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Chronography: The Structure of Paratime

"Sectors are areas of paratime on any level in which the prevalent culture has a common origin and common characteristics. They are divided more or less arbitrarily into sub-sectors. Belts are areas within sub-sectors where conditions are the result of recent alternate probabilities."
— Verkan Vall (H. Beam Piper), "PO"


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First Level of Paratime Probability

"There are five main probability levels, derived from the five possible outcomes of the attempt to colonize this planet, seventy-five thousand years ago.  We're on the First Level—complete success, and colony fully established." — Verkan Vall, "Police Operation"

• "Home" Sector (presumed)

      • Home Time Line

• Abzar Sector (TC)

• Dwarma Sector (TC)


Second Level of Paratime Probability

"Second Level . . . time-lines descend from the probability of one or more shiploads of colonists having come to Terra from Mars about seventy-five to a hundred thousand years ago, and then having been cut off from the home planet and forced to develop a civilization of their own here." — Verkan Vall, "Last Enemy"

"Second Level that had been civilized almost as long as the First, but there had been dark-age interludes. Except for paratemporal transposition, most of its sectors equaled First Level. . . ." — H. Beam Piper "Gunpowder God"

• Akor-Neb Sector (LE)

• Interworld Empire Sector (LK) (could be the same as Triplanetary Empire Sector)

• Triplanetary Empire Sector (TC) (could be the same as Interworld Empire Sector)

• Jak-Hakka Sector(?) (PO)

• Luvarian Empire Sector (TC; PO) ("Police Operation" implies Third Level)

• Khiftan Sector (PO; TC)


Third Level of Paratime Probability

"Third Level; probability of abortive attempt to colonize this planet from Mars about a hundred thousand years ago.  A few survivors—a shipload or so—were left to shift for themselves while the parent civilization on Mars died out.  They lost all vestiges of their original Martian culture, even memory of their extraterrestrial origin." — Verkan Vall, "Time Crime"

"The Third Level civilizations were more recent [than Second Level], but still of respectable antiquity and advancement." — H. Beam Piper "Gunpowder God"

• Esaron Sector (TC)

• Tsorshay Sector (TC)


Fourth Level of Paratime Probability

"There are five main probability levels, derived from the five possible outcomes of the attempt to colonize this planet, seventy-five thousand years ago. . . .  On the Fourth Level, the colonists evidently met with some disaster and lost all memory of their extraterrestrial origin, as well as all extraterrestrial culture.  As far as they know, they are an indigenous race; they have a long pre-history of stone-age savagery." — Verkan Vall, "Police Operation"

"Fourth Level had started late and progressed slowly; some Fourth Level genius was first domesticating animals long after the steam engine was obsolescent all over the Third. . . .  Fourth Level was the big one. The others had devolved from low-probability genetic accidents; it was the maximum probability.  It was divided into many sectors and subsectors, on most of which human civilization had first appeared in the valleys of the Nile and Tigris-Euphrates, and on the Indus and Yangtze." — H. Beam Piper "Gunpowder God"

• Indus-Ganges-Irriwady Basic Sector-Group (TC) (more generically "Eastern Continent Great South-central River Valleys")

      • Indo-Turanian Sector (PO; TC; LK) (described as "Nilo-Mesopotamian" in "Temple Trouble" but more likely an "Indus-Ganges-Irriwady" sector)

      • Kholghoor Sector (TC)

• Nilo-Mesopotamian Basic Sector-Group (Temple Trouble) (more generically "Southern and Eastern Continents Great Northeastern-Southwestern River Valleys")

      • Alexandrian-Punic Sector (Temple Trouble)

      • Alexandrian-Roman Sector (Temple Trouble; TC; LK)

      • Aryan-Oriental Sector (LK)

      • Aryan-Transpacific Sector (LK)

            • Styphon's House Subsector (LK)

      • Europo-American Sector (PO; LE; TC)

            • Hispano-Columbian Subsector (LK)

                  • Hitler Victory Belt(?) (PO)

                        • Second War Between The States Belt(?) (PO)

      • Macedonian Empire Sector (Temple Trouble)

      • Proto-Aryan Sector (Temple Trouble; TC)

• Yangtze-Yellow Basic Sector-Group(?) (LK) (more generically "Eastern Continent Great Eastern River Valleys")

      • Sino-Hindic Sector (LK)

• Primitive Sector-Complex (TC)


Fifth Level of Paratime Probability

"There are five main probability levels, derived from the five possible outcomes of the attempt to colonize this planet, seventy-five thousand years ago. . . .  The Fifth Level is the probability of complete failure—no human population established on this planet, and indigenous quasi-human life evolved indigenously." — Verkan Vall, "Police Operation"

"And Fifth Level on a few sectors, subhuman brutes, speechless and fireless, were cracking nuts and each other's heads with stones, and on most of it nothing even vaguely humanoid had appeared." — H. Beam Piper "Gunpowder God"

• "Home" Basic Sector-Group(?)

            • Police Terminal Time Line (TC; LK)

      • Commercial Sector (PO; TC)

      • Interplanetary Sector (TC)

      • Industrial Sector (TC)

      • Passenger Sector (TC)

      • Service Sector (TC)



Chronography sources:

LE: "Last Enemy," Astounding, August 1950.
LK: Lord Kakvan of Otherwhen, New York: Ace, 1965 (combined version of "Gunpowder God," Analog, November 1964, "Down Styphon!," Analog, November 1965, and "Hos-Hostigos," The Paratime Police Chronicles, Volume II, Pequod Press, 2020).
PO: "Police Operation," Astounding, July 1948.
TT: "Temple Trouble," Astounding, April 1951.
TC: "Time Crime," Astounding, February and March 1955.


Thanks to Piper fans John W. Braue III, and Erik Fischer for their work to identify the "chronography" of Paratime.



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