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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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CalidorePerson was signed in when posted
15:22 UT
I am pleased to announce the release of my latest paper, titled “An Atlas of Piper’s Galaxy”.
Over the past 17 months, I have tried to do a thorough job of research and analysis, and believe that I have found a way to resolve almost all of Beam’s discrepancies as to ship speeds and distances. This has led to some conclusions, and maps, which I think fans of H. Beam Piper’s work will find interesting. The color-coded star charts, more than thirty in number, cover the entire length of the Terro-Human Future History, from the Terran Federation to the Fifth Galactic Empire.
The atlas is available in pdf format, in two parts. These can be accessed from John Carr’s Hostigos website (www.hostigos.com), under Free Downloads; and also on the H. Beam Piper Memorial website (www.h-beampiper.com) under piper's galaxy. A third part, currently in progress, will contain several appendices to the atlas, as well as the endnotes.

I would like to express my grateful appreciation to John F. Carr and his webmaster Mark Richardson for providing the ways and means to share this paper with Piperdom at large.


"He entered the big oval room, lighted from overhead by the great star-map in the ceiling, and crossed to his desk, with the viewscreens and reading screens and communications screens around it..." (Galactic Emperor Paul XXII, in "Ministry of Disturbance")
Deleted by author 10-27-2020 00:55
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
02:00 UT
From the Archives: "Terran Federation Expansion"

Here's another post from the PIPER-L archives, from May 2001. This may be John Anderson's first post to the old PIPER-L.

As we've come to expect from him here (and from his work in ~The Rise of the Terran Federation~), John had some rather extensive and detailed thoughts about the development of the early Terran Federation.

Subject: TF Expansion
From: John Anderson
Date: Tue, 29 May 2001 12:01:33 -0400

TF Expansion

1. Introduction

This was originally written in response to Mike McGuirk’s ‘Why Fenris?’ posting. Hopefully my fellow list-members won’t mind a (very) late entry in the discussion. The only answer I saw as to why a seemingly profitless (and definitely inhospitable) planet like Fenris was colonized was by William Taylor. ‘Greed and stupidity. You have the rights to swampland in Florida, you advertise the sunshine and don’t mention the hurricanes and gators.’ Human nature being what it is, such a deceptive—or even outright fraudulent—practice would indeed seem likely, and probably accounts for the settlement of some worlds. This is made more feasible by the long interstellar travel times during the TF, allowing one to get away with it. ‘You murder your grandmother, or rob a bank…and if you make an off-planet getaway, you’re reasonably safe. Of course, there’s such a thing as extradition, but who bothers? Distances are too great, and communication is too slow’ (4DP/LSP, pg. 196). Also, when Hugo Ingermann flees Zarathustra with 250,000 sols of illicit sunstones, ‘you know how slow interstellar communication is…He’ll get to some planet like Xipototec or Fenris or Ithavoll [or] Lugaluru and dig in there, and nobody’ll ever find him.’ (FaOP, pg. 214) The only criminals the TF makes a persistent effort to find are those who commit crimes far more serious than fraud, like Anton Gerrit the enslaver, and it takes Bish Ware 15 years to catch him. But assuming some worlds like Fenris are colonized in such a manner, they are likely exceptions to the rule, since the TF ultimately consisted of ‘almost five hundred planets’ (CC, pg. 242). A larger cause should be looked for in the driving force of planetary settlement, which probably includes the following. This shows one (though not the only) important aspect of the overall process, and possibly another reason why Fenris was colonized.

2. Limited Land in Greece

Piper compares the colonization of Mars and Venus to ‘when the Greek city-states were throwing out colonies across the Aegean’ (Empire, pg. 55). By extension, the TF’s interstellar expansion parallels the Greek colonization of the greater Mediterranean/Black Sea region. A major factor in Greek expansion was too many people in relation to the amount of arable land. Greece is mainly mountainous (as is Asia Minor), and ‘The lack of cultivable land and its inevitable consequences—debt, slavery, and famine—were one of the causes of the great migratory movement which lasted for two centuries.’ (The Harper Atlas of World History, pg. 42)

3. Terran Mismanagement

This factor seemingly applies to Terra as well. Verkan Vall, speaking of our Fourth Level Europo-American timeline, says, ‘Those people, because of deforestation, bad agricultural methods and general mismanagement, are eroding away their arable soil at an alarming rate. At the same time, they are breeding like rabbits. In other words, each generation has less and less food to divide among more and more people…A series of all-out atomic wars is just what that sector needs, to bring their population down to their world’s carrying capacity’ (Paratime, pg. 145). Even if Paratime and the THFH are separate series, the same idea seems to apply in the latter one. Vall apparently lives in a 1965-equivalent time; after this in the THFH we have WWIII, WWIV, and the Mars-Venus Revolt. In other words, ‘a series of all-out atomic wars’; the M-V Revolt possibly involves nukes as do the previous two world wars. These bring down the population somewhat, but this doesn’t solve the problem, as the conflicts unfortunately also destroy most of Terra’s arable land.

