Down Styphon! has arrived from the printers! I'll be mailing out pre-order copies for the next week. The book is another beautiful volume with library binding and a wonderful Alan Gutierrez cover. It is now available for purchase in the Shop. There are no plans at the present time for any e-book editions.
Nos-Hostigos is at peace for the first time since Kalvan landed on the Aryan-Transpacific, Styphon's House Subsector’s time-line. Local threats in the Middle Kingdoms have been neutralized and Styphon’s House is busy trying to regain their former strength in the Five Great Kingdoms. Some of the new Great Kings have no love for Styphon's House and its quest for power over the great kings.
However, the Fireseed Temple's resources are huge, including large mercantile houses, tobacco and grain monopolies, along with the Great Banking houses. Great Queen Rylla decides that the time has come to return to Old Hostigos and restore Hostigi hegemony. Kalvan is not happy with this turn of events, but Rylla is a force of nature and asserts her will.
Now it's up to Great King Kalvan to find a way to make their return to the Princedom of Hostigos a permanent one. His first task will be to defeat and subdue the Zarthani Knights' great fortress at Tarr-Ceros. If he’s successful there, Kalvan will then have to beard Styphon's archpriests in the Holy City of Balph, the very heart of their power and influence.
Down Styphon! is the eighth and last book in the Kalvan Saga begun by the late H. Beam Piper in 1964 with Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen. It’s been a labor of love and a work-in-progress of mine since 1984! Well aware that other beloved series, such as Game of Thrones, may never be finished by their creators, I became determined to see that the Kalvan versus Styphon's House story arc was brought to a rousing conclusion.
John F. Carr
March 8, 2016
The paperback edition of "Typewriter Killer" is now available in both paper and e-book editions. Both are available at the Store.
This new work focuses on Piper's writing, the path of his career and the beloved series he created, including his Paratime yarns, the Kalvan saga, his Fuzzy stories and his Terro-Human Future History series. Piper is a much neglected but seminal figure in science fiction literature. This new volume will address all of those issues, including the man behind the Victorian facade. In addition, I've uncovered new biographical material that was not available at the time the official biography was published.
A new Fuzzy novel, "The Fuzzy Conundrum", by me and Wolfgang Diehr, has been typeset and is going through final proof-reading. It will be available for purchase in the spring. This new novel will explain one of the central mysteries of the Fuzzies: Why, if they're so damn loveable, haven't they spread throughout human-occupied space by the time of the First Empire.
I have recently completed the final novel, "Down Styphon!", in the Kalvan versus Styphon's House saga. It is now undergoing copyediting, and will be released in a quality hardcover edition this summer. It has been over 30 years since Roland and I started work on "Great Kings' War" for Ace Books. Our original plan was to do 7 to 8 books and complete the Kalvan Saga: Who knew it would take so long?
I'm also putting the final touches on a new Terran Federation anthology: a collection of stories by H. Beam Piper and other authors (with contributions from the leading Piper scholars, David Johnson and John Anderson) set in the early Federation era.
John F. Carr
February 18, 2015
I have just finished a new book on H. Beam Piper entitled "Typewriter Killer". This new work focuses on Piper's writing, the path of his career and the beloved series he created, including his Paratime yarns, the Kalvan saga, his Fuzzy stories and his Terro-Human Future History series. Piper is a much neglected but seminal figure in science fiction literature. This new volume will address all of those issues, including the man behind the Victorian facade. In addition, I've uncovered new biographical material that was not available at the time the official biography was published.
During the course of his life H. Beam Piper was a very secretive man who often misrepresented his personal background and what he did for a living. He purposely revealed very little about his writing, his personal life and his job at the Pennsy Railroad; he often made up stories about his past. Most of these secrets followed him into his grave. I have spent the last 40 years studying Piper's life, digging up elusive biographical details, information about his writing and interviewing the few survivors who knew Beam best.
First and foremost, Beam was a storyteller, in the tradition of Robert Lewis Stevenson, Rafael Sabatini, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Heinlein and Mark Twain. Like Heinlein, Piper told stories of future times and alternate worlds. His best novels, Space Viking, Little Fuzzy, Cosmic Computer and Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen are considered science-fiction classics. His Paratime series was one of the first sideways in time series and best of its kind—often imitated but never equaled.
Piper had a lifelong fascination with history and was more knowledgeable than most college history professors. He was a historian of the future and his Terro-Human Future History was his crowning creation and set the bar for the science-fiction future histories that followed.
"Typewriter Killer" will be released in a special hardcover first edition in the summer of 2015. This hardback edition will only be available by subscription and will be limited to those persons who have pre-ordered it, all of whom will be listed on the book's acknowledgement page. A special treat for Piper fans will be included in each volume.
All copies of the hardcover edition will be signed by the author. In a year or so, there will be a paperback release, but there will only be one hardcover edition of "Typewriter Killer".
For more information on price and other details, please e-mail John Carr at email@example.com.
John F. Carr
August 29, 2013
During this year's Irregular's Muster on May 18, 2013, we visited the H. Beam Piper memorial marker. As you can see from the photo, Fairview Cemetery took quite a beating during the local thunderstorms. Fortunately, Beam's tombstone was not near any trees and weathered the storms quite well.
The new hardcover edition of Cosmic Computer is being prepped for publication. I wrote a new introduction for the book and included a detailed Terro-Human Future History chronology. This new hardcover edition will be released in the fall along with a new sequel titled The Merlin Binary.
I'm very pleased to announce the availability on the H. Beam Piper Memorial Website of a new essay on Piper's work by John Anderson, a very knowledgeable Piper scholar. John and I have been corresponding since the early 1980s and he's written a number of important articles on Piper's work that I would like to feature on this website. The first of these is "The Knights of Gram and Tanith", which we will be publishing here for the very first time under the future history banner.
The latest Kalvan book, The Hos-Blethan Affair, is with the continuity editing team and on schedule for December publication.
