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Welcome to the Zarthani.net H. Beam Piper mailing list and discussion forum. Initiated in October 2008 (after the demise of the original PIPER-L mailing list), this tool for shared communication among Piper fans provides an e-mail list and a discussion forum with on-line archives.
 
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^     All messages    << 1349-1364  1328-1348 of 2246  1312-1327 >>
1348
Jonathan Crocker
08-29-2016
17:40 UT
Ah, thanks - obviously time to read Little Fuzzy again!
1347
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
08-29-2016
04:41 UT
Jackson" Grimmoer" Russell wrote:

> The faux Martian cave drawings were mentioned
> along with Piltdown Man in Little Fuzzy.

"That fellow who carved a Late Upland Martian inscription in that cave in Kenya, for instance."

That's Leonard Kellogg, speaking to Ernst Mallin, before they traveled to Holloway's camp, citing examples from history after suggesting that Holloway is perpetrating a hoax in claiming that the Fuzzies are sapient.

What it suggests is that at about the same time he gave up on the idea of a Martian origin for Paratime humans Beam was also making it clear that Terro-humans did not believe that any ancient Martians had ever been to Terra.

Yeek!

David
--
"Considering the one author about whom I am uniquely qualified to speak, I question if any reader of H. Beam Piper will long labor under the misunderstanding that he is a pious Christian, a left-wing liberal, a Gandhian pacifist, or a teetotaler." - H. Beam Piper, "Double: Bill Symposium" interview
1346
Grimmoer
08-29-2016
04:25 UT
The faux Martian cave drawings were mentioned along with Piltdown Man in Little Fuzzy.

Jackson
1345
Jonathan Crocker
08-29-2016
04:14 UT
I have forgotten the reference to the "fraud" writing in the cave - which story was that in, do you remember?

And a Piper-written "Cowboy Beebop" would make me want to actually watch anime, by the way.
1344
David Sooby
08-29-2016
03:30 UT
David Johnson said:

> nowhere in any Terro-human Future History yarn do we get any indication that Terro-humans understand themselves to
> be "immigrants" from Mars. Surely if this were understood there would have been some discussion of the point when
> the Freyans were encountered in "When in the Course--"

Yes, but what are we to make of the reaction -- or rather, the glaring non-reaction -- of the Human anthropologists in "Omnilingual" to the Human appearance of the Martians? There is much discussion of the extreme improbability of parallel evolution in "When in the Course--", when it's rather incidental to the plot. Why, then, is there not even a passing mention in the discussion of the Martians by the Human anthropologists in "Omnilingual"? It's not like the story needed the Martians to have an external anatomy indistinguishable from Human. The story would have worked just as well if the Martians has been humanoid but obviously not human. Yet Piper put this passage into the story:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"I haven't seen any actual Martian skulls--these people seem to have been very tidy about disposing of their dead--but from statues and busts and pictures I've seen, I'd say that their vocal organs were identical to our own."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--"Omnilingual", FEDERATION p. 17

...and...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Here the murals were of heroic-sized Martians, so human in appearance as to seem members of her own race...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
--"Omnilingual", FEDERATION p. 27


Why does Piper go so far towards making the Martians appear Human, or at least indistinguishable from Human? And why do none of the anthropologists remark upon this very remarkable fact? Why are the characters so firmly ignoring the elephant in the room?

We cannot, unfortunately, ask Piper directly, nor did he (so far as I know) leave us any notes to provide a clue. But is it a coincidence that in the story the protagonist, Martha Dane, is repeatedly warned not to squander her career on the "obviously" fruitless endeavor of translating Martian into English? This is only my opinion, only the opinion of one ardent Piper fan, but it seems to me that Piper was obliquely highlighting the fact that in every era, the scientific community considers as "heresy" certain ideas, and any scientist daring to buck the trend will very likely have his career ended, unable to find grants or tenure. In the 1950s it was "continental drift", in the 1980s it was the concept that the brains of women and men really do function differently in some respects; quite recently it was the idea that /Homo floresiensis/ might actually be a different species of our genus, rather than just the bones of a few individuals suffering from various similar genetic deformities.

