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H. Beam Piper

"H. Beam Piper (1906 -1964) is gone—but his name will not be forgotten until men cease to imagine far places, new worlds out among the stars. . . ."

— Jack L. Chalker, "Lights Go Out," Ventura II, 1965


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H. Beam Piper Biography


Photo of H. Beam Piper colourized and animated by Scott Schad.

Henry Beam Piper was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania, in 1904, and died, an apparent suicide, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 1964.  Piper's first published story, "Time and Time Again" (Astounding Science Fiction, April 1947), was adapted for radio and aired on the NBC program Dimension X on 12 July, 1951, and again on the NBC program X Minus One on 11 January, 1956.  His historical essay "Rebel Raider," published in True: The Men's Magazine in 1950, inspired the fictional teleplay Willie and the Yank, a three-part mini-series which aired on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color in January 1967 (and was later released theatrically as Mosby's Marauders).  His first novel was the 1953 mystery Murder in the Gunroom and his science-fiction novel Little Fuzzy was nominated for a Hugo Award in 1963.  Piper made his living working for the Pennsylvania Railroad and was a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the New York Authors' Club, and the Hydra Club.

Piper occasionally attended the annual World Science Fiction Convention, attending the 1957 WorldCon in London with his wife.  He also attended the 1962 WorldCon in Chicago and the 1963 WorldCon in Washington, DC.

Image - Typewriter Killer

John F. Carr's Typewriter Killer

After Piper's death, the intellectual property rights to his fiction were acquired by Ace Books (now an imprint owned by Penguin Random House).  The late author Jerry Pournelle was granted the right by Piper himself (and acknowledged by Ace) to publish stories set in Piper's fictional settings but, despite decades-long rumors of a sequel to Space Viking, apparently decided not to take advantage of this opportunity.  In the early 1980's, Ace commissioned two sequels to Piper's first two Fuzzy novels, William Tuning's Fuzzy Bones and Ardath Mayhar's Golden Dream: A Fuzzy Odyssey, before Piper's own unpublished sequel, Fuzzies and Other People, was discovered (by Piper's protegé of sorts, Mike Knerr) and published (by Ace) in 1984.  More recently, John Scalzi wrote Fuzzy Nation, an officially-authorized "reboot" of Little Fuzzy.

Author and Piper biographer John F. Carr, who edited four collections of Piper's short stories also published by Ace in the 1980's, has authored several sequels to Piper's Paratime novel Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen and more recently has written other novels set both in Piper's Paratime and Terro-human Future History settings.  Carr has also edited The Rise of the Terran Federation, an anthology of Piper's early Terro-human Future History yarns and new, Piper-inspired stories of the same era written by others.

Links to other Piper biographical information:


H. Beam Piper Gallery

"They were turning into the main hallway, between the rows of portraits of past emperors, Paul and Rodrik, Paul and Rodrik, alternating over and over on both walls."

— H. Beam Piper, "Ministry of Disturbance"


The photos of Piper below include a handful of formal publicity photos from some of his works and a rare magazine profile as well as several candid photos captured at science-fiction conventions he attended.

(click on image to view full-size)

Image - H. Beam Piper, Murder in the Gunroom, Knopf 1953

From Murder in the Gunroom dustjacket, Knopf 1953
(Zarthani.net hoard)


Image - H. Beam Piper, from The Pennsy, 1953

From The Pennsy interview, 1953
(Zarthani.net hoard)


Image - H. Beam Piper (excerpt) by Alan Gutierrez

Portait (excerpt) by Alan Guitierrez
From H. Beam Piper: A Biography cover, McFarland 2008
(Zarthani.net hoard)


Image - H. Beam Piper, from The Pennsy, 1953

Piper weapon collection, The Pennsy, 1953
(Zarthani.net hoard)


Image - Piper with Campbell, WorldCon, 1957

With John W. Campbell at 1957 London WorldCon
Served by eFanzines.com


Image - Piper at WorldCon, 1957

With fan (Barbara Silverberg?) at 1957 London WorldCon
Served by F.A.N.A.C.


Image - Piper at WorldCon, 1957

At 1957 London WorldCon
(photo by Wally Weber)
(courtesy of Norman Shorrock of Liverpool)


Image - H. Beam Piper, Four-Day Planet, Putnam 1961

From Four-Day Planet dustjacket, Putnam 1961
(Zarthani.net hoard)


Image - Piper at Chicon, 1962

At Chicon 1962 (on left)
(photo by Jay Kay Klein from "The Lindsay Report")
Served by F.A.N.A.C.


Image - Piper at Discon, 1963

At Discon 1963 (with pipe)
(photo by Jay Kay Klein from Convention Annual No. 3 Discon Ed. 1963)
Courtesy of Tom Rogers


Image - Piper at Discon, 1963

At Discon 1963 (in tie)
(photo by Jay Kay Klein from Convention Annual No. 3 Discon Ed. 1963)
Courtesy of Tom Rogers


Image - Piper at Discon, 1963

At Discon 1963 (in audience, second row)
(Photo by Jay Kay Klein from Convention Annual No. 3 Discon Ed. 1963)
Courtesy of Tom Rogers



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