John F. Carr
March 18, 2013
It's been a while since I last posted any news and a lot has happened since then in regards to Piper related books. I've published another book in the ongoing Kalvan Saga, Gunpowder God. Wolfgang Diehr has published a sequel to Fuzzy Ergo Sum entitled Caveat Fuzzy. It's just as good, if not better, than the opening volume. I highly recommend it to all of you who enjoyed the Fuzzy series.
In addition, I've published two sequels (not direct sequels; they take place a century after Space Viking) to Piper's Space Viking with co-author Mike Robertson. They are: The Last Space Viking and Space Viking's Throne. My first reader (Dwight Decker) thought they read like 'lost' Piper novels, which I thought was high praise indeed.
As for new Piper projects, I'm working on a Kalvan sidebar novel, with Wolfgang, featuring Duke Skranga (former horse thief and head of Hostigos Intelligence) and Ranthar Jard, one of Verkan Vall's top lieutenants). It's a fun romp and it will be published this fall along with several other Piper-related works. The first is a Pequod Press hardcover edition of H. Beam Piper's Cosmic Computer with a wonderful Alan Gutierrez cover. The second is a sequel to Cosmic Computer entitled The Merlin Binary, with co-author Dietmar Wehr. These two books will also be coming out in the fall along with another Terro-Human Future History book, The Rise of the Terran Federation, an anthology of Piper's early Federation stories including the two novels, Uller Uprising and Four-Day Planet. There will also be two adapted stories (by David Johnson) from Piper's oeuvre as well as several brand new stories. I'm sure there will be something for everyone.
I am adding another missing chapter from my Piper Biography entitled, Hard Times, to the site's Deleted Scenes. This chapter covers part of 1955 when Piper hit a dry spell as far as writing is concerned. It's also the year he married Betty and lost his mother, Harriet Piper. Some portions of this chapter appeared in my biography, H. Beam Piper: A Biography, but most of the chapter was cut due to length considerations.
We will be holding the Irregular's Muster again this year in State College, PA on Saturday, May 18, 2013. You are all welcome to attend. Once again, we will meet at the Waffle Shop on North Atherton at 10:00 A.M. It's a great opportunity to visit some Piper sites (like Kalvan's transposition site in Hostigos) as well as meeting like-minded Piper fans and authors. I'll be attending along with Wolfgang Diehr and Dennis Frank.
John F. Carr
September 15, 2011
Fuzzy News and More
Fuzzy Ergo Sum is back in print! It's now available in the Store.
Unfortunately, the first edition had to be scrapped and taken off sale, when Ace Books threatened Pequod Press with a lawsuit based on the fact the author (with Ardath Mayhar's permission) had used some of her Fuzzy language terms, so-called copyright protected words by Ace, from Ardath's book, Golden Dream. Rather than waste our resources and spend several years fighting in court, we decided to remove all the questionable Fuzzy terms from the book and do a revised 2nd Edition with new Fuzzy words.
This 2nd edition of Fuzzy Ergo Sum continues H. Beam Piper's most well-known and beloved series, featuring Jack Holloway, Little Fuzzy, Victor Grego, et al. Fuzzy Ergo Sum has been getting nothing but 5 star reviews on Amazon and has provided readers with a return visit to one of the Beam's most beloved series.
Those lucky few individuals who purchased the pre-order copies now have an extremely limited edition of a book with a print run of under a 100 copies! First Edition copies of Fuzzy Ergo Sum have been selling on Amazon and on the Internet to hardcore fans and book collectors at prices ranging from $198.00 to $2,475.00!
In regards to Fuzzy matters, there is a new tab on the site menu, The Fuzzy Story, which contains a fascinating overview of all the Fuzzy books by noted SF critic Fred Patten. It's entertaining and informative at the same time. Fred takes the Fuzzy book publication story from Little Fuzzy to Fuzzy Nation and the 2nd edition of Fuzzy Ergo Sum.
Fuzzy Ergo Sum also get a great review from Don Sakers at Analog:
Lately there's been something of a vogue for posthumous sequels to classic SF works. (This sort of thing happens every few decades, often when the economy turns sour and publishers are looking for "sure things" that don't require massive payments to living big-name authors.)
H. Beam Piper's original 1962 novel Little Fuzzy is one of the most beloved books in the field. And since Piper and his heirs weren't careful about the arcane copyright registration procedures of the time, the book is now in the public domain (i.e. anyone can write a sequel without owing Piper's heirs one red cent).
This isn't the first Little Fuzzy sequel; the history of the series is convoluted at best. Piper himself wrote one direct sequel, Fuzzy Sapiens (1964). Much later, Ace Books continued the series with Fuzzy Bones by William Tuning (1981). Golden Dream: A Fuzzy Odyssey by Ardath Mayhar (1982) retells the original story from the viewpoint of the alien Fuzzies.
Subsequently, a lost manuscript for a third Fuzzy novel was discovered among Piper's papers; it was published in 1984 as Fuzzies and Other People. The events of this book contradicted those in Fuzzy Bones (of course), so the latter book is considered as part of an alternate universe.
To make matters even more confusing, by the time you read this Tor will have published Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi, which is supposed to "reboot" the whole Little Fuzzy universe and start over from the beginning.
And where does Fuzzy Ergo Sum fit in? It picks up where Fuzzies and Other People left off, continuing the story of explorer Jack Holloway (who discovered the Fuzzies), CEO Victor Grego, and Little Fuzzy himself. It's been a quiet few years on the peaceful planet Zarathustra, but now a new bureaucrat touches down on an unexplained mission. Then Zarathustra's worst criminal escapes from jail, the Chief Prosecutor is kidnapped, and the Fuzzies and their human friends have more than enough problems to deal with.
Of all the commissioned sequels, Wolfgang Diehr's most captures the voice of H. Beam Piper. One gets the feeling that he is a fan of Piper, and he's also a good enough writer to pull off the right mix of homage and originality.
The big surprise for the year is that I finished Gunpowder God early and it is now with the continuity editors. I hadn't expected to finish it until November, but I got inspired and went on a tear and--voila!--it was done! The book is slated for publication in late November/early December. It will shortly be available for pre-order at Hostigos.com.
