A Bibliography of the Ace editions of Piper can be found HE RE along with links to other bibliographic and biographical data data.
Bear in mind I totally disagree with Carr's division of the stories as to what belongs in the 'Federation' and what does not. If 'Omnilingual' is the first Federation story, then how can one exclude 'Time and Time Again' when the President who founds the Federation is the father in 'Time and Time Again,' or ignore all the asides and references in 'Day of the Moron,' 'The Mercenaries,' 'The Edge of the Knife (which takes place immediately before 'Time and Time Again')?
Fan feuds are such fun! I challange John F. Carr to meet me at the coming Noreascon Worldcon in Boston the year after next where we can debate the issue with file cards at 40 paces!
Renaissance Fall, 4 G.E. A Semioffical Organ of the SECOND FOUNDATION Vol. 4, No.4 * "Ad Astra Mean Surgam" * Published by John J Pierce
From April of 1947, with the appearance of "Time and Time Again,"to the month of his death, November, 1964, H. Beam Piper published a total of 30 science fiction short stories and novelettes, as well as four original original novels. All but eight of them were set in a single fictional universe which included such diverse novels as "Space Viking," "Little Fuzzy," "Time Crime" and "Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen" -- a universe that begins nearly 100,000 years ago and extends ten millennia into a future ten to the hundred-thousandth power alternate time tracks and have as its base one of the wackier temporal theories (J. R. Dunne's), which ultimately degenerates into solipsism. Yet Piper wrote "hard copy" by anyone's standards, with strong plots inhabited by concrete, definable men and women as real as anyone would meet anywhere and a lot more interesting than most.
Into his stories he put a great deal of philosophy -- of the Campbellian sort -- and, this writer thinks, a great deal of himself. Which is fortunate, as he was in life a most private man, and other than reminiscences from some of the people who knew him there is little to put down on paper that Piper did not state, either explicitly or between the lines, in his published works.
Unfortunately, that method has a great trap --I would dearly like to write that "Pappy" Jack Holloway was really a personification of the author himself, down to the moustache yellowed by pipe tobacco; that the adventures of Lord Kalvan represent piper's deepest subconscious yearnings; that Verkan Vall's access to a near infinity of possible alternate worlds grew out of Piper Is boredom with the 11-7 shift in the Pennsylvania Railroad's Altoona yards; that Vall's Hadron Dalla was the wife Piper wanted, Conrad Evin's the one he got and Morrison's Rylla the one he never had; that Klem Zareff on the "Junkyard planet" of Poictesme was drawn from an unreconstructed Southern colonel great uncle of the author's and the union situation in "Day of the Moron" taken from his own experience; that Ranthar Jard was drawn from a bureaucrat he knew, and that Colonel Tilghman, owner of the Valley Times in "Edge of the Knife" had his origins in Colonel Henry W. Shoemaker, publisher of the Altoona Tribune, to whom Piper dedicated his mystery novel, "Murder in the Gunroom:" and d that his comment on "Democracy, just like in Pennsylvania," in the Lord Kalvan novel was the result of first-hand experience in the field.
But I would then be writing pseudo-history and pseudo- biography. There are parallels between Piper and many of his characters: his own was father was like Kalvan's, a minister, not at all the agnostic lawyer of "Time and Time Again." Piper was a 19th Century liberal, a creature wtth whom neither conservatives nor libertarians can be complete+ly comfortable; and like their creator, he did not believe that anyone had a right to automatic sustenance .... and throughout his stories, there is a general consistency of values. From Kalvar Jard, who leads his small band of surviving colonists after the destruction of the only spaceship his people would ever build, to Jurgen, Lord Travennion, who extends the rule of the Galactic Empire to Aditya, there is the view that men will repeat their mistakes again and again, that human society is unstable.
Jerry Pournelle describes Piper as a courtly, 19th Century gentleman. Marvin Katz, the Grit reporter whose obituary letter on Piper appeared in the March 1965 Analog, called him "a charming, gracious man, soft spoken and witty, perceptive in his comments."
Both Pournelle and Katz refer to him as pretty much of a loner and, as a very lonely man approaching late middle age, filled, with horror that he might end the responsibility of someone else.
Horace Beam Piper was born in 1904, the son of a minister. In "Lord Kalvan," he remarks: "If nothing else, a parsonage childhood had given him (Calvin Morrison) a talent for hypocritical lip service." Piper was himself an agnostic.
At 18, he went to work as a laborer for the Pennsy, having been a veteran of rejection slips for two years. He continued to work for the railroad well after he became a selling author. In 1946, he sold "Time and Time Again" to Campbell, and followed it the next year with "He Walked around the Horses" and "Police Operation" in quick succession.
I have not been able to find out how he came to science fiction; did he, for example, spend those 26 years futilely writing westerns? He acquired, during these years, an education in basic science and history "without subjecting myself to the ridiculous misery of four years in the uncomfortable confines of a raccoon coat" that was to stand him in good stead in his Paratime stories.
