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Welcome to the Zarthani.net 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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David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
02:48 UT
Interesting new (2019) collection here:


It features stories "written by the unsung women authors of yesteryear" so nothing by Beam but that cover illustration is Kelly Freas's rendering of Martha Dane from the original publication of "Omnilingual" in the February 1957 issue of ~Astounding~:


(Freas's widow--his second wife--wrote the Forward for the collection so she may have had something to do with choosing that image.)

Still, Beam's portrayal of Dane in "Omnilingual" has always seemed to me to be one of the indications that he was "ahead of his time" in so many ways. It's nice to see him recognized for that here, even if only tacitly.


"A lot of technicians are girls, and when work gets slack, they're always the first ones to get shoved out of jobs." - Sylvie Jacquemont (H. Beam Piper), ~Junkyard Planet~
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03:42 UT
John "Calidore" Anderson wrote:

> In the "Port Sandor Times" . . .

Wonderful to see that someone has noticed ~Port Sandor Times~! Mostly just a concept at this point but hopefully there will be more content soon. Happy to consider submission from everyone.

> > Personal energy weapons never appear in the Terro-
> > human Future History but a Paratime Police officer is
> > seldom caught without a handy "sigma-ray needler."
> I must request a correction, as energy weapons do appear
> in the THFH. In "The Keeper", set 30,000 years in the future,
> Southrons equipped with "negatron" blasters steal the Crown,
> when Raud is away from home hunting with Brave.

Of course! Thanks for the correction. I've made the update here:



"Britain was a great nation, once; the last nation to join the Terran Federation. . . ." - Lord "Dranigo" Dranigrastan (H. Beam Piper), "The Keeper"
CalidorePerson was signed in when posted
03:27 UT
In the “Port Sandor Times”, David “Piperfan” Johnson wrote—

>Personal energy weapons never appear in the Terro-human Future History but a Paratime Police officer is seldom caught without a handy “sigma-ray needler.”

I must request a correction, as energy weapons do appear in the THFH. In “The Keeper”, set 30,000 years in the future, Southrons equipped with “negatron” blasters steal the Crown, when Raud is away from home hunting with Brave.

Bold is left to guard the Crown, but is killed by one of the Southrons, leaving “a sickening stench of burned flesh and hair.” From the evidence left behind, Raud figures out what happened. “The four men had entered, knowing that they would find Bold alone. The one in the lead had had a negatron pistol drawn, and when Bold had leaped at them, he had been blasted. The blast had caught the dog from in front—the chest cavity was literally exploded, and the neck and head burned and smashed unrecognizably. Even the brass studs on the leather collar had been melted.”

Raud knows this to be true, because “Every Southron who came into the Northland, even the common crewmen on the trading ships, carried some kind of an energy weapon. They were good only for fighting—one look at the body of Bold showed what they did to meat and skins.” (Empire, p. 228)

Raud takes Brave and follows the four men; Vahr Farg’s son and three Southrons. He assumes the weapons they carry include “three negatron pistols”, one for each of the latter. “He knew about negatron pistols, too. They shot little bullets of energy; they were very fast, and did not drop, like a real bullet, so that no judgment of range was needed. But the energy died quickly; the negatrons lived only long enough to go five hundred paces and no more.” (Ibid., p. 231)

When Raud catches them up, a firefight ensues. Raud kills one of the Southrons, and stays out of range of the others. “The third man had drawn his negatron pistol and was trying to use it; thin hairlines of brilliance were jetting out from his hand, stopping far short of their mark.” They are later able to get within range, so that when Raud kills a second Southron, he has to run away fast. “Before he was twenty feet away, the place where he had been exploded; the force of the blast almost knocked him down, and steam blew past and ahead of him. Ignoring his pack and ice-staff, he ran on, calling to Brave to follow. The dog obeyed instantly; more negatron-blasts were thundering and blazing and steaming on the crest of the ridge.” (Ibid., pp. 236, 237)

In the end, Raud encounters the other two face-to-face. He kills the last Southron, and sacrifices Brave in order to get at Vahr Farg’s son, who by now has one of the dead Southron’s blasters. “Brave… launched himself straight at the throat of Vahr Farg’s son—and into the muzzle of Vahr’s blaster. He died in a blue-white flash.” (Ibid., p. 238)