Gunpowder God will continue the story of our Hostigos friends as they acclimate themselves to exile in the Upper Middle Kingdoms; not very well, as you might expect, on Rylla's part! There are a number of surprises in this book and one or two that even took me aback.
Now that the Siege of Thagnor City has been lifted, Great King Kalvan finally has some breathing room. Styphon's House has left the Upper Middle Kingdoms to lick its wounds and make trouble elsewhere in the Five Kingdoms. Instead of waiting for the Great Kings to realize they no longer need Styphon's House's support, the Temple needs to buy them off or put their own puppets on the Great Thrones of the Five Kingdoms. Now that Styphon's House has driven Kalvan out of Hos-Hostigos, the Temple's next target is the Kingdom of Hos-Agrys, beginning with the biggest plum of all, Agrys City.
Kalvan's greatest fear has finally materialized-an all out religious war. Styphon's Own Voice has ordered Grand Master Soton to put together a great army, the Host of Styphon's Deliverance, to conquer the Kingdom of Hos-Agrys and to demolish all the temples of the false gods Dralm and Yirtta Allmother. Their followers are to be killed or enslaved. The Agrysi League of Dralm begs Kalvan for aid against Styphon's great army that is being raised against them. Kalvan has his own troubles with Nythros, the last bastion of Styphon's House in the Middle Kingdoms, and is more worried about this threat than anything that is happening in the Five Kingdoms. After all, where was the League of Dralm when Hostigos was under siege?
Meanwhile, Prince Phidestros has his own problems. Great King Lysandros is returning from the Siege of Thagnor with his tail between his legs. However, Lysandros, the regicide, is not going to be happy to find out what's been going on in Harphax City. While Lysandros' has been off fighting Kalvan, his wastrel nephew, Prince-Elect Selestros, is now occupying his throne!
Verkan Vall is enjoying the challenges of being the new King of Greffa, but in his absence things have gone straight to hell on First Level. New Paratime Police Chief Dalla Hadron is having the devil's own time keeping the lid on the prole situation and it seems as though trouble is popping up all over Dhergabar City. After ten thousand years of peace and prosperity, the wolves of war have finally been let loose on Home Time Line.
John F. Carr
March 5, 2011
Readers: I've got some great news for fans of H. Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy. Wolfgang Diehr, who moderates the Piper-Worlds discussion group on Yahoo, has recently finished a new Little Fuzzy sequel, an homage to Piper and his most beloved creation.
Wolfgang started Fuzzy Ego Sum three years ago and after he posted a section on his Yahoo List, asking for comments; I read it and wrote him back a detailed critique, basically throwing out 50 of the 80 pages he'd written. Instead of throwing a fit, Wolf took my editing advice in the spirit it was given and began the book again. He continued to send me his latest chapters over the next couple of years until he pulled the story together into a solid book. I'm proud of the way he stuck with the project and liked Fuzzy Ergo Sum so much that I decided that Pequod Press would publish it.
The Last Space Viking is well on its way and should be available in May. You will find the cover artwork for both books in the Gallery. Pre-order forms were sent to all our regular customers via the Post Office. This is an exciting time for Piper related releases and I hope to have more surprises in 2012.
As stated in the last update, periodically I will be adding deleted chapters from H. Beam Piper: A Biography to the Piper Memorial web site. Not all of this material is new as some segments did appear in the book, but most of it was cut from the original manuscript when McFarland asked that I cut some 32,000 words. The second of these deleted chapters is titled "Never A Debtor Be" and is in our new Deleted Scenes feature.
On the personal side, I was on the way to the Post Office last week, when I slipped on an ice patch and experienced one of those banana peal slip-and-falls, breaking my ankle. It's going to slow me down some for the next six weeks, but I'm lucky I didn't break my neck! Fortunately, my lovely wife, Victoria, has picked up the slack and is packaging and mailing out orders.
Still, I can't wait until I can get this infernal cast off!
John F. Carr
January 15, 2011
The H. Beam Piper Memorial Project
Readers: Here is a photo of the Piper Memorial Stone in Fairview Cemetery, Altoona, Pennsylvania taken at the Memorial dedication. The attendees were Dennis Frank, Scott Schad, Lawrence Feldman and his wife, Scott Campanero, David Hines and myself. It was a nice ceremony and we went out to dinner afterwards; a great time was had by all.
The last year has been a busy one for me, as I've been working on several Piper related projects. The first is my follow-on to the short novel, Time Crime. Like a lot of readers, I've always loved the story, but felt that the original ending was a little flat—although, rushed might be a better description. Those Piper fans who've been reading my Kalvan sequels, will know that I've been working on a Home Time Line parallel storyline that's been slowly evolving from book to book.
I've long had plans to write several Paratime books both exploring and defining First Level's parasitic culture. Time Crime is the first book in the Paratime Trilogy and provides some important background which will be further explored in Time Trouble and Time War.
As reader Jevon Kasitch put it so well:
"I love Paratime. It was the first time I encountered a book that concentrated on a race that moved between alternate Earths as opposed to books that were set on only one. I'm not sure if it's just me, but all of the 'classic' science fiction worlds imagined in the Forties and Fifties always came across as slightly creepy to me. The robots rolling about serving people's whims, the rocket ships and the general decadence that they seemed to have. The fact that the Home Time Line Culture is based on theft and slavery makes them hard to like. One sort of wants to see bad things happen to them."
So, at long last, I decided it was time to start the ball rolling, so to speak, with a new third novella for Time Crime, turning it into an actual novel. Time Crime is now out with a beautiful cover by Alan Gutierrez.
I've been talking about the 'new' Time Crime for a few years, but my next project was as much as surprise to me as it will be to you. Just recently I finished writing a new sequel to Space Viking; no, this is not the follow-up book I was writing with Jerry Pournelle several decades ago, but a brand new work. It takes place in the 19thh Century Atomic Era, about a hundred years after Space Viking and eighty years after the Pournelle/Carr collaboration. The title is The Last Space Viking and it is scheduled for publication in the spring 2011. I've had more fun writing this book than I've had in years. I hadn't realized how much I'd missed working in the Space Viking milieu until I started working on this book. The Last Space Viking will be Pequod's first release of 2011, along with a matching hardcover release of the original Space Viking.