4. Population Pressure

After the Northern Hemisphere is destroyed, population pressure is probably the driving force behind the colonization of Antarctica, the ‘reclamation projects’ (Fed, pg. 213) in the Northern Hemisphere, early interplanetary expansion, and the settling of new worlds after hyperdrive is developed. Lothar Ffayle says, ‘You want us to build up population pressure like Terra in the First Century?’ Trask replies, ‘With three and a half billion people spread out on twelve planets? They had that many on Terra alone.’ (SV, pg. 10) Also, ‘the curse of overpopulation hadn’t put its mark on the Freyan mind as it had on the Terran.’ (Fed, pg. 276) Consider that the much larger northern continents, with their vast croplands in the temperate zones, have been laid waste. This means about 70% of Terra’s land surface has been destroyed. Only the relatively small landmasses of South America, southern Africa, and Australia/New Zealand—as well as ice-covered Antarctica—are left. Of these, New Zealand has a small amount of arable land due to its small size, Antarctica has none at all, and South Africa/Australia have only limited amounts because of nearby deserts (Kalahari, Outback). While South America is larger and its croplands are more extensive, it still has nowhere near the area and agricultural capacity that the North did. Moreover, the Amazon rainforest covers a wide area of the continent, but this in fact might be cleared because of the great need for more farmland, due to survivors from the Atomic Wars fleeing south.

5. Refugees

Though some refugees from the ruined Northern Hemisphere would go to the planetary colonies, most probably go to the Southern Hemisphere, as General Lanningham did (UU, pg. 169). South America being the largest surviving continent would probably mean it attracts the most people. This would support the clearing of the Amazon basin, but this presumed multitude of immigrants would still exacerbate the problem. There is just not enough land to go around, even with the colonies on Luna, Mars, and Venus. Luna obviously has no arable land; in addition, it requires the construction of ‘burrow cities’ (4DP/LSP, pg. 31). Mars is habitable, but has to undergo the ‘First Terraforming’ (Em, pg. 54), and Venus sounds like a humid, tropical planet. It would seem to take some time to make the latter two fully habitable, while Luna might require ‘hydroponic farms’ (4DP/LSP, pg. 33) in the burrow cities, as Fenris does. Therefore, in addition to its influence on Antarctic colonization and Northern reclamation, population pressure could also be a major factor behind the continuous expansion of the TF for many centuries; possibly new habitable planets are not discovered fast enough to keep pace with population growth. The case of Zarathustra might support this.

As soon as its classification is changed from Class-III to Class- IV, the Zarathustrans expect a flood of immigrants ‘from all over the Federation, scrambling to get rich overnight’ (LF, pg 172). This is a ‘land rush’ (FS, pg. 34), apparently similar to a ‘gold rush’; land seems to be in short supply and extremely valuable. Another parallel is the settlement of the American West. As soon as an area was opened to white settlers, a flood of immigrants poured in; one motive force was population pressure in the eastern US and (especially) Europe. This could help explain why a marginally habitable planet like Fenris, and presumably other ‘questionable’ worlds like it, was colonized. These would include the ‘Mercury Twilight Zone and Titan’ (4DP/LSP, pg. 31) in the pre-Interstellar period.

6. Less Land = Fewer Animals

The shortage of arable land would mean less fodder for livestock, as what grain was available would first go toward supporting the human population. This would result in fewer meat animals. In addition to hydroponics, Fenris also has a ‘carniculture plant’ (4DP/LSP, pg. 33); the limited croplands may also have been a driving force behind the development of carniculture products. Synthetic substitutes for meat would help alleviate the problem, and its use on hyperships would be a more practical habit than keeping a bunch of animals (plus their feed) on board. This practice would then parallel the old ‘salt beef’ and ‘salt pork’ ship-board rations of the Age of Sail, but like their historic parallel, they are no match for the real thing. Trask takes some of the ‘heavy-bodied unicorns’ of Khepera to Tanith, which ‘might prove to be one of the most valuable pieces of loot’ (SV, pg. 80). This is because ‘Every Viking ship had its own carniculture vats, but men tired of carniculture meat, and fresh meat was always in demand.’ (ibid, pg. 102) Though mainly caused by the loss of Northern Hemispheric pastureland, the shortage of horses may also be explained by the limited amounts of grain for fodder. ‘Almost everybody thought horses were as extinct as dinosaurs.’ (4DP/LSP, pg. 2)

