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^     All messages            1973-1988 of 1988  1957-1972 >>
David SoobyPerson was signed in when posted
14:30 UT
Tim Tow said:

> I thought that Merlin never existed and had been a myth all along.

Well, if you quit reading the book at any time up to about 3/4 of the way thru, or maybe even a bit more, then you'd find nothing to disabuse you of that idea!
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
14:29 UT
Tim Tow wrote:

> I thought that Merlin never existed and had been a
> myth all along. It has been a long time since I read
> Cosmic Computer though.

Seems like you're remembering "Graveyard of Dreams," Tim, the novelet which was expanded into ~Junkyard Planet~ (~The Cosmic Computer~). How exciting that you can read it again as something new!


It's a very good yarn.

Remember Ashmodai! Remember Belphegor!

"Do you know which books to study, and which ones not to bother with? Or which ones to read first, so that what you read in the others will be comprehensible to you? That's what they'll give you [at university]. The tools, which you don't have now, for educating yourself." - Bish Ware (H. Beam Piper), ~Four-Day Planet~
Tim TowPerson was signed in when posted
05:08 UT
I thought that Merlin never existed and had been a myth all along. It has been a long time since I read Cosmic Computer though.
David SoobyPerson was signed in when posted
15:49 UT
I presume Merlin was either destroyed or, with repeated use, broke down and ceased functioning. The latter seems inevitable, sooner or later; replacement circuits were no longer being made, and with the general breakdown of galactic commerce, it seems unlikely that level of sophistication in computer tech would have been re-created during a "dark ages" period.

Certainly there is no evidence in any later story that Merlin had any effect on history, nor is there any later reference to "Merlin" or to a super-computer.
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
04:15 UT
From the Archives: "What happened to Merlin?"

Below, another message to the old PIPER-L mailing list, from nineteen years ago, way back in June 2000, which, in the context of discussing why we don't see Merlin in the Future History yarns which come after ~Junkyard Planet~, gets to the heart of why the Space Vikings turned out to be such a "wild card" for Merlin's predictive capabilities:


Subject: Re: What happened to Merlin?
From: Harold S. "Woody" Wood
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2000 18:06:25 -0400

Gentlemen & Ladies of the List;

Allow me to point out a couple of things about Merlin and its ability to
foretell the future.

a. Somewhere early on in Cosmic Computer (Junkyard Planet) it is pointed
out that the 3rd Force Army Headquarters is 30 parsecs from the fighting
front. I don't think you can really say that this is very close to the
front. Long way to me anyway.

b. Having worked in Threat and Intentions (part of the intelligence world),
I can totally understand how Merlin was surprised by the collapse of SSA.
Heck, we had all sort of information about Saddam's little idea for Kuwaitt
and we were still surprised (not to mention amazed) when he started moving
South. We call it intelligence lag. The Area of Operations (AO) is so far
from the site of the action that the transmission time defeats your analysis
of the data (not to mention the fact that you also have to deal with the
political leadership's reluctance to admit that things are falling apart at

c. In the data updates done for Merlin right after the war and at the time
of the rediscovery, it would not be possible (if I understand the time lines
correctly) for the data concerning the escape of part of the SSA's Navy and
personnel to be included in the updates as it was not known at these times.
This leads me to believe that the Merlin Plan and the later Maxwell Plan did
not include anything about Space Vikings.

Maybe it is possible that the Sword Worlds are on one side of the old
Federation and Poictesme on the other or something like that.

Just my two cents worth, for what's it worth.



Woody's original message is available here:


Woody hits the nail on the head: there's likely no way Merlin could predict the Space Vikings because it has no information about the Alliance refugees who fled from Abigor.