Raud’s statement that all the Southrons carry “some kind of energy weapon” implies that there are other types, besides the negatron pistols. Sigma-ray needlers? Possibly, since the discharge of Paratime needlers don’t seem to be explosive. But given the existence of negatron pistols, negatron rifles are a definite possibility. As energy weapons are “only good for fighting”, these rifles would be carried by Southron security forces and/or Imperial troops at the Space Navy base. (Ibid., p. 223)

In the story, Vahr Farg’s son carries “a single loader” rifle like Raud’s, while the “light Southron rifles” carried by Vahr’s companions are autorifles. They “fired a dozen shots one after another.” These are not energy rifles, since they use them for hunting. (Ibid., p. 230)

So in both of Piper’s series, there is a progression from firearms in the early space age to energy weapons in the far future. In the Paratime series, the Martians who colonize Terra (“Genesis”) carry normal small arms; including pistols, carbines and big-game rifles. (The Worlds of H. Beam Piper, pp. 149, 153) But 100,000 years later, their descendants (at least, those on the First Level) have energy weapons. Similarly, the Terrans who begin the colonization of Mars (“Omnilingual”) carry normal pistols and rifles. (Federation, pp. 21-22) But 30,000 years later, their descendants have energy weapons.

David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
02:48 UT
From the Archives: "Empey: Intro Questions"

Here's another "introductory message" to the old PIPER-L mailing list, posted twenty-three years ago this month, which poses several interesting questions (and answers a couple too).

Subject: Greetings to the list
From: David Empey
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 1997 19:34:20 -0700

Hi, you all. I haven't seen any traffic in the few days I've
been subscribed to the list, so I guess I'll create some traffic
of my own.

In the welcome message, Mr. Brindle says:

>Since Piper's death, several authors working under the auspices of
>Ace Books (which may or may not still be the publisher...bear with me)
>have written further stories set in the TFH and the Paratime Series.
>Among these are John Carr's _Fuzzy_Bones_ and Roland Green's _Great_
>King's_War_. After the appearance of _Fuzzy_Bones_, the long-lost
>third Fuzzy novel (written by Piper in response to public demand but
>rejected by his publisher because it was too derivative of the other
>two books) was discovered in a trunk somewhere in Pennsylvania.

Two questions:

John Carr's _Fuzzy Bones_? I thought the author was William Tuning.

What do you mean, Ace may or may not still be the publisher?

I've also been perusing the list archives, and I've got a few
comments on some stuff that is rather old; apologies if these
points have been covered already.

Back in March, Will Linden wrote as follows:

> Well, perhaps someone else would be interested in illuminating what "era"
>Piper was using. (I put an "Atomic Era" item on my calendar page.)
> If he was dating from the first chain reaction, the Von Schlictens "in
>the Year Three" would have hijacked a bomber to flee Germany in 1944,
>which seems early to me. But if he was reckoning from Los Alamos, that
>would have them impossibly leaving in 1948!

From _Cosmic Computer_, Chapter XIV:

"Nuclear reactors had become simple and easier to service since
the First Day of the Year Zero, when Enrico Fermi put the first one
into operation. . . ."

That was December 2, 1942 C.E., which would put von Schlicten's escape
sometime between Dec 2, 1945 and Dec 1, 1946. Note that Atomic Era
dating has a Year Zero; otherwise Year 3 would be Dec 2, 1944 to Dec 1,
1945. I don't know enough history to know if that is possible or not.

Mark Olson was estimating the number of planets in the Federation by
counting the number of gods in the mythology of various cultures. We
have a fairly precise statement near the end of _CC_, in Chapter XXI:

"Forty years of history for almost five hundred planets had to be
abstracted and summarized" for Merlin so it could make its
predictions. This jibes with Mr. Olson's estimate of 300-1000.

To carry this line of inquiry a bit further:
In "Ministry of Disturbance", we read that there are 1365 inhabited
worlds in the Empire, and had been "when Stevan IV. . . had proclaimed
Odin the Imperial planet. . . ."

Carr dates Steven IV to 1848, so it appears that between 894 and 1848
the number of inhabitated worlds increased by about 870 or so, or
about 174%. It seems a surprising amount of exploration and colonization
went on between the fall of the Federation and the rise of the Empire.

Finally, here's some new (?) remarks of my own:

I'm rather puzzled by several features of the world as described in
_Space Viking_. First, Amaterasu. their tech level seems improbable
to me. They had no nuclear power because there were no fissionables
on the planet, but how *could* they have "lost" contragravity, not
to mention hyperdrive? The planet was evidently not flattened by
bombs, so presumably they had access to Federation-era technical
material. Surely this would have explained the basic theory of
contragravity and hyperdrive. What gives?