His collection of more than 100 antique and modern weapons, ranging "from a 450-year old French sword and a 400-year old Spanish poiniard with a gold inlaid blade. to a small brass cannon once mounted on a pioneer Is blockhouse during the Indian fighting and a nine-millimeter pistol of the type used by German SS troops in World War II" formed the background of his non- science fiction mystery, "Murder in the Gunroom," published by Knopf in 1953.
Around the same time, Walt Disney Inc. bought the movie rights to a True article on Colonel John S. Mosby, the Confederate guerrilla.
"Why Walt Disney bought the movie rights to that article, I've never figured out," Piper remarked in the days before the World of Color. "Will Colonel Mosby be played by Mickey Mouse, and General Phil Sheridan by Donald Duck? It's baffling. However, I was glad to get the check." Very much later, the background material in the article was incorporated into Disney's "Willie and the Yank," a Roger Mobley vehicle.
In 1956, following the death of his mother whom he had been supporting, Piper left the Pennsylvania Railroad and moved to New York City. Nearing 60, he embarked on a disastrous marriage. An expensive European honeymoon, and subsequent divorce proceedings, wiped out his life, s savings and left him, in the words of Lester Iel-Rey, "with hardly enough money to put bread on the table."
Piper's troubles snowballed in 1964. His agent died and left his financial affairs in a mess; his new agent did not know where to sell his material. An article that had been researched and written for amagazine was simply dropped from its schedule, and the third volume in the "Little Fuzzy" series was rejected by Avon because it was too dependent on the previous books in the series.
Over the weekend prior to Monday, Nov. 9, 1964, before "Gunpowder God" had hit the stands, Piper turned off the utilities in his apartment at 330 East Third St., Williamsport, Pa., and shot himself with a .38 caliber pistol from his collection.
"There was a suicide note," Katz wrote to Campbell's readers. "But it did not give reasons for the fatal decision. However, it ended with a grim joke such as one might expect from a man who made hisliving from words; 'I don't like to leave messes when I go away, but ifI could have cleaned up any of this mess, I wouldn't be going away. H. Beam Piper."
Piper killed himself, just as he was getting going as a writer, in the mistaken belief that he could no longer support himself. Now that is doubly ironic, for could his works be published they would find a ready market among old and new fans alike. At the LA Con, I could find none of his books offered for sale, and most of the magazines containing the second half of "Time Crime," "A Slave is a Slave" and, especially, "Police Operation," could no longer be had even at huckster's prices.
Piper died intestate, which split the estate between the State of Pennsylvania and his heirs -- some distant cousins and his ex-wife. Since "Lord Kalvan" came out in early 1965, only "He Walked around the Horses" has seen print again -- in a Robert Silverberg anthology. As for "Little Fuzzy," "Four-Day Planet," "Space Viking" and the third "Little Fuzzy" novel, his ex-wife has reportedly priced them out of the market, -- an action del Rey found completely in character.
Until they are reprinted, only those fans with extensive collections of their own, access to libraries like that of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Science Fiction Society, or with friends foolish enough to lend a copy of "Little Fuzzy" or "Space Viking" will be able thrill to Piper Is space battles and keen perception individual character (in "Space Viking"), or make the acquaintance (in "Little Fuzzy") of Jack Holloway, who, once, "had lived in a pleasant place, where he'd had fun, and could have been happy if he hadn't thought there was something else held had to do."
|Time and Time Again||He Walked around the Horses||Police Operation||The Mercenaries||Last Enemy||Flight from Tomorrow||Operation R.S.V.P.||Dearest||Temple Trouble||Day of the Moron||Genesis||Null-ABC *||Uller Uprising, parts 1 & 2||The Return||Time Crime||Omnilingual||Lone Star Planet **||Graveyard of Dreams||Hunter Patrol||Ministry of Disturbance||Crossroads of Destiny||The Answer||Oomphel in the Sky||Naudsonse||A Slave is a Slave||Space Viking||Gunpowder God||Down Styphon|
|ASF April 1946||ASF April 1948||ASF July 1948||ASF March 1950||ASF August 1950||Future SF Sept/Oct 1950||AMZ Jan 1951||Weird Tales March 1951||ASF April 1951||ASF Sept 1951||Fut. Sept 1951||ASF Feb-Mar 1953||Space SF Feb-Mar 1953||ASF Jan 1954||ASF Feb-Mar 1955||ASF Feb 1957||FAU Mar 1957||AMZ May 1957||VEN July 1957||Gal Feb 1958||AMZ May 1958||ASF Dec 1958||FAU Jul 1959||FAU Dec 1959||ASF Nov 1960||ASF Jan 1962||ASF April 62||ASF Nov 63-Feb 63||ASF Nov 1964||ASF Nov 1965|
|1974-45||-||-||1965||-||-||-||-||-||1968||75-100,000 BP||-||450 AE||-||-||1997 AD||-||1973||5000 AE||890 AE||-||3000 AE||-||-||822 AE||500-600 AE||2000 AE||1700 AE||-||-|
1. @ Uller Uprising (Twayne Triplets, with "Petrified Planet," 1953) set in 450 A.E.