In addition to the new Space Viking book, I'm also working on a new novel set in Piper's Federation, Tides of Chaos is the working title. It's a direct sequel to Cosmic Computer. This will be the first new book set in the Terran Federation in twenty-five years (since Fuzzies and Other People), and will be accompanied by a expanded collection of Beam's Terro-Human Future History stories, as well as several short novels; it will a hardcover volume entitled The Rise of the Terran Federation. Both these books are tentatively scheduled for the spring of 2012.
The Tides of Chaos will be my next writing project right after I finish Gunpowder God, the next installment of the Kalvan Saga. Gunpowder God is almost done and is scheduled for release in the fall of 2011.
Which brings me to another Piper project, I plan to reissue all of the public domain H. Beam Piper novels and Terro-Human Future History stories in matching hardcover editions. They will all have new covers by Alan Gutierrez. The first being the hardcover edition of Space Viking
Copies of all of Pequod Press's Piper related books, as well as my Piper biography, "H. Beam Piper: A Biography", will now be available at the Store.
Now that we have accomplished our major goal, the funding and dedication of the H. Beam Piper Memorial Headstone, it's time to revamp the site, adding a Store and several other new features. These new sections will be appearing over the next year and will consist of in-depth features on the Terro-Human Future History, Paratime, as well as new information on the life and times of H. Beam Piper. Our goal is to make this the ultimate H. Beam Piper site for fans and scholars alike.
For the first time, we will be adding deleted chapters from "H. Beam Piper: A Biography" to the Piper Memorial web site. Not all of this material is new as some segments did appear in the book, but most of it was cut from the original manuscript when McFarland asked that I cut some 32,000 words! The first of these deleted chapters is titled The Deerstalkers and is in our new Deleted Scenes feature.
I hope everyone has a great 2011!
John F. Carr
October 12, 2009
The new H. Beam Piper Memorial Stone will be unveiled on November 7th, 2009 at Fairview Cemetery in Altoona, Pennsylvania in the early afternoon. I hope that many of you will be able to attend.
Below is the preliminary memorial design.
This has been a three year effort and I would personally like to thank all of you who contributed to the H. Beam Piper Memorial Fund and welcome you to the Memorial unveiling. I talked with the Manager of Altoona Memorial Studio last week and he told me the new headstone was finished and had turned out magnificently. I can't wait to see it.
Finally, a fitting tribute to H. Beam Piper, the man who has brought us all so much reading pleasure and provided so many stimulating ideas and new worlds. For those of you who are in the State College area, Dennis Frank and I will be meeting at the Waffle Shop on Atherton and encourage you to join us there. (Contact me via e-mail for details.) From there we will caravan to Altoona for the Piper Memorial unveiling. See you there.
June 4, 2009
First off, some very good news. We just received another big contribution to help us with the expenses needed to pay for H. Beam Piper's memorial tombstone and the insurance coverage we need. This latest donation is from Piper fan, Michael W., who was just home for a short leave before returning for another tour of duty in Afghanistan: "John, I finished your bio of Beam in the back of a C-17 and then the appendices in a B-Hut (plywood building with small cubes that are the main living accommodations) here on Bagram Air Base. I'm en route back down to FOB Salerno in the eastern part of the country." Mike took several of his favorite Piper books to reread on his latest tour: "I look forward to rereading the next few Piper books that are in the mail headed my way. I picked a couple off the shelf at home to box up and I have one or two already in my hooch waiting."
I'm sure we all wish Mike a safe tour and speedy return to the States!
The Altoona Memorial Studio is already at work on the design phase of Beam's memorial stone. As soon as I get the artwork, I'll put it on the web site for everyone to see.
This year we held the Irregular's Muster on May 16, 2009. Once again, the met at the Original Waffle House on Atherton Street in State College, Pennsylvania, in the heart of Hostigos.
It was a beautiful spring Pennsylvania day with a few dark clouds in the sky. David Hines and Wolf Diehr, aka Uncle Wolf, were waiting for me when I arrived at the Waffle House at 9:30 a.m., which was our neeting time. Dennis Frank showed up not long after and we waited in line about 10 minutes for a seat; not bad considering it was Graduation Day at Penn State!
We had an interesting conversation and a delicious breakfast. Since there were only four of us this year, we decided to caravan together in Dennis's car. We took the long way to Altoona in order to visit Bellefonte (Hostigos Town) and stopped at the visitor's center so that Wolf could take some pictures. From there we drove to Williamsport (about 50 minutes away) to the Lycoming Historical Museum to meet with John Hunsinger at 1:00 p.m. David Hines was our guide as he had met John while doing his own research on Beam and said he was very helpful and knowledgeable about Williamsport. David is also a forensic archaeologist and told us some interesting stories about his time in Iraq, identifying remains in mass burial sites.
We reached the museum right on time and John Hunsinger was waiting for us just inside the foyer. He quickly informed us that he had only met Beam a few times, when he did volunteer work at the Lycoming Museum. Beam started doing volunteer work at the Museum after the Grand Army of the Republic Hall moved a bunch of material to Lycoming College. The college didn't know what to make of the stuff, so they looked for an expert in old guns, and somebody said, "Hey, how about Beam Piper?"
So Beam was helping clean and identify the guns. In the collection, they came across a sentry cannon, circa 1850, and while they were cleaning it up Beam got a gleam in his eye and said, "You know, there's no reason this couldn't be fired."
John wasn't certain. The sentry cannon was a cast-iron gun and he wasn't sure it would take a charge of gunpowder. Not that this mattered one whit to Beam, the elder statesman and authority, so they got some black powder and took the cannon outside. They loaded the cannon up, using Kleenex for wadding, and then nervously looked at each other as they realized that now one of them had to actually light the damn thing. The prospect of an unfortunate explosion had them scared shitless.
