Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pipe Smoker: H. Beam Piper

Henry Beam Piper (1904 - 1964)

Apparently, on New Texas, killing a politician was not malum in se, and was mallum prohibitorum only to the extent that what happened to the politician was in excess of what he deserved.
--from Lone Star Planet (1958)
I don't know where to start.  H. Beam Piper was a mostly self-educated writer of science fiction short stories and novels.  His first publication was the short story "Time and Time Again" in 1947.  Common themes in his stories are that history always repeats itself; and the idea of the self-reliant man who does what needs to be done without first consulting with his "betters."

Piper committed suicide in 1964.  Although he left a note behind, he didn't make it clear as to why he killed himself.  Various theories have been postulated, of course.  At the time of his death, his writing career was blossoming greatly and in hindsight it seems that he would have eventually joined the ranks of other extremely famous and influential sci-fi writers such as Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein.

Many of his stories have become public domain and are available for reading at Project Gutenberg.

The H. Beam Piper Memorial Website
Books by Piper, H. Beam at Project Gutenberg
"Time and Time Again" (mp3 file) from X Minus One (Old Time Radio Researchers Group at

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