2. - Murder in the Gunroom (non-S.F.), Knopf 1953
3. @ Four-Day Planet Putnams. 1961
4. @ Little Fuzzy Avon 1962 set in 654 A.E.
5. @ Junkyard Planet (The Cosmic Computer)set in690 A.E.
6. @ Space Viking Ace 1963 set in 1,700 A.E.
7. @ The Other Human Race Avon 1964 set in 654 A.E.
8. @ Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen Ace 1965
@ Future History series
$ in collaboration with John J. McGuire
*published as "Crisis in 2140" in Ace Double 1957
**published as "A Planet for Texans" in Ace Double
Footnotes: 1. Altoona Tribune, Feb 26, 1953; 2 & 3 Pennsy Magazine Sept '53.
Although many readers of SF encountered at conventions seem to be familiar with Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen, most think it -- and it alone is the Piper Paratime series, novelized as say, When Harlie Was One was taken from the series beginning with "Oracle for a White Rabbit."
Very few have read any of the other Paratime stories, aside from "Last Enemy," which was included in an Astounding anthology; even fewer have connected the Martian ruins of "Omnilingual" with the Martian Room of "Last Enemy" -- although in Piper's stories,, terrestrial mankind is of Martian origin (a fairly common motif of the late forties that continued well into the fifties in stories other than Piper's.)
Most of the Paratime stories were published by March 1955, when the second half of Time Crime appeared in Astounding. Unlike Lord Kalvan they are not straight adventure stories, nor, as the aforementioned serial misleadingly hints, mysteries. "Police Operation," "Last Enemy," "Temple Trouble" and Time Crime were police routine stories -- with a twist.
The twist begins with Dunne's An Experiment with Time and Tyrell's Science and Psychical Phenomena in "Time And Again," Piper's first story and the basis of his future history series that includes Space Viking and Little Fuzzy. Allen Hartley, best-selling novelist and practical chemist, dies at the Battle of Buffalo in 1975 and reawakens in his 13-year old body In 1945, the Sunday before Hiroshima is bombed.
As Pipers character explains it:
"If somebody has a real knowledge of the future, then the future must be available to the present mind. And if any moment other than the bare present exists, then all time must be totally present: every moment must be perpetually coexistent with every other moment .... Time does appear to pass. So does the landscape you see from a moving car window....
"We imagine time to be dynamic because we've never viewed It from a fixed position, but if it is totally present, then it must be static, and In that case we're moving through time."
The "we" there, Piper explains through a character In "Police Operation," is the extraphysical ego component, which "passes from the ego existing at one moment to the ego existing at the next. During unconsciousness the EPC is 'time free;' it may detach and connect at some other 'moment, with the ego existing at that point."
Had Piper been more amenable to religion, he would, have called the EPC "soul," and he nearly did in his Weird Tales story, "Dearest," about an old man who hears the "voice" of a - young girl in his mind, a spirit who comes to his aid when his nephew and nephew's wife plot to commit him to an insane asylum for hearing things. The idea of the time-free psyche was used In his future history short story, "Edge of the Knife," in 1957, and easily opens the door to reincarnation -- the theme and basic plot of "Last Enemy," and a view that death is not total dissolution of the ego but merely "going away."
Verkan Vall, Hadron Dalla, Skordvan Kirv, Tortha Karf and the other citizens of the First Level Home are the descendants of the Martian humanity which emigrated in toto from its dying and desiccated planet a hundred thousand years before. As Piper has his Allen Hartly point out, the future is similar to Seabrook's fan-shaped destiny.
"It's semantically inadmissible to talk about the total presence of time with one breath and about generating new time lines with the next. All time lines are totally present, in perpetual coexistence. The theory is that the EPC passes from one moment, on one time line, to the next moment, on the next line, so the true passage of the EPC from moment to moment is two dimensional diagonally..." In the first story, it is pointed out that "Our" Verkan Vall is but one of a near infinity of Verkan Valls on a near infinity of First Level Home Tine lines. In later stories, it is assumed that only one first level home line exists.
The First Level men are parasites, usually of a benign sort. After establishing their successful colony in European Russia Equivalent (near Minsk is Mark Swanson's estimate), they proceed to gut the planet, much as they had Mars, although here they have more to waste. Twelve thousand years before the present, faced with imminent starvation and probable extinction here, they develop the Ghaldron-Hesthor paratemporal transposition field that enables them to exploit other time lines resulting from the five possible outcomes of the original Earth colonization attempt. These are:
The Second Level, with a technology most equal to their own, where fewer shiploads of colonists arrived; the Third Level, where only the first ship landed with its 1,500 settlers intact; the Fourth Level, where but one lifeboat and eight survivors founded such diverse societies as the Alexandrian-Roman, Indo- Turanian, Aryan-Transpacific and Europo-Americnn; and the Fifth.Level, where,nothing human lived until the First Level - people began their out-time explorations.
