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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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Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
22:10 UT
That is an interesting comparison - I'd just thought that the ruins on the Whelan picture were suggested by the title, a Space Viking raid wouldn't seem to leave nicely landscaped gardens in their wake.

If the central figure in the Whelan picture is Lucas Trask, he's been working out, catching rays.

I think I'll be pulling my copy off the shelf for a read this week!
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
04:08 UT

Just saw this copy of Science Fiction Times go up on ebay. It says it has an obit for Piper in it. Not sure if its overpriced or not.
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03:48 UT
Whelan's Space Viking

Michael Whelan's cover for Space Viking has always been one of my favorite images inspired by Beam's work. But I have just this evening realized how much Whelan's illustration seems to have been inspired by John Schoenherr's illustration for the cover of Analog when the novel was originally serialized in 1962 and by Ed Valigursky's illustration for the cover of the first Ace paperback edition in 1963.

Whelan switches Valigursky's green-and-purple color scheme but Whelan's Viking in the foreground and ruins in the background reflect similar elements in Valigursky's illustration.

And Whelan's illustration of the spherical Nemesis is of the same size and position as Schoenherr's Viking ship (just mirrored across the centerline). The Nemesis blazonry is a wonderful addition by Whelan.

It's fascinating and I'm astounding I've only now realized the similarities!

Smash the traitors first!

"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." - "Ministry of Disturbance"

David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03:38 UT

Space Viking by John Schoenherr (1962)
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03:37 UT

Space Viking by Ed Valigursky (1963)
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03:36 UT

Space Viking by Michael Whelan (1977)
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
04:40 UT
Blake Hartley's Path to the White House

"About 1950, we start building a political organization, here in Pennsylvania. In 1960, I think we can elect you President." - Allan Hartley, "Time and Time Again"

That's Allan Hartley speaking to his father, Blake Hartley, in August 1945. So what did Blake Hartley's path to the presidency look like?

The easiest assumption, based upon Allan Hartley's off-the-cuff plan, is to assume that Hartley was elected President in 1960. But the younger Hartley's plan is not the only information we get from Beam.

In 1965, when "The Mercenaries" takes place, Blake Hartley's time as president of Associated Enterprises is recent enough that the MacLeod Team can still expect to call-in a favor from Allan Hartley for their prior service for the Hartleys' firm. It seems unlikely that this favor could be called in five or more years after it was "earned." Based on this bit from Beam, perhaps Hartley was not elected President until 1964. So maybe Allan Hartley's plan didn't quite unfold as he had initially anticipated.

One path possible path from a Pennsylvania "political organization" to the Presidency might have run through one of Pennsylvania's Senate seats. "Time and Time Again" was submitted for publication in June 1946. By that point, Pennsylvania Attorney General Jim Duff was on his way to being elected Governor later that year. Duff went on to be elected to the Senate in 1950 but lost a close election in 1956 and retired from politics. So one possibility is that Blake Hartley ran (as a Democrat) against Duff in 1956. (The actual candidate was Philadelphia Mayor Joseph Clark.) Hartley might then have ran for President in 1960 as a freshman Senator. Perhaps he was unsuccessful in doing so.

At the time "Time and Time Again" was written Pennsylvania's other Senate seat was held by Duff's predecessor as Governor, Ed Martin, who was elected to the Senate in 1946. He was re-elected in 1952 and it seems unlikely new-to-politics Blake Hartley would have been successful in trying to unseat him in that election. Martin did not run for re-election in 1958 but it seems unlikely Hartley could have run for his Senate seat then and then been successful running for President just two years later. So, if Hartley were elected to take Martin's place in the Senate, he might then have ran for President in 1964. But as Senator from 1958 to 1964 Blake Hartley likely could not have been president of Associated Enterprises when it employed the MacLeod Team.

Duff's successor as Governor, John Fine, was elected in 1950, but did not run for re-election in 1954. The 1954 race for Governor was between the Republican Lieutenant Governor and a Democratic State Senator. This seems like the earliest likely opportunity for Hartley to have been elected to statewide office in Pennsylvania. If he were elected Governor of Pennsylvania in 1954 he would have been well placed to run for President in 1960, assuming he was re-elected as Governor in 1958.

(Allan Hartley would have been expected to know some of this history from his boyhood, but perhaps not the details, especially about the Senators.)

So who might Hartley have ran against for President?

Harry Truman had been President for a year by the time Beam submitted "Time and Time Again." It was not at all clear at that point that Truman would be elected President in 1948 so Beam may have made a variety of assumptions about who might have been running for President in 1960. It would not have been obvious that Eisenhower would have been President from 1953 to 1961 and therefore not obvious that Richard Nixon would have been the Republican nominee for President in 1960. Likewise, it seems unlikely that Beam would have been able to anticipate the candidacy of Jack Kennedy when he was writing his yarn in 1946.

When Beam was writing "Time and Time Again" in 1946 he may have assumed that Truman would not be elected in 1948. Perhaps he assumed Truman would be defeated by his Republican challenger--Dewey actually did defeat Truman in this then-future-now-alternate history--who would have then served the newly-mandated two terms. (The 22nd Amendment limiting Presidents to two terms was not ratified until 1951 but it seems likely that a "President Dewey" would nevertheless have served only two terms even if he'd been "grandfathered out" of the 22nd Amendment because it had been a key Republican initiative.)

Blake Hartley likely would not yet have been ready to run for the Presidency in 1956 so that would mean someone else to follow "President Dewey." That new President would have been an incumbent in the 1960 election. A tough challenge for freshman Senator Hartley but less so for seasoned Governor Hartley. But if Hartley had been Governor of Pennsylvania from 1954 he likely wouldn't have also been president of Associated Enterprise.