That, coupled with a passing mention in a later THFH story about a supposed "scientific fraud" of Martian writing found in a cave on Earth, indicate to me that Piper was subtly -- or perhaps not so subtly, given "Omnilingual" -- suggesting that Humans did originate on Mars, but that Human scientists simply refused to consider the evidence staring them in the face. And that the reason there is no discussion of the "elephant in the room" among the anthropoligists in "Omnilingual" is because it was considered scientific heresy to discuss the possibility that Martians and Humans might be related.

Of course, I could be reading into the story something Piper never intended. But if so, why that later reference to the so-called scientific "fraud" of the Martian writing in a cave on Earth? Surely Piper intended for his fans to regard that as a reference to the Martians in "Omnilingual".
1343
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
08-29-2016
03:23 UT
David Sooby wrote:

> Grimmoer said:
>
> > I never heard anybody complain about Bradbury's
> > Martians, or even ERB's.
>
> Hmmm, jokes about John Carter mating with Dejah
> Thoris [snip]

This isn't an Edgar Rice Burroughs forum, folks. Let's keep the discussion focused on Piper please.

Thanks,

David
1342
David Sooby
08-29-2016
02:34 UT
Grimmoer said:

> I never heard anybody complain about Bradbury's Martians, or even ERB's.

Hmmm, jokes about John Carter mating with Dejah Thoris and producing an egg used to crop up regularly in the fan press. Perhaps you haven't read many older fanzines? At any rate, ERB was writing what I'd call "science fantasy", pretty far indeed from the sort of hard-SF that Piper generally preferred... Paratime stories notwithstanding. That is, the Barsoom stories are closer to pure fantasy than to pure hard-SF. And even within Paratime, the Kalvan sequence is completely lacking in any of the mystical mumbo-jumbo seen in "Police Operation" and "Last Enemy".

As for Bradbury's Martians: The stories in THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES are not really a series. The stories are mostly unconnected other than being set on Mars. The society and, as I recall, anatomy of Martians varies from story to story, sometimes wildly. Furthermore, Bradbury was using SF merely as a vehicle for social commentary, in the tradition of H. G. Wells. His writings don't (so far as I know) attract the sort of detailed canonical discussions and debates about how his stories fit in with current scientific theory, such as are found amongst us hardcore Piper fans. However, such discussions are not unique to hard-SF fans. You'll see much the same sort of discussion and debate amongst hardcore Sherlock Holmes fans, as detailed at great length in THE ANNOTATED SHERLOCK HOLMES.
1341
David Sooby
08-29-2016
02:10 UT
Another reason I am unwilling to view the THFH and Paratime as occurring in the same universe (or multiverse) is the philosophical foundation of the two series. THFH is a fairly "hard" SF universe, the near-magical material collapsium notwithstanding.

Contrariwise, the Paratime series contains elements of mysticism that simply don't fit into the THFH. I don't have my copy of MURDER IN THE GUN ROOM to hand, but in that Piper has an apparently autobiographical character saying that he wrote a series of stories for the SF magazines based on (this is from memory, so may not be entirely accurate) the time travel hypotheses of one J. W. Dunne. Some of that mumbo-jumbo about consciousness sliding along the pathway of parallel timelines can be found in the first story about Paratimers, "Police Operation". Furthermore, in "Last Enemy", the existence of souls and reincarnation are revealed to be scientifically proven fact. This is something I can't imagine Piper putting into his THFH series.

* * * * *

Grimmoer wrote:

> Genesis should by no means be considered future history as it is the distant past. If Piper was
> saying something about the future why would he mention anything in the opposite direction?