And up strode Beam Piper, gleefully, match in hand...
After that, he became the designated cannon-firer at home games when the Lycoming College team scored a touchdown.
John informed us that Beam's friend Bob was unable to attend because his wife was very ill. Bob, a former English teacher, had been a drinking pal of Beam's and knew much more about him than John. David Hines reports: "Bob told me this about Beams apartment: 'He had one room where he ate a lot of canned beans and he threw the cans in there, and the pile must have been five or six feet high. I don't think he had the money to hire a garbageman. The rest of the place I saw I couldn't kick about.'
"He also said: 'I wished I'd had him down at the house. I wasn't married then, I was living with my brother, but if I'd have invited him (Piper) down I don't think I'd have heard a thing against it. I'd have even gotten him, I'm sure he didn't have a car. I liked him. He was a nice man. I couldn't say a bad word against him, and I don't know anyone who could.'"
We going to try and meet with Bob next year.
John Hunsinger also took take us on a grand tour of the Lycoming Historical Museum. He had worked on a number of exhibits, including the American Civil War dioramas and their very nice electric train collection.
After the tour, John said that a man, who had come to the museum for a lecture, had approached him that morning when he saw John's copy of my Piper biography. He told John that he was related to Freida Coleman, who was the wife of Beam's best friend, Ferd Coleman. John introduced us and it turned out he was her nephew, Paul Baumgartner. He remembered working for the "Shoppers' Guide" with his brothers for Ferd Coleman in the very early 1950s. He said the "Shoppers' Guide" wasn't always real popular with the local residents, since it was an early version of the "Pennysaver" and chock-full of ads, so they often got them handed back. One of his brothers used to stuff them into the local sewers! Paul was more conscientious and distributed each and every one of them, a pain-in-the-ass which he still remembers vividly!
He also knew Don Coleman and his younger brother Bud, who was close to the same age as Leonard. We discussed Bud's tragic air accident, which sadly mirrored that of Ferd Coleman. It turned out Paul was the cousin who'd sent Don a piece on Piper in the local paper, which Don had later forwarded to me. I also met his wife, who remembered Aunt Freida telling Piper stories with great fondness. It was an unexpected pleasure to make their acquaintance.
We left Williamsport and took Uncle Wolf and David on a tour of Seven Hills Valley and other local Piper spots near Williamsport, including the transposition drop-off point. Everyone was excited about seeing the turnabout and little cliff, as well as the farmhouse where Calvin Morrison was picked up by the transtemporal conveyer.
From there, we decided to go to Altoona and visit Piper's burial site. We were also on a hunt for the American Legion brass sign that listed Altoona's notable Civil War veterans, among them Beam's grandfather, Captain Henry Beam Piper!
Our first stop was Fairview Cemetery. Appropriately, there was a light rain falling just about the time we got there. We made our way to the Piper/Maurer (Harriet Piper's maiden name) family plot and showed Uncle Wolf Beam's burial site. Meanwhile, David told us that he'd seen Herbert Piper's grave marker on his previous visit ten years ago. Dennis and I had gone over that entire area (which includes several hundred grave sites) and had never found a trace of Herbert's marker. Beam was buried next to his mother, Harriet Piper. David went to the other side of her marker and picked up a piece of wood and began to dig into the earth. Even though the cemetery was deserted, I was a bit shocked by his casual bit of grave digging.
I was also amazed at how well he worked with his improvised tool; it's always a pleasure to watch an expert work, whether it's a talented guitar picker or an experienced archaeologist. Within minutes he'd dug 3 or 4 inches into the sod and, lo and behold, there it was -- Herbert Piper's granite marker! He quickly cleaned off the entire face and pushed back the surrounding dirt and vegetation -- all without getting his hands dirty in all the mud.
For the first time, Dennis, Uncle Wolf and I got a look at Beam's father's grave marker.
Our next part of the journey took us into downtown Altoona, a virtual maze where there are two sets of numbered streets. We found the former building of the Penn Alto Hotel, where Beam would get his Katinkas and occasionally dinner, which is now a series of homes for the indigent. David remembered that the old American Legion building was right next to the Penn Alto. We wandered through the nearby streets for half an hour, but couldn't find it. After another drive through the maze of downtown Altoona, David had a memory flash and we returned to the Penn Alto. He took us across the street to the civic building and there it was -- the brass plate. We searched for Beam's grandfather's name, and had to move some leaves to find it, but there it was "Henry Beam Piper."
We had dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, talked up a storm and then headed back to State College and home. All in all, it was a great day with some wonderful discoveries and the best of company.
John F. Carr
April 18, 2009
IRREGULAR'S MUSTER -- MAY 16th, 2009
This year we have a very special event lined up for the 2009 Muster: we will be meeting with two of Beam's Williamsport friends. Piper researcher David Hines just informed me that they are willing to meet with the whole bunch of us! Here's what David had to say:
I gave John Hunsinger a call yesterday -- he's the busiest 80-year-old I've ever known. He's started the biography and is working his way through: so far, his major annotation has been that Beam told John's friend Bob that he had been expelled for shooting oil drums in front of the high school. But of course, John realizes from your book, Beam told lots of stories. Anyway, I mentioned to John that you and some other folks, including me, were going to be doing a Piper ramble at some point, and I asked if he'd be willing to reminisce for us. He said he'd be delighted, and he'd also bring his friend Bob (whose last name, alas, I didn't catch, but John will be emailing before long) -- John didn't drink, so Bob was the one who used to go out drinking with Beam, and they talked about writing a good bit. So, yeah, guests at Piperminicon 2009!
May 16th was not the ideal date, but David's coming from Florida to set this up and it was the only time he had available. The only problem is that it is Penn State's Graduation weekend. Therefore, any out-of-town visitors, will have to make accommodations for rooms in Williamsport instead of State College. Other than that, it should work out just fine.
Please let myself (Otherwhen@aol.com or Dennis Frank (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you are planning to attend. We don't want to spring any surprises on our elderly guests. I look forward to seeing many new faces and meeting you all!