7. Reclamation Projects

Although the Brazilian rain forest may be cut down for farmland, the similar flora of Indonesia is not available for immediate clearing and planting, as it was presumably involved in the Atomic Wars. In ‘The Answer’, ‘there were the Australians, picking themselves up bargains in real-estate in the East Indies at gunpoint’ (WoHBP, pg. 175), and it also mentions ‘the Boers, trekking north again’ (ibid). Though probably contaminated due to fallout, both regions (Indonesia and Central Africa) may thus be among the first areas to have reclamation projects. This could also include Portugal, as the Brazilians begin ‘looking eastward’ (ibid) toward their erstwhile colonial founder, which might leave the reclaiming of the Caribbean and Central America to be initiated by Venezuela and Colombia. The later campaigns against the ‘Eurasian barbarians of North Terra’ (Fed, pg. 213) seem to indicate these early efforts were successful, and extended northward. This quote is from ‘When in the Course’, and Freya is presumably settled at least half a millenium before the TF begins breaking up. Northern Terra may therefore be largely reclaimed by the late Federation period. But when it is bombed back into the Old Stone Age during the Interstellar Wars, the result is worse than the earlier Atomic Wars. These at least left the Southern Hemisphere intact, to preserve civilization and reclaim the North, while the later conflict doesn’t leave enough people and technology to rebuild Terra. And with the end of the TF and the onset of the Interstellar Wars, no other world is able to spare the resources for such an effort. Assuming Terra is incorporated in the 1st Galactic Empire, it remains barbarous for at least another half-millenium.

8. Carrying Capacity

Though the idea is (probably) proven incorrect with our current population of 6 billion, in Piper’s time the carrying capacity of the Earth was apparently believed to be much smaller. Beam’s limit could be supplied by Marduk, which ‘had a population of almost two billion’ (SV, pg. 155), and is a fully-civilized planet at the time. This figure is supported by Trask, who says, ‘If there were two billion people on Gram—which I hope there will be—Gram would have cities like this too.’ (ibid) The above quote giving Terra 3.5 billion people in the 1st Century AE means the planet is running at 175% of carrying capacity, which supports population pressure being a driving force in interplanetary and stellar expansion. First Level Paratime Terra (Paraterra?) also might—indirectly—support this. The planet ‘was completely exhausted twelve thousand years ago’ (LKoO, pg. 246), when it ‘had a world population of half a billion, and it was all they could do to keep alive. After we began paratime transposition, our population climbed to ten billion, and there it stayed’ (Para, pg. 63). Of these, about ‘a billion and a half are on Home Time Line at any one time; the rest are scattered all over Fifth Level, and…all over Fourth, Third, and Second.’ (LKoO, pg. 246) A half billion is far below carrying capacity, which might seem about right on an exhausted Terra. But the 1.5 billion of the rebounded population of Home Time Line are not just on Paraterra, since there are ‘Just enough of us to enjoy our planet and the other planets of the system to the fullest; enough of everything for everybody that nobody needs fight anybody for anything.’ (Para, pg. 63, emphasis added) Thus, ‘Paramars’ and ‘Paravenus’ are also inhabited; the ‘billion and a half’ are spread out over the 3 worlds at least, and some may even be on Luna, Mercury Twilight Zone, and Titan, as in the THFH. The 1.5 billion total would then seem to make sense as Mars was exhausted before Terra was colonized, and Terra was exhausted before transposition was discovered. I don’t know whether Venus was colonized before or after they began paratiming; if after, it might not have been exhausted, possibly making it the breadbasket of Home Time Line.

--John A. Anderson

‘Well, don’t do any fighting with planet busters at twenty paces.’ (FS, pg. 30)
--Leslie Coombs


John's original message is available here:



The first extrasolar planets, as they had been discovered, had been named from Norse mythology--Odin and Baldur and Thor, Uller and Freya, Bifrost and Asgard and Niflheim. When the Norse names ran out, the discoverers had turned to other mythologies, Celtic and Egyptian and Hindu and Assyrian, and by the middle of the Seventh Century they were naming planets for almost anything." -- H. Beam Piper, "Graveyard of Dreams"
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
02:44 UT
Hello Truefindings. Please send me a message using the contact form:



"It's all pretty hush-hush, but this term Terran Federation is a tentative name for a proposed organization to take the place of the U.N. if that organization breaks up." - Major Cutler (H. Beam Piper), "The Edge of the Knife"
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