This is confusing the name of the thing with the thing itself. It's a meaningless semantic argument, of the sort that Heinlein quite rightly pointed out is a waste of time. I rather think that Piper would have agreed.

The reason Piper was hesitant to include "The Edge of the Knife" in his article on "The Future History" isn't because that story is not set in the future! I think it's because, like the Paratime stories, it has as its premise the mystical concept of human souls traveling in time, subconsciously "sliding" along the timelines. And again, that doesn't fit the more-or-less hard-SF background of the Terro-Human Future History.
1340
David Sooby
08-29-2016
01:46 UT
Grimmoer said:

> The biggest problem I have with Martians colonizing Earth is the adaptive disparity. Bones, muscles
> and organs geared for the thin atmosphere, lower gravity and harder radiation of Mars would have a
> very hard time adjusting to Terran gravity and atmosphere. It would be like walking around with two
> men on your back. Doable, for some, but not for very long. Bones would be thinner and less dense,
> for example.

Yes, and if Martians evolved on Mars, then why do they so closely resemble Humans (as detailed in "Omnilingual") that they are visually indistinguishable in every detail of external anatomy? Why would they so closely resemble a species (Huumans) which clearly share a genetic heritage with Terran animals?

My fanfix answer is that an unknown starfaring entity transported a breeding group of Humans or proto-Humans from Earth to Mars; that entity may also have transported some to Freya, possibly at a later date.

Even then, the Martians would have had to do something rather extreme to adapt themselves to Earth gravity before making the trip; possibly living inside a huge centrifuge for some months before the journey, since they apparently didn't have artificial gravity tech.

Of course, this wouldn't be Piper's explanation. He wrote in an era before genetic mapping, and he actually defended the idea of parallel evolution producing genetically compatible Humans on two different planets, as a result of independent evolution, in "When in the Course--". But then, at least Freya isn't a light-gravity world, as Mars is, so that makes the idea of parallel evolution there slightly less implausible.
1339
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
08-28-2016
16:22 UT

Jack "Grimmoer" Russell wrote:

> Genesis should by no means be considered future
> history as it is the distant past. If Piper
> was saying something about the future why would
> he mention anything in the opposite direction?

I think the point is that "Genesis" could be the story that shows the Martian origins of the Paratime humans and, through its nebulous connection with proto-sentients on "Tareesh," may also imply that this particular world is the same one on which the Terro-humans eventually go on to become Space Vikings and such. As you suggest there isn't anything anywhere which contradicts this. There are some problems though.

First, Beam himself backed away from the Martian origins of Paratime Terrans with the "genetic accidents" explanation offered in ~Lord Kalvan~. It seems that between the time he wrote "Police Operation" and when he wrote "Gunpowder God" Beam may have had a change of mind/heart about the Martian origins of Paratime humans.

Second, nowhere in any Terro-human Future History yarn do we get any indication that Terro-humans understand themselves to be "immigrants" from Mars. Surely if this were understood there would have been some discussion of the point when the Freyans were encountered in "When in the Course--" or even--as you suggest--when the problem of the Fuzzies' poor suitability to the natural environment of Zarathustra was discovered. It would seem that if Terro-humans were actually Martio-humans none of the Terro-humans ever came to recognize this fact.

For this reason, I classify "Genesis" as a Paratime yarn, with a caveat somewhat similar to that used by Beam to classify "The Edge of the Knife" as a Terro-human Future History yarn. It "fits" but only with a metaphorical shoehorn. . . .

> The Mercenaries could go either way. They
> mention the early beginnings in the creation
> of collapsium so I have no problem with
> including it in the THFH.

There are more than a few challenges in treating "The Mercenaries" as a Terro-human Future History yarn. The U.S. is part of a "Western Union" (and there is no Terran Federation). More importantly, the U.S. and the Islamic "Kaliphate" seem to be adversaries in "The Mercenaries" while in "The Edge of the Knife" they are apparently allies (who end up in the Terran Federation together). Believe me, it takes a bit more than a "shoehorn" to fit "The Mercenaries" into the Terro-human Future History.