As you may have noticed from the steep rise in the current total for the H. Beam Piper Memorial Fund, we recently received a significant contribution to the Memorial Fund from Piper fan Scott Schad. Thank you Scott and all the other Memorial contributors for helping make this dream a reality!
We now have over 90% of the funds needed to purchase the Piper tombstone.
Unfortunately, the price of granite has risen 20% since our original bid in 2007 so we still need to raise several hundred dollars. All donations, regardless of size, are appreciated!
On Monday, April 13th, Dennis and I took a road trip to Holidaysburg and Altoona. We decided to go to Holidaysburg first, after Piper researcher, David Hines, mentioned that Piper's current gravestone lists his date of birth as March 23rd, 1903!
Dennis and I have visited Fairview Cemetery a number of times and neither of us ever noticed this discrepancy. Every other reference lists Piper's birth date as March 23rd, 1904. Still, we decided it was important to visit the Blair County Courthouse and locate Beam's birth notice so we could settle this issue for once and for all, as well as make certain we had the right date for the Memorial Tombstone.
It was a beautiful, crisp Pennsylvania spring day and we had an enjoyable drive to the Courthouse. The courthouse dates back several hundred years and looks much the same as it had during Piper's lifetime. Inside, we had no trouble locating the reference books, which lists the Blair County birth dates from the late nineteenth century to the present. We searched the birth records book diligently and found a list of about thirty Piper babies, including the birth of Charles O. Piper, Beam's cousin, born in 1904.
Not surprisingly we did not find a listing for H. Beam Piper...
As Dennis put it, "Every place Beam ever lived in both Altoona and Williamsport has been razed to the ground to make parking lots. Why should we expect this search to end any differently than any of the others?"
We came to the conclusion that Beam's birth record was probably in one of the churches his parents attended at the time of his birth. His parents were poor and Beam was most likely born at home. Locating the birth records, assuming the church existed over a hundred years later, would be the equivalent of finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. We decided to stick with the 1904 birth date, rather than continue this fruitless search.
Our next leg of the journey took us to Altoona Memorial Studio to meet with Bill Shauf, who's been a big help with the Memorial design. Bill took us through our original design sketches for the Memorial Tombstone and we gave him a deposit to start work on the preliminary artwork. We should have a final design in 30 to 60 days, which we will then post on the web site.
The granite is Rock of Ages and will be a light gray with a black granite insert of a sketch of H. Beam Piper. We plan to have a memorial ceremony and have the new tombstone set this year. We're looking at November 6th or 7th at the potential date since the actual day Piper died is not certain as his body was discovered on the 8th of November, 1964.
We would like to see as many of H. Beam Piper's fans attend the unveiling and memorial ceremony as possible.
John F. Carr
August 12, 2008
"H. Beam Piper: A Biography," is now out and available at www.Hostigos.com, as well as directly from the publisher, McFarland anf Company.
The first reviews for the book have come in and here they are:
I finished your biography of Piper this morning. Outstanding job! Your work evidences a truly massive amount of research, made no easier by your subject's inclination to blatantly lie to people about his life!
I exploded with laughter at some of the scenes in the book. I particularly liked Piper's comment, "I would be perfectly willing to trade any woman in Christendom for a cask of hundred-year port..." I smile to think of H. Beam Piper and Jerry Pournelle, probably a bit unsteady on their pins anyway, accosted in their search for additional alcohol by a switchblade-wielding mugger. I would love to have seen Piper extract his cane sword with a flourish and threaten to run the blackguard through!
But your book has some very moving passages, like Beam's comments after his first futile pursuit in love. "You know, we never love more than one woman. We love, at different times, different manifestations of her--" My heart bled for him. But I wept for Piper after he divorced and moved to Williamsport, when I read the single-word diary entry that you chose to end chapter 26: "Alone." What a heartrending acknowledgment by Piper of the terrible price he paid to reinvent his life after his marriage dissolved. He was so isolated for the last part of his life! Your description of "a recluse working madly to get his fevered dreams down on paper" is perfect.
Piper's cavalier manner with money baffles me; it seems like an odd trait in an otherwise self-reliant, competent man. He quits his job when he might have received a pension or severance pay, he spends most of each check immediately then lives on tapioca, he never considers getting another part-time job to remove the basic stress of keeping food on the table while writing. He did, as you put it, "like to poke fate in the eye," despite fate always poking back.
I grew to like both Ferd and Don Coleman immensely as I read your book. Is Don still with us? How about Mike Knerr? I was also curious, since Piper accidentally happened upon Hemingway in a bar after he returned from France, whether Hemingway's later suicide might have firmed up the option in Piper's mind? And is it possible that Piper was really buried with that bottle of Myer's rum, nestled by his side in the hearse?
The binding and printing of the book is superb. The front and back cover art is outstanding--Alan Gutierrez did a bang-up job and I think Piper would have liked the result I also appreciated the rare pictures that you included, especially of Verkan Vall, the dachshund. If Piper's dog really did manage to star in a movie with Brigitte Bardo, I'm heading down to Blockbuster.
I was about a third of the way into your book when I ran across a well-preserved oak desk in a secondhand store. I bought it on the spot, and after moving the desk into my study I began sitting at it each evening as I read your book. When I got to the point in the story where Piper went to a used furniture store near Williamsport and bought an old desk, I crawled underneath my desk to look for some kind of manufacturer's information. Here's what the center drawer had printed on the underside:
"Lycoming Furn. Industry, Williamsport, PA, Model B, 311-55/34."
By the spear of Odin, it has to be fate.
Thanks for making H. Beam Piper real to me,
Scott T. Schad
H. Beam Piper A Biography, by John F. Carr McFarland and Company
I met Beam Piper in the early 1960's. He was twice my age, but we became instant friends: we shared an historical perspective, an interest in obscure historical details as well as the vast sweep of history, and a rather dry sense of irony. I knew him for about four years, during which we saw each other at conventions and exchanged letters. At that time my interest in science fiction was as a reader; my career was in the aerospace industry.
