Development of Piper's Paratime

"And you're thinking, suppose some Sino-Hindic mystic, or some Europo-American science-fiction writer, gets picked up and dumped onto, say, Second Level Interworld Empire?"
— Tortha Karf (H. Beam Piper), Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen

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There are a variety of commercial products and informal efforts which are based upon or expand on Piper's Paratime setting.

Image - Down Styphon! cover illustration, FGU 1977

Cover illustration by Mike Gilbert

Down Styphon! A Musket and Pike War Game, Mike Gilbert, Fantasy Games Unlimited, 1977, with cover and interior illustrations by Mike Gilbert.  A miniatures wargame based upon battles depicted in Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen.

Image - Great Kings' War by Alan Gutierrez, Ace 1985

Cover illustration by Alan Gutierrez

Writer and Piper biographer John F. Carr's sequels to Piper's Paratime yarns.

Image - Thousand Suns cover illustration, Rogue Games 2009

Transmissions from Piper

Transmissions from Piper, John Appel, Vaclav G. Ujcik, and Greg Videll, Rogue Games, 2009.  A Thousand Suns role-playing game supplement based upon Piper's Paratime yarn "Last Enemy" (plus the Terro-human Future History stories "Naudsonce" and "Ministry of Disturbance").

Paratime Development Claims

"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 . . . .  The Third Level civilizations were more recent, but still of respectable antiquity and advancement.  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.  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."
— Tortha Karf (H. Beam Piper), Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen

Modeled after the Traveller Mailing List (TML) Landgrab, Piper Development Claims are personal, non-commercial efforts to develop the timelines of Piper's fictional Paratime "multi-verse."  Each background developer should report on the claimed timeline in great detail.  The exact level of detail and degree of compliance with official canon is open to interpretation.  Each background developer should survey his or her claim (including gathering the relevant canonical information) and submit a Developer's Report to the Piper Mailing List.

There are some key guidelines for any development effort.  The first is captured in "Olson's Rule":

"Agreed that [Piper's Paratime and Terro-human Future History (TFH) yarns] could all fit together.  Does that mean that they do?  If you intend the definition of inclusion within Piper's future history to be 'one [which] would have little trouble fitting into the TFH as pre-30 Days War stories' then you've gotten too broad. . . .

"I think you need something a little more positive than mere non-contradiction."

While Mark was speaking specifically here about including Paratime yarns in the Terro-human Future History canon, the point holds for any development of Piper's work: there must be some explicit, non-generic (e.g. not simply a shared reference to a common place such as, say, "Mars") connection in any two Piper works for them to be considered to be part of the same, distinct setting.

A second key guideline is captured in "Newton's Rule":

"Perhaps, in keeping with the spirit of the Landgrab, and so that we can both stimulate creativity and remain careful about what Piper actually wrote, we should separate material into "Canon" and "Apocrypha"—with the latter segments being so titled to represent the fact that the author is not revealing but extending. . . ."

Steve's "Canon" and "Apocrypha" distinction should serve as a basic structuring element of any development effort.

The claims made thus far include:

Timeline Claim


Date of Claim

First Level, Abzar Sector, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4

Allen McDonnell

May 2003

Second Level, Triplanetary Empire Sector

Glenn "Gilmoure" Amspaugh

December 2007

Third Level, Esaron Sector, Slave Trust subsector

Allen McDonnell

May 2003

Fourth Level, Europo-American Sector, Hispano-Columbian Subsector, unnamed timelines

Jim "Rhino" Sparr

September 2009

Fourth Level, Macedonian Empire Sector, Philip subsector

John W. Braue, III

December 2001

If you wish to participate, stake your cliam on the Piper Mailing List.  If none oppose you, or if you prevail in an ensuing discussion, you too may become a background developer.

Background developers may lay their claim and/or provide links to their Developer's Report by posting an announcement to the Piper Mailing List.  Developers may have their Developer's Report hosted at here by sending a request to the Development Claims Bureau.

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