Home Line society Is aristocratic and economically corporativist. Manual labor not performed by robots is delegated to human servants, the descendants of primitive tribes recruited from the lower probabilities of the Fourth Level. Citizenship is either inherited, or acquired by passing a battery of stiff tests. Home Liners had, in the first of the stories at least, "forgotten all the taboos and terminologies of supernaturalistic religion and sex inhibition." People going out-time must submit to implanting of certain mental controls to keep them from revealing the existence of out-timers to other level natives, but this does not prevent either fools or criminals from endangering the Paratime Secret.
Fools are always villains in Piper stories. In "Day of the Moron," one of his future history stories, the ubiquitous lamebrain with a dangerous mechanism turns a breeder reactor into an atomic bomb. In "Police Operation," Gavran Sarn, a 'blue seal Thavrad,' gets himself killed in an automobile accident, leaving Verkan Vall to hunt down a Venusian nighthound he had illegally transposited with him to a pre-spaceflight culture -- ours.
In "Last Enemy," Vall's once-and-future wife, Hadron Dalla, a parapsychology researcher for the Rhogom Institute, gets herself involved in the politics of the Second Level, Akor-Neb society, where reincarnation is a proven scientific fact, and soon finds herself hunted by both factions, including the one she had aided.
In "Temple Trouble," Vall must put down an illegal operation by one of the First Level's own companies that is trying to grab a franchise from another First Level company.
In Time Crime, he fights a ring of intertemporal slave traders. As the longest of the paratemporal stories before Lord Kalvan, it is somewhat of a disappointment -- it simply peters out at the end of part II, leaving the avid mystery fan with the impression that Piper should have written a third - part tying all the loose ends together. As an adventure story in the police routine motif, it is a thrilling exposition of the Paratime Police's methods of operation in dealing with its adversaries. The back of the criminal operation is broken, and it is shown how it arose and was abetted by the Home Line's societal structure.
Lord Kalvan was written nearly a decade after Time Crime, and there are subtle changes in Piper's thinking. Throughout his career, he remained a Nineteenth Century Liberal and a Citizen in the Campbellian sense -- quite firmly-dedicated to the ideal of Civilization (basis of a strong subplot in Space Viking) and individual self-reliance. Calvin Morrison carries the torch of Civilization and individual achievement in "Gunpowder God," "Down Styphon," and the balance of the novel that never saw magazine print.
Morrison, a Pennsylvania state trooper (Piper had spoken highly of his agency in "Police operation") is accidentally transposed from his own Fourth Level sector to the Aryan- Transpacific subsector, where America has been settled from a Caucasian-conquered Asia,and gunpowder is a monopoly of the priests of Styphon who dole it out as the ultimate trump card in their world line's political gamesmanship. Morrison, who knows how to make it from charcoal, sulphur and nightsoil, upsets the balance of power and generates a new time line.
Verkan Vall, who has gone out after Morrison to prevent him from revealing the Paratime secret, finally decides to take no action against him. "None was needed. The man knows he was in some sort of time machine which shifted him, not into the past or future, but laterally, into another time dimension, and from that he can deduce .... the paratime secret but this Calvin Morrison, Lord Kalvan, now is no threat to it. He is doing a better job of protecting it in his own case then we could ..... Look at what he has on his new time line .... He's a great nobleman; they have gone out of fashion on Europo-American, where the Common Man is the ideal. He's going to marry a beautiful princess, and they've even gone cut of fashion for children's fairy tales. He's a sword -swinging soldier of fortune., and they've vanished from a nuclear weapons world .... And he has a cause worth fighting for, and an enemy worth beating. He is not going to jeopardize his position with these people...."
Other than, but perhaps because of, the story being later than the rest of the Paratime series, there,are marked differences in Lord Kalvan.
Man's Martian forebears are totally forgotten; the difference in time lines is not explained, but left to the reader to assume to be of purely technological origin: the Home Line has just been civilized longer than Fourth Level Europo-American or Second Level Khiftian.
Lord Kalvan provides almost no information on the Home Time Line; the paratimers are there to give it background, but even without Verkan Vall and Dalla the same story could have been told. It is, after all, Kalvan's story.
The theoretical background to the series is completely ignored. In Time Crime, there was only a brief mention of reincarnation, and it had nothing to do with the story. In Lord Kalvan, there is no mention at all.
The Lord Kalvan series offered Piper the opportunity to speak quite frankly his own views and beliefs that were, in the other stories of the Paratime and Future History series, written in as part of the background. Calvin Morrison's origins are deliberately like his own: Pipers father had been a minister, and he himself had been a security guard-- although for a railroad instead of Morrison's bank. Piper, like his character,was a military history buff (Piper wrote an unpublished work on the life of Gustavo de Cordova, the Great Captain), who would rather read Oman's Art of War than homiletics..
In the earlier Paratime stories Piper comes on as an individualist anti-Marxist, 19th Century liberal turned General Semanticist -- hopeful for the world's future. A series of atomic wars, notes Verkan Vall, is just what Fourth Level Europo- American needs -- it will cut the population down to something manageable and, bringing in the Future History, abort the growing trend to collectivism that threatens Western civilization.
In Lord Kalvan, Piper is less hopeful, as he speaks of his society's 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. And there was Atombomb, the dread destroyer, who would someday come to end the world. None were very good gods, and I worshiped none of them.."