Beam committed suicide in 1964. When I learned of that I was convinced that it had been murder, so much so that I telephoned the chief of police in Beam's home town. He soon convinced me that it was all true. Beam shot himself. Over time a raft of stories came out as to why.
Ten years later John Carr came to work for me as my Senior Editorial Associate, and over a dozen years we put out well over a score of anthologies and collections of both original and reprint stories from short works to full novels. John became interested in Beam Piper and his works, and went on to become the world's leading expert on the life and times of my late friend and colleague. He has now written the definitive biography of the late H. Beam Piper; and I learned a lot from it. It turns out that many of the personal stories Beam told his friends about his life were not only untrue, but deliberate lies. Carr goes into this in great detail.
One surprise to me was that Beam had essentially no education. He never claimed otherwise, but I had always assumed he was a graduate of some Pennsylvania university; he certainly knew more history than most college graduates, and he had read and was familiar with details of more books than almost anyone I ever knew (Robert Heinlein excepted). There are other surprises in Carr's well written biography.
Beam Piper is largely forgotten now; but for those who have any interest in his life, this is the proper book.
Jerry Pournelle posted the following book review in his July "Computing at Chaos Manor," available by subscription from
For an audio review, from Dr. Allen Jalowitz of the Pennsylvania Center for the book, please visit the following website:
The Irregulars' Muster met this year on May 24, 2008 at the Waffle Shop in State College, Pennsylvania. This year we had a larger group than we've had in a long time, with Piper fan, David Johnson, coming from as far away as Arizona. Tom Rogers was there to show us the original carbon copy of the "Lost" Fuzzy novel, which he had recently picked up at auction.
After a delicious breakfast, we caravaned to Williamsport and visited the site of Beam's old apartment, which is now a parking lot. Sad to say, time has not been kind to Piper's favorite haunts... The Busy Bee restaurant, which I visited in 1988, has been demolished as well as a number of other familiar landmarks from the early 1960s. However, the Fredrick V. Brown Library is still there, although undergoing renovation to restore it to its original glory. Beam would have felt right at home in the Pennsylvania Room. David even found signed copies of his novels, "Four-Day Planet" and "Junkyard Planet."
Donations to the Piper Memorial Fund thus far have been sparse, and most of that came from one Piper fan.
The sad truth is, that if all the over 10,000 guests who've visited the site had sent us only a dollar or two via PayPal, we'd already have the new memorial stone paid for twice! To encourage our visitors to aid us in purchasing the memorial headstone, we've added a new counter on the Home Page, showing the amount collected and adding new donations on a weekly basis.
The new memorial will replace the small worn marker currently covered by weeds at Fairview Cemetery.
John F. Carr
April 15, 2008
I just learned that the H. Beam Piper biography, "PIPER: A Biography", will be released at the end of May or early June, despite Amazon's posted release date of March 30th. The biography was listed on page 3 of the McFarland Spring Catalog, but no publication date was noted. The good news is that the publisher used the "Piper in Paratime" cover I commissioned from Alan Gutierrez, although they've only highlighted about a third of it.
We recently received the page proofs from McFarland and Co.; Tori, my lovely wife and copy editor, is going over them now. The mostly never-before-seen photos in the book have been reproduced in amazing quality—hell, they look better than the originals! McFarland made very few textual changes and are including the complete appendix, which includes Piper's History of the Future, Piper's Story Log, my new piece on the Terro-Human Future History and Piper's 1955 gun inventory.
McFarland also wants me to create an Index, which I'm working on now. After Victoria completes the first pass over the proofs, I'll go over them myself. I don't foresee any delays from our end.
Meanwhile, I'm working with Jerry Pournelle and Baen Books as we prepare our Imperial Stars anthology collection (three volumes) for e-publication. I'm quite pleased at how well both the stories and the essays hold up; if anything, in lieu of the debate over the "American Empire," the books are more topical now than ever.
On February 28th, Dennis Frank and I drove to Altoona to take some pictures of Beam's ancestral home on Chestnut Avenue before it is torn down. It was still standing so we felt very fortunate. It was the first time we've visited Altoona in winter and there was snow on the ground. Dennis got some good shots, which he's posted on his web site. Click here for Dennis's Kalvan site.
After our visit to Altoona, we went to Sevenhills Valley to visit some of the battle sites, such as the Battle of Fitra and Tarr-Dombra. The area is still undeveloped and doesn't look much different than it would have in Beam's day.
This year the Irregular's Muster will meet on May 24, 2008. We will gather again in State College, Pennsylvania. This year we have plans to visit Williamsport and to try and locate some of the restaurants, businesses and landmarks mentioned in Beam's diary. It should be a fun day! Please e-mail either me or Dennis (djfrank@PENN.COM) if you're planning to attend or need more information.
December 18, 2007
On Friday morning, November 23, 2007, Dennis Frank and I left Boalsburg at 9:00 a.m. to meet with Bill Shauf of the Altoona Memorial Studio. The day was slightly overcast but had a real winter bite -- temperatures in Altoona hovered around 27 degrees. The drive was pleasant, allowing us to catch up on current projects, my new War World novel which was just published and several Paratime projects. I recently finished a new Paratime short story (The Transtemporal Man) and the first draft of the new Kalvan novel ("The Fireseed Wars"). Dennis does all the background research for the Kalvan Time-Line maps that appear in each book; the new book shifts a lot of the action to the New York City area (Agrys City) and the Upper Middle Kingdoms (Great Lakes area) and we are working out the details of several new maps.
Dennis had worked up two nice designs for Beam's proposed granite headstone based on the conversations we had during our previous visit to Altoona Memorial Studio in late October. We were meeting with Mr. Shauf to go over our plans, pick out an appropriate granite headstone and work up a price.
We arrived at the Studio at 10:00 a.m., right on the dot. Bill was waiting for us and we went right to work; after viewing a number of samples, we finally decided to go with a gray granite stone with an unfinished surface as something Beam, a hiker and hunter, might have liked. We decided the black and white etching of Beam would be done in an oval of black granite set into the gray stone with the epitaph underneath. The oval will feature H. Beam Piper's head-and-shoulders taken from the painting done by SF artist Alan Gutierrez, which is the proposed cover art for my upcoming H. Beam Piper biography ("H. Beam Piper: A Biography" from McFarland and Co.).
