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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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Jonathan Crocker
00:52 UT
Piper certainly did put a lot of clues in his stories, good work hunting them all down.
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
18:16 UT

What was the "debacle" in the United States in year 114 of the Atomic Era?

In ~Uller Uprising~, the first Terro-human Future History yarn, published just seven years after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended World War II, Beam tells us about "the old U.S. [atomic bomb] data that General Lanningham brought to South America after the debacle in the United States in A.E. 114." Copies of this information are discovered in the end papers of an historical novel by the Terran nuclear engineers on Uller who trying to build an archaic atomic bomb. The description of a "debacle in the United States" is the only reference to the United States in all of Beam's Terro-human Future History works (except for "The Edge of the Knife" in which the role of the United States in the initial formation of the "first" Terran Federation is described).

What could this "debacle" be and what might it tell us about the fate of the United States?

The first clue comes with the date, 114 AE. This is five years after the end of World War IV in 109 AE (according to Beam's essay "The Future History"). Thus, we must conclude that the United States survived the Fourth World War, in some fashion, at least, but the United States in the aftermath of the Fourth World War must be something very different from what it looked like to Beam when he was writing in the 1950s and 1960s (and even from what it looks like to us today).

The next clue also comes from "The Future History." Beam tells us that there were "minor wars for ten years" after World War IV, suggesting that the "debacle" in the United States--and Lanningham's arrival in South America--occurred in the midst of these "minor wars."

Beam also tells us in "The Future History" that World War IV (and presumably World War III--the Thirty Days' War--before it) and the subsequent "minor wars" result in the complete "devastation of [the] Northern Hemisphere of Terra." Here then is the third clue about the "debacle" in the United States: it occurs in the aftermath of the "complete devastation" of those parts of the United States--the parts which constituted the United States at the time Beam was writing--in North America.

It would therefore seem that when Lanningham brought the atomic bomb information to South America, he was coming from a United States which existed _outside_ of North America. Now, I've written previously about why I believe this was most likely from U.S. settlements in Antarctica but Beam gives us an additional possibility in "The Future History." In a parenthetical reference he describes World War IV as the "First Interplanetary War." We get no details about what this "interplanetary war" might have looked like other than vague comments here and there in the Terro-human Future History yarns about revolts by colonies on Mars and Venus.

We know from "Omnilingual" that the first expedition to Mars was undertaken, not by a national government but by the "first" Terran Federation in 53 AE, in the years between World Wars III and IV. Still, the possibility exists that, in addition to territory in Antarctica, the United States might also have expanded in the decades after this initial expedition to include territories on Mars and/or Venus. Thus, Lanningham might also have come to South America from United States territory off-world.

The final clue to the "debacle" in the United States also comes from "The Future History." Beam tells us that in the aftermath of World War IV and the post-War "minor wars," the "second" Terran Federation is "organized by South Africa, Australia [and] New Zealand, Brazil, the Argentine, etc." Despite Lanningham's arrival in South America, the United States is noticeably absent. We still have no specific details about the "debacle" but apparently it is something which led to the United States, which had been central to the formation of the "first" Terran Federation, not being party to the formation of the "second" Terran Federation. This is the "second" Terran Federation which goes on, as Beam tells us in "The Future History," through a series of "wars of colonial pacification and consolidation," to impose a "System-wide pax" (and, eventually, to colonize interstellar Federation space).

Rather than playing a part in this "pacification" it would seem that the United States--at least those territories which remained in Antartica and off-world on Mars and/or Venus--was _subject_ to it at the hands of the "second" Terran Federation. (This idea of remnant nations of the pre-Federation era being "pacified" by the "second" Terran Federation also fits with the description Beam provides in "The Keeper" of Britain being "the last nation to join the Terran Federation," presumably also from its own redoubts in the Southern Hemisphere and/or off-world.)