The one hope, the one God that remained, was an ideal that is the undercurrent of the Future History series and forms the subplot of Space Viking. Man a predator animal -- continues to repeat the same errors over and over again. The Paratimers have an out; they can see the effects of any policy they might choose in operation on some other line already.
"During the Crisis, after the Fourth Interplanetary War, we might have adopted Palnar Sarn's 'Dictatorship of the Chosen' scheme, if we hadn't seen what an exactly similar scheme had done to the Jak-Hakka civilization, on the Second Level. When Palnar Sarn was told about that, he went into Paratime to see for himself, and when he returned, he renounced his proposal in horror," Verkan Vall tells of his own people in "Police Operation." The Piper of Lord Kalvan would not have written it, for Man's last enemy is not so much death as his habits of thought, his very nature. Very few men learn from history, and even fewer are dedicated to that final ideal, Civilization.
"The barbarians are rising; they have a leader, and they're uniting. Every society rests on a barbarian base. The people who don't understand civilization, and wouldn't like it if they did. The hitchhikers. The people who create nothing, and who don't appreciate what others have created for them, and whothink civilization is something that just exists and that all they have to do is enjoy what they can understand of it-- luxuries, a high standard of living and easy work for high pay... Responsibilities? Phooey! What do they have a government for?
"And now., the hitchhikers think they know more about the car than the people who designed it, so they're going to seize control. Space Viking
To H. Beam Piper, civilization was not so much the processof setting man free from men as setting men free from fools -- which is not the same thing by a long shot.
Piper was a 19th Century liberal, and along with private property, sound money (a phrase not often heard in this inflationary century) and individual responsibility and rights, he believed in duty: the duty of the Individual to support himself, and to preserve, protect and maintain the civilization that nurtured him.
He was very much what John W. Campbell Jr. called the "Citizen," and based his last future history story on the Barbarian-Citizen antithesis of Campbell's May 1961'editorial~in Analog (see also Goodavage's Feb. 1973 editorial there.) Piper's belief in the individual's responsibility to support himself was sufficiently. strong for him tocommit suicide when, mistakenly, he believed he could no longer support himself.
Piper's Space Viking story line gave him an opportunity to speak his mind on the decadence of 20th Century American civilization at far greater length than in the Paratime Universe. Since it "is semantically inadmissible to talk about the total presence of time with one breath and about .. . new time lines with the next," he, chose to link the two through the stories "Genesis" and "Omnilingual," with a reference to the lost Martian civilization in Little Fuzzy.
He believed (or had one of his characters say, at any rate), "there are no fundamental laws of socioeconomics; merely usually reliable generalized statements of what can more or less be depended upon to happen under most circumstances," and with that traced the history of the human race from the birth of the Atomic Age in 1942 AD to the glaciated and depopulated Terra of the Fifth Galactic Empire.
History, to quote from "The Edge of the Knife," "follows certain patterns. I'm not a Toynbean, by any manner of means," says Ed Chalmers, professor of history at a California college who must convince a psychiatrist that he does not remember the future and is not insane .. "But any historian can see that certain forces generally tend to produce similar effects."
The Space Viking story line begins when Allan Hartley, well-known novelist and inventor, is killed at the Battle of Buffalo by a Soviet atomic bomb and awakens moments later in his 12-year old body in 1945, in "Time and Time Again." Armed with his knowledge of things to come, a knowledge of his own time's chemistry and a list of "all the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont winners through 1970," he and his father establish Allied Industries, get Hartley Senior elected President in 1960 ("The world situation will be critical, by that time, and we had a good natured nonentity In the White House then, who let things go-until war became inevitable.") and catch the Eastern Axis off guard with Operation Triple Cross to win the Thirty Days War.
Piper's World War III begins in the Middle East. The head of the Islamic Caliphate is murdered by an agent of the Eastern Axis and fighting breaks out throughout the region. The Turkish army descends on Syria to try and "restore order." "The old U.N... already weakened by the crisis over the Eastern demands for the demilitarization and Internationalization of the United States Luna Base...." falls to pieces. The Indian Communists invade East Pakistan, and general war follows -- the United States suffering badly until missiles from the moon base finish the war.
During, and out of, the third world war, the First Terran Federation is born -- it will last until 114 AE (2056 AD), when it is destroyed by growing nationalism in the Venus and Mars settlements; the northern hemisphere is completely devastated this time(Observation by Mark Swanson, NESFA-MITSFS.)
It was against the background of the early Federation that Piper wrote "Onnilingual," the novelette that marked his return to Astounding after a two-year hiatus that included his marriage, European honeymoon, and divorce. The year Is 1996, and Homo Sapiens Terra has returned to the world of its origin, Mars, 50,000 years after the deaths ofthe last Martians -- by suicide. The story details the efforts of Martha Dane, an archaeologist, to decipher the long-dead Martian language. Ultimately, she finds her "omnilingual" in the least suspected -- yet most obvious place. The story was Piper's finest to that date, and perhaps remains his most well-known, having been reprinted in Prologue to Analog and Isaac Asimov's Where Do We Go from Here?