> In Paratime the idea is that every timeline
> below 1st or 2nd loses their knowledge of
> their Martian origins

By the time he was writing "Gunpowder God" it seems _Beam_ lost his knowledge of the Paratimers' Martian origins. . . .

Down Styphon!

David
--
"Oh, my people had many gods. There was Conformity, and Authority, and Expense Account, and Opinion. And there was Status, whose symbols were many, and who rode in the great chariot Cadillac, which was almost a god itself. And there was Atom-bomb, the dread destroyer, who would some day come to end the world. None were very good gods, and I worshiped none of them. - Calvin Morrison (H. Beam Piper), ~Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen~
1338
Grimmoer
08-28-2016
16:03 UT
With you 100% on the Genesis/Omnilingual thing. Some people are against the whole Martians are us thing because it doesn't fit something in their own philosophy. Others can't get behind the pseudo science of it. It is all FICTION, and should be recognized as such. I never heard anybody complain about Bradbury's Martians, or even ERB's. We read the stories, enjoy them or not, then move on to the next. I have read all of ERB and Bradbury's Martian stories, plus Carson of Venus and a few thousand others by now. If you want to really get into the science of it, ERG is really not for you. Seriously, I don't think he even walked past a scientific journal about Mars. Piper must have done some research as he was something of an autodidact and leaned towards practical advances in science rather than overly fanciful ones. Sure, much of what he wrote is dated now. Still, he was pretty well grounded at the time he was writing on what was believed to be eventually possible.

Jackson
1337
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
08-28-2016
15:52 UT
~

jimmyjoejangles wrote:

> I just want to say that I believe all Piper's
> stories take place in a single universe.

Welcome (back?) to our Piper forum, "JimmyJoe." We ask folks here to identify themselves by their actual names, so please introduce yourself.

> Collapsium is one of the things that links them.
> Another is the fact that we are supposed to be
> fourth level of the paratime, and the base of
> Terran Future as well.

As others have already mentioned, there's an opportunity for reasonable people to disagree on this matter. For example, I can't find a specific mention of collapsium in any Paratime yarn (Jack's point about the idol in "Temple Trouble" notwithstanding).

Yes, it's possible to assume that the Terro-human Future History yarns are all merely one Paratime timeline but without any specific connection one can assume that for just about _any_ fictional story. The ~Star Wars~ yarns could be a Paratime timeline. Star Trek's "Mirror universe" could be a Paratime timeline. ~Cowboy Beebop~ could happen on a Paratime timeline. It's the nature of "alternate timeline" storytelling.

As others have also already mentioned, it sure would have been easy for Beam to drop a couple of hints. A Paratimer could have mentioned the "Thirty Days' War" or the ~Kilroy~, the first robotic lunar rocket, or the Islamic Caliphate. Someone in "When in the Course--" might have brought up the Martians when they were arguing about the "human-ness" of the Freyans. But Beam didn't seem to provide any such hints.

Likewise with Beam's other yarns like ~Lone Star Planet~. Putting aside the fact that "New Texas" doesn't use the naming convention of Terro-human settled planets there's the fact that it--or its extraordinary form of politics--is never mentioned in a Terro-human Future History yarn. And then there are the z'Srauff. Sure, we can wonder what happened to the Fuzzies but if ~Lone Star Planet~ were a Terro-human Future History yarn the real question for the Space Viking and Empire eras would be, what happened to the only star-faring sophonts encountered by humanity?

But, again, these are all questions about which reasonable people might disagree. In the meanwhile, I look forward to your introduction.

