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"[2087 C.E.] — The first interstellar expedition."

— John F. Carr, "Terro-Human Future History Chronologyy," Empire


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Canon: The Hartley Yarns

Chronology | Databank | Eridani Expeditions

Piper's 1947 yarn "Time and Time Again" introduces Allan Hartley and his father, Blake Hartley, in 1945, planning to take advantage of Allan's knowledge of the future to avert the Third World War by getting the elder Hartley elected President in 1960.α

The Hartley's appear in two other Piper yarns. In 1950's "The Mercenaries," set in 1965, Blake Hartley is President and his son Allan Hartley is a patron of the MacLeod Research Team, which is working on the Western Union's Philadephia Project aimed at sending a spaceship to the Moon and building a lunar military base.β

In 1951's "Day of the Moron," set in 1968, a Hartley, presumably Blake still, is President when the Melroy Engineering Corporation, which had previously worked on the Philadelpia Project, becomes embroiled in a labor dispute at the Long Island Nuclear Reaction Plant.γ

The Hartley Yarns and Piper's Terro-human Future History

Some enthusiasts argue that Piper's Hartley yarns are part of his Terro-human Future History (TFH) despite the fact that Piper himself does not mention any of the Hartley yarns in his delination of the TFH yarns in his article "The Future History."  The principal reason one might be inclined to include Piper's Hartley yarns in his TFH is the mention of an "Islamic Caliphate" in the TFH story "Edge of the Knife" and the mention of an "Islamic Kaliphate" (sic) in "The Mercenaries."  But the Islamic Caliphate of "Edge of the Knife" is friendly to the United States and eventually joins the U.S.-led Terran Federation while the Islamic Kaliphate of "The Mercenaries" is an adversary of the U.S.-led Western Union.  (These two different U.S.-led blocs, Terran Federation and Western Union, suggest distinct settings too.)

Another possible commonality between the Hartley Yarns and the TFH is the Third World War, which occurs in Allan Hartley's "original timeline" in 1975.  A Third World War is also mentioned in several TFH yarns and "Edge of the Knife" dates this war in 1975.  But the Third World War of "Edge of the Knife," known as the "Thirty Days' War," is a brief conflict consisting primarily of strategic missle exchanges between the United States and its foes.  On the other hand, the Third World War in "Time and Time Again" is a much more protracted conflict which includes a "transpolar air invasion" of Canada, the fall of Ottawa, Ontario, to enemy forces, and an eventual siege of Buffalo, New York (where Hartley originally meets his demise).  These are two very different potrayals of the Third World War.

Another possible connection is the centrality of the U.S. Philadelphia Project to launch a spaceship to the Moon and build lunar missile base.  In "Edge of the Knife" the Philadelphia Project was the effort by the United States to build a strategic missile base on the Moon. Ultimately this effort enables the U.S. to prevail in the Third World War.  Likewise, both "The Mercenaries" and "Day of the Moron" mention the Philadelphia Project which is described in "The Mercenaries" as a U.S.-led effort to launch a spaceship to the Moon and to build a lunar military base.  But there is an important difference.  While several competing Moon efforts by U.S. adversaries are mentioned in "The Mercenaries" (even the Islamic Kaliphate has one) there is no mention of any competing efforts in "Edge of the Knife."  Indeed, one of the provocations that lead to the Third World War in "Edge of the Knife" are protests on the part of U.S. adversaries about U.S. efforts to build a military facility on the Moon.  One would hardly expect this if those adversaries, as is the case in "The Mercenaries," were themselves involved in their own lunar undertakings.

Other than the Philadelphia Project, nowhere in any of the TFH yarns Piper mentions in "The Future History" do we see references to any of the characters or events portrayed in the Hartley Yarns.  No mention of Allan Hartley or his father Blake.  No mention of the MacLeod Research Team nor of the "free scientists" phenomenon more generally.  No mention of Scott Melroy's Melroy Engineering Company nor the disaster at the Long Island Nuclear Reaction Plant.  And the Islamic Kaliphate notwithstanding, there is no mention of the Western Union, the Fourth Komintern, nor the Ibero-American Confederation.  Likewise, there is no mention in any Hartley yarn of the Terran Federation, the Thirty Days War, Operation Triple Cross, nor the lunar spaceship Kilroy from  "Edge of the Knife."  The absence of such linkages, which are so very characteristic of Piper's TFH yarns, confirm what Piper himself tells us in "The Future History": the Hartley yarns are distinct from his Terro-human Future History.


References:

α "Time and Time Again," H.Beam Piper, in Astounding Science Fiction, Vol. XXXIX, No. 2, April 1947, pp. 27-43; reprinted in The Worlds of H. Beam Piper, John F. Carr, ed., New York: Ace, 1987, pp. 9-28.

β "The Mercenaries," H.Beam Piper, in Astounding Science Fiction, Vol. XLV, No. 1, March 1950, pp. 57-77; reprinted in The Worlds of H. Beam Piper, John F. Carr, ed., New York: Ace, 1987, pp. 29-55.

γ "Day of the Moron," H.Beam Piper, in Astounding Science Fiction, Vol. XLVIII, No. 1, September 1951, pp. 7-34; reprinted in The Worlds of H. Beam Piper, John F. Carr, ed., New York: Ace, 1987, pp. 199-231.



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