Future History excerpts from "PIPER-L"

Note: contents of this page migrating to the "PIPER-L" Message Archives page.

"Science fiction entertains the type of reader who enjoys speculation on different hypothetical, philosophical, scientific, sociological, military, economic, technological etc. possibilities.  This type of reader is not inferior or superior to others, but he is different."

— H. Beam Piper, "Double: Bill Symposium" interview

Home | Forum | Links | Emporium | Re-read | Contact

Future History | Paratime | Other Works | H. Beam Piper

Bibliography | Gallery | Chronology | Concordance | Development

The original Piper Mailing List, known as "PIPER-L" (from its mailing address: PIPER-L@HOME.EASE.LSOFT.COM), began in Octoberr 1995 but came to an abrupt end in September 2008.  Fortunatey, the defunct list was promptly reincarnated.  Unfortunately, along with the end of PIPER-L came the end of its comprehensive on-line archive: every message posted to the list by Piper fans for nearly two decades was removed from the Web.  (Some of the PIPER-L messages had been archived before their removal from the Web by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine—including the somewhat mundane very first message—though it's an awkward resource to search effectively.)
      Nevertheless, some Piper fans had saved some of the messages posted to PIPER-L themselves.  Some of those preserved messages dealing with aspects of the Terro-human Future History are available here.  The messages are organized below by discussion topic and date of original posting.  Some personal information (such as the e-mail addresses of message posters) has been redacted.  (When available, a link is provided to the archived message at the Wayback Machine.)

Future History Discussion Topic

Federation Colonial Office
(27 March, 1998)

Discovery of Freya
(20 April, 1998)

Eleventh Sword World
(15 March, 1999)

Date:         Fri, 27 Mar 1998 14:06:47 -0500
Sender:       "The Works of H. Beam Piper" 
From:         David Johnson [-- redacted --]
Subject:      Re: Partial "Oomphel in the Sky" gleanings

Jon [-- redacted --] writes:

> there are several planets settled by humans and plenty of reason to believe
> that Earth has less then direct interest in the colonies since they seem to
> tend towards private exploration than governments trying to start colonies
> for it's citizens.

Actually, "Naudsonce," which takes place at roughly the same time that
the Chartered Zarathustra Company is losing its charter, describes a
joint Space Navy-Colonial Office mission looking for likely candidates
for Terran colonization.  I believe we have to conclude that commerical
exploitation (the chartered companies) and government colonization are
both going on in the Federation.  (We have other hints in places like
Poictesme and Kwannon which are settled by Terrans but which don't have
chartered companies.)

David Johnson                        Net: [-- redacted --]
Arlington, Virginia, North America   Web: [-- redacted --]
"There have been great changes, and none of us can guess what greater
changes will come.  Why talk now of things that may happen in a world the
very shape of which we cannot guess?"
                                     -H. Beam Piper, "When in the Course-"

Back to top

Date:         Mon, 20 Apr 1998 09:47:27 -0400
Sender:       "The Works of H. Beam Piper" 
From:         David Johnson [-- redacted --]
Subject:      Re: Discovery of Freya

Dave [-- redacted --] writes:

> I think I may have placed "WitC--" too late, however.  Marduk was
> probably discovered after Freya was, because Marduk is Babylonian,
> iirc (and certainly not Norse, in any case), and planets were
> supposed to be named after Norse gods until they ran out.
> And in *SV*, p. 155, we read that Marduk had first been colonized
> in the fourth century, i.e. 300-399.  So Freya was probably discovered
> before then--well before then, since Freya is a fairly well-known
> Norse goddess and the name would probably have been used fairly
> soon.  Moving "WitC--" to, say, 300 AE also straightens out the
> speed vs. time curve a bit.

Yes, I've placed "WitC" sometime in the Third Century, AE.  (You're
right about Marduk not being Babylonian.)  "WitC" tells us that Thor,
Loki and Yggdrasil (all Norse) have already been discovered.  In several
places in the TFH we learn that interstellar exploration begins some
time in the Second Century, AE, after the Atomic Wars (World War IV)
and the unification of Terra.  Of course, if Fenris was settled at
the end of the Fourth Century (and what about Uller?) then there's a
period of a couple of centuries, at least, before the Norse names
ran out. . . .

David Johnson                        Net: [-- redacted --]
Arlington, Virginia, North America   Web: [-- redacted --]
          Visit my Science-Fiction Worlds of H. Beam Piper Page
               URL: [-- redacted --]

Back to top

Date:         Mon, 15 Mar 1999 19:59:11 -0500
Sender:       "The Works of H. Beam Piper" 
From:         David Johnson [-- redacted --]
Organization: WebPages4U ([-- redacted --])
Subject:      The Eleventh Sword World

Beam identifies this in "A Slave is a Slave" as Quernbiter (*Empire*,
p. 68).

Quernbiter was the sword of Hakon I, "the Good," bastard son of Harald
Harfager, who succeded him as King of Norway in the Tenth Century, AD.
Quernbiter was given to Hakon by his foster-father, King Athelstan of
England.  The citation is from the *Heimskringla* or "Chronicle of the
Kings of Norway."

This leaves us with only one unmentioned Sword World.  Earlier I'd
suggested Sauvagine, Ogier the Dane's other sword (besides Curtana)
which was made by Munifican (who also made Curtana and Durendal), and
Balmung, Siegfried's other sword (besides Gram) which was made by
Weiland (who also made Flamberge) as the unmentioned Sword Worlds.
Since one of these is obviously wrong and since Quernbiter isn't tied
to any of the other identified Sword Worlds perhaps *both* of them
are poor candidates.

Another possibility might be Lancelot's sword Arondight.

Of course, this throws a monkey wrench into my proposed Sword
World settlement patterns.  The new one might look something
like this:

Joyeuse          ?       Durendal       ?      Flamberge
   |             |          |           |         |
Haulteclere   Morglay   Quernbiter?   Colada   Arondight?
   |                        |           |
  Gram                   Curtana      Tizona

David Johnson [-- redacted --]
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, North America
Visit my tribute to the science fiction worlds of H. Beam Piper
Web URL: [-- redacted --]

Back to top

Home | Forum | Links | Emporium | Re-read | Sitemap

Future History | Paratime | Other Works | H. Beam Piper

Bibliography | Gallery | Chronology | Concordance | Development

Please support Piper content at

©1999 - 2018 by  The contents of this Web site are for personal, non-commercial use only.  Any use of copyrighted material or trademarks anywhere on this site and its files should not be viewed as a challenge to those copyrights or trademarks.  In addition, any material displayed on or served by this site cannot be republished or distributed without explicit consent from