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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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David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
15:19 UT
From the Archives: "First Cycle"

Here's another item from the archives, a post from 24 years ago this month about a rather unusual Piper work.

Subject: First Cycle
From: Nathan Brindle
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 1997 11:50:55 -0400

> I haven't read *First Cycle*.
> Is it part of the TFH canon?

Technically you could say so. It was an unpublished manuscript found in
his papers, published by Ace in 1982. At the beginning and end there are
"wrapper" chapters about a Federation survey ship that lands on the planets
in the story and finds out what happened to the two races there (said story
of the two races being the bulk of the book). One of the characters in the
last chapter is Kent Pickering (Uller Uprising), who recalls: "I was on
Beta Hydrae II when Carlos von Schlichten bombed Keegark; fact is, I was
aboard the gun-cutter that dropped the bomb." (So you can even date it
with a fair amount of certainty, and in fact the first chapter says that
the survey ship encountered the planets in "the 572nd year of the Primary
Dispersion", whatever the hell that is--it sure wouldn't seem to mesh with
Atomic Era dating). Also the ship is called the "Greater Terran Federation
space cruiser Franklin, G.T.F.H. 17649". (So there are some internal
inconsistencies--this is news?)

Now you could make the reasonable assumption that Piper wrote the book as a
stand-alone, and subsequently decided to put it into the TFH, which might
explain the "wrapper" first and last chapters...otherwise the book has
nothing to do with the TFH. Another (more likely) thought is that when
Michael Kurland "edited and expanded" the book in 1982, these two chapters
are what "expanded" it and put it into the TFH. There's no indication
either way unless Carr said something about it in one of his forewords
(there is no foreword in "First Cycle"). The flyleaf of my copy of "First
Cycle" says:

"Since his tragic death, H. Beam Piper has become one of the most popular
names in science fiction. Ace is delighted to have been able to republish
Piper's hard-to-find short stories, in the collections called Federation,
Empire, and Paratime. Now you hold in your hands another treat for Piper
fans: a lost novel.

"The manuscript for First Cycle was discovered among Piper's papers, along
with extensive notes. The novel was complete; all that remained was the
fleshing-out and polishing process that would ready it for publication.
Michael Kurland, working from Piper's manuscript and notes, has taken on
the task, expanding First Cycle into a novel that we believe Piper himself
would have been proud of."

I wonder if these notes and manuscript are in the papers at Penn State?
Personally I think the book was a cautionary tale about nuclear war and had
nothing to do with the TFH until Kurland got his hands on it. But there's
no question that based on the first and last chapters, there has been an
attempt made by someone to place it in the TFH canon.


Nathan's original message is available here:



"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." - Carlos von Schlichten point-of-view (H. Beam Piper), ~Uller Uprising~
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