So perhaps Governor Hartley ran in the primary in 1960 but was unsuccessful. When his second term as Governor--or first term as Senator--came to an end in 1962 perhaps Hartley became (or returned to being) president of Associated Enterprises, running again for President in 1964 in an election with no incumbent President. That would leave him well-placed as President in 1965 to have "owed" a favor to the MacLeod Team.

So, Hartley as Pennslyvania Governor in 1954 (or Senator in 1956), an unsuccessful run for President in 1960, leaves office in 1962 to become president of Associated Enterprises, and elected President in 1964.


"It started when I began contributing to some of the professional journals. There's still a little of what used to be called male sex-chauvinism among my colleagues, and some who would be favorably impressed with an article signed D. Warren Rives might snort in contempt at the same article signed Doris Rives." - Doris Rivas (H. Beam Piper), "Day of the Moron"
Gordon JohansenPerson was signed in when posted
05:34 UT
Thanks for the recent posts. A very interesting take on slide rules. I'm old enough to have had to learn how to use them in university though I'm sure I couldn't remember how to do it now.
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03:09 UT
Annual Muster of Piper Irregulars

Hi folks,

This year's Muster will take place on Saturday, May 16th. All Piper fans are welcome; I will be attending as well as Dennis Frank and several others.

Again, we will meet at the Waffle Shop on North Atherton Street at 10:00 a.m. We plan to visit the Kalvan Transposition site (which is slowly disappearing!) and other Piper sites of interest.

We hope to see you there.

John Carr

Tim TowPerson was signed in when posted
14:24 UT
Just finished watching the Mandalorian. Thinking of the Piper connections, they have made the Jawas a space-faring species as they are now on 2 planets other than Tatooine, though always tooling around in their ubiquitous sandcrawlers. It doesn't seem practical to transport that monstrosity from planet to planet. It's unclear though if the Jawas are cargo or pilots either.

Their high pitched language could be similar to fuzzy-speak. Maybe they are devolved ewoks (fuzzies) or a nocturnal breed under those robes.
Tim TowPerson was signed in when posted
13:04 UT
Nice work here. The save icon is still a floppy disk, which is pretty much already in dis-use.
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03:32 UT

"Slide Rule" in Pournelle's "The Last Shot"
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03:31 UT

"Slide Rules" in "Space Viking's Daughter"
Edited 03-04-2020 03:33
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
03:30 UT
Conn Maxwell's Slide Rule

As some of you will recall, back in 2004 I ran an online role-playing game set in Beam's Future History, specifically about 40 years after the events of ~Space Viking~. At one point I had a question from one of the players, the late Frank Gasperik, asking whether the characters had hand-held "personal data assistants" (PDAs). My response was:

"Those of you who are familiar with Piper's Space Vikings know this is an awkward question. Writing in the late '50s and early '60s Beam Piper's star travellers still used things like slide rules to do calculations! (Indeed, much of Piper's "futuristic" technology seems backwards and quaint to our half-century-in-his-future sensibilities.)

"Here's how we will play this. Characters can indeed have what we today would call 'personal data assistants' . . . but they call these hand-held computers 'slide rules' (just as we here in the U.S. still 'dial' a number on our mobile telephones--even if we're not old enough to have ever even seen a rotary telephone). I will handle other archaic Piper technologies in a similar manner as we come across them."

You'll note that back in 2004 it was not yet obvious to me that our "PDAs" and our "mobile phones" were themselves about the merge into a single device!

[Screenshot from the online game to follow.]

This week I finished reading's John Carr's excellent new collection ~The Best of Jerry Pournelle~:


The collection includes a previously-unpublished Pournelle story titled "The Last Shot" written sometime in the 1970s. In it is this remarkable scene:

"Bill took his slide rule from his pocket. He still called it a slide rule although he'd long since given up his circular slipstick for the tiny Hewlett-Packard computer. It hummed, a tiny warbling note indicating that it was in microwave communication with a larger computer somewhere. Of course . . . [there was] an antenna hooked into the company's primary data banks right here in this room. . . ."

That's Pournelle imagining a wireless "PDA"--which is called a "slide rule"--in the 1970s!

[Photo of that excerpt from "The Last Shot" also to follow.]

A "slide rule" appears several times in Beam's Future History yarns. Abe Clifford, the ~Javelin's~ navigator, uses one to try to calculate the position of the castaways on Hermann Reuch's Land on Fenris. Gerd Van Riebeek imagined Fuzzies using them on Zarthustra. Conn Maxwell contrasted Merlin's capabilities with those of a slide-rule-using human. Even the leader of Aditya in the Empire era "Ministry of Disturbance" is expected to carry a slide rule!

It seems likely Pournelle would have grappled with Beam's "slide rules" and other archaic technology in a similar manner. When we finally see ~Return of Space Viking~ I expect the Space Viking will be calculating--and perhaps even communicating--with their "slide rules"!


"A lot of technicians are girls, and when work gets slack, they're always the first ones to get shoved out of jobs." - Sylvie Jacquemont (H. Beam Piper), ~Junkyard Planet~
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
15:55 UT
The Terro-human History Project at Zarthani.net

I've finally posted the first "monograph" in a little effort I've been working on for quite some time, the Imperial Conservatory of Terro-human Civilization's "Terro-human History Project":


This is the first piece from an imagined Galactic Empire era research effort at the Imperial University at Asgard on Odin which is studying Terro-human history. This monograph, "Terra: From Many Nations to One Planet," examines the early origins of the Terran Federation:


Additional monographs looking at other aspects of Terro-human history are planned for the same space.


"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 (narrator point-of-view), ~Uller Uprising~
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