In 1952 had been commissioned to write one of the first of the Twayne Triplets to planetary backgrounds set up by John D. Clark. The series was a failure commercially (Another book in the series, with stories by Anderson and Asimov never appeared, nor did a third which would have included Blish's "Get Out of My Sky," a Leinster story, and Piper's unfinished First Cycle which was finished from his notes by Michael Kurland. JHC, 2002), but Uller Uprising (published [in shortened form JHC, 2002] by Lester del Rey in Space Stories as "Ullr Uprising" was both readable and set the pattern Piper would follow for the Second Federation.. Uller is inhabited by androgynous natives and the story line is lifted from the Sepoy Mutiny. The idea of naming planets after deities was part of Clark's introduction to The Petrified Planet ,"but by the seventh century Atomic they were naming planets after almost anything." [Note: The other stories in The Petrified Planet were by Kornbluth and Judith Merril. -JHC, 2002]
Extrasolar settlement and development-is carried out by chartered planetary companies like the Zarathustra Company of Little Fuzzy. The language spoken Is Lingua Terra, a combination of Span ish Portuguese, Afrikaans and English -7 mostly English. Carlos von Schlichten is a typical fifth century Argentino a mixture of nearly every ethnic group, and descendant of what he lightly refers to as "what they call a war criminal," who fled Germany in the year 3 AE. Paula Quinton, paranthropol- ogist studying, the Ullerans, is mostly French, with a little Japanese and Freyan (Yes, Piper did- make the mistake of having an extrasolar - humanoid race interfertile with terrestrial humanity.); her French ancestor was what they called a collaborationist in that era.
Having relegated a war not eight years dead in his readers' minds to the status of, the Wars of the Roses, Piper chose to satirize the theft of the U.S. atomic bomb secrets by the Soviets -- a subject that was then still hot. McCarthy was coming to power with his story of 200 Russian spies in the Pentagon, and the Rosenbergs were soon to be executed for treason.
On Uller in the Beta Hydri system, in the year 450 AE, the human colonists and the local allies, the Krakens (a combination of gurkhas and Japanese), are faced with an enemy possessing several A-bombs of the long de-classified Nagasaki variety -- now used on the fluorine- atmosphered planet Niffelheim for mining. The only individual who knows how o manufacture this inefficient yet handy weapon has been killed in the first hours of the native prince's uprising and everything looks hopeless until....
"The book was a novel -- a jumbo-sized historical novel, of some seven or eight hundred pages. Its dust jacket bore a slightly more than bust-leneth picture of a young lady with crimson hair and greeneyes and jade ear-rings and a plunging -- not to say powerdiving, --neckline that left her affiliation with'the class of Mammalia in no doubtwhatever. In the background, a mushroom-topped smoke column rose, and away from it something intended to be a four-motor propeller-driven bomber of the First Century was racing madly. The title, he saw, was Dire Dawn, and the author was one Hildegarde Hernandez.
To think that the Manhattan project should be reduced tothe story of a "super-Mata Hari who is, alternately and sometime's simultaneously., In the pay of the-Nazis, the Soviets, the Vatican, Chiang-Kal-Shek, the Japanese emperor and the Jewish international bankers.... (who) sleeps with everybody but Joe Stalin and Mao Tse Tung, and of course, she is in on every step of the A-bomb project. She even manages to stow away on the Enola Gay with the help of a general she's spent fifty incandescent pages seducing..."
"'Well, it has a picture of an A-bomb on it,' he agreed. "'It has more than that; it has the whole business. Case specifications, tampers, charge design detonating device, everything.Why, the end papers even have diagrams; copies of the original Nagasakibomb drawings.... The drawings looked authentic enough. They seemed to be copies of ancient blueprints, lettered in First Century English, with- Lingua Terra translations added."
A "gassenous-defusion process to separate the nuclearphysics from the pornography" saves the day, although Piper has the A-bombs owned by Orgzild of Keegark exploded like chemical bombs, by proximity to another explosion. The one slight detraction of the book is in the names of the natives, which sound like someone choking on swear-words in a Balkan tongue -- Keegark, Gurgurk, Konkrook.
Piper's aliens all spoke in an unusual manner: In "Naudsonce," the problem was that "no two of them spoke the same language." in "Oomphel in the Sky"",` they spoke through their breathing orifices. All the Fuzzies of Zarathustra ever said was "Yeek!"
The Terran Federation deliberately settled inhabited, Class IV planets -- it was terrified of divided sovereignty and wanted to keep all the nuclear weapons in one basket, its own. As one of the characters on Fenris, the Four Day Planet, says, the Terran Federation may not be by all the people, but it is certainly out to prove It is for all the people -- whether they want it or not. Sex chauvinism is long gone; it was on Its way out in "Day of the Moron" back in 1968. Racial prejudice has vanished: Paul Meillard of "Naudsonce" is described as being "as close to being a pure Negro as anybody," 'and Hideyoshi O'Leary is the name of one of the characters in Uller Uprising.
