The Cosmic Computer by H. Beam Piper
Originally published as “The Junkyard Planet” in 1963, and based on a short story (“Graveyard of Dreams”) first published in 1958. This is the story of a planet down on its luck. Poictesme experienced a boom when it was a major military HQ during the System States War. When the war ended, the Terran Federation couldn’t even afford to ship their gear home. Bases and Logistical centers were sealed up and all the military personnel left packed on transports. The planet’s economy takes a major hit. They are reduced to two major exports. The first is a local mellon prized for the brandy made from its juice. They can sell it for centa-credits a barrel, which is what the rare interstellar trader will pay for it. The brandy made from the juice sells for several credits a glass on Terra. Their other export is military surplus they dig out of old Terran Federation bases, which they are also paid in single digit centi-credits on the credit. A group of leading citizens pool their money together and send one of their own, young Conn Maxwell, to far off Terra. He is to study computer systems at a major university and learn all he can about the legendary Terran Federation military super computer, Merlin. After being told by impeachable sources that Merlin was a myth, Conn returns home with a plan to bootstrap the economy with a search for Merlin. His hope is that by the time the planet is producing its own starships and engaging in interstellar trade (instead of having middlemen dictate prices to them), the group of ‘leading citizens’ will realize that they don’t need Merlin. Then the unthinkable happens and throws a giant monkey wrench in Conn’s plans.
Princess Valerie’s War: A Space Viking Novel by Terry Mancour
The second in a series that follows on to one of my favorite books, Space Viking.
This is follow up book to Prince of Tanith, which was my pick back on 12/12/11. There is clearly at least one more book after this one.
Prince of Tanith: A Space Viking Novel by Terry Mancour
A well written sequel to one of my favorite books, Space Viking. Like most of H. Beam Piper’s work, Space Viking is in the public domain, so sequels like this are fair game. Luckily this one is well written. It takes place after Lucas Trask marries his new love, Lady Valerie, and picks up the action pretty fast. It has all of your old friends and enemies, plus a few more. Fair warning. It ends in a cliff hanger. More about the ‘third’ book in the Space Viking Series later.
Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
When I first heard that John Scalzi wanted to do a reboot of H. Beam Piper‘s “Little Fuzzy“, it made my Sunday SciFi pick for 4/11/10. It’s out now, and I’ve read it (thanks Fred!), and I have to say it’s pretty damn good. Piper purists may yelp because there is no contra-grav, but it’s a bloody reboot! Expect change and embrace it. Scalzi clearly has serious SciFi author chops. He wouldn’t be my first choice for a reboot of Space Viking or Uller Uprising, but the Fuzzy books, sure. My top choice for Space Viking would be David Weber, and John Ringo for Uller Uprising.
OK, not really, since they are lumping fantasy in as well. So you have crap written by George R.R. Martin listed along really good SciFi. Ya, I am biased here. I am much more of a SciFi fan than a fantasy one, and perhaps GRRM may be able to be write decent Elf porn or whatever passes for mainstream fantasy these days, but his attempts at SciFi that I have read have been utter drek.
You can enter your top five books or series under comments for this NPR story on their quest for summer reading. Fair warning, you have to register to post.
The five I entered were:
- Space Viking – H. Beam Piper
- The Probability Broach – L. Neil Smith
- The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein
- To Your Scattered Bodies Go – Philip Jose Farmer
- The Mote in God’s Eye – Dr. Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven
This list could change on any given day by one or two entries.
He figures that rebooting SciFi TV series is all the rage, so why not do it for a really good SciFi novel? He has permission from the Piper estate, even though the original Little Fuzzy book is in the public domain.
To kick things off, I am starting with one of my favorite SciFi authors, H. Beam Piper. Piper was in inspiration to many in the field today, including the massively best selling author, David Weber.
Uller Uprising, by the late H. Beam Piper
A brillian SciFi telling of the Sepoy Rebellion. Set early in Piper’s Future History series timeline, this is a solid bit of adventure/Military Science Fiction. For you Military SciFi fans, there is character, only mentioned once, named “Major Falkenberg” of Falkenberg’s Rifles.