We left Bill Shauf a disc with a high resolution scan of the original artwork; Bill will e-mail us some sample designs as soon as he meets with his artist. When we have a final design, I'll post it on my website and Dennis will post it on his for everyone to view.
Neither of us had realized the many grades of granite and other choices (flower pots, etc.) that faced us. Pricing headstones was a first for both of us and quite informative! As with most things, the more attractive and stronger granites cost the most: I suspect we'll choose the Rock of Ages granite as it's the only one with a warranty against cracking. The Memorial Studio offers a very reasonable insurance policy against vandalism, which will be included in the purchase price. Since the demise of the railroad yards, Altoona is no longer the safe harbor it was during Beam's youth... And Fairview Cemetery has seen much better days; fortunately, the Piper grave site is at the front of the cemetery, underneath a security camera, across the street from the Altoona Hospital.
After our meeting with Bill, we went to the Altoona Public Library to go over the old telephone directories for more information on Beam's Altoona residences. It was a good choice: we discovered an unknown Piper family residence at 320 Howard Avenue in the 1906-07 Directory, when H. Beam Piper was only 3 years old. The next surviving phone directory was the 1910 edition which listed Beam's father, Herbert Orr, at 400 Wordsworth. The 400 block is at the end of Wordsworth, about a quarter of a mile from a small stream, and was declared a flood plain in the 1970's, according to a local neighbor we questioned, and all the houses were bulldozed. On our previous trip to Altoona, we found evidence of several foundations on the 400 block, but none far enough from the "road" to be 407 Wordsworth.
The source of the 407 Wordsworth address is the heading of a September 21, 1939 letter from Piper to Ferd Coleman, which Don Coleman has preserved and photocopied for use in the Piper biography. We were unable to find any evidence of the 407 Wordsworth in the address in the 1939 telephone directory (unfortunately, there was no 1940 directory either on the shelves or on microfilm). The 1941 directory listing for Herbert O. Piper gives the Piper address as 400 Wordsworth. It's our conclusion that Beam mixed up the two address in his 1939 letter, after just having moved from 400 Wordsworth to 407 Howard Avenue.
We did make one serendipitous discovery: we found Beam's grandparents' address in the 1896-97 telephone directory! It listed the Piper address (under Mary E. Piper, widow of Henry Beam P.) as 2110 W. Chestnut Avenue. Also listed as occupants of 2110 W. Chestnut Ave. were Henry A. Piper, Herbert O. Piper (Beam's father), James E. Piper, Katherine E. Piper and William G. Piper. H. Beam Piper was named after his paternal grandfather, Dr. Henry Beam Piper, who fought in the Civil War and was also known as H. Beam Piper. It's obvious Beam was named after his famous grandfather: why he kept it a secret and told people his first name was Horace is anyone's guess...?
Our next visit was to the 320 Howard Street address which was near Fairview Cemetery, a location we've walked several times. Sadly, Piper's first home no longer exists and, like all three of the other known H. Beam Piper Altoona residences, is the site of a parking lot. In this case, a SubExpress deli parking lot...
We were disappointed, but not surprised; another reason why the Piper memorial headstone is necessary and important.
Also at the library we located three other residences (that have been torn down) on the 1950's 1314 8th Street Piper residence. Most of the foundations are long gone, which is why we were interested in finding out how many other 8th street residences were on the 1300 block. The corner house, 1300 8th Street, is still standing. Beside it is a large garage, with two two-door garage doors, that looks as if it pre-dates the 1950s. It's a small block and it's impossible at this time without a photo or map showing individual residences to locate the exact position of Beam's final Altoona residence.
Our final stop was 2110 West Chestnut; not an easy location to find due to intersecting rail lines and dead end streets. To add to the confusion of finding places, many Altoona streets lack street signs at intersections. We finally located the house on an unmarked corner; it's a three story red-brick stately Victorian home, fallen on hard times. The neighborhood, like much of Altoona, is depressed and most of these stately old Victorians in the 2100 block of Chestnut have been broken up into smaller apartments and boarding houses. The Piper family home is a large old building in what was once one of the better Altoona neighborhoods. When we got out of the car and examined the house, we discovered several "Condemned" signs on the front door dating back to 2007. It appears we were just in time to visit it before the wrecking crew arrived! Regardless, we were ecstatic, since this Victorian is the first Piper residence of any kind either in Altoona or Williamsport that has not been razed and turned into a parking lot...
On our next trip to Altoona to finalize the Piper memorial design, we will take along cameras so that we can document it and add it to Dennis's website along with all the other Piper/Lord Kalvan related pictures he has up. Why not check out Dennis's Lord Kalvan web site.
Since our trip to Altoona, Dennis and I have been busy working out the details for a Piper Memorial Website to memorialize Beam and collect donations for his new memorial tombstone. Mark Richardson, the talented website designer of my own Hostigos website, agreed to help design and host the new H. Beam Piper Memorial website—thank you, Mark! We've spent the last month defining and creating with what we thought would be a site that was informative, entertaining and appropriate as a tribute to H. Beam Piper. Mark's overall design, both tasteful and easy to access, exceeded all our expectations. We hope you agree.
It is our plan to raise enough money through contributions so that as a group of Piper fans and admirers we can replace the simple, grass covered, marker, with a solid granite memorial stone, which will include an etching of Beam and his epithet: "One line in our French divorce pleased him very much—it was: 'He always maintained his independence,' he said he wanted that on his tombstone. Betty Piper."
We are working towards dedicating the memorial headstone and having an unveiling in the summer of 2008. As soon as we have finalized the memorial website, we'll start collecting donations for the stone itself. We are hoping to involve the mayor of Altoona and Piper fans from all over the U.S., who will be there to join in our celebration of H. Beam Piper, an author who has brought us all so much reading pleasure.