Be well,

David
--
"Why not everybody make friend, have fun, make help, be good?" - Diamond Grego (H. Beam Piper), ~Fuzzy Sapiens~

~
1336
jimmyjoejangles
08-28-2016
15:35 UT
I guess what I meant to say is that I believe THFH is one of the Paratimelines. I remember the first time I came on here a long time ago I read that someone said that Paratime didn't even have space flight, which is totally untrue (Venusian night hound). I also thought there were things in Lonestar Planet that fit in, but I'll read again. Omnilingual ties in very nicely with Genesis, in fact as noted in Typewriter Killer if there wasn't a linguistic background finding an elemental table would be useless.
1335
Grimmoer
08-28-2016
14:26 UT
Genesis should by no means be considered future history as it is the distant past. If Piper was saying something about the future why would he mention anything in the opposite direction? As I see it, it is really up to the reader, and maybe future writers in his universe to make that call. If it reasonably fits, then go with it or not as you like. The Mercenaries could go either way. They mention the early beginnings in the creation of collapsium so I have no problem with including it in the THFH. In Paratime the idea is that every timeline below 1st or 2nd loses their knowledge of their Martian origins and Little Fuzzy's timeline suggests that - - except where Diehr introduced his own contribution, but he isn't Piper so make of it what you will.

The biggest problem I have with Martians colonizing Earth is the adaptive disparity. Bones, muscles and organs geared for the thin atmosphere, lower gravity and harder radiation of Mars would have a very hard time adjusting to Terran gravity and atmosphere. It would be like walking around with two men on your back. Doable, for some, but not for very long. Bones would be thinner and less dense, for example. It would take months of conditioning, if not Martian years, to prepare the colonists for what they would face. Piper glossed over all that by simply starting the story at the point when the colony ship was approaching Terra before the collision. However, since the survivors seem perfectly capable of functioning on the planets surface one has to conclude some sort of adaptive measures were taken.
Bioengineering, training, drugs or some combination thereof.

Jackson
1334
David Sooby
08-28-2016
10:36 UT
Whether or not the THFH (Terro-Human Future History) is one of the Paratime timelines, or not, is a matter of continuing debate among Piper fans. There definitely are two camps, and it seems pretty clear that the two will never see eye-to-eye.

Personally, I'm in the camp that says they should be treated as two separate series. Piper's "The Future History" article listed only THFH stories, and didn't mention Paratime at all. Furthermore, Piper's article ends with this statement:

"Nothing else, with the possible exception of a novelette called THE EDGE OF THE KNIFE, Amazing, May 1957, belongs to the History of the Future."

Piper's "Genesis" was published in 1951; "The Future History" was published in 1964. If the two series were meant to be considered as one, then "Genesis" should be listed as a story common to both series.

If Piper didn't consider "Genesis" to be a story in the THFH series, then why should we?
Edited 08-28-2016 10:37
1333
Grimmoer
08-28-2016
04:04 UT
Paratimers do not use collapsium per se. The only mention of anything even similar is a statue made of collapsed nickel. That was in "Temple Trouble" I believe. And there are stories that do not fit into the THFH, like "A Planet for Texans" and "Null ABC."

That said, I do not see any inherent reason why Paratime and THFH would be mutually exclusive. I heard that Diehr actually wanted to write a story that merged the two. I don't know that he ever did it but it is an interesting idea.

Jackson Russell
1332
jimmyjoejangles
08-28-2016
02:09 UT
I just want to say that I believe all Piper's stories take place in a single universe. Collapsium is one of the things that links them. Another is the fact that we are supposed to be fourth level of the paratime, and the base of Terran Future as well.
1331
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
08-13-2016
21:14 UT
~
Jonathan Crocker wrote:

> Looking back we know it took the Apollo missions 3 days to
> get to the moon, and I've read the machine could have made
> it in two, but wouldn't have had enough fuel to enter lunar
> orbit then. So figure if you're using unmanned missiles,
> that are trying to hit a target, and not slow down or enter
> orbit, figure at least a day.
>
> A lot can happen in a day - it's not a guaranteed victory
> to build moon bases, either peaceful or armed.

