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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

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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  (Some of the PIPER-L messages had been archived before their removal from the Web by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine—including the somewhat mundane very first message—though it's an awkward resource to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

Extra-Zarathustran Fuzzies
(14 October, 1997)

First and Second Federations
(28 October, 1997)

Federation Colonial Office
(27 March, 1998)

Discovery of Freya
(20 April, 1998)

Eleventh Sword World
(15 March, 1999)




Date:         Tue, 14 Oct 1997 14:29:23 -0400
Sender:       "The Works of H. Beam Piper" 
From:         David Johnson [-- redacted --]
Subject:      Re: Other...Race

Jimmy [-- redacted --] writes:

> At 08:55 AM 10/11/97 -0400, you wrote:
>
> >Well, I'm just reading *Fuzzies and Other People* for the first time
> >but it seemed pretty clear from the first two Fuzzy novels that the
> >Fuzzies had evolved on Zarathustra.  Federation scientists were pretty
> >much set on the hypothesis that the reason for the low Fuzzy birthrate
> >was due to a lack of the titanium compound (hokfusine) that counteracted
> >the hormone NFMp found in the Fuzzies.  (Hokfusine was found in
> >land-prawns and "extee three.")  The scientists had also hypothesized
> >that the hormone had originally served to combat an environmental toxin
> >that no longer appeared in the Zarathustra ecosphere.  Thus, what had
> >originally been a useful mutation (NFMp) had become a harmful one (which
> >hindered fetal development) when the environmental toxin disappeared.
>
> As you say, the scientists hypothesized this, but was it a mutation that
> appeared on Zarathustra or was it because of something on their "Home"
> planet.  Also as I pointed out in the first book, he makes a couple of
> references to them not being related to anything on Zarathustra.

I agree it's possible Beam had an extra-Zarathustran origin in mind
for the Fuzzies.  (Indeed, it's what I suspected when I first read
*Fuzzy Sapiens* and learned about the NFMp/hokfusine connection.)  We
might be able to dismiss Holloway's comment about the "uniqueness"
of the Fuzzies as the opinion of an uninformed layperson but as you
pointed out, Van Riebeek, a naturalist, made a similar observation.

> I am not saying either way, and it does seem that Piper decided to ignore
> this in the later books (just as he seems to have done the Martian origins
> in the later Paratime stories)

Again, agreed.  Another factor that supports the "EZ" hypothesis is
the fact that none of the native species on Zarathustra can hear the
Fuzzies when they speak, just as Terrans can't.  (In *Fuzzies and Other
People*, Wise One notes that "Animals could not hear their voices--
that was an always-so thing which they could trust. . . .)

I'm still reading *FaOP* but I assume from some of the other comments
here on the List that it is never established (or even considered?)
that the Fuzzies have an extra-Zarathustran origin.  Is that so?

David Johnson                        Net: [-- redacted --]
Arlington, Virginia, North America   Web: [-- redacted --]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Why not everybody make friend, have fun, make help, be good?"
                                     -Diamond Grego (H. Beam Piper)
                                     *Fuzzy Sapiens*
  ------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Date:         Tue, 28 Oct 1997 17:54:33 -0500
Sender:       "The Works of H. Beam Piper" 
From:         David Johnson [-- redacted --]
Subject:      Re: First and Second Federations
Content-Type: text

Alvis [-- redacted --] writes:

> So when would you place the dates of existence for the first and second
> Federations?

That's a tough call.  See the discussion entitled "Atomic Wars" in
the June 1997 archives.

My take on it is that the "First" Federation was formed after the
Thirty Days War and that the "Second" Federation was formed after
colonies on Venus (and perhaps Mars) gained their independence
following a "war of independence."  Furthermore, my take is that
these two wars are the "Third and Fourth World Wars" referred to
in *Four-Day Planet*.

Carr suggests 174 AE (2116 AD) for the secession of Venus and 183 AE
(2125 AD) for the formation of the "Second" Federation on the *Empire*
Chronology which works for me, given Chalmers mention of the "unified
world" with Martian and Lunar colonies in 2050-2070 AD.  I've not
seen any better dates (or details even) in what I've read of Beam's.

But, as Nathan says, it's all up for discussion! :)

David Johnson                        Net: [-- redacted --]
Arlington, Virginia, North America   Web: [-- redacted --]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
"And you know what English is?  The result of the efforts of Norman
men-at-arms to make dates with Saxon barmaids in the Ninth Century
Pre-Atomic. . . ."                   -Victor Grego (H. Beam Piper)
                                     *Fuzzy Sapiens*
  ------------------------------------------------------------------------

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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-"
  ------------------------------------------------------------------------

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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 --]
  ------------------------------------------------------------------------

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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:

************************************************************
                        Excalibur
   +------------------------+---------------------+
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 --]
 ------------------------------------------------------------------------

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