If Piper's basic villain is the fool, his basic hero, to quote from "Oomphel in the Sky," is the man who "actually knows what has to be done and how to do it, and he's going right ahead and doing it, without holding a dozen conferences and round-table discussions and giving everybody a fair and equal chance to foul things up for him." The Citizen, in Campbellian terms.
Conn Maxwell of the
Junkyard Planetof Poictesme is such a hero, although young and not completely sure of himself. The time is 890 AE, a generation after the System States War -- a war deliberately compared to the American Civil War in the Galaxy short story version, "Graveyard of Dreams" -- threatened to split the Terran Federation, Conn has been sent by his father's cronies to study at the University of Montevideo on Terra, ostensibly as a cyberneticist but actually in hopes of discovering the whereabouts of Merlin, a computer with a memory bank containIng "all human knowledge .... capable of scanning all its data instantaneously.... and reasoning with absolute accuracy....predicting future events....if you asked such a computer, "Is there a God?, It would simply have answered, 'Present."'
The Terran Federation is at-the mid-potnt of a decline which will end in de-civilizing most of its planets, although Conn can see only the economic stagnation of his home world since the end of the war. The locals live off the remains of abandoned Federation war materiel; his father mines uranium -from the warheads of missiles. Conn Maxwell's plans call for a starship, and to get that he must lead a merry hunt for the missing computer-God across the face of his home world and off it to the other planets in the Gartner tri-system -- a hunt which ultimately threatens his home planet with nuclear bombardment from the colony world he establishes, and the Terran Federation with complete and total collapse within his own lifetime, when he discovers Merlin indeed exists.
Space Vikingoffered piper greater leeway in voicing opinions on contemporary life than the later Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen with Morrison's comment on his society's gods.
"Practically everything that's happened on any of the inhabited planets happened on Terra before the first starship," says Otto Harkaman in the opening scenes: dictatorships and economic systems of every sort, religious fanatics, ideologues and anti-technological movements', the Byzantine court. The expansion of the Federation from the Solar-System resembled nothing so much as the settlement of the Americas and the Imperialism of the 17th Century; as the Federation matured, the System States War was fought to prevent the secession of 90 planetary systems and the re-emergence of nationalism. It failed; there were several small general wars, a brief Empire, and finally a thousand-year night on most inhabited planets.
Some worlds, such as Marduk and Beowulf, retain their technology, while others regress to barbarism. Some, such as Gilgamesh, rediscover all the lost technology; still others, the Sword Worlds settled by the refugee space navy of the System States Alliance, don't find out about the decline until centuries later, after building a civilization of their own and settling a dozen planets.
Sword World civilization is a combination of feudalism and private enterprise; entry into the peerage can apparently be bought. The populace is generally jealous of its rights; the nobles squabbles resemble those of the Renaissance Italian cities with which Piper was so familiar. Among the people, the status of women is the same as in the old Federation; among the nobles, although they are not restricted, they are governed by stiffly formal ruled of decorum.
Lucas Trask begins his career of murder and brigandage in order to hunt Andrey Dunnan, murderer of his bride of half an hour, Elaine Karvall. Dunnan, first cousin of Duke (later King of Gram) Angus, has pirated Angus' new-ship, the Enterprise, as it was about to set out to put down a permanent raiding base on Tanith, a de-civilized old Federation planet, an adventure Trask had opposed.
Trask joins forces with Harkaman, a part-time historian and full time Space Viking, who was to have been the Enterprise's captain, mortgages his estate and buys the Enterprise's half- completed sister ship, which he christens the Nemesis.
Trask cannot hunt down Dunnan directly; not when news travels at only one light year per hour. To set a trap, he decides to establish a base on Tanith. For supplies, booty, and experience he raids three planets -- Khepera, Amaterasu and Beowulf. Standing in a darkened, ruin on Khepera, "they saw a man, one of the locals, squatting onthe floor with the body of a woman cradled on his lap. She was dead, half her head had been blown off, but he was clasping her tightly, her blood staining his shirt, and sobbing heartbrokenly. A carbine lay forgotten on the floor beside him. "'Poor devil,' Morland said, and started forward. "No." "Trask stopped him with his left hand. With his right, he drew his pistol and shot the man dead. Morland was horrified.
"Good,Satan, Lucas! Why did you do that?,
"I wish Andrey Dunnan had done that for me.' He thumbed the safety on and holstered the pistol. 'None of this would be happening, if he had. How many more happinesses do you think we've smashing here today? And we don't even have Dunnan's excuse of madness."
As tine passes, Trask becomes more interested in building a new civilization on Tanith with the locals -- Sword World immigrants -- and in active, yet peaceful trade between Khepera, Amaterasu and Beowulf, than in hunting Dunnan. Amaterasu, when it was raided, was split into warring nation states -- corporativist vs. 1960's-capitalist -- each of which had offered him its aid to knife the other in the back. He chose to knife both.