We can make a couple of further suppositions about the "debacle" in the United States. Because Lanningham becomes an historical figure easily remembered by Terran Federation people centuries after his exploits it seems reasonable to assume that his role in bringing the atomic bomb information to South America is viewed positively by Terran Federation historians, suggesting that Lanningham had made some sort of break with the United States. Likely, this was over the position the United States had taken with respect to the emerging "second" Federation. (It could be that the historical model Beam had in mind in this case was the U.S. failure to join the League of Nations in the aftermath of World War I.) In any event, the "debacle" in 114 AE, just as the "second" Terran Federation was being formed, is the last we ever hear of the United States in Beam's Terro-human Future History.

I have the honour, etc., etc., etc.,

"I was born in Antarctica, on Terra. The water's a little too cold to do much swimming there. And I've spent most of my time since then in central Argentine, in the pampas country." - Glenn Murell (H. Beam Piper), ~Four-Day Planet~

David Sooby
06:57 UT
@ David Johnson:

What would be the best way to send you a large number of archived e-mails? Sending them one at a time would be time consuming.
Dennis Frank
23:48 UT
David, I do have some starting with 2008. Ill try to find time to forward them in the next few weeks. Dennis

On 11/13/15, 11:56 PM, "QuickTopic daily digest"
<qtopic-42-tnfVKeAH3s4T@quicktopic.com> wrote:
David Johnson
13:05 UT
Jonathan Crocker wrote:

> The spherical shape of the Mercenary Cruiser could also be a hint. Not as big a hint as the whole "Sword Worlds" subsector and all the planet names, but still.

Traveller's Broadsword-class Mercenary Cruiser was first introduced in an early issue of the old ~Journal of the Traveller's Aid Society~. In the same issue there was another article about a non-player-character who owned and commanded one of the Broadswords.
Now, you have to recall that Traveller's "Third Imperium" campaign setting was told from a point of view in which the Sword Worlds were the adversaries of most player-characters. The Broadsword commander was a woman, but also a former noble whose husband had been killed in an attack by Sword Worlders. Devastated by the attack she left her role in the Imperial navy, bought a Broadsword with her family fortune, and went hunting for the killers of her husband.
Obviously, the Traveller campaign setting was different from the Space Viking era of Beam's Terro-human Future History but there was more to the introduction of the original Broadsword-class Mercenary Cruisers than merely their shape which paid homage to ~Space Viking~.
Be well,

Jonathan Crocker
03:46 UT
Thanks for the link to the article - it was interesting, I'd heard of some of those books in passing, but I'm not familiar with them. The spherical shape of the Mercenary Cruiser could also be a hint. Not as big a hint as the whole "Sword Worlds" subsector and all the planet names, but still.

And I hope that I'll be able to see that movie! Too bad someone isn't working on a Paratime animated series.
Gordon Johansen
16:21 UT
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Spam deleted by QuickTopic 01-19-2016 06:08
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
18:17 UT
Good article here which makes the case for ~Space Viking~ being a key inspiration for the sci-fi role-playing game Traveller:


I was already convinced but interesting nevertheless to see the strong argument here.


"Do you know which books to study, and which ones not to bother with? Or which ones to read first, so that what you read in the others will be comprehensible to you? That's what they'll give you [at university]. The tools, which you don't have now, for educating yourself." - Bish Ware (H. Beam Piper), ~Four-Day Planet~
Jackson Russell
15:54 UT
Maybe you can scan them and run them through an OCR?

15:16 UT
Everything I saved from that era is printed on paper, not electronic.
Is that helpful?

David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
14:47 UT
Old PML messages?

Anyone out there have any messages from the old PIPER-L mailing list (formerly hosted at home.ease.lsoft.com)? I have some and am working on an "archive" of sorts that I will post here at Zarthani.net. I don't have anything like _all_ of the messages and realize it's not feasible to build a complete archive but I would like to capture and make available anything that's "out there."

If you have any old messages, even if just a few, please contact me at <piperfan (at) zarthani (dot) net>.



P.S. Message from this Piper forum are all archived here and will remain so as long as we can keep this resource funded.
"Why not everybody make friend, have fun, make help, be good?" - Diamond Grego (H. Beam Piper), ~Fuzzy Sapiens~
Spam deleted by QuickTopic 11-06-2015 06:07
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