"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~
John F. CarrPerson was signed in when posted
22:42 UT
I thought I'd share this post that I recently posted up on Galactic Journey's latest review of the June 1964 issue of Fantastic, which contains "Testing" by J.J. McGuire:

The J.J. McGuire’s story is a sad one. According to Anne McGuire, John’s wife, who I interviewed extensively, John McGuire was drafted right after graduation at Shippensburg State College in Pennsylvania, with a degree in English. John had aspirations of being a professional writer, while Anne was dreaming of performing on stage. (Even in her early 90s, when I spoke with her, she had a wonderful voice.) Their hopes and plans were dashed when WWII began and John was drafted.

Due to McGuire’s quick reflexes and athletic background, he was selected out of Officers Candidate School, to become a member of the new Office of Strategic Services (OSS). After a short period of training, he was parachuted into Germany to work behind enemy lines. His job was to disrupt the German war effort and to assassinate targeted Nazis underlings and Gestapo officials. He was quite good at his job and barely escaped capture and execution several times. He also robbed a number of German banks in order to disrupt the Nazi economy.
After the War, he remained behind to testify at the Nuremburg Trials. The man who returned from Germany, Anne told me, was not the same person she had married—a sensitive man with courtly manners. He was suffering from Post-Traumatic Shock, which was untreated and he typically used alcohol to “calm his nerves,” as he put it. To support his new growing family, he went to work as a junior high school teacher. In his spare time, he wrote short stories but was unable to sell any of his works.

The family moved to Altoona, Pennsylvania where he got a job at Keith Junior High teaching children with special needs (behavioral problems) and met H. Beam Piper. Piper was an already established pro and McGuire met him through mutual friends. McGuire courted him since he believed that Piper could help him attain his goal of becoming a published author. Piper, a lonely man who lived with his elderly mother, soon became a beloved part of the McGuire household. [Even 50 years after Piper’s death, the McGuire children (Terry and John, Jr.) I talked with remembered their time with H. Beam Piper as an idyllic interlude in and tumultuous childhood with a father moved to drunken rages and unpredictable behavior.]
The collaboration was a moderate success and they published a short novel, Null ABC, in Astounding Science Fiction and several shorter works. By the mid-1950s, they had fired their Agent, Fred Pohl, and McGuires heavy drinking was beginning to interfere with both their work and friendship. [When H. Beam Piper, recommends that someone join Alcoholic Anonymous, you knew that person’s drinking is way out of control!] The final break came when McGuire came over to Piper’s apartment and “borrowed” one of his pistols, while Beam was in New York courting his soon-to-be wife Betty. That was the end for Piper and he was openly pleased about the break since McGuire was beginning to become a problem, showing up unannounced with fellow drunks at odd hours.

Shortly thereafter, John McGuire and family moved to Red Bank, New Jersey (incidentally near Fred Pohl) where he taught at another school. He sold a few more stories to John Campbell and several other markets such as Fantastic. “Testing,” which appeared in the June, 1964 issue of Fantastic was his last published story.
Dave EdenPerson was signed in when posted
15:59 UT
Thanks for sharing those, David. We had the Muster this past Saturday. Unfortunately, Dennis was sick. We appreciated his efforts the prior evening to trim the grass around Piper's grave and blaze a trail through the tall grass (even a city slicker like Leonard Kellogg could have followed the trail).

We stopped at the transposition site you showed in the link, as well as the scene of a battle from Great Kings War, and finished the day at Piper's grave and the traditional dinner destination in Altoona.

I'd like to personally say thank you to Mark and Steve for driving, to Lisa for allowing my son and I to monopolize John in the latter half (given vehicle arrangements), and to John for providing an afternoon of fascinating stories and insights.

It was very nice meeting all of you.

David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
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:


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


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


Smooth travels this year, Irregulars.

Down Styphon!


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

"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~
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
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.


"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
Dave EdenPerson was signed in when posted
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.
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
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.


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.
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
04:45 UT
LOL! And then no Wagner. Trust us.
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
05:22 UT

Drink Evri-Flave!
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
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!
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
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!
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
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! ;)


"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"
^     All messages            1973-1988 of 1988  1957-1972 >>

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