While Trask is building Tanith, Dunnan has conquests of his own planned -- plans that involve making war on Marduk, perhaps the most civilized of the Old Federation planets. Trask, who has found a pattern in Dunnan's activities, jumps one step ahead of his enemy and comes to the aid of a ship of the Royal Mardukan Navy as it is being attacked by the Enterprise and another ship. In the battle, the Enterprise is destroyed and Trask has no way of knowing if Dunan was aboard her.
Marduk is a parliamentary democracy, with elements of both United Kingdom and United States institutions. It is heavily populated, heavily industrialized, with marked class distinctions and an upper class that eschews these-distinctions. The local cybernetic technology is less advanced than on the Sword Worlds, or even on Poictesme in Junkyard Planet a thousand years before; the common people are more interested in landing jobs as servants to the upper classes.
Trask is drawn into local politics, if only peripherally, and continually encounters references to Zaspar Makann, leader of the people's Welfare Party, a man everyone agrees is "a raving lunatic, and all the followers he had were a handful of lunatics like him. He might be a lunatic, but he had a dangerously large following. Well, not so large, maybe they'd pick up a seat or so in the Assembly, but that was doubtful.... He was just a smart crook, milking a lot of half-witted plebians for all he could get from them. Not just plebes, either; a lot of industrialists, were secretly financing him, in hope that he would help them break up the labor unions. You're nuts, everybody knew the labor Unions were backing him, hoping held scare employers into granting concessions. You've both nuts; he was backed by the mercantile interests; they were hoping held run out the Gilgameshers. Everybody was in favor of that."
Much later Harkaman tells him: "It wasn't a war that put Hitler into power. It was the fact that the ruling class of his nation, the people who kept things running, were discredited. The masses, the homemade barbarians, didn't have anybody to take their responsibilities for them. What they have on Marduk is a ruling class that's ashamed of its privileges and shirks its duties. A ruling class that has begun to believe that the masses are just as good as they are, which they manifestly are not. And a ruling class that won't use force to maintain its position. And they have a democracy, and they are letting the enemies of democracy shelter themselves behind democratic safeguards."
Makann comes to power, as Marduk's planetary king Mikhyl had fearfully predicted, and Trask must struggle with his growing problems with King Angus I of Gram until the two sub-plots are drawn together by a Big Lie that ultimately turns out to be the truth.
Zaspar Makann had been Dunnan's creature, his means of gaining control of the Old Federation's most civilized planet and launching with it a Space Viking empire. An armada of ships from Tanith, Amaterasu, Beowulf and survivors of the Royal Mardukan Navy invades the system and crushes the Dunnan-Makann forces in the novel's climactic battle. Makann is found dead sitting on Mikhyl's throne; Dunnan, now totally insane, is delivered to Trask by his erstwhile followers, believing that the woman he murdered is waiting for him on Gram.
"I think there's something wrong with democracy. If there weren't it couldn't be overthrown by attacking it from within by democratic procedures. I don't think it's fundamentally unworkable. I think it just has a few of what engineers call bugs. It's not safe to run a defective machine till you learn the defects and remedy them.
"It may be there is something fundamentally unworkable about government itself. As long as Homo Sapiens Terra is a wild animal, which he always has been and always will be until he evolves into something different in a million or so years, maybe a workable system of government is a political science impossibility...."
"Then we We'll Just have to make it work the best way we can, and when it breaks down, hope the next try will work a little better, or a little longer."
The above exchange takes place after the space battle has been won and summarizes the theme of the novel. Man is capable of building civilizations and tearing them down; it's in his nature and there's nothing that can be done about it while he remains Man. Unstated but certainly a theme running through the series, from its beginnings in the bright hopes of General Semantics to the outright pessimism of "A Slave Is a Slave," Is "Would he be interested enough to read about him if he weren't?"
The year is 1973. We have reached the Moon, but no base has been established there. Recently, India divested Pakistan of its eastern territories. India Is not officially Communist. The biggest troublespot in the world is the Middle East, and the Arabs continually talk of a jihad. The government continues to inflate the economy, and longs for full wage and price controls. "Everybody seems to have money, but the government is always broke. Deficit spending -- and always the vital social services for which the government has to spend money." In this age, we no longer talk of "buying votes;" it would not be politic to ask just what either the poor or the corporate welfare programs are to buy. But more parts of the cities do get dangerous at night, and our technology is sufficiently fragile that, if the power stations were to stop, they might never start again....
At the time of his death, Piper had plotted a sequel to Space Viking, now in the hands of Jerry Pournelle, which remains unwritten. His books can still be found at out-of-the-way bookstores where the proprietors who know little of science fiction pile them with used copies of Camp Concentration and Skylark of Valeron. The magazines containing his stories grow harder to find with each passing year. The Friends of Little Fuzzy occasionally meet at conventions, mostly by chance, and pass on stories of how they found their dog-eared copies, to the envy of others and the bewilderment of meter-tall aliens who have of late come to infest us in their relentless search for the first Fantastic Four comic book. The 24-year old elders look on and trust in the sure and certain, hoped for day when the early Paratime stories will be combined and interested readers will, in another single volume, be able to trace the growth of civilization on Earth from the arrival of Kalvar Dard and his small band of Martian survivors to the lost grandeur of the Keeper.