation in the world, which is China. That this aligned the “Sun King” with the leader of China, traditionally called the “Son of Heaven”, seemed a point in its favor.
 
But there is also a geographic component. To the northeast of China is Korea, split between the communist North and democratic South. This parallels the Low Countries northeast of France, which were split between the Protestant north (Holland) and Catholic south (the Spanish Netherlands, which became Belgium). Also, India is a peninsula southwest of China, separated by the Himalayas, just as Spain is a peninsula southwest of France, separated by the Pyrenees. (Pakistan parallels Portugal.) So the Sun King’s effort to consolidate France and Spain into one preponderating empire is paralleled by a new Son of Heaven, who similarly tries to consolidate China and India (the two most populous nations) into a superpower.

>Beam hardly mentions anything about China in any of his Future History works.
>There’s no explicit indication that China is part of the “Eastern Axis” in “The Edge
>of the Knife” but more importantly there are hardly any Chinese-surnamed characters
>which appear in the yarns of the post-Atomic Wars era. (Harry Quong, specifically
>identified as a “Chinese-Australian,” spells his surname in a variant way that is found
>in Australia but differs from the more common Mandarin spelling of the Chinese mainland.
>He is obviously meant to illustrate the “Southron” character of post-Atomic Wars Terran
>civilization rather than to suggest a surviving remnant of the Chinese nation.

Based on the historical model, it is possible that Red China is not an official member of the Eastern Axis (see below), but the enemy alliances in previous world wars had three main members. For the Central Powers in WWI, these were Imperial Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey. For the fascist Axis in WWII, it was Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan. So the Eastern Axis most likely has three main members. The Soviet Union is the obvious leader, and mainland China became communist even before Beam began creating his Future History. Piper then projected that India would fall to communism sometime in the late 1960s or early 70s (it is communist in the 1973 of “Edge”), which would make a triad of the Soviet Union, Red China and Communist India.
 
Another reason to include it is that throughout the 1950s and to the end of Piper’s life, Red China was part of the Communist Bloc, and allied to Russia. The Sino-Soviet split didn’t occur until the late 1960s. So I believe Red China’s membership in the Eastern Axis is almost a given, being an underlying assumption that didn’t need to be made explicit. Piper made it explicit in his non-THFH story “Hunter Patrol”, in which documents of the “Pan-Soviet” forces (alternate version of the Eastern Axis, or Communist Bloc) are “tri-lingual, Russian, Hindi and Chinese.” (Worlds, pp. 79, 97) In “The Mercenaries”, the Fourth Komintern (Communist International) plays this role, being one of “the four great power-blocs” of the world. (ibid., p. 30)
    
The second part of your statement is actually an argument in favor of my scenario. For if Red China is the main enemy in WWIV, its total destruction means that few Terran Chinese will survive, particularly those with Mandarin names. And if I’m right that “the revolt of the colonies on Mars and Venus” is modeled on the French and Indian War, then the deduced ‘Sino-Colonial War’ will see the defeat and/or destruction of the old Red Chinese colonies on Mars and Venus, which several decades after WWIV revolt against their old foe, the (formerly North American-dominated, now South Terran-centered) First Federation. This can explain why so few Chinese characters (or Indian characters, for that matter) are found in the post-Atomic Wars era.

>(We should also keep in mind that throughout the period when Beam was writing the
>”Nationalist” government on Taiwan was recognized by the U.S. and most of its allies
>as the legal government of all of China. The non-Communist Republic of China, for
>example, held the UN Security Council seat throughout this period. It was not obvious
>to someone of Beam’s era that China would continue/come to be dominated by the
>Communist government. Given this, it could even be that Beam saw the U.S.-allied
>non-Communists making gains on the Chinese mainland in the aftermath of the Thirty
>Days’ War.)

That’s a keen observation. As an American ally and former Security Council member of the disbanded UN, Nationalist China probably becomes an early and important member of the Terran Federation. And in the overview section, I show that during the Thirty Days’ War, Federation forces from Taiwan (Nationalist Chinese, Americans) do invade the mainland. Its model is the Spanish invasion of eastern France in the Thirty Years War. This invasion was subsequently defeated, however, suggesting that the Nationalist/American invasion of eastern China is ultimately a failure.

>I recognize that identifying the combatants of the Fourth World War remains one of
>the more inscrutable puzzles in Beam’s work but it does seem problematic to propose
>a “Chinese component” when there is virtually nothing from Beam to suggest it.
 
>If there’s something about the War of the Spanish Succession itself which points to
>China as one of the major combatants in the Fourth World War it would be good to
>learn about that. But barring that sort of pointer, are there other elements of the War
>of the Spanish Succession model which might help us to identify other potential
>candidates for a Fourth World War combatant?

>What’s interesting to me about the War of the Spanish Succession as a potential model
>for the Fourth World War is the way it pits France, the hegemonic Continental power of
>the era, against Britain, the rising revisionist power, and the way, as you’ve suggested here,
>that conflict also unfolds in the two nations’ respective colonial holdings in the Americas
>(and Asia). That does seem to be a good model for the “interplanetary”—and “colonial”—
>elements of the Fourth World War. But the key insight seems to remain in being able to
>identify who the principal combatants might be. It seems fairly reasonable to assume that
>the U.S.-led (first) Terran Federation was one of them. What can the War of the Spanish
>Succession model tells us about the other?

You’re absolutely right about that being the key insight (or the “sixtifor”, as Prince Trevannion might say), and it was one of the problems which gave me the most trouble in the early part of my research. This will probably require a separate post, in which my method can be revealed in detail. There is some interpretation involved as to which nation parallels which, so alternate scenarios are certainly possible.
 
But to give you a brief ‘preview’ of the overview, once again I started with general concepts and then got down to specifics. First, the Terran Federation in the Thirty Days’ War parallels the Catholic League of the Thirty Years War, while the Eastern Axis parallels the Protestant Union. This seems right, because in the 17th Century, Catholicism was the long-established faith, whose abuses led to the rise of Protestantism. Similarly, by the 20th Century Capitalism was the long-established politico-economic ‘faith’, whose abuses led to the rise of Proletarianism, or Communism. Next, the major powers of the Protestant Union were Denmark (a peninsula) and Sweden (a great northern power); these are paralleled by Communist India (essentially a peninsula) and the Soviet Union (a great northern power). Another great power was France (the most populous nation in Europe at the time), which although Catholic, fought on the Protestant side in the Thirty Years War. This means that Red China (the most populous nation) fights on the Communist side in the Thirty Days’ War. Since France was not part of the Protestant Union, Red China may not be a member of the Eastern Axis. However, France was Catholic, not Protestant, while Red China was Proletarian, not Capitalist. For this reason (and those mentioned previously), I believe that it is part of the Eastern Axis.
 
Moving on to WWIV, the major Western or democratic powers of the Terran Federation now parallel the ‘democratic’ powers of the Grand Alliance in the War of Spanish Succession (these were Britain, a constitutional monarchy; Austria, with its elected Holy Roman emperors; and the Dutch Republic). The Grand Alliance's enemy was the Franco-Spanish (or Bourbon) Alliance, led by the Absolutist monarch, Louis XIV. Since France in the Thirty Years War was paralleled by Red China in the Thirty Days’ War, the Franco-Spanish Alliance in the WSS becomes the model for an ‘absolute’ or totalitarian ‘Sino-Hindic Axis’ in WWIV.
  
John
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