I agree it seems impractical now but Beam used a similar idea as the basis for the "Thirty Days' War" in the Terro-human Future History. I've wondered if he was influenced by this bit of speculation:

http://www.zarthani.net/docs/rocket_blitz_...e_moon-colliers.pdf

> Long term? I could easily see MacLeod's team being hired
> to work on improving Abbott lift-and-drive, maybe even
> working with the Dillingham team on hyperdrives.

I like it (though, of course, these would like be invented by folks other than "Abbott" and "Dillingham" in the setting of "The Mercenaries." Perhaps it's "MacLeod lift-and-drive?).

> Even longer term? I could easily see one of the great
> powers saying to teams, "look, you know too much that we
> don't want the other powers to have. Settle here voluntarily,
> or else."

Yes, I suspect you're correct here. I can't see the "Free Scientists" staying "free" indefinitely.

David
--
"You either went on to the inevitable catastrophe, or you realized, in time, that nuclear armament and nationalism cannot exist together on the same planet, and it is easier to banish a habit of thought than a piece of knowledge." - H. Beam Piper, ~Uller Uprising~
~
1330
Jonathan Crocker
08-13-2016
03:01 UT
Detente didn't seem to figure much in Piper's stories. Of course, everyone sitting around being happy and content doesn't make for the best stories.

Looking back we know it took the Apollo missions 3 days to get to the moon, and I've read the machine could have made it in two, but wouldn't have had enough fuel to enter lunar orbit then. So figure if you're using unmanned missiles, that are trying to hit a target, and not slow down or enter orbit, figure at least a day.

A lot can happen in a day - it's not a guaranteed victory to build moon bases, either peaceful or armed.

On the other hand, they say the spin-off technologies from Apollo generated a lot more for the companies, over the years, than Apollo cost. So as long as no one jumped the gun, it could certainly lead to more long-term growth of the economy for the leading power vs the others.

Long term? I could easily see MacLeod's team being hired to work on improving Abbott lift-and-drive, maybe even working with the Dillingham team on hyperdrives.

Even longer term? I could easily see one of the great powers saying to teams, "look, you know too much that we don't want the other powers to have. Settle here voluntarily, or else."
1329
Jay P Hailey
08-12-2016
08:07 UT
> ~
> Been thinking about "The Mercenaries," a stand-alone yarn that's
> not part of Beam's Terro-human Future History (though it _is_
> loosely connected to the other "Hartley" yarns, "Time and Time
> Again" and the dreadful "Day of the Moron").
>
> What happens in the universe of "The Mercenaries" once one of
> the blocs competing to get to the Moon are successful? Does
> that bloc come to dominate the Earth?
>
> More interestingly, what happens to the Free Scientists? We
> already see a growing clash between them and the nation-states
> (including the U.S.-led Western Union). Are thee Free
> Scientists successful in maintaining their independence?
>
 > David

All depends on how you want to see it? And, of course, how might Piper have written it?
1328
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
08-12-2016
00:39 UT
~
Been thinking about "The Mercenaries," a stand-alone yarn that's not part of Beam's Terro-human Future History (though it _is_ loosely connected to the other "Hartley" yarns, "Time and Time Again" and the dreadful "Day of the Moron").

What happens in the universe of "The Mercenaries" once one of the blocs competing to get to the Moon are successful? Does that bloc come to dominate the Earth?

More interestingly, what happens to the Free Scientists? We already see a growing clash between them and the nation-states (including the U.S.-led Western Union). Are thee Free Scientists successful in maintaining their independence?

David
--
"Ideas for science fiction stories like ideas for anything else, are where you find them, usually in the most unlikely places. The only reliable source is a mind which asks itself a question like, 'What would happen if--?' or, 'Now what would this develop into, in a few centuries?' Or, 'How would so-and-so happen?' Anything at all, can trigger such a question, in your field if not in mine." - H. Beam Piper, "Double: Bill Symposium" interview
~
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