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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 3:48 am 
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Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 12:18 am
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Location: Idaho
Uller Uprising is Piper's first "Terro-Human Future History" book, first published in 1952 in a Twayne Science Fiction Triplet, a hardbound collection of three thematically connected novels. (The other two were Judith Meml's "Daughters of Earth" and Fletcher Pratt's "The Long View".)
A year later it appeared in the Februrary and March issues of "Space Science Fiction", edited by Lester Del Rey.

The version published in Space Science Fiction is much edited down from the Twayne edition, which wasn't printed in large numbers and was very hard to find, having never been republished until ACE did so in the 1990's.

The three books in the Twayne edition were based on an essay by a Dr. John D. Clark, an eminent scientist of the fourties and fifties and one of the discoverers of sulfa, the first "miracle drug". Dr. Clark wrote a detailed description of the planetary system of the star Beta Hydri, naming the planets Uller and Niflheim. (Now you know where the curse word Niflheim is from if you've ever read any other stuff by Piper.) Clark even detailed the atmospheric composition of the planets, fluorine gas compounds for Niflheim and a nominally human habitable one for Uller as well as the basic evolutionary processes that led to life arising on both. While Niflheim has a fairly ordinary axial tilt, Uller is blessed with a Neptune style nearly 90 degree tilt, and sapient natives. (The complete essay is reprinted in the ACE edition.)

Here's a couple bits about a book that becomes crucial to the survival of the Terrans on Uller, which show Piper's humorous slant on things, just one of the reasons he's one of my favorite authors. (Who unfortunatley has been dead since 1964.)

"The book was a novel- a jumbo-size historical novel, of some seven or eight hundred pages. Its dust-jacket bore a slightly-more-than-bust-length picture of a young lady with crimson hair and green eyes and jade earrings and a plunging-not to say power-diving-neckline that left her affiliation with the class of Mammalia in no doubt whatsoever."

a bit later...

"We descended in force on the bookshop and grabbed every copy in stock. We are now running a sort of gasseous-diffusion process, to seperate the nuclear physics from the pornography. I must say, Hildegarde has her biological data very well in hand, too."

Another thing about Piper that differentiated his SF from most of the rest is that he always included women on an equal footing in positions of authority and responsibility, especially when it came to military operations.

Read everything H. Beam Piper wrote and you'll find the foundations of a whole lot of later science fiction themes and ideas.

August 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2014

"I am a machine. I am a weapon of war. I am a destroyer of life in the service of life, the sword and shield of my human creators." Bolo Invincibilus, Mark XXIII, Model B (Experimental) 0075-NKE "Nike".

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