Second, I've been wondering about the rate of raiding suggested by the
numbers Piper gives. Harkaman estimates that "there are at least
two hundred Space Viking ships in operation." If there are, say,
1000 planets in the Old Federation (I think there were probably
less), and each ship raids only one planet a year (I think they did
more, based on the examples in _SV_), then each world should be
raided, on the average, once every 5 years, shouldn't they? In addition,
there are less than a dozen and a half civilized worlds in the Old
Fed, which presumably means more than a dozen. Marduk, which is
probably the biggest power in the Old Fed, has two dozen colony
worlds, which smart raiders would not annoy. If the average civilized
world had, say, 10 colonies, that's around 150 fewer planets that
Space Vikings can afford to raid. That means that the 'raidable'
planets should get hit even more often. And yet Amaterasu was last
raided 20 years ago, and Beowulf (where you can get a lot of valuables)
was last raided 60 years ago. Why such a low rate of raiding?

Third, Fenris: Chronologically quite a puzzle! Colonized at the
end of the 4th century. Walt Boyd tells Glenn Murrell that Port
Sandor was built about a century ago, so _Four Day Planet_ must
take place in the late 5th or early 6th century--long before
Zarathustra was discovered. Boyd says Fenris is 650 light years
from Earth; that it takes about 6 months to get from Fenris to
Earth; and that a spaceship logs about 60 hours per light year.
All I can say is, oops! 650 x 60 = 39,000 hours = about 5.4 *years*.
Could it be that the "60 hours" was meant to be "6 hours", and
"4th century" was meant to be "6th century?" This would place the
date of _FDP_ at about 700 AE, neatly accounting for the presence of
Zarathustran veldbeest meat in Port Sandor. But _Uller Uprising_
takes place in the *early* 6th century (about 526, according to
_Fuzzies and Other People_) and contains references to Fenris.


Dave Empey

Dave's original message is available here:



"We talk glibly about ten to the hundredth power, but emotionally we still count, 'One, Two, Three, Many.'" - Otto Harkaman (H. Beam Piper), ~Space Viking~
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
18:45 UT
The Terran Spiritual and Magical Assistance Agency

I've finished a rework of "Oomphel in the Sky" which adds a new title and makes some other minor changes, including adding a few annotations, in an effort to make the yarn more accessible to contemporary readers. You can download a PDF copy here:


Let us know here what you think!


"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
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
03:38 UT
Thanks for posting the images - which book were those from?

Also - I was looking at Time and Time Again trying to figure out where the Hartley house was supposed to be. Couldn't quite make sense of the directions as given, I was able to find Brandon and Campbell easily enough.

There no longer seems to be a Union Station in Williamsport, there is a bus depot that Amtrack will deliver you to, if we assume the depot was built where the station used to be, it would be a fair walk for a paper.

Of course, Allan's friend Larry suggested a swim at the Canoe Club - if it's in the same place, it's on the other side of the Susquehanna river from their houses, and even farther to go.

If the Hartleys did live on Brandon, there are still some nice looking houses there with front porches.
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
03:02 UT

And found this Fuzzy shirt on Ebay, doesn't give Piper any credit but still pretty cool.
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
23:46 UT
James "jimmyjoejangles" Romanski wrote:

> Just got a Michael Whelan art book and these were in it

Thanks for sharing these, James. I had not seen the Fuzzy sketches before.

~Four-Day Planet~ is one of my favorite Piper illustrations by Whelan.



P.S. James has been working diligenty to post--and re-post--images but the Forum site hasn't been cooperating well. Sorry 'bout that.
"I don't understand computers: Why, I don't even understand the people who understand computers!" - Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands
  Messages 2130-2128 deleted by author between 07-31-2020 04:42 PM and 07-31-2020 04:05 PM
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
13:50 UT

That’s it
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
00:23 UT

You probably have seen most but there you are.
  Messages 2125-2124 deleted by author 07-30-2020 07:04 PM
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
23:59 UT

Try again
  Messages 2122-2121 deleted by author between 07-30-2020 07:59 PM and 07-30-2020 07:01 PM
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
22:52 UT

Just got a Michael Whelan art book and these were in it